Manual steering gears are used in Series 40-50 only. Power steering gears are optional on Series, 40-50 and are standard equipment in Series 70.

Changes in 1953 Buick Manual Steering Gears

The manual steering gears are essentially the same as described in paragraph 7-2 in the 1952 Buick Shop Manual, except for the following modifications:

The actual gear ratio has been changed to 23.6 to 1. The column jacket of the Series 50 gear fits over a tube which is pressed into the gear housing, and a clamp anchors the jacket in place. The control shaft lower bearing is pressed into the tube in gear housing and the transmission control mechanism in the 1953 Buick steering column is new, as described in paragraph 4-3.

On Series 50 Dynaflow models, a combination neutral safety and back-up light switch is mounted on the column jacket under the cowl, and is operated by a lever attached to the control shaft.

Adjustment and other service procedures given in Section 7-A of the 1952 Buick Shop Manual apply to the 1953 manual steering gears. The modifications and some dimensional changes affect interchangeability, therefore the application indicated in the Master Parts List must be observed when replacing parts.

Changes in Tie Rods

Tie rods are similar to 1952 and are serviced in the same manner as described in Section 7-A of the 1952 Buick Shop Manual. Dimensional changes affect interchangeability of some parts, therefore the Master Parts List must be observed when selecting replacement parts.

Changes in 1953 Buick Power Steering Gear and Oil Pump

The 1953 Buick power steering gear is essentially the same as described in paragraph 7-10 in the 1952 Buick Shop Manual, except for the following modifications.

New hydraulic valve having changed groove spacing, new plungers and springs, new housing with cover, and new location of the check valve in return (“RT”) port of housing. The housing and cover are piloted to insure concentricity of parts with the 1953 Buick steering shaft.

The pitman shaft is longer in Series 50-70 and length of the steering shaft is changed. The column jacket fits over the hydraulic valve cover and is anchored by a clamp. Transmission controls in the column have been changed as described in paragraph 4-3.

Only the Vickers oil pump is used in 1953. The oil reservoir is mounted on top of the pump, where it replaces the manifold previously used. A new combination overload relief valve and flow control valve replaces the separate valves previously used. Pressure and return hoses are new and not interchangeable between some models; applications indicated in the Master Parts List must be observed when replacing hoses.

Changes in the 1953 Buick steering gear and pump affect the service procedures given in the 1952 Buick Shop Manual. Complete new procedures are given in the following paragraphs.



The information given in paragraph 7-12 in the 1952 Buick Shop Manual applies also to the 1953 Buick power steering gear installation. The following condition which was not covered in the 1952 manual may be encountered in either the 1952 or 1953 models.

Failure to Recover from Turns

When the 1953 Buick steering wheel is released at completion of a turn the front wheels should return to the straight ahead position in the same manner as permitted by the manual steering gear. In cases of failure to recover from turns check the following items.

  • Tightness of king pins in bushings. Lubricate or otherwise free up.
  • Heavy adjustment of 1953 Buick steering gear or steering linkage (par. 7-3).
  • Tight steering shaft upper bearing. Replace bearing.
  • Loose worm thrust bearings; this may cause snapping noise in the gear. Remove gear assembly for proper adjustment (par. 7-4, 7-5).
  • Thrust bearings reversed at assembly. Remove gear assembly and install parts correctly (par. 7-4, 7-5).
  • Improper O-ring seals on each side of valve or improperly machined grooves in valve spool or valve housing. Install proper seals or replace valve assembly (par. 7-4, 7-5).
  • Tip interference between center tooth of pitman shaft sector and mating tooth of ball nuts. This will be evident when lashing the gear as the scale reading approximately 120 degrees off center, left or right, will be higher than on center. This condition requires replacement of pitman shaft.



The following procedure supercedes the instructions given in paragraph 7-13 of the 1952 Buick Shop Manual.

  1. Disconnect pitman arm from 1953 Buick steering tie rod and check tightness of pitman arm nut with an 18″ wrench. NOTE: Never attempt to adjust steering gear with pitman arm connected to tie rod.
  2. Turn 1953 Buick steering wheel slowly through its full travel to check for binding, tight spots or uneven action.
  3. Loosen the four corner bolts of power rack guide cover about one half turn or just enough to assure lash between the power rack and pitman shaft sector. See figure 7-1.
    1953 Buick Steering Gear Adjustments

    1953 Buick Steering Gear Adjustments

    NOTE: If bolts are loosened too much, the rack will bind on sector teeth.

  4. Turn 1953 Buick steering wheel to extreme right or left position. Apply Scale J 544-A to a spoke at rim of wheel and, while pulling scale at 90 degrees to spoke, check the pull required to turn the wheel steadily in the range where lash normally exists between ball nut and pitman shaft sector. See figure 7-7. The lash range exists for one eighth turn of steering wheel from either extreme position.
  5. The reading on the scale should be between 3/8 and 3/4 pound, which would indicate normal loading or drag at the steering shaft upper bearing and at the thrust bearings. If within these limits proceed to step 9; otherwise continue with step 6.
  6. Loosen the 1953 Buick steering column bracket at instrument panel and recheck the scale pull on steering wheel in lash range. If scale reading is now within limits specified in step 5 it indicates misalignment of steering gear in its mountings at frame and instrument panel. Loosen mounting bolts at frame and shift gear assembly to provide proper alignment when all mountings are tightened.
  7. If scale reading is still high after releasing steering column at instrument panel, remove steering wheel, direction signal switch housing and steering shaft upper bearing.

If upper bearing is too deep or too tight .in column jacket to be removed easily, drill a hole in lower side of bearing shell and insert a self-tapping metal screw to provide a means of pulling bearing. Be very careful to avoid marring steering shaft.

  1. Again check the scale pull on steering wheel in lash range. A scale reading of between 1/4 and 1/2 pound indicates that the excessive loading was due to a faulty upper bearing or a bent steering shaft. If reading is not within these limits the worm thrust bearing adjustment is not correct; the steering gear must be removed from car to correct this adjustment.
  2. If the scale reading is within limits in any preceding step, turn steering wheel 2 3/4 turns from either extreme position to center the ball nut on the central “high point” of pitman shaft sector. At this position the center spoke of wheel should be straight down.
  3. Turn pitman shaft adjusting screw clockwise until lash between pitman shaft sector and ball nut is just removed, checking by working pitman arm, then tighten lock nut. See figure 7-1.
  4. Turn steering wheel two turns either way from central position and check pull with scale. This should be between 1/2 and one pound.

Write down the actual scale reading.