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Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

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Old 05-31-2018, 02:51 PM
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Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I've returned to OE for three reasons: 1) The Astro shaft upper U-joint had developed enough slop to allow movement. 2) There was also a bit of movement where the two shafts join at the set screw. 3) The pump whine annoyed me from day one. (Had I kept the Astro shaft, I might have tried the late model Jeep boot pictured below, which is a perfect fit, though I doubt it would have had much impact on vibration/sound.)

I replaced the Astro shaft with a bone yard OE piece whose rag joint is in terrific condition, so for the time being all's good. Good-bye pump whine.

JamesC
Attached Thumbnails Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft-img_4890.jpg   Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft-img_4889.jpg   Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft-img_4891.jpg  

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Old 05-31-2018, 03:11 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

The pump whine ?
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:18 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by TTOP350 View Post
The pump whine ?
Power steering pump noise.

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Old 05-31-2018, 04:39 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

To eliminate the P/S system noise need to use an Astro shaft that has the rubber insert. In the pic it is right before the u-joint.

RBob.
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:43 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I'm going back to stock too. Sadly when I put the Astro shaft on the slop was really bad compared to my stock one that was on it. Best way to describe it is like an old episode of a tv show when they do the in car shots, driver is constantly moving the steering wheel - going down a straight road. That's me. I was looking forward to the shaft upgrade after reading all the feedback on the posts here. My car doesn't like it, it was way tighter before.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:29 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
I'm going back to stock too. Sadly when I put the Astro shaft on the slop was really bad compared to my stock one that was on it.
Where was the slop in the Astro shaft? Maybe I got lucky, but on the two vehicles I installed them they are great. Much less slop then the OEM setup. I even replaced the upper steering shaft plastic bushing with the Astro ball bearing piece.

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Old 05-31-2018, 10:17 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

When we put it on late last fall we noticed just a tiny amount of play in the joint by the screw. We looked at drilling it to really secure the screw right down so it would be solid, but kinda thought it collapses in case of an accident????? 'shrug'
Anyway, drove it and was disappointed to have to constantly correct the steering wheel to drive, stock was tight. Put it away for winter and forgot about it. Took it out for first summer drive 2 weekends ago and was reminded. Oh well, not everything works all the time, I've learnt that.
Going back to stock rag. Was thinking about the Detroit Speed joint..... but in the back of my head I'm worried it will do the same thing. I know it won't, but at that price it would suck if it did. LOL
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:33 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Oh boy. After reading aaall the positive reviews over the years I got this goin in. Is it really that loud? I thought barely noticeable over the engine.
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:04 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I bought a shaft from fellow member MC87SS last year. I couldn't be more pleased with the shaft. Tighter than my old rag joint shaft. I had bought a new aftermarket rag joint shaft, and found it to have as much slop as my OEM shaft so i returned it and bought the Astro shaft. I have no pump noise, so that's not an issue either. JamesC, how old is your shaft and when did it start getting sloppy?
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Old 06-01-2018, 07:18 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by RBob View Post
Where was the slop in the Astro shaft? Maybe I got lucky, but on the two vehicles I installed them they are great. Much less slop then the OEM setup. I even replaced the upper steering shaft plastic bushing with the Astro ball bearing piece.

RBob.
I have the ball bearing piece, it works well, honestly, I would recommend that to anyone that has some slop and has a decent rag joint installed. Not a fan of the u-joints. Every one that I've seen has had the actual cross assembly come loose, mine did and I staked them back in place but honestly, I wish I never messed with it, if it wasn't a hassle I'd stick a stock one back in this car.

Originally Posted by SirReveller View Post
Oh boy. After reading aaall the positive reviews over the years I got this goin in. Is it really that loud? I thought barely noticeable over the engine.
It's not really that loud, but it can be annoying. Honestly, there is no really good reason to do it. The way it's built there is no way it will be a more positive linkage than a rag joint in good shape, and otherwise, it's not like these cars need any more sources of funny noises.
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Old 06-01-2018, 07:37 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by red rock View Post
JamesC, how old is your shaft and when did it start getting sloppy?
2011 (I doubt that I put 1500 miles a year on the car). Within the last couple of months. BTW, there's a video of the issue, post #33, of the following link:

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...teering-2.html

Originally Posted by 83 Crossfire TA View Post
I have the ball bearing piece, it works well, honestly, I would recommend that to anyone that has some slop and has a decent rag joint installed.

