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Replacing steering gearbox

oldgeek

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I'm looking to replace the power steering gearbox. Would that require an alignment afterwards?
Thanks.
 


alwaysFlOoReD

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No, it shouldn't.
 

Bgunner

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As a tip, once the old one is out use 2 long screw drivers through the bolt holes to help line up the 3rd hole for the bolt. Once that first bolt is started the other 2 are easy to line up.

No alignment is necessary as you are not changing the suspension geometry.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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The only place I can think of that might require some work is if the steering wheel doesn't line up. I cant remember how the steering wheel attaches.
 

Bgunner

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The steering shaft coming out of the gear box has a flat spot so the splines on the steering shaft itself will only line up one way. This clocks the steering wheel to the correct-ish orientation.

Because my '94 had an alignment with the bad steering box my wheel now sits about a quarter of a turn one direction while going strait. This is a simple fix by getting it re-aligned. The geometry didn't change so it still drives strait just the steering wheel is crooked. This is common when there is a lot of play in the old steering box.
 

oldgeek

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As a tip, once the old one is out use 2 long screw drivers through the bolt holes to help line up the 3rd hole for the bolt. Once that first bolt is started the other 2 are easy to line up.

No alignment is necessary as you are not changing the suspension geometry.
So, overall, how difficult of a job is replacing the gearbox?
 

Bgunner

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It's not that bad. The hardest part is getting the new box up into position to skewer the holes with the screwdrivers by yourself. I used a pickle fork to separate the joint from the pitman arm because the joint wouldn't pop by hitting it with the 3 lb sledgehammer. If you go this route be sure to pull the rubber boot down so the fork doesn't destroy the rubber boot.
 
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lil_Blue_Ford

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Aside from being heavy, it’s not all that hard to do. I’ve had them out by separating the pitman and tie rods and I’ve separated the pitman from the box (requires a puller). There’s two power steering lines attached to the box and the steering shaft from the steering wheel is held on with a pinch bolt. Pull the pinch bolt then you just have to work the splined part off. The part where the steering wheel shaft attaches to has a flat spot so you can’t easily goof that up. The pitman arm can be clocked, however. So the best way to do it is get the wheels straight before you start. If you leave the pitman arm on, then it’s pretty hard to mess up, but if the pitman comes off, I would highly recommend marking it. It is possible to spin the box both ways and find center though, but it’s easier marking it.

FYI, Rangers (83-97), Bronco II, first gen Explorers, F-series trucks up to around 97, full size Broncos, and E-series vans all used the same steering box. Pitman arms are different, IIRC.

If it’s just excessive slop in the wheel, these boxes can be adjusted to a degree. There’s a nut and stud on the top of the box, loosen the nut and tighten the stud a little at a time. If the wheel starts binding and won’t return to center on its own, you need to back it off until that goes away. Sometimes an adjustment will fix the problem, sometimes not, but it’s a good place to start.

If it’s leaking fluid around the pitman arm, it is possible to change the bearing and seal there. Little bit of a pain, but it can even be done in the truck.

Also, there are upgraded steering box options. Doesn’t seem to get talked a lot about with Rangers, but it’s a fairly common thing to hear with the fullsize crowd.
 

rumblecloud

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When I first looked at mine, I just shook my head and walked away. It looks like a really complex job with a lot of stuff in the way, but once you get into it, it isn't as bad as it looks.
Agree with what was said above.
My biggest issue was separating the pitman arm from the steering gear. I ended up pulling the gear with the pitman still attached. I tried all the usual methods. What finally worked was steel wedge and a hammer.

You can access the power steering lines through the wheel well. Refilling takes a little time, but is not hard at all.
 

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