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Old 05-29-2011, 11:31 AM
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Stiff steering after new gear box...

Just installed a new steering gear box last night due to bad seals on the old one. Got the new one installed and cycled the steering system with the tires off the ground until the fluid level stopped dropping. Took it for a spin and re-checked fluid level and everything is staying good. Only problem is the extra effort it takes when turning now compared to before I removed the old one. Almost feels like a vehicle with manual steering, just not quite that bad.

Also, after I reinstalled the pitman arm I can still see approx 1/8"-1/4" of the shaft between the pitman arm and the geer box. Torqued it down to 185lb and seems to be on there good, just not sure if its normal for the pitman arm to not be flush against the geer box all the way up the shaft. There is about 4-5 threads showing under the nut so its definitely not barely on there. Any input is much appreciated!!

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Old 05-29-2011, 12:15 PM
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Also..the PS pump has been whining lately so I'm replacing that this evening. Any tips or advice on that would be grrrreat also!!!

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Old 05-29-2011, 01:31 PM   #3
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Was the pump whining before or after the box swap?
After, you didn't get all the air out. Leave it on the ground, engine running, turn the wheels back and forth, BUT not to the stops! If you hit the stops the pressure valve in the pump kicks open and all that air goes right back into the system.

If before, well replacing the pump isn't too bad.
Loosen the belt tensioner, slip off belt. If you have a suction gun, use it to pull the fluid out. If not, look at the new pump for plugs where the lines go to it.

Pull the plugs and slam em home on the old pump when you remove the lines to keep the mess to a minimum.

Remove the sender electrical connection, if equipped. Remove the bolts holding the pump on. Dependent on yours, some have to be accessed through holes in the pulley.


Now the fun part. If your pump didn't come with a pulley and reservoir, you have to swap em over. You will need a pulley puller/installer. Can be rented from places like Advance. The reservoir is removed usually with a single nut on the back where the lines come out. Make sure the new pump has the O ring seal(s) on it before you install it into the reservoir. Reinstall the retainer.

Install the pump and hoses, the belt, and adjust the tensioner. Fill with fluid and start it up. Go through the bleed process and check for leaks. Top off the fluid and you should be good to go.
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:06 PM
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Thanks Shelby. The whining was going on before I installed the gear box but it wasn't hard to turn like it is now. Maybe I just didn't bleed it enough last night? I cycled it maybe 5-6 times....I've read today though that it should be around 20 times. Would air in the system cause stiff steering when turning the wheel?
Also do you have any thoughts on the pitman arm not being flush against the gear box?

Thanks again
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:38 PM   #5
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Ok I'm only going to ask this because of the idiots around here, Is the pump still whining? if it is ........is the fluid level full?

Only reason I even ask is I just came out from under a hood with a whining power steering pump on a car that was owned by a guy that says he knows about cars, he replaced the gearbox hooked up the lines and even cycled it through......................all with no fluid in the pump
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:24 PM
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Ok I'm only going to ask this because of the idiots around here, Is the pump still whining? if it is ........is the fluid level full?

Only reason I even ask is I just came out from under a hood with a whining power steering pump on a car that was owned by a guy that says he knows about cars, he replaced the gearbox hooked up the lines and even cycled it through......................all with no fluid in the pump
LOL...yes, still whining with fluid in it. Not a bad question though.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:00 PM   #7
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Ok I had to ask, you'd have no idea at al how many people come by my house every week asking why they have " no power steering" or " my steering whines" and when I look, its been so long since fluid was in there that its dry. I did an older Dodge teh other day that actually had spider web in the power steering Reservoir
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:23 PM   #8
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Hey be happy some folks are "idiots". Tech's would be out of work if everyone knew how to diagnose and repair their vehicles.

Anyhow, to answer your questions, yes if you still have air in the system it will be harder to turn the wheel. Air compresses, fluid does not. It's a hydraulic system, so it pushes fluid under pressure to help turn the box/wheels. The air trapped will compress, lessening the assist effect.

