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• If you're experiencing loose steering or have excessive play, one method of diagnosing the cause is to open the hood and try to rotate the steering shaft. If the steering shaft is worn, you will immediately feel the "play" in the shaft.
• Ford part # E8TZ-3B676-A should fit all 1984 - 1991 Ford F150/F250/F350 pickups. The unit includes the two piece steering shaft with rag joint.
• The shaft is held in place by two bolts, one near the firewall and one attached to the collar that connects the shaft to the steering box (just below the rag joint). Push the plastic rag joint cover (unless it has disintegrated or been removed previously) up and out of the way to access the lower bolt.
• Looking between the inner fender and frame rail, rotate the steering wheel so that the lower bolt is visible (red arrow in photo). The bolt requires a 10 mm socket and with a combination of extensions can accessed with relative ease. Loosen this bolt, but there is no need to remove it.
• With the lower bolt loosened, rotate the steering wheel so that the top bolt (red arrow, near the firewall) can be removed. It also requires a 10 mm socket or wrench.
• With the top bolt removed, slide the top of the shaft towards the front of the vehicle so that it is freed from the steering column, and then slide the bottom of the shaft towards the firewall to remove the steering shaft completely.
• Install the new shaft in reverse, starting with the bottom section and then the top. Once the bolt for the top of the steering wheel is replaced, turn the steering wheel so that you can access the bottom bolt again. Use a liberal amount of thread locker on both bolts.
• The red arrow in the image to the left shows the common culprit. This rubber joint acts as a damper and takes the play out of the movement of the upper and lower sections of the steering shaft.
• Double check that the steering shaft is installed correctly and that the hardware is tightened properly. Drive the truck and then check the bolts again.