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Unread 10-14-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
Dborns
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Power steering box rebuild- first time, lets see what happens

I'm going to start a rebuild thread on my power steering box. I've had issues lately that have gotten worse when it comes to my steering wandering. I posted a few threads on here when it started, and it must have been my explanation of the symptoms, but I would usually get the "shackles/ tires/ lift kit" to big. Just a quick explanation again. I've had no wandering after driving it for the past year. About 6 months ago, I noticed every so often, I would notice the Jeep wandering to the left, and I would correct with some pressure in the wheel. It would wander for a few miles, and actually feel like something was loose in a steering component. I could hold the wheel still, but the Jeep would be heading left. If I pulled over and checked all of the steering components, everything was tight. Tie rod ends, pittman arm, wheels, wheel bearings, and steering shaft were all tight. After posting the issues here, and getting alot of suggestions, nothings changed so I figured its time for a rebuild.

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Unread 10-14-2011, 09:01 PM   #2
Dborns
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My first step was buying the rebuild kit. It has all seals, O rings, snap rings, and bearings for a rebuild. I had to get the body off the Jeep to find out what rebuild kit I needed because there are two; one for a 13/16" or 3/4 " input shaft. Mine was the 13/16" shaft.

Getting the gear box off was a real PITA. I would suggest spraying the bolts for a few days before trying to remove them. There are 3 on the underside of the frame holding the bracket on, and 2 of those broke off at the head. I'm spraying those still and hoping doing that alot and some heat will get the bolt shafts out. The others came out pretty easy, but were hard to get to.
The HARDEST part of this was the pittman arm. I tried a pittman arm rental tool, and the biggest of those was to small. I tried a three arm 5 ton puller, and it had no effect. I put it on and turned it until I couldn't turn it anymore, and then heated the arm up until it was white; didn't work. I then used this-

I had posted a question on another thread about using one of these, but didn't read the reply until to late. I used the fork and a BFH, and after a couple hits, it popped off.
I probably won't know if I damaged the main shaft until I get it back together. I know I damaged the gear body, and will show that in a few pics. Just FYI, the suggestion was to NOT EVER USE THE PITTMAN FORK FOR REMOVAL, since it could do damage to the shaft; thanks for the suggestion CSP.
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Unread 10-14-2011, 09:32 PM   #3
Dborns
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The next step was getting a clean, secure area to work on the box. I have some surgical towels to use, and had a piece of wood that worked pretty well. After all I read, cleanliness is the most important thing when tearing this thing down. Mine was pretty nasty on the outside, and worse inside. Be ready with alot of clean towels and newspapers for fluid that will continue to leak out.

Even after taking a wire brush to the outside, I still had alot of grease and dirt buildup, and had to use small flat screwdrivers to clean it.
A vise would help, and I have one, but I just placed the box on the workbench to work on it. I used a large punch and tapped on the ears of the large retainer bolt on the end.
In the above pic, you can see the 6 flanges on it, and just turn it with the punch counter clockwise. It didn't seem to move much for me at first, but when I got it started, it came off easy. Then, you will have a large threaded nut that needs to come off. First, you need to take note of the threads that are showing to help with putting it back together. I took a silver marker and marked the threads, but also put the # of threads I see on the case. When you have that done, take a small punch and place it in the holes and with a hammer, turn the nut off counter clockwise-
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Unread 10-14-2011, 09:51 PM   #4
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That big nut takes alot of turns to get it out. But once you do, this is what you will see-
. Now grab ahold of the splined shaft, and pull it out; this is what you will get-

And this is what you will see in the case-

You can start to see what the inside of mine looked like. The next pic is the Stub shaft that you pulled out along with the components on it. You can just barely see a part of the adjuster plug that you just turned out at the top left.