As for the gap, I just went out and looked at our 97. There is close to a 1/2" gap between the box and pitman arm at the shaft. So I'd say you are OK.
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by chrisb0108 View Post
Thanks Shelby. The whining was going on before I installed the gear box but it wasn't hard to turn like it is now. Maybe I just didn't bleed it enough last night? I cycled it maybe 5-6 times....I've read today though that it should be around 20 times. Would air in the system cause stiff steering when turning the wheel?
Also do you have any thoughts on the pitman arm not being flush against the gear box?

Thanks again
Took me 40 times, I think, when I did mine. Wheels on the ground & engine off.
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:40 PM   #10
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Believe me Shelby I LOVE idiots, they pay good
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:45 AM   #11
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Took me 40 times, I think, when I did mine. Wheels on the ground & engine off.

I meant OFF the ground, not on the ground.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:42 AM   #12
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if Jeep steering is anything like an old Ford Pickup it shouldn't matter if the wheels are up or down
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:44 AM   #13
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if Jeep steering is anything like an old Ford Pickup it shouldn't matter if the wheels are up or down
It doesn't matter to the Jeep, but it does matter to the guy turning the steering wheel since it's almost impossible to cycle the steering back and forth 20 times with the wheels on the ground and the engine not running.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:44 AM   #14
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:50 AM   #15
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Was the pump whining before or after the box swap?
After, you didn't get all the air out. Leave it on the ground, engine running, turn the wheels back and forth, BUT not to the stops! If you hit the stops the pressure valve in the pump kicks open and all that air goes right back into the system.
The air in the system is the air in the system regardless of whether or not you put the pump into bypass by hitting the limit on the pressure valve.

The only thing that happens when you go into bypass is the valve opens at a certain pressure and circulates the fluid in the pump.

Also the same reason when you're offroad you don't want to hold the system in bypass (the hissing, whining, or squealing sound you hear when you try to turn and it won't). In bypass, the fluid is circulated in a small circuit and heats up very rapidly. About 50° for every 15 seconds it's in bypass.

What will happen though is you can cavitate the pump and foam the fluid which you then have to get settled out.

Typically if you start the engine and hear any noises from the pump, shut it off and cycle some more.
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Old 06-11-2011, 12:05 PM
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Update!!!

Just installed a new ps pump. The steady whine that I was having anytime the engine was running is gone now. However, now it doesn't whine unless I'm turning the wheels and not in motion. Even turning the wheels when slightly moving doesn't cause the whine as much as when sitting idle. I've cycled new fluid through and bleed the system a ridiculous amount of times but still can't get rid of the whine that happens when turning the wheel.

Any suggestions??? Also, the steering is still a little stiff compared to how it felt before I installed the new gear box and pump.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:04 AM
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Bump....anyone?
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:14 PM
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I need some help before the next step, which is to go pay someone!!

Beuller?....Beuller?
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:19 PM   #19
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Have you bled it from stop to stop? (I'm grasping straws here) Unless the new pump is bad? Or just has bubbles stuck in it. More common maybe a line is allowing air to get in somewhere.
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:34 PM
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Have you bled it from stop to stop? (I'm grasping straws here) Unless the new pump is bad? Or just has bubbles stuck in it. More common maybe a line is allowing air to get in somewhere.
Ya know, I'm thinking maybe I should just replace all the lines now that you mention it. They all seemed to be in good shape and not dry rotted...they are 13yrs old though so I'm guessing just a small crack or pin hole will suck in air woulnd't it??

When u said bleed stop to stop....did u mean to leave the cap off the reservoir, tires off the ground and turn back and forth, stop to stop? If thats what you meant I did that about 40-50 times.

I appreciate your response wolfen. Considering the lines appeared in good shape I haven't thought about them again until you just mentioned it.

Before I go buy new lines, anyone have anymore tips on getting air bubbles out?? I do still see small bubbles in the fluid in the reservoir...