It's not really that loud, but it can be annoying.
+2 on the Astro bearing. Annoying is the word.

Frankly, I probably wouldn't do the swap over again. Of course, that's like many of the so-called "improvements" I've done on my car. At any rate, I'm happy with the current OE setup.

JamesC

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Old 06-01-2018, 07:54 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

On a non-isolated column shaft the noise is annoying (as posted by others). It is a strange whiny/hissing sound. The real problem is that it emits from the steering wheel, which is right in front of you.

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Old 06-01-2018, 07:55 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Why would there be more pump noise going to the Astro shaft? Or you mean it is just more noticeable because there is no rubber isolation, so normally you wouldn't hear the whine, but since there is no rubber piece it can be transmitted up into the cabin?

Doh, RBob was a few seconds faster than I
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:30 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by JamesC View Post
Power steering pump noise.

JamesC
I get that, just wondering how its transferred through the rubber lines? Or is it something in the gearbox ?


On that video, (post 33), I know the U-joints wear out. They can be replaced but with these being peened in there by the factory it may make it hard to hold in the new U-joint unless you can repeen it.

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Old 06-01-2018, 11:20 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I was fighting a whole different issue ;(https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...eel-jumps.html) when I found my problem. So my pump is rebuilt with no noise and new fluid. One other reason I like the Astro shaft, is the smaller diameter without the plastic cover. One additional thing, if you ever replace your rag joint shaft with a new aftermarket item, check it out before installing. Like most aftermarket parts, they are not built as good as OEM.

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Old 06-01-2018, 11:34 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

waiting to install one .

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Old 06-02-2018, 10:16 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

this is surprising since theyre selling like hot cakes on that one guys thread.

I'm a sole believer that any thirdgen owner should swap out the gearbox for the quick ratio ones that were in the Trans Ams/IROCS/Z28's. thats a surefire way to improve the steering feeling. I can't stand driving my brothers RS because the steering feels so loose compared to my Trans Ams. I have read that you need to be careful when purchasing them from big box auto stores because people buy the quick ratio box and then return their old non quick ratio box as a core and then the company rebuilds that and falsely sells them as quick ratios.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:21 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by TylerSteez View Post
this is surprising since theyre selling like hot cakes on that one guys thread.

I'm a sole believer that any thirdgen owner should swap out the gearbox for the quick ratio ones that were in the Trans Ams/IROCS/Z28's. thats a surefire way to improve the steering feeling. I can't stand driving my brothers RS because the steering feels so loose compared to my Trans Ams. I have read that you need to be careful when purchasing them from big box auto stores because people buy the quick ratio box and then return their old non quick ratio box as a core and then the company rebuilds that and falsely sells them as quick ratios.
I went through 2 rebuilt "quick ratio" steering sector's that were off 1/4 to 1/2 turn compared to mine. So, I rebuilt my own.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:55 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Well even though James C has yet to (pun alert!) steer me wrong on a number of issues, Iíll stick with the Astro shaft I got goin in from robertfrank. I shoulda taken some pics- the thing looked pretty damn sweet! *Nothing to do with noise but also snagged the superiorĒĒ Astro bearing.

Thinking back, there are a couple other pros people cite besides improved steering feel: i) engine bay aesthetics and ii) more room for headers.

Hopefully it all works out as so (6:00)

Iíve got tunes going pretty loud anytime the car is on too but if the noise is still a pita (and if Iíve saved my shekels in the meantime) Iíll try this bad boy where the rubber bit should cut the noise..
http://www.hawksmotorsports.com/stee...maro-firebird/
..or of course just throw the OE rag one back on.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:08 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by red rock View Post
I couldn't be more pleased with the shaft. Tighter than my old rag joint shaft.

I have no pump noise, so that's not an issue either.

how old is your shaft and when did it start getting sloppy?
Wow, personal... A lady never asks, a gentleman never tells.

Originally Posted by 83 Crossfire TA View Post
I have the ball bearing piece, it works well, honestly, I would recommend that to anyone that has some slop...

