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check the column as mine had bolts coming out fro under the dash. One fell out and the others were loose. also, check the bolt that connects it to the shaft under the hood. If you had headers installed there is a good chance one of these are loose. If your rack and pinion are work out that would cause movement but wow you would have to have mucho wear to get that.
 

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The steering box (where the pinion meets the rack) has an adjustment called "preload", basically a spring driven by a screw, that sets how much force is applied to push the pinion down on the rack. As cars age, the rack and pinion wear and the mesh loosens up. But the preload can be adjusted to compensate for wear. It's really easy to do, like a 5 minute job. You put in a 1/4 turn and see if it fixed the problem, lather/rinse/repeat if not.

But I also remember people commenting on loose bolts on the steering column itself, and that would also cause play in the wheel.
 

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Umm. No. It's adjustable for a reason. If you need to touch it, touch it. Don't be stupid and buy a new rack when the adjuster just needs a 1/4 turn to fix your problem.

Here. Click this link and check out the bazillion posts on the subject: steering rack preload adjustment - Google Search
This.

It's just aligning the gears. Besides, if it needs replacing then there's no harm in fucking with it first!


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