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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
My steering is starting to get pretty squirrely. My suspension's in pretty top shape (pretty much everything has been replaced in the last few years, from tie rod ends and ball joints, to shocks and bushings).

When going down the highway, If I put my hands at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel, I can rotate to 8 and 2 and to 10 and 4 with out much of anything happening.

The Bronco steers very easily and is easy to control, it just has a lot of play when going straight, which can suck on roads with grooves or slight turns.



I've looked into rebuild kits for the steering boxes and they're decently priced (around $60 - $80 depending), but I've read that they're mostly seals and such to stop leaks and freshen it up. Is one of these rebuild kits going to tighten up and fix my steering slop too? Or is that another matter?

Thanks.
 

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The Anti Yam!
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Diagnose the problem.
Have someone rock the wheel wile you look at everything from the firewall to the knuckles.

You may find it as simple as a bad rag-joint, or as bad as a cracked frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry, should have mentioned that I did that. Shaft going in to the box moves with the steering wheel, but no motion comes out until it's turned a good amount.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Gacknar, that's what I needed to know. Probably look into a Red Head box if that's the case.
How involved is the process of removing one?
 

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The Anti Yam!
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Discussion Starter #7
http://www.redheadsteeringgears.com/
Doesn't look like they have individual parts listed, so I emailed for a price. Just have heard great things.

I do all my work myself, so I like hearing when things are fairly easy. :D
 

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Not Frilly.
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damn.... mine does that too... that sux, kuz i can wiggle my wheel a good inch back and forth with no response, i thought it wasnt gonna need a replacement
 

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Red-Head does great work, I've had one of their boxes in my Mustang for almost 20 years with no problems and just put one in my brother's Travco motorhome yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks like they want $226 + core + shipping.
 

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yo;
Some Steering Box info, for posterity - just in case...
Gear Box Rebuild in an 88
Source: by Reptillikus (Kevin W) at forensick.net http://4x4.forensick.net/88bronco/images/sbr/



Troubleshooting
Source: by Steve83 (Steve, That dirty old truck) at SuperMotors.net

STEERING GEAR CONDITIONS:
- Feedback (rattle, chuckle, knocking noise in steering gear) Feedback is a condition that is noticed when a truck is driven over rough pavement and this roughness is felt in the steering wheel by the driver. In addition, if the gear is not adjusting properly, excessive rattle, knocking and/or chuckle noises can be heard inside the truck.

Possible Source(s):
* Gear box loose on frame.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check bolts for damage and replace as required. If bolts are not damaged, tighten mounting bolts (3) to 68-84 N-m (50-62 ft-lb).

Possible Source(s):
* Insufficient meshload.
Action(s) to Take:
* Set meshload to specification.

Possible Source(s):
* Loose worm race nut.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check nut for damage and replace as required. If nut is not damaged, tighten nut to 75-122 N-m (50-62 ft-lb)

Possible Source(s):
* Insufficient worm thrust bearing preload.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace valve assembly.

Possible Source(s):
* Damaged/omitted sector shaft bearing (gear might also exhibit external leakage from sector seals).
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace gear housing.

- Hissing Sound There is some noise in all power steering systems. One of the most common is a hissing sound most evident at standstill parking. There is no relationship between this noise and the performance of the steering gear.

Possible Source(s):
* "Hiss" may be expected when the steering wheel is at the end of travel or when turning it at standstill.
Action(s) to Take:
* Hiss is a normal characteristic of rotary valve steering. Do not replace the input shaft and valve assembly unless the hiss is extremely objectionable. A replacement valve will also exhibit a slight noise and is not usually a cure for the condition. Investigate for a grounded column or a loose boot at the dash panel. Any metal to metal contacts will transmit valve hiss into the passenger compartment through the steering column. Verify clearance between flexible coupling components. Be sure steering column shaft and gear are aligned so flexible coupling rotates in a flat plane and is not distorted as shaft rotates.

- Front End Wander Front end wander is a condition that is noticed when the vehicle is driven in a straight ahead position with the wheel held in a firm position, but the vehicle wanders to either the right or left side. Front end alignment should be checked before any gear service is made.
NOTE: Front end alignment and tire pressures should be checked before any gear service is performed.