I wish I never messed with it, if it wasn't a hassle I'd stick a stock one back in
Originally Posted by scooter View Post
Why would there be more pump noise going to the Astro shaft? Or you mean it is just more noticeable because there is no rubber isolation, so normally you wouldn't hear the whine, but since there is no rubber piece it can be transmitted up into the cabin?
Originally Posted by TTOP350 View Post
...it may make it hard to hold in the new U-joint unless you can repeen it.
Uhh... huh huh huh... huh huh huh... he said 'peen'.

Originally Posted by red rock View Post
I was fighting a whole different issue ;( when I found my problem. So my pump is rebuilt with no noise and new fluid. One other reason I like the Astro shaft, is the smaller diameter without the plastic cover. One additional thing, if you ever replace your rag joint shaft with a new aftermarket item, check it out before installing. Like most aftermarket parts, they are not built as good as OEM.
All this talk of pumps, *****, shafts, peens... Taken completely out of context, this thread is low brow comedy gold. Wrap it up.
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Old 06-02-2018, 04:23 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Wow, personal... A lady never asks, a gentleman never tells.
All this talk of pumps, *****, shafts, peens... Taken completely out of context, this thread is low brow comedy gold. Wrap it up.
I think you need to chase the little woman around the house for a couple of seconds.
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Old 06-02-2018, 05:20 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

When I first drove the car with the Astro shaft, I immediately noticed the noise. But now that I've had it for about a month, I don't really notice it unless the windows are up and I'm going slow and turning a lot, like in a parking lot. But I have headers and a louder than stock exhaust. And I regeared the diff, so it whines at highway speeds.

I could see someone being super annoyed with it if their car was bone stock and quiet and wanted to keep it that way. If you've added noisier aftermarket parts or drive with the windows down most of the time, I doubt you'd really care after a while.

I also think that if you upgrade the column bearing and have a stock steering shaft with a new rag joint and isn't worn out at the other end, it'll be pretty darn good. I mainly went with an Astro shaft for extra header clearance and because mine was worn. I think most of the glowing night-and-day difference reviews are from people replacing a worn or completely shot stock shaft.
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:18 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by red rock View Post
I was fighting a whole different issue ;(https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...eel-jumps.html) when I found my problem. So my pump is rebuilt with no noise and new fluid. One other reason I like the Astro shaft, is the smaller diameter without the plastic cover. One additional thing, if you ever replace your rag joint shaft with a new aftermarket item, check it out before installing. Like most aftermarket parts, they are not built as good as OEM.
And these are the exact reasons I will be changing TO the Astro shaft.

Not to get off topic, but would anyone know if my 84 TA has the quick ratio steering box?
Is there a code I can look for? Thanks.

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Old 06-02-2018, 11:28 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by NoEmissions84TA View Post
Not to get off topic, but would anyone know if my 84 TA has the quick ratio steering box?
Is there a code I can look for? Thanks.
The code would be stamped in ink on the top or front of the steering gear. Generally the better box would be on 16" wheel cars.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:30 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Just for general info: I run Hooker headers with no issues using the OE piece.

BTW, troubling yourself with a good/new OE piece or something like the Jeep or Astro shaft is useless if the steering box needs replacing or adjusting or if the front end components are worn out. The shaft is last, not first on the list of steering improvements.

JamesC

Last edited by JamesC; 06-03-2018 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:06 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by NoEmissions84TA View Post
And these are the exact reasons I will be changing TO the Astro shaft.

Not to get off topic, but would anyone know if my 84 TA has the quick ratio steering box?
Is there a code I can look for? Thanks.
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
The code would be stamped in ink on the top or front of the steering gear. Generally the better box would be on 16" wheel cars.
A WS6 code car should have the 12.7:1 high effort box from the factory, I'm not sure about other cars (all my f-bodies have been WS6 cars). The only difference between the 15 and 16" wheel boxes is that they have different internal stops allowing the 15" wheel to travel slightly further. They have the same ratio and effort.

The only external marking that they have that can identify them is that there is a painted/marker HX on the 16" wheel cars and WS on the 15" wheel ones- I've had both, a WS in my 83 TA and HX's in both my '87 TA and Formula 350.

