Jeff Reade operates his own
Corvette repair shop at 11375 Playa St.
in Culver City, Calif., just east of the
San Diego Fwy.
Jeff brought all the props for
explaining the rebuild process on the C1
The Servicing Guide ST-12,
mentioned above, contains all this
Corvette Central sells a Steering
Column Overhaul Kit (CC #561026 ’53-’57,
or 561031, ’58-’62) for this task.
Another kit was available in the
past from Corvette Steering (which Jeff
prefers) but it is no longer available.
Some members may have this kit
and you may be lucky and locate one.
You cannot purchase some of the
parts solely but only as a kit, however,
always replace the steering Worm &
Sector gear as a pair.
Why The Steering Gearbox?
Generally if operating
correctly, the steering system
on our C1’s is a very
comfortable steering system and
will provide a comfortable
The process for
rebuilding the Steering Gearbox
is to most owners, not a task to
take on quickly and might not
want to be approached unless
However after Jeff’s
discussion and how much impact
this gearbox has on the whole
steering system, the job might
The Steering Gearbox is
the first item in the C1
Steering System chain of
When the steering wheel
is rotated the gearbox controls
the remaining items in the
components are: Tires, Shock
Absorbers, Kingpins, Tie Rods, 3rd Arm
Member, Drag Link and finally
Each system component can
contribute to a bad steering car
and each component can be
components will be discussed in
future Tech Sessions and were
mentioned during this
Gearbox was presented
because it really is the
“heart” of the system
and much time and money
can be wasted on other
components when the
gearbox may be the
primary problem. Most C1
owners are aware of
items like tires,
shocks, tie rods,
alignments, etc. and
shops and mechanics can
address these issues but
having problems in the
steering gearbox will
still not provide a
our C1’s ,after
being driven for
many years (used
to the Steering
and the majority
many to perform
appear to be
a bearing seat
must be removed)
and can be done
parts, and seals
to further speed
this task along.
kit contains the
for the rebuild
and as indicated
parts you cannot
The CC rebuild
kit cost is $430
but contains a
and sector gear.
changed as a
pair when doing
and mast jacket
can be removed
from a ’58 – ’62
C1 without major
lower dash mast
and the front
spark plug will
Pitman Arm (see
the drag link.
assembly can be
lifted out the
upper part of
the hood makes
the job easier
job can still be
for removal are
the audience on
rebuilding a C1
gearbox is shown
below along with
items look like.
The housing above shows the steering shaft but has the mast
jacket removed. When the Steering Assembly is removed the
mast jacket will be pressed into the Steering gear housing and
should not be removed. The steering shaft and worm gear
are removed when the Worm gear adjustment nut is removed on the
end of the housing. Remove the Pitman Arm from the
mounting shaft. This might require a puller which can be
Above indicates the removal of
the Sector Shaft Assembly. 4 bolts retain the Assembly to
the housing. The Sector Shaft is then removed from the
The CC kit comes with a new Worm
Gear and Sector wheel. The new wheel can be changed by
removing the bolt and replacing the gear. Above is shown a
new grease seal which will be reinstalled upon assembly.
picture to the left illustrates the motion that the Sector gear
moves inside the Steering Housing when the Worm Gear Rotates.
This motion causes a common wear pattern over the years in the
gearbox. You can inspect for wear on this gear by
observing the outer surface of the gear should be a convex
curvature. As wear occurs, this surface become concave and
the steering becomes loose. This is the most important
reason for replacing the worm with the sector as a pair.
Illustrated in the picture below.
At the end of the Sector Shaft is a bolt which retains the shaft
to the Plate assembly fastening it to the steering housing.
The CC kit come with a new bolt which the head slips into a slot
at the shaft end. Shims are also provided which can be
slipped in and provide a snug fit for this bolt.
Illustrated above right is
the installation of the new worm gear assembly, and the Sector
Assembly being fastened with the 4 bolts removed earlier.
The new grease seal is installed and it is important to also use
a thread sealant on the 4 bolts as leakage can occur at this
interface. Install a new gasket and lube the internal
gears and install new tapered bearings during assembly.
The lubrication Jeff
recommends is a high temperature grease, not 90 wt. transmission
oil. A disc brake grease works. Prior to assembly it
is also important to inspect the bearing surfaces inside the
steering housing. Change out as needed.
to the left is the internal cavity of the steering housing with
the new worm gear installed. The interface surface is the
attachment surface for the Sector Assembly.
surface to the left is the installation of a bearing and the new
Adjustments during assembly:
Review the adjustment in the ST-12 manual along with the
Assembling the Worm gear into the
steering box the primary adjustment is the end play nut on the
end of the housing. Adjust the nut to remove any end play
and turning the steering shaft aught to feel snug, not over
tight. Install the Lock ring onto the adjustment nut and
The Sector Assembly is installed with the gaskets and thread
sealed bolts. The adjustment of the sector shaft end bolt
is accomplished with the sector gear at the mid point of the
worm gear. Orient the notch on the steering shaft end at
the 12 o' clock position and adjust the meshing of the two gears
to be snug. Further adjustment can be done with the
Steering Assembly installed in the car.
Reinstall the Steering Assembly into the car. Again
orient the reference notch straight up and install the steering
wheel on the shaft. Check for the force on the wheel while
adjust the Sector Bolt. The force should be about 1lb.
Refer to the ST-12 manual for a further discussion.
Check after installation of Rebuilt Steering Box.
the rebuilt steering box is properly rebuilt, and
the car, connect
the Pitman Arm to the Sector Shaft.
2. Point the
Alignment mark, on the end of the worm gear shaft,
(12 o’ clock
is the center travel position of the worm and Sector
Connect the Drag Link to the Pitman Arm and the 3rd Arm.
3. Establish a
Centerline under the engine of the car.
Two points of
the center of the 3rd Arm
mounting holes and the oil drain
4. Check the
position of the 3rd Arm
moving member which is attached to the Tie Rods.
The centerline should go between the Tie Rod
ends. If not,
Adjust the Drag Link
to establish this
Next verify the wheel alignment.
If the alignment of
Step 4 above is correct, the Tie Rods can be
adjusted to establish the correct wheel alignment.
An alignment shop can perform this, however make
sure they begin the alignment with the correct steering