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Discussion Starter #1
I just replaced the Wheel bearing assemblies, the u-joints and the ball joints and I still have a cluck in the front end I can't identify. I believe it's related to the leaking steering gear box and that the whole gear box needs to be replaced.

Prices vary from re-manufactured to new and get pricey. I'm also curious is I should add a sector shaft brace?

I don't wheel or crawl or mud, but I camp a lot and see a lot of logging road.

There's a place near here that does transmission and front end work that I trust, I plan to have to them an inspection on the work I just did and find other problems, causes for the mysterious clunks\knuckle sounds I can feel.

Do you have advice on gear boxes, success or failure stories? Is this something a lay mechanic like myself should attempt or best left to pros?

Thx for your feedback!
 

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I have removed and replaced my steering box. It's a pretty simple job. 4 bolts on the frame, 2 lines going into the box, pitman arm has to get pulled, and a single bolt at the input.

Removing the pitman arm is tough, get a puller from any auto parts store, it will take a lot of torque. Hit the pitman arm with map gas or propane and it will come off with a loud bang.

Finding one for a decent price will be the only issue. They are a core charge item so remember the price you see may or may not reflect what you are actually paying.
 

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I replaced my steering gear box recently and bought a refurbished one from West Texas Offroad that was ported for hydro assist. There are good videos that show how to replace it online. Luckily my pitman arm was relatively new so it came off easily with a puller I borrowed from Advanced Auto Parts. The process was straight forward just remember to secure your steering wheel in place before getting started so you don't damage the clock spring.
 

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I replaced my steering gear box recently and bought a refurbished one from West Texas Offroad that was ported for hydro assist. There are good videos that show how to replace it online. Luckily my pitman arm was relatively new so it came off easily with a puller I borrowed from Advanced Auto Parts. The process was straight forward just remember to secure your steering wheel in place before getting started so you don't damage the clock spring.
were you happy with the results of having the hydro assist using this modded pump?
 

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This sounds like the old intermediate shaft clunk issue that was common on early JKs. The fix is to open one of the clamps on the intermediate shaft boot, squirt some grease into the boot, then tighten down the clamp. The grease gets into the splines and eliminates the clunk. The intermediate shaft is the short shaft between the steering column output shaft and the input shaft on the steering box. My '09 had this issue when new. I did this fix seven years ago, the noise never returned.
 

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were you happy with the results of having the hydro assist using this modded pump?
I didn't go hydro assist yet. Maybe in the future but I didn't want to go there yet since its a DD. I also have the Fox ATS steering stabilizer which cost a small fortune and wasn't ready to replace it. When my jeep is no longer a DD I'll bump up to 37's from 35's and go hydro assist then. I liked having the option and since I had an original Delphi steering gear box in my '08 I just traded for one that was already rebuilt from them.
 

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If you can find the old Delphi box's they had in the jk's you can pick one of them up. You can drill n tap them for hydro assist if you ever felt the need.
you can drill and tap all JK steering boxes, not just the old ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm not inclined to tackle this one with other obligations. The mechanic says he wouldn't\won't replace seals and recommends replacing unit. Plus, I have a leak where the intake meets the head, it bubbles coolant, so they need to do that work anyway. They think it might involve removing the timing chain cover etc.

In terms of a re manufactured steering box, they all have a disclaimer that the warranty doesn't cover off road use, therefore a 4x4 wouldn't qualify as it is inherently off road.

In terms of brands, AutoZone has a Duralast for $264 with a 20% discount which looks as good as any to me. I bought my MOOG from them and glad I did. The physical location is close to me for the core return and the mgr is easy to work with.

http://www.autozone.com/suspension-steering-tire-and-wheel/steering-gear-power-steering/duralast-steering-gear-power-steering-/453701_0_6207/



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Discussion Starter #10
I suppose I can re clean the gear box, lube the intermediate shaft and seal again and listen\watch. I'm prepping for an trip to rough country in May, so I want to be ahead of the curve on things that really need to be corrected and replaced.

The new shaft is cheaper than a refurb gear box, and your suggestion is basically free.

Also, last year I had Firestone do a front end alignment and they mangled the tie rod end adjusting sleeve, so I bought a new one had them use. This week while on the rack at another shop, they reached up and wiggle wiggle wiggle the tie rod and and said "that shouldn't be like that".

Ok fine, I presume that the sleeve needs to be re tightened if it isn't buggered somehow by driving with the slack in it. That might account for some of the knuckly sounds I've been chasing.
 
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