Possible Source(s):
* Gear box loose on frame.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check mounting bolts for damage and replace if required. If no damage is found, tighten bolts to 73-90 N-m (54-66 ft-lb).

Possible Source(s):
* Incorrect meshload.
Action(s) to Take:
Set meshload to specification.

Possible Source(s):
* Loose race locknut.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check race locknut for damage and replace as required. If no damage is found, tighten nut to 75-122 N-m (55-90 ft-lb).

Possible Source(s):
* Insufficient worm thrust bearing preload.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace valve assembly.

Possible Source(s):
* Damaged sector shaft bearing (gear might also exhibit external leakage from sector seals).
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace gear housing assembly.

Possible Source(s):
* Center lash.
Action(s) to Take:
* Improper fit of worm to piston. Replace valve assembly (be certain to check meshload prior to replacing valve for center lash).

- Heavy Steering Efforts, Poor assist (both directions)

Possible Source(s):
* Low steering system fluid fill.
Action(s) to Take:
* Add steering fluid to proper level.

Possible Source(s):
* Engine idle too low.
Action(s) to Take:
* Set engine idle to specification.

Possible Source(s):
* Low power steering pump belt tension.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check belt tension and set to specification.

Possible Source(s):
* Pump flow/relief pressure not to specification.
Action(s) to Take:
* Test pump and service as necessary.

Possible Source(s):
* External leakage resulting in low fluid level.
Action(s) to Take:
* Refer to Ford Power Steering Gear Leak Inspection for external leak diagnosis.

Possible Source(s):
* Piston Teflon� seal cut or twisted.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace piston Teflon� seal.

Possible Source(s):
* Loose/missing rubber backup piston O-ring.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace/install rubber backup piston O-ring.

Possible Source(s):
* Valve/gear housing oil passages blocked.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace gear housing or valve housing as required.

Possible Source(s):
* Leakage past piston end cap.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check piston end cap for damage. If no damage is found, tighten piston end cap to 95-149 N-m (70-110 ft-lb). If damage is found, replace valve assembly.

Possible Source(s):
* Porosity in the piston bore (housing casting).
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace gear housing.

Possible Source(s):
* Porosity in piston.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace valve assembly.

Possible Source(s):
* Valve sleeve Teflon� seal(s) damaged.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace valve sleeve Teflon� seal(s).

- External Leakage: One of the most common conditions causing repeat repairs is fluid leaks. Make sure you clean the steering gear first before any steering gear external leakage checks are performed.

Possible Source(s):
* Loose hose fittings.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check hose fittings for damage and replace as required. If no damage is found, tighten fittings to specification.
http://www.supermotors.net/registry/media/170556

Possible Source(s):
* Missing/damaged hose fitting tube seats.
Action(s) to Take:
* Install/replace tube seats.

Possible Source(s):
* Leak from input shaft seal.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace input shaft seal. Check shaft for damage. Check housing bore for porosity or damage.

Possible Source(s):
* Leak at valve mounting face.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check bolts for proper torque. Replace valve housing O-ring(s).

Possible Source(s):
* Leak at sector adjuster screw locknut.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check locknut for damage and replace as required. If no damage is found, tighten locknut to 48-61 N-m (35-45 ft-lb).

Possible Source(s):
* Leak at sector shaft seal.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace sector seals and examine sector shaft for pitting or corrosion. Replace sector shaft if necessary. Check housing seal bore for porosity or damage. Replace housing if necessary.

Possible Source(s):
* Leak from gear housing.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace gear housing.

Possible Source(s):
* Leak at sector cover face, or cracked sector cover.
Action(s) to Take:
* Check bolt torques. Check O-ring seal and system relief pressure.

- Poor Returnability -- Sticky Feeling Poor returnability is a condition that is noticed when the vehicle is in a turn and returns to center with effort from the driver. In addition, when the driver returns the steering wheel to center, it may have a sticky or catchy feel.

Possible Source(s):
* Meshload set too tight.
Action(s) to Take:
* Reset meshload to specification.

Possible Source(s):
* Sector adjuster not properly staked to sector.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace sector assembly.

Possible Source(s):
* Damaged input shaft bearing.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace valve assembly.

