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Steering box question


Pdxguy
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In my attempt to take the pitman arm off of the steering box, I fear I damaged the steering box. I had a puller on the pitman arm and noticed that I was cranking down the puller with the shaft coming out of the box rotated to its end point. In other words, the torque being applied to the puller was transmitted to whatever interface in the steering box prevents it from rotating past its end point. 

Before doing this I had checked for play in the steering box by rotating the shaft to mid point, smooth throughout and trace play in the middle. I did this when pitman arm still attached to subframe components so better torque. Now with trying to turn the shaft it binds in the middle range, and gets easier near the end in either direction. This is with holding the steering box in one hand, and the still attached pitman arm in the other. (Lower torque)

The only other thing I did was to loosen the set screw in the top of the steering box and removed the four bolts holding the top on to drain the oil 

 

Did I damage something with trying to remove the pitman arm? (Which is still attached by the way. %#@$R@$%@!!) 

 

Thanks

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I don't understand how you would damage it that way.  I damaged two of my puny pullers trying to take the arm off of mine, before going to a rental store and using one of theirs.  They let me remove it in their shop and I broke one of their wrenches while turning the puller before it finally popped off.  The guy was super nice and did not charge me anything.

 

If you've already got the box out of the car, you might consider going that route and go looking for an appropriate puller, so you can take it apart and inspect the gears.  That seems like the only way to really answer the question about damage.  It might also be worthwhile to replace the seals while you are in there.  Mine leaked oil, so I bought a kit; but they seem a bit overpriced, compared to purchasing just the seals.  I don't know the seal sizes off hand, but they have been posted in previous threads on the topic.  I think @Mike Self knows the sizes; or you might be able to find them using the search feature.

 

Has the engine mount bracket on the subframe been reinforced on your car?  Having the steering box out provides that opportunity, although it is much easier if you also have the subframe out.  I did mine with it still in the car, but the welds are not as pretty, as a result.  Mine was a preemptive move.  It had not cracked yet.

 

I have read that it is normal for there to be more play at the outer reaches of the steering mechanism, so tighter in the middle may be normal.  Binding doesn't sound good though.


Tom

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+1 on Tom's comment.  Your puller is bearing only on the pittman arm and the shaft, not the housing so I don't see how you could have messed anything up inside the box, unless you were beating on the housing or something similar, which I'm sure you weren't.  I have a big honking Craftsman puller and was able to get the pittman arm off its shaft by alternatively tightening the puller and then giving the arm a whack with a brass hammer.  It did let go without any trauma.

 

Per Tom's comment, I just did a column on overhauling an '02 steering box, and I found a source of the two required seals for around $8--and made my own paper gasket.  PM me and I'll be happy to send you the column.  BTW mine had over 268k miles and exhibited little or no wear on either the bearings or the bronze sleeves inside--and the worm and roller were both in good shape too, so I just did seals, as it was leaking.

 

mike

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8 hours ago, Pdxguy said:

The only other thing I did was to loosen the set screw in the top of the steering box and removed the four bolts holding the top on to drain the oil 

 

 

 

sounds like the preload/friction adjuster to me. Probably changed the setting removing that cover.

Will have to be re adjusted.

Edited by tech71
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