Rebuilding steering gear?

ManNamedJed

Active member
About 5 yrs ago I did the 'Durango Snow Plow' steering box upgrade on my XJ. It was a major PITA. I figured out the part number and ordered online from Oreilly. When I went to install it I found it was larger and needed a larger spacer. So I made one and got it mounted up. I then found it had a crazy amount of slop - like 2" of dead turn on the steering wheel.

So I returned it and got another. It was better, but not great. Now about 1" of slop at the wheel. I was fed up at this point so I ran it. I really think they don't actually 'rebuild' these but rather just toss new seals in and send them back out.

So mine is now leaking. I figure the slop in the shaft trashed the seal. I don't want to get another parts store one as it will likely have the same issue.

So is there a place local that will actually rebuild one? Is it something I can do myself without specialized tools? I see there are some companies online I can send it to like Redhead. Rebuild + shipping both ways sure does add up though.
 

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Dennis

Administrator
Staff member
Make sure whoever rebuilds it puts bearings instead of bushings on the sector shaft. Main cause of the leak at the sector shaft seal.
 

Dennis

Administrator
Staff member
Wow, didn't realize how much PSC boxes go for now. Lee Mfg has served me well on my TJ and looks to be half the price.
 

DirtyChemist

Active member
Is $400 going to actually rebuild it or just put new seals in it? I read all about the Durango upgrade and for that price I’d go grab one from a junk yard and install it. I think even the S10 isn’t an upgrade, just quicker turning ratio after a video I saw that tore both apart.

PSC is very proud of their stuff. I looked at what a box for hydro assist would cost. I think I’ll try getting mine tapped first.
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
I don't mind investing money in 'fix it once fix it right' solutions. However the XJ is semi-retired now as I focus on the suburban project. I really hate investing time and money into it.

I fear a junkyard box would likely be just as crappy as what I have.
 

Slo-motion

New member
Premium Member
Just my 2 cents worth. This may not apply to your steering box.

I've rebuilt a few Saginaw (GM) power steering boxes and learned a
little in the process. In those boxes there's two places they can be
loose. They use a recirculating ball worm drive inside the piston and
the balls are not all the same diameter. Some of the balls are selected
to take any slack out of the interface. When rebuilding, one must spread
out the larger and smaller balls so they aren't grouped together.

The second place that can get loose is between the rack (piston) and the
sector shaft (pitman shaft). This has an adjuster to remove the slack.
These boxes are only tight when the box is in the center of rotation
(straight ahead). Turn the box off center and it will be loose. That is
by design.

A mistake many people make is to lift the vehicle, which usually
requires a longer drag link, but the stock drag link is non-adjustable.
This puts the steering box off center and consequently it feels loose.
The cure is to get or make an adjustable drag link and recenter the box.

When testing for a loose box (steering that is), always make sure the
box is in the center of rotation. If the rotation is limited by steering
stops, disconnect the drag link from the pitman arm to make sure you
have determined the center of rotation. If the center of rotation
doesn't point the wheels straight ahead then you've found the problem.

Also, the adjustment of the rack/sector shaft is done with an inch/pound
indicating torque wrench attached to the input shaft and nothing
attached to the pitman arm. As the shaft is rotated through the center
of rotation, the indication should go up about 5 to 15 inch-pounds at
center.
 

RARECJ8

Well-known member
Premium Member
I have a tight AF box from my CJ. No leaks tighter than granny’s check book. Went to PSC and will make u a screaming deal.
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
Just my 2 cents worth. This may not apply to your steering box.
...
As the shaft is rotated through the center
of rotation, the indication should go up about 5 to 15 inch-pounds at
center.
Sounds like you know your stuff. Want to rebuild my box? :)
 

ManNamedJed

Active member
I have a tight AF box from my CJ. No leaks tighter than granny’s check book. Went to PSC and will make u a screaming deal.
PM me the details! Thanks.

Edit - looks like CJ boxes used different size line fittings and I'd rather not mess with that. So unless you know different, I'l have to pass. Thanks for the offer.
 
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DirtyChemist

Active member
Did you ever swap out the AC Delco one? I oddly noticed a leak near my box, considered the Durango/S10 "upgrades" and instantly thought of this thread.
 
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