I've posted a ton of stuff on here about this if you search the forums for my username and steering, but a lot of it is summarized here:
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...ml#post6206217
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:24 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

im looking for the part# for the bearing can anyone give that number??
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:31 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by kaos420 View Post
im looking for the part# for the bearing can anyone give that number??
What bearing are you looking for?
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:45 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by red rock View Post
What bearing are you looking for?
Astro van, I assume. Pics and part numbers, IIRC, can be found in the following link:

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...g-bearing.html

JamesC

Last edited by JamesC; 06-04-2018 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:03 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by 83 Crossfire TA View Post
A WS6 code car should have the 12.7:1 high effort box from the factory, I'm not sure about other cars (all my f-bodies have been WS6 cars). The only difference between the 15 and 16" wheel boxes is that they have different internal stops allowing the 15" wheel to travel slightly further. They have the same ratio and effort.
Sure. And at least for 1986 and later, WS6 cars have 16" wheels. Got an Iroc with 16" wheels? Then it's got the good box. Got an RS with 16" wheels? Yup. Not saying that it's only 16" wheel cars that have the box, but it's a pretty good indicator.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:05 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I'm not sure why people are so interested in the Astro van bearing. I've yet to see the stock nylon bushing wear out. It's not as though there are massive radial loads on the steering shaft, and it's not turning 30k RPM, so what is the presumed advantage of a ball bearing over the nylon bushing?
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:18 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

It does (surprisingly) give a better, ever so slightly noticeable, smoother perhaps, feel. I did the bearing well over 20yrs ago in my car.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:37 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by JamesC View Post
Astro van, I assume. For pics and some part numbers, IIRC, can be found in the following link:

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...g-bearing.html

JamesC
I assumed the same thing, but then, now day's i never know. Def; ( when you assume, you make an a$$ out of U and me)
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:44 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

This topic really makes me think about my setup. I just replaced the box in my car with a quick ratio "Z" box from hawks, and rebuilt the whole rack with the kit from spohn. I have the astro shaft and bushing as well. I can't keep my car straight for the life of me. Some times it will be very spot on for a split second. The rest of the time I am fighting the wheel. It feels like I have a dead soft zone in my steering. I adjusted my box, and that made it a bit better. There is no play in any of the Components. My buddy thinks its the steering column itself but that makes no sense to me. I was also told spohn's center link is trash. I bought a Moog center link that I am going to put in tomorrow. I am at my wits end here. I have a 85 Bird that I just bought. Going to also do a quick swap of the columns to see if there is a change. Only thing I never messed with was the Pump.

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Old 06-10-2018, 09:55 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I've been pleased with the Astro shaft swap. Had it in about 2 months now, and have noticed the power steering noise at low speed turns, but generally it's drowned out by the exhaust. The handling is much tighter and the car stays straighter on the road - but my rag joint was pretty well shot when I pulled it.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:06 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by t/aws61985 View Post
This topic really makes me think about my setup. I just replaced the box in my car with a quick ratio "Z" box from hawks, and rebuilt the whole rack with the kit from spohn. I have the astro shaft and bushing as well. I can't keep my car straight for the life of me. Some times it will be very spot on for a split second. The rest of the time I am fighting the wheel. It feels like I have a dead soft zone in my steering. I adjusted my box, and that made it a bit better. There is no play in any of the Components. My buddy thinks its the steering column itself but that makes no sense to me. I was also told spohn's center link is trash. I bought a Moog center link that I am going to put in tomorrow. I am at my wits end here. I have a 85 Bird that I just bought. Going to also do a quick swap of the columns to see if there is a change. Only thing I never messed with was the Pump.
Don't forget the tires. Tires can have a huge affect on handling. Some with stiff side walls will dart from side to side depending on the road. Alignment is another issue.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:24 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by t/aws61985 View Post
This topic really makes me think about my setup. I just replaced the box in my car with a quick ratio "Z" box from hawks, and rebuilt the whole rack with the kit from spohn. I have the astro shaft and bushing as well. I can't keep my car straight for the life of me. Some times it will be very spot on for a split second. The rest of the time I am fighting the wheel. It feels like I have a dead soft zone in my steering. I adjusted my box, and that made it a bit better. There is no play in any of the Components. My buddy thinks its the steering column itself but that makes no sense to me. I was also told spohn's center link is trash. I bought a Moog center link that I am going to put in tomorrow. I am at my wits end here. I have a 85 Bird that I just bought. Going to also do a quick swap of the columns to see if there is a change. Only thing I never messed with was the Pump.
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...dler-arms.html
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:41 AM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I agree with everything bad you have said in this topic about astro shaft. For me it is junk and waste of money. If your stock shaft is fine you will get no improvment only the anoying noise...

