OK, I know, you’re thinking “Duh- the steering wheel’s on the left.” And now you’re thinking “…unless you live in a country which requires you to drive on the left side of the road” (For a great site on which countries drive on what side, check out http://www.brianlucas.ca/roadside/), although this doesn’t absolutely determine which side the steering wheel is on.
While putting the steering wheel in the center of the vehicle may be a priority for some readers, this article deals specifically with making the top of the steering wheel point up when you’re driving straight.
Step 1: Unbolt the Pitman arm. You don’t need to completely take it off- just detach it from the steering box so when you turn the steering wheel, the wheels don’t turn.
The tie rod ends on the drag link should be LH and RH threads, so it’s easy to just spin the bar to lengthen or shorten the center to center distance. Don’t attach the Pitman arm to the steering box before you have it pointed straight ahead – then you can adjust the bar until the splined hole in the arm is directly below the output shaft on the Pitman arm.
If you’re confident you’re Pitman arm is pointed straight ahead, there are ways to adjust the steering wheel rotation without affecting the Pitman arm.
1. Unbolt the steering wheel from the hub (if you have one), rotate the wheel, and bolt it back on. Since there are usually 5 or 9 bolts, this isn’t a very macro method.
2. Unbolt the hub from the steering column. It’s usually splined, so you can get a finer adjustment than unbolting the steering wheel. A combination of 1 and 2 may be required if your horn wire is interfering with the hub. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.
3. U-joints: If you have used splined steering shafts, you can rotate the shaft in a U-joint by a spline or two. This can cause some negative effects down the road though, if you ‘misalign’ the joints out of phase. You’ll know what I mean if it happens- you’ll have a few stiff spots as you rotate the steering wheel.