Possible Source(s):
* Binding in valve assembly.
Action(s) to Take:
* Replace valve assembly.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Steering Box Preload Adjustment

1. Disconnect the pitman arm from the sector shaft using a Pitman Arm Puller (Tool T64P-3590-F).

2. Disconnect the fluid return line at the reservoir and cap the reservoir return line nipple to retain the fluid in the reservoir.

3. Place the end of the return line in a suitable container and turn the steering wheel from stop-to-stop several times to discharge the fluid from the gear. Discard the fluid.

4. Turn the steering wheel to the right stop, then back left 45 degrees.

5. Attach an inch-pound torque wrench to the steering wheel nut and determine the torque required to rotate the shaft slowly approximately one-eighth turn (45�) toward center from the initial 45 degree position. Note this first value.

6. Turn the steering gear back to center and determine the torque required to rotate the shaft back and forth across the center position (� 90�). Compare the center value to the first value, using the following criteria:
* Vehicles with less than 5,000 miles (8046 Km):
If total meshload over mechanical center is less than 15 in-lb (1.7 Nm) or greater than 24 in-lb (2.7 Nm), RESET to first value PLUS 11-15 in-lb (1.2-1.7 Nm).
* Vehicles with more than 5,000 miles (8046 Km), or with new sector shaft:
If meshload over mechanical center is NOT 7 in-lb (0.8 Nm) GREATER than the first value, RESET to 10-14 in-lb (1.13-1.6 Nm) GREATER than first value.

7. If reset is required, loosen the adjuster locknut and turn the sector shaft adjuster screw until the reading is the specified value greater than the torque at 45 degrees from the stop. Hold the sector shaft screw in place, and tighten the locknut.

8. Re-check torque readings and replace the pitman arm and steering wheel hub cover.

9. Connect the fluid return line to the reservoir and fill the reservoir to specification with the specified fluid. Check belt tension & adjust if necessary.

Do not pry against the reservoir to obtain proper belt load. Pressure will deform the reservoir and cause it to leak.
==
===================
Steering Box Frame Crack

The following areas of the frame should be checked before performing a steering gear frame liner repair: the frame rail near the steering gear top and bottom flanges, and the frame rail at the steering gear bolt heads. If there are cracks in these areas of the frame, the frame must be replaced. Inspect the mounting surface of the steering gear for signs of motion, loose rivets or cracks. Removal of the steering gear may be necessary to check for cracks in the frame liner. If the frame liner is cracked or has loose rivets, repair the liner by using Frame Repair Kit E6TZ-5K130-A. If necessary a steering gear liner to frame, rivet repair can be made by using the procedures described in the illustration.

Rivet Removal and Replacement
1. Drill a 1/8-inch hole through rivet.
2. Redrill the hole through the shank of the rivet with an 11/32-inch drill.
3. Use an air chisel to remove rivet head.
4. Drive out rivet with a punch or other suitable tool.
5. Line drill one 7/16-inch hole marked "V" to 9/16-inch diameter.
6. Install one 9/16-inch bolt in the direction shown in the first illustration.
7. Position bolt head on top (next to crossmember) with hex head flat to the rear to provide best clamping.
8. Install one 9/16-inch washer nut side only and one 9/16-inch nut. Tighten to 190 N-m (140 ft-lb).
NOTE: Tack weld the nut to the bolt as shown in the second illustration.
=======================
Pre-load Adjustment, All Bronco & Ford, mid-70s to 00; "...1. Disconnect the pitman arm from the sector shaft using a Pitman Arm Puller (Tool T64P-3590-F). 2. Disconnect the fluid return line at the reservoir and cap the reservoir return line nipple to retain the fluid in the reservoir. 3. Place the end of the return line in a suitable container and turn the steering wheel from stop-to-stop several times to discharge the fluid from the gear. Discard the fluid. 4. Turn the steering wheel to the right stop, then back left 45 degrees. 5. Attach an inch-pound torque wrench to the steering wheel nut and determine the torque required to rotate the shaft slowly approximately one-eighth turn (45�) toward center from the initial 45 degree position. Note this first value. 6. Turn the steering gear back to center and determine the torque required to rotate the shaft back and forth across the center position (� 90�). Compare the center value to the first value, using the following criteria: * Vehicles with less than 5,000 miles (8046 Km): If total meshload over mechanical center is less than 15 in-lb (1.7 Nm) or greater than 24 in-lb (2.7 Nm), RESET to first value PLUS 11-15 in-lb (1.2-1.7 Nm). * Vehicles with more than 5,000 miles (8046 Km), or with new sector shaft: If meshload over mechanical center is NOT 7 in-lb (0.8 Nm) GREATER than the first value, RESET to 10-14 in-lb (1.13-1.6 Nm) GREATER than first value. . If reset is required, loosen the adjuster locknut and turn the sector shaft adjuster screw until the reading is the specified value greater than the torque at 45 degrees from the stop. Hold the sector shaft screw in place, and tighten the locknut. 8. Re-check torque readings and replace the pitman arm and steering wheel hub cover. 9. Connect the fluid return line to the reservoir and fill the reservoir to specification with the specified fluid. Check belt tension & adjust if necessary. Do not pry against the reservoir to obtain proper belt load. Pressure will deform the reservoir and cause it to leak...." See Diagram included
Source: by Ford via Steve83 (Steve, That dirty old truck) at SuperMotors.net
 

