I have replaced the steering gears and pinion but now the cover will not tighten down enough to get the little screw to fit into the slot. Can I drill a new slot for the new screw position?
Thank you, Randy Glowacki
I think most people just back it off till the screw lines up. Adding a new place for the screw would not be "right" and may be hard to do. The "slot" is really threaded.
Make sure the inside of the cover does not have any "burrs" where the pinion runs. Sometimes the new pinion will not "seat" all the way, where the old pinion was running. If you have went a little too far for the screw to match backing it up a litte bit will be OK. If you like a little bit to make it to the old slot then you will either have to "face off" the inside of the cover till it will seat. or drill a new slot. You do not want much end play on the pinion. I like about .005 to .010 end play but anything less than 1/32 inch (.037)should be OK.
I have done this a few times. You want that cover tight. I have a leather strap I cut to fit the cover, so I don't mark it up while tightening. I use a large pair of channel lock pliers to tighten it. You will need to drill a new place for the screw. Just be sure to use the correct size drill, and wrap a piece of tape around the drill bit so you don't drill down too far, then tap it with a 6-32 tap. If you want the screw to look identical to the original, you will probably want to turn the head down some, so it will look correct.
When I assembled it the cap on mine snugged down to almost exactly where the screw hole should be. My only issue was there was wax in the threads from the plating process that had to be chased out with a tap. After that it was smooth sailing. There seems to be a lot of threads there, so as long as they aren't sloppy why would you have to tighten it past the screw hole? You've got me curious, Larry. Is there any advantage to doing it that way as opposed to backing it off a little bit and lining up the holes?
If you want the screw to look identical to original then you would leave it at the TDC position where is was originally. Not only would it be original but maybe there is an advantage to having it in plane view so the driver can keep and eye no this important safety item.
An option may be to shim inside the cover to take up any looseness and leave the screw in the original location.