Loose steering wheel play -- is this normal?? (see video)

Is this type of loose steering wheel play normal for a 2004 Tahoe?

  • Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


New Member
May 11, 2013
Reaction score
I've had this annoying loose play at my steering wheel for as long as I can remember on my 2004 Tahoe. I recorded a video of me in the driver's seat with the truck off and in park. I'm able to easily nudge the steering wheel with just a finger. Is this normal?? For instance, was this characteristic of all new GMT800 trucks or something that happens as they age? (I'm been the 2nd owner since 2009, which is why I ask).

Note: I also took footage under the hood to show the intermediate shaft moving with the input shaft of the brand-new steering gear box I recently installed -- so, it's not an issue of the intermediate shaft, as some might suspect (my apologies if this isn't clear in the video, it's difficult to capture, but take my word for it). Even though the input shaft moves, there's no output shaft movement at the pitman arm or at the wheel, for that matter.

In case you're wondering, I've adjusted the tensioning screw (on the previous gear box, not the new one since it will void the warranty and didn't seem necessary), but that never seemed to address this loose play issue.

To give you some background, I've replaced the followed related parts over the course of several years, but nothing has seemed to fix it. :

  • steering gear box, new (2021)
  • steering gear box, remanufactured (2016)
  • intermediate steering shaft, upper and lower (2016)
  • steering shaft bearing (2016)
  • pitman arm (2015)
The latest part I decided to throw at this is a brand-new Lares 11422 steering gear box (top of the bulleted list). Evidently, remanufactured gear boxes only have seals replaced, but none of the wormgear or mechanicals are actually replaced or checked for wear, so it seemed like it would likely fix the issue. To my frustration, after installing, it also had the same sort of loose play I showed in the video. It's maddening!!! I talked to the Lares support staff and they agreed to honor the warranty and sent me a replacement, but that ALSO has the same loose play.

When driving, the new Lares gear box did seem a bit firmer, so it wasn't a total waste, but that little bit of extra play subsists no matter what I do.

If this is par for the course for GMT800 vehicle, then I'll live with it, but I've had no problem fixing any other issue I've had (the latest major repair being cylinder head replacement in December) with the Tahoe, except this. Really appreciate your input!


Supporting Member
Oct 9, 2020
Reaction score
Eugene, Oregon
Was this problem ever fixed? I would like to see what is happening at the output shaft/pitman arm area in a video. That definitely looks like steering gear lash slop and is adjustable. Very small increment adjustments at a time. 1/8 of a turn and roadtest and then recheck. Adjust 1/8 of a turn again and roadtest and recheck.