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I'm having the same problem and I've ordered mine earlier this week. Should come in within the next couple of days. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey Miesk5, thanks for all of that information. Good to know. :D

Dyn4mo, be sure to take pics. :thumbup
 

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I have the same problem and plan on replacing the box within the month. Hope it fixes it. If not, well thats just one more new part I wont have to worry about in the future!!!
 

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Just got it in the mail. But I don't have time to put it this weekend because I'm swamped with work.. Hmm, I don't want to wait for the end of next week though. Something's gotta give.

It sure is perdy though, with the red accent paint.
 

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Any updates on the Redhead steering gearbox?

I'm still having the same issue after 2 attempts with the rebuilt kit.

Appreciate if you can share some light.
:thumbup
 

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I'm just back from the Mechanic that changed the old gearbox, that's apparently been leaking since 2006, and replaced it with the Redhead. Slack is basically gone, except for what I would expect from such a large vehicle with 32'' tires.

I still have some issues with the steering but I'm assuming that it will disappear once the front has been realigned and new tires are on it. I'll do that within the the next couple of weeks, I think. I'll update this again when I'm done with that.

So far, I'd definitely recommend the gearbox though.

Funny story btw: The old gearbox has been leaking for so long, all the fluid accumulated quite a bit of dirt around it. The heat of the engine ensured a good bake and effectively the mechanic had to blow off about 5 lbs. worth of dirt before he could dismantle it. I kid you not. Floor looked like somebody dropped a bag of fertilizer.
 

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:thumbup
I'm just back from the Mechanic that changed the old gearbox, that's apparently been leaking since 2006, and replaced it with the Redhead. Slack is basically gone, except for what I would expect from such a large vehicle with 32'' tires.

I still have some issues with the steering but I'm assuming that it will disappear once the front has been realigned and new tires are on it. I'll do that within the the next couple of weeks, I think. I'll update this again when I'm done with that.

So far, I'd definitely recommend the gearbox though.

Funny story btw: The old gearbox has been leaking for so long, all the fluid accumulated quite a bit of dirt around it. The heat of the engine ensured a good bake and effectively the mechanic had to blow off about 5 lbs. worth of dirt before he could dismantle it. I kid you not. Floor looked like somebody dropped a bag of fertilizer.
Thx for the update Dyn4mo.
Keep us posted pls :thumbup.
 

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Man, reading this thread has me wondering about my steering now. I wouldn't say there's alot of slop in it but I can run down the highway and jiggle the steering without any noticeable direction change. It's only a 92 with 80K and I just assumed that's the way the older Fords were. My only other experience prior to this was my fathers old 67 F100 that steered about the same way. Only difference was it had the "Hand assisted powered steering". Guess I'll be adding another diagnostic to my list of things over the weekend
 

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I have a similar problem...my steering wheel is more of a "suggestion" wheel because it takes a lot of movement to get it to react. I have had the radius arms replaced as well as the steering gear box. Any other ideas as to what it could be?

Cheers

SB
 
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