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Old 07-03-2008, 02:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
GREASE FIRE
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steering gearbox R & R - any tricks to it?

it looks like i can't get a new shaft seal for my leaking gearbox at any of the local places, and the dealership only sells the complete rebuilt kit, and they charge more than the local stores do for a new one, so i may have to rent a pitman arm puller from autozone and do the swap myself.
are there any tricks to it? someone told me a while ago that the steering will be messed up if you don't do it correctly but i am not sure what all the details were about that - anyone know? Or is it just a bolt on with nothing to worry about?
thanks,
paul
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
yachtcare
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Just checked the catalog at Rock Auto. They got seal kits for a '87 P 30 van for under $10.00.

Never changed steering gear on a P van, but done several 1/2 ton pickups. Just keep the wheels strait, and check to make sure the steering wheel in the cab is strait before you bolt it back up. Typically the(2) nuts are different sizes, and it all goes together only one way, so you really gotta try, to screw it up.
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Pitman shaft seals can be changed without removing the gear or steering shaft. Remove the pitman arm using the rented puller, clean the shaft area thoroughly, remove the snap-ring from the housing, place a drain bucket under the pitman shaft, start the engine, turn the steering wheel to the left, the two seals will self-extract under the pressure of turning the wheel. They should deposit themselves in the bucket, along with some of the fluid.

Turn the engine off as soon as you hear a "pop", indicating the seals have come out. It may help the have someone watch this from a safe distance if never attempted before.

Clean the area well with solvent and a soft bristled tooth brush, lube and install the new seals, install the large washer and snap-ring. Reinstall the pitman arm and fill with fluid.

The '89 service manual shows a washer between the two seals and an identical one between the outer seal and the snap-ring. Check the drain pan/drain bucket for the washers. The first one may fall out prior to seal removal. The second one, between the inner and outer seals will be in the drain bucket.

It's not a bad job, just messy. The upper worm shaft seals are another matter, if leaking, read the manual carefully before attempting replacement. Adjustments are critical and must be checked prior to disassembly. These can be done on the vehicle but are more complicated and sometimes better handled by removing the gear and placing it in a vise for good access. It's a matter of preference but removing the fluid lines and mounting bolts are all that's necessary to get it on the bench where you can work without hinderance. Good luck.
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Old 07-04-2008, 05:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred482` View Post
Pitman shaft seals can be changed without removing the gear or steering shaft. Remove the pitman arm using the rented puller, clean the shaft area thoroughly, remove the snap-ring from the housing, place a drain bucket under the pitman shaft, start the engine, turn the steering wheel to the left, the two seals will self-extract under the pressure of turning the wheel. They should deposit themselves in the bucket, along with some of the fluid.

Turn the engine off as soon as you hear a "pop", indicating the seals have come out. It may help the have someone watch this from a safe distance if never attempted before.

Clean the area well with solvent and a soft bristled tooth brush, lube and install the new seals, install the large washer and snap-ring. Reinstall the pitman arm and fill with fluid.

The '89 service manual shows a washer between the two seals and an identical one between the outer seal and the snap-ring. Check the drain pan/drain bucket for the washers. The first one may fall out prior to seal removal. The second one, between the inner and outer seals will be in the drain bucket.

It's not a bad job, just messy. The upper worm shaft seals are another matter, if leaking, read the manual carefully before attempting replacement. Adjustments are critical and must be checked prior to disassembly. These can be done on the vehicle but are more complicated and sometimes better handled by removing the gear and placing it in a vise for good access. It's a matter of preference but removing the fluid lines and mounting bolts are all that's necessary to get it on the bench where you can work without hinderance. Good luck.

thanks for the help.
it actually is the upper shaft seal that is leaking - so it looks like i will remove it and replace them since it does sound a bit easier. And i will replace both while i am at it since you just explained how to do the pitman arm shaft seal, and i do have the service manual

thanks,
paul
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