what does a bad power steering box feel like?? - JeepForum.com
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Unread 07-24-2009, 02:38 PM   #1
will_coop
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1989 XJ Cherokee 
 
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what does a bad power steering box feel like??

I'm pretty sure my steering box has gone out but I want to know if anyone else has replaced one and what it felt like before. Right now it drives fine until about 50 then it is hard to keep it in a lane. I have checked all of my linkage and arms and everything is tight with no play. The steering box is the last thing i can think of. There has always been quite a bit of side to side play in the steering wheel and it drove fine.

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Unread 07-24-2009, 05:40 PM   #2
Bstd_02_wgn
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
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Take off the drag link from the pitman arm and see if you can wiggle the shaft coming out of the power steering box. If there is any play replace the box. If there is no play, have someone start the jeep and turn the wheel back and forth while you watch the pitman arm. See if there are any jerks or anything, the action of that shaft should be smooth (Dont take THAT the wrong way!). If those things check out fine, remove the belt around the power steering pump and see if the pulley has play...if for some reason the pump isn't throwing out the right amount of fluid it may show up as a hesitation in steering. Let us know!
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Unread 07-24-2009, 05:43 PM   #3
Mickey_D
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Normally when a pump goes, it fails to pump enough fluid and it makes low speed/stopped steering difficult.

Highway speed wandering is indicative of worn suspension/steering components.
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Unread 07-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #4
will_coop
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the suspension may have 10k miles on it. all u-joints, ball joints and bushings have been replaced. I will try taking off the drag link and see what happens.
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Unread 07-24-2009, 07:30 PM   #5
Mickey_D
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Now that I think about it, a bad bearing on the steering box output shaft would cause wandering...
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Unread 05-13-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
40jeep99
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I'm have the same issue. Right at 50. Wandering and a little wooble. Steering box has side to side play in the output shaft. But here's the kicker. It's the fourth new one I have tried in a week. 3 new stock xj boxes. And now I have s10 box in it. Every one of them had side to side play.
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Unread 05-13-2015, 05:47 PM   #7
RLE
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When was your last alignment? If the front wheels
are toed-out, they can wander on the highway.

The front should be toed-in about 1/4 to 3/8 inch.

If that isn't the problem, then it could very well be
the steering box. I changed mine when it had about
four inches of play on the steering wheel a few years
ago and the wandering stopped.
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Unread 05-13-2015, 08:32 PM   #8
FairlanePhil
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Alignment will do that. Until I found a good shop my old Fairlane had trouble keeping between the guard rails.

I know my XJ steering box is shot. It's gushing fluid all over from the pitman shaft seal
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Unread 05-13-2015, 09:03 PM   #9
40jeep99
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My alignment is good. I do them myself. My steering box doesn't have any play in it. Other than the side to side movment in the output shaft. My wandering is more likely my geometry between my drag link and my Trac bar. But my wooble is definitely the play in the output shaft.
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Unread 05-13-2015, 09:04 PM   #10
AZ Jeff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 40jeep99 View Post
I'm have the same issue. Right at 50. Wandering and a little wooble. Steering box has side to side play in the output shaft. But here's the kicker. It's the fourth new one I have tried in a week. 3 new stock xj boxes. And now I have s10 box in it. Every one of them had side to side play.
The output shaft (properly called the "pitman shaft") should NOT have any radial OR axial play in it. Where are you getting these steering boxes that are coming like this?

Wandering can be caused by things other than the box, but a loose pitman shaft certainly will not lessen wander. I would be inspecting the entire linkage (including ball joints) AND the track bar for signs of wear, as that can be a major source of wander.

The front suspension on the XJ is a system, and that means that ALL parts of the system need to be up to snuff to work as a system as intended. Fixing the steering box is a good first step, but don't stop there.
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