Thanks again!!!!
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:52 PM   #21
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The way I do it is start the engine with the p/s cap off and turn it to lock one way and shut it off.....let it sit a few minutes, start it up and turn it to lock the other way and shut it off.....bout 4 or 5 times of that will get all the air out.
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Old 06-12-2011, 08:36 PM   #22
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I've done it that way too, but usually on most vehicles I work on all thats required is to start it up and turn the wheels from one stop to the other, wheels on the ground, the only ones I've ever had the cap off on are Fords.
But before you spend the money on new lines, if they look like they are in good shape you might want to have them pressure tested first at a hose and tube shop. But Yes a small pinhole can suck air in, but it also should let fluid out also, due to the simple physics of fluid
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:13 AM   #23
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Ya know, I'm thinking maybe I should just replace all the lines now that you mention it. They all seemed to be in good shape and not dry rotted...they are 13yrs old though so I'm guessing just a small crack or pin hole will suck in air woulnd't it??

When u said bleed stop to stop....did u mean to leave the cap off the reservoir, tires off the ground and turn back and forth, stop to stop? If thats what you meant I did that about 40-50 times.

I appreciate your response wolfen. Considering the lines appeared in good shape I haven't thought about them again until you just mentioned it.

Before I go buy new lines, anyone have anymore tips on getting air bubbles out?? I do still see small bubbles in the fluid in the reservoir...

Thanks again!!!!
Do you see a lot of bubbles, very small bubbles? If so, then you're still running air through the pump and it's possible there is an air lock in the steering gear.

Does the pump make any noise when the engine is running?

To get rid of an air lock in the gear, crack open the return line and start the engine. Loosen the fitting until you get some fluid out and shut the engine off. Tighten it back up and see what happens.

I've had to do that several times on new gear installs when the manual lock to lock bleed failed and it felt like it was no power assist steering even on jack stands.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:34 PM
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Do you see a lot of bubbles, very small bubbles? If so, then you're still running air through the pump and it's possible there is an air lock in the steering gear.

Does the pump make any noise when the engine is running?

To get rid of an air lock in the gear, crack open the return line and start the engine. Loosen the fitting until you get some fluid out and shut the engine off. Tighten it back up and see what happens.

I've had to do that several times on new gear installs when the manual lock to lock bleed failed and it felt like it was no power assist steering even on jack stands.
Yep, very small bubbles in the reservior. The pump only makes a whining noise when I'm sitting(engine on but tires not rolling) still and turn the wheel. If I'm not turning the wheel the pump does not whine. When you reference to the "return line"...thats the one connected to the little "L" shaped tip that connects the pump to the reservior, right?
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:35 PM   #25
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The return line usually has just a hose clamp on it
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:41 PM
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The return line usually has just a hose clamp on it
Yep thats the one I was thinking. Just wanted to make sure before I start unhooking lines and do the wrong one. Gonna try this technique tonight when I get off work and come back with an update. Thank you kindly folks!!
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:29 PM   #27
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Did you ever figure this out?

I installed a durango box today and it's difficult to turn. All slop is gone but just too hard to turn and doesn't return to center. I bled it for a while too.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:18 PM   #28
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I have a LIST of a bunch of different trucks a gearbox can come off of, I researched it myself in a book at Advance Auto Parts and I know now that I am NOT limited to either a Wrangler or a Durango, I can use most any s series from 82 thru 89

So Its off to pick and pull there's a 89 S 1Blazer 4x4 out there that I think doesn't leak at all
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Old 12-25-2014, 10:55 PM   #29
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Any updates. I'm having the same issue
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Old 12-30-2014, 02:17 PM   #30
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Pitman spline

The pitman arm spline is a tapered spline and they will vary depending on the sector shaft taper. Sounds like the tapers of the spines are meeting and locked in place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb0108 View Post
Just installed a new steering gear box last night due to bad seals on the old one. Got the new one installed and cycled the steering system with the tires off the ground until the fluid level stopped dropping. Took it for a spin and re-checked fluid level and everything is staying good. Only problem is the extra effort it takes when turning now compared to before I removed the old one. Almost feels like a vehicle with manual steering, just not quite that bad.

Also, after I reinstalled the pitman arm I can still see approx 1/8"-1/4" of the shaft between the pitman arm and the geer box. Torqued it down to 185lb and seems to be on there good, just not sure if its normal for the pitman arm to not be flush against the geer box all the way up the shaft. There is about 4-5 threads showing under the nut so its definitely not barely on there. Any input is much appreciated!!

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