here is a topic i made a post about shafts and upgraded bearings that are on the ebay...if anyone wants to make a comment i would be very thankful.
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...-steering.html
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:00 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

always test fit your parts..before install and after..get them as tight fitting as ya can..
shaft slop. can be fixed with a good press..remember to heat the parts to 120deg..when fitting the 2 shafts together..as they sit close to your eng..and will run in that ballpark. this adds some slop.. (cold no slop..add heat ..slop...Fix..)

you can press the outer tube for a better fit...or add copper/nickle for a better fit.(chrome)

as for the U joint slop...same thing..when you have one in hand..heat it up and see how it feels... any slop grab another..iv had none with units I have picked up...

as for sound...make sure your pump is in good shape
CHROME..

Last edited by articwhiteZ; 09-09-2018 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:44 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

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Old 07-04-2018, 10:45 PM
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:15 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I need to replace my astro shaft as it has gotten sloppy, what jeep shaft do people use? I've replaced my box but the shaft has gone south, thanks for any info. Also I see Detroit Speed has an adjustable shat assembly for our cars albeit, 285.00.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:53 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by cc 82Z-28 View Post
I need to replace my astro shaft as it has gotten sloppy, what jeep shaft do people use?
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...ing-shaft.html

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Old 07-10-2018, 12:39 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Thanks for the reply, I pulled the trigger on the Detroit Speed steering shaft assembly from Summit last nite. It should be here today and I will see how that works versus the shaft I just took out. I need to use something like this since with my headers and brake lines, there's just not a lot of room there and then to top it off, my headers are wrapped so that takes up more room.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:03 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by cc 82Z-28 View Post
I pulled the trigger on the Detroit Speed steering shaft assembly from Summit last nite. It should be here today and I will see how that works versus the shaft I just took out. I need to use something like this since with my headers and brake lines, there's just not a lot of room there and then to top it off, my headers are wrapped so that takes up more room.
No issues with my headers and brake lines using the OE. I am interested, however, in hearing your thoughts on the DS steering shaft.

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Old 07-10-2018, 03:33 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Originally Posted by JamesC View Post
No issues with my headers and brake lines using the OE. I am interested, however, in hearing your thoughts on the DS steering shaft.

JamesC
I will let you know, I feel sometimes you have to spend the money on correctly engineered product to get the result you are looking for. Given their track record on all the products they engineer and manufacture, there is no doubt that it should be much better than a universal or generic version of a given product.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:17 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

I hope it works for you. I think however that the part is way overpriced.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:34 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Keep us updated for sure, curious on the DSE shaft as well.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:55 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

A guy on our Michigan F-body forum just bought a shaft similar to the DSE piece from Summit for his 2nd gen. Camaro. I don't think he paid that much.

Same deal on 2nd gens...worn out rag joint.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:13 PM
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Re: Abandoning the Astro Van Shaft

Happy to report that what a difference a well engineered part makes. I paid 279.00 from Summit since they have 25.00 off 250.00 and with free shipping and handling that was my total with sales tax. Yes, it is expensive but again I still feel you sometimes have to pay up front for a product that works as designed. The noises are gone, no slop or dead spots, and even when I put the astro van shaft in 6 years ago, it wasn't this precise in my opinion. My steering wheel is now straight and all feels good, safe, and firm finally. I was concerned that the new steering box was bad, but when I started reading the op beginning post I realized all my problems were probably nothing more than the shaft and it was. I am not at all unhappy with the cost since it is finally fixed, I have been chasing steering issues the last couple of years and this year it got a whole lot worse after changing the box out. Yes you can do the cheap way or pay up and get the part that works and be done with it and know that you won't have to worry about ever again. I have more than 25000.00 in this car over the past 20 or so years and this is a small price for peace of mind. Thanks JamesC for all your help and info over the years of my working on this car, your knowledge is vast when it comes to these cars and this forum is better you and others with their wealth of knowledge. At nearly 63 I still have fun with this car.
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