Steering Play 1968 XR7 Tilt away

I have just replaced all the steering suspension, new springs, ram cylinder, [gear box,and control valve rebuilt (Rodes Restoration)], rebuilt power steering pump.
I had the tilt away steering wheel rebuilt(Tony Augustine), I have a new rag joint. I have a lot of play in the steering wheel.
When i turn the wheel, I can see the Joint on the control valve move to the one side and then move the wheels move.
Any suggestions.

Thank you,

It should move the control valve center about 1/8" in either direction before the steering moves with the engine off.

I will check to see how much mine moves. When I talked to Roger (who rebuilt the control valve) he was saying that the control valve has to be
screwed in so there 4 7/8 Inches from the center of the control valve ball joint to the center of the inner tie rod grease fitting. I need to double check this measurement.
See attached picture from my manual

That dimension only affects alignment not free play. Ask yourself the question- how often you drive with the engine off?

I just talked to Rodger (the guy that rebuilt the gear box and control valve). He said that i need to check the position of the steering wheel (He said there was an alignment mark on either the shaft or wheel) and shaft, to make sure that I am not off. He kept on saying that I have to start at the wheel and than the column shaft and work my way down to the control valve (Make sure the wheels are straight before I start).
When I got the car aligned, I am not sure that the shop really knew what they were doing (they are used to modern cars),

Does this make sense.

I just went through the same thing. Brand new steering box and controll valve Tony rebuilt my Tilt tilt away column. Still had at least 3 inches of travel. Talked to LARES who made the box and controll valve. Said to ajust the s box, so I have done that a 1/4 turn each time. Did it three times and it is a whole lot better. Maybe 1 inch or less now. This was on my 68 XR7 G

How much play is there with the engine running?

Often after getting an alignment you have to remove the steering wheel and install it so the car drives straight when the steering wheel is pointed straight ahead. The rag joint and the serrated teeth on the pitman arm and steering box won’t allow those components to be assembled improperly. I bet anything Roger Rode did was done right.

I have no doubt Roger did the work correctly, I just need to understand what I need to do to get the slack out.
When I get home I will look at the steering wheel and see if the notch in the column is ( I think pointing at 12 o.clock)
I just don’t know how that is going to take out the slope.
Also need to know if they did the alignment correct. Do you know if there is a way if one tie rod assembly (inner and outer) should be close in length to the other ( Not sure, but I feel I can turn sharper on one side than the other). Again, I am not very confident they knew how to align my car.
It seems to be driving straight, My friend drove my car this weekend and said he was surprised when he turned the wheel a little that it did not try to go back the other way (back to center) when he let it go.

Being particular about the steering wheel, I use the tie rod ends to center it in what is equivalent to a mustache-trimming exercise. First I set up all the alignment to 2 1/2 or 3+ positive caster, zero or 1/4 negative camber, and zero toe (yes). I test drive to settle things and check the wheel. The Ford shop manuals have a cool chart showing which side to adjust which way to move the steering wheel. Years ago (1969-73) I knew a guy who would align your Ford and leave the wheel centered. By the 1980s, Ford dealers in the northeast might return your car with the wheel off center from where the factory had assembled it. I bought a vintage Judson gauge from the Snap-On truck (a trade-in), and began doing all my own on a precision floor a nearby MIT lab had.

Is there slack with the engine running?

Need to adjust the slack in the steering box- I had mine rebuilt by Rodes as well and I had a lot of play too, with new everything. It will take some trial and error, but now that I have it right there is almost no play. I little tough to get to with the box in the car, but it can be done.

I used a 11/16 inch claws foot wrench with a two foot extension and a long screw driver. Quite easy to do takes about 30 seconds each time I ajusted it.

Royce if you mean slop when the car is running than yes
I need to double check to see if the Pitman arm is straight ahead when the gear box is centered 2 1/4 from one side
I understand what Roger was talking about when he said the top of the arc, he was referring to the pitman arm being straight ahead or at the top of the arc

I do not think my gear box needs adjusted, when I turn the wheel the pitman arm moves right away.
The joint on the control valve is where the delay is. I will need to double check to see if I have the
Steering centered with the pitman arm

I think the SMB-K box should be 1 7/8 turns from lock to center


I will double check this week. This was from the 1968 Shop Manual

I believe if you look at the heading of that page you will find that is in the “Manual Steering” section.

It’s a sometimes confusingly formatted manual, the stuff for working on the steering column is in the “manual steering” section.

If you look at page 3-56 it has a table with the turns “lock to lock” for each steering box.

The only reason I know this is because I just got done redoing my steering and suspension and the manual was confusing me all the time.

Thank you for pointing that out, It was in the manual steering section in the shop book. I will double check the # from Lock to lock.
I also saw your post on your car, I also have a 390GT XR7 (I just reinstalled the 390 4v rebuilt engine (someone had put in a 289 automatic) and converted to the Toploader 4 speed. My car came with factory 2.75 gears. I just got the car on the road in the last few weeks, and am trying to work out all the issues.

If a steering box has been professionally rebuilt , it should not need any further adjusting because it should have been set at max adjustment and marked with paint or some other sealer, any further tightening may damage the unit.

If Roger Rode rebuilt the steering box then don’t adjust it.

The control valve has an adjustment for movement under the end cap. The shop manual tells how to adjust it. If Roger rebuilt the control valve then don’t touch it.

Remember this is a 50+ year old car with a power assist system that was designed 70+ years ago.