The white rings are teflon O rings you will replace later, along with rubber O rings under each teflon ring.
This piece slides off the shaft by pushing it towards the splined end. There is also another piece inside this part that I will show later. I missed taking a pic, but there is another component that slides off the shaft. It is the first piece to come off, and looks like this-

For some reason I didn't get a pic of this coming off, so I will do that tomorrow and continue.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 08:21 AM   #5
Jon In Tucson
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Dborns,
what is the cost difference between rebuilding your steering gear and buying a new/reman gear? I have a leaking input shaft seal on mine. Trying to discern if the gear needs to be removed to replace the front seal. God bless.
Jon in Tucson
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Unread 10-15-2011, 08:43 AM   #6
Dborns
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The rebuild kit was under $50, and the cheapest local remand box is arounf $190. The kit includes all seals, gaskets, needle bearings, and o rings. The problem I'm having is I'm two ball bearings short, and the others are pretty worn and I can't find replacements anywhere. So I maybe rebuilding a box only to have to turn it in for the core charge.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 08:54 AM   #7
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O' Reilly's has your box for $143
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Unread 10-15-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
Dborns
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I was going to take a look at some of those when I returned the tools I rented. I'm a little suspicious of the boxes at $150; I've read a few posts about people going thru 2-3 boxes before they found one that worked right. And that's after installing them. I wanted to do the rebuild to learn how, and also to save $, and I can't understand why bearings are so hard to get. Will keep trying.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dborns View Post
I was going to take a look at some of those when I returned the tools I rented. I'm a little suspicious of the boxes at $150; I've read a few posts about people going thru 2-3 boxes before they found one that worked right. And that's after installing them. I wanted to do the rebuild to learn how, and also to save $, and I can't understand why bearings are so hard to get. Will keep trying.
Most industrial supply stores have ball bearings in all different sizes, same thing with a bearing house. You just have to take one in and match it up.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 09:27 AM   #10
Dborns
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I thought about taking one up to a specialty store, but that may not work either. The reason being is that half are supposed to be bright and half are supposed to be dark, and I'm assuming that means they are different sizes. All of mine are bright, and someone mentioned that that could mean they are all worn down, so I wouldn't get the correct diameter to match. I'm going to look at boxes at OR right now. Sucks.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
skizriz
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The problem I have with buying a $200 rebuilt box, is that you are just getting a box with new seals in it. I also hear stories about rebuilt ones that are even sloppier than the original ones.
I'm still giving a lot of thought into what to do with mine. I found a Durango box locally for $80.

I'll see how your turns out before I decide.

Good luck.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 10:41 AM   #12
cjdogtoy
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your off to a great start I'd like to see the rest of the rebuild.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 10:59 AM   #13
Dborns
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Skiz- I'm with you on buying a remand gear. I had read a thread on here, and someone had mentioned that they went through a few boxes before finding one that worked right. That would be a huge PITA to get a box back on and find it to be leaking or not working correctly. I guess I'm also being a little selfish in that I don't want to give up what is Made in the USA, original box, to get something made in the peoples republic, thats a piece.

No solutions as far as ball bearings at OR, but did find the $140 remand boxes. I thought about calling the local pick and pull, and seeing what they have, but who knows what kind of condition those will be. Either way, I'm going to finish the rebuild, and possibly even put it back on to see how it works, so I'll know how the rebuild kit works out. That way if anyone is thinking of doing it, at least we'll know if everything works out. I would also like to get it back on and see if it drives the same with two missing BB's. I have to put it back together for the $120 core charge anyway.
I have more pics on the teardown that I'll be posting later.
Thanks!
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Unread 10-15-2011, 11:10 AM   #14
skizriz
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It not completely sure how they work, but the missing balls could be your problem. They rotate through the gear in a continual line. Occasionally you get a gap in the balls passing through the gear, and it tightens up on you.
IMO, you are doing a lot of work to take a chance of putting it back together with the missing balls.
I'd hate to see you go through all of that only to have the same problem.

If It's not a DD and you have time, I'd exhaust all options first. Search craigslist for somebody parting out a jeep. Pick up a box and gut the balls out if you have to. Maybe you can find an old leaky one for next to nothing.
Put an APB out on the forum here. If I had an old one laying around, I'd send you some balls.
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Unread 10-15-2011, 11:14 AM   #15
Dborns
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So continuing on, this is called the "adjuster plug", and it has numerous parts to it. There is a small set of needle bearings that need to be replaced. You can see them here along with the nastiness that is built up.

This top cap comes off using a screwdriver. I turned the ring so that the indentation in the teeth lined up with one of the two raised spots, and I carefully pried it up with a small screwdriver.

It did bend a little, but I was able to reshape it without a problem. Once that is off, it will release a couple washers and a set of flat needle bearings. I used brake cleaner to clean these out and you have to reuse them.

Back to the large cylinder that came off the shaft- there is another cylinder inside of it that has an oring that needs to be changed. You can see here that I used a socket and hammered it out.


It comes out easy, and match the old oring up with one from the kit.
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