Hello, everyone, I feel like I've taken a lot from this forum, and I want to give some back. And with my lack of mechanical knowledge, this is one of the few ways I am capable of doing that right now.
So here is the story, I bought a used 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Inline 6 cylinder engine with 105,000 miles. When I got into the drivers seat I knew there was something funky with the steering. I would constantly have to over and under steer to keep my Jeep in my lane. It would wander with a mind of its own, and the steering wheel had an enormous amount of play in it. I could move the steering wheel from 12 o'clock to nearly 2 or 3 o'clock and back in the other direction without engaging the wheels at all.
After doing lots of attempted diagnosing I ended up taking my Jeep to a local family owned shop that I've used before. Their diagnosis was that a new steering gear box was necessary. So the search began for a replacement power steering gear box, and I found that most companies would simply replace the o-rings, not do any checks on the worm gears or sector shaft (my attempt to sound knowledgeable...), and just sandblast them, paint them, and send them back out and hope the buyer is too incompetent to notice the poor condition.
Not wanting to be stuck in the same exact position I was in before, I decided I would take a risk and try out a Red Head Steering Gear
When I opened up the box I found a very nice looking steering gear box. With absolutely nothing to compare to, besides the 16 year old, filthy box in my car, it looked clean. Here are some more pictures to those that wonder what they look like:
I am not sure what that red liquid is, educated guess is power steering fluid. But it leaked straight through the box.
For those wondering about price, I paid $245 for the box, $100 core charge, and $35 (holy crap!) for shipping.
I have only put a few miles on the box so far, but first impressions are that it is tight and responsive. It eliminated my steering wheel looseness, but there is still some wander on the road. That might be caused because I did not have the shop reinstall the steering dampener they removed, in order to save on labor costs and because I might replace it. The wheel did not seem to perfectly return the center, I had to help it out, and it is rather stiff. Not unbearably stiff, but noticeably so. That also might be caused because my power steering fluid reservoir dry rotted straight through and broke apart when the shop was working, so they had to replace it. I also asked for new power steering fluid hoses. Not to mention that the previous owner has a new tie rod end (from pitman arm to other tie rod end), which is way off alignment.
I will try to put a lot more miles on the vehicle soon, and report back with a more definite review of the box, as well as some installed pictures. I'll also put the dampener back on, and see if letting the power steering fluid run through helps out any. I'll also need to get an alignment and hopefully will get all that done soon so I can report back with a definitive review.
Anyone with any questions, please feel free to ask! I hope this helps someone else out with making a decision.