2nd Gen Ram Tech1994-2001 Rams: This section is for TECHNICAL discussions only, that involve the 1994 through 2001 Rams. For any non-tech discussions, please direct your attention to the "General discussion/NON-tech" sub sections.
That would be your pitman shaft seals going bad. You can just replace those seals. Or throw down 3-400 bones ($) for a new box.
It's an easy fix, disconnect everything from the gear box (PS lines, pitman arm, steering shaft) and remove the bolts from the frame. Pull the shaft out and empty the fluid from the gearbox, replace the seals (and the bearing if you want) put everything back together...and refill the reservoir and gearbox with PS fluid. Bleed the system, I think thats about it.
Here's a DIY: http://www.pavementsucks.com/tech-article-34.html
I;d also recommend downloading the Factory Service Manual from the FAQ's sub-forum, the procedure is in there along with all the adjustments and the torque specs you might need for the gearbox.
Yup, that's it. The 4 small "circles" are the seals, snap ring, and washer. The bigger one is the seal for the top of the side cover housing (the cover with the four bolts that attaches to the other end of the pitman shaft). If you're near a dodge parts dealer (Autozone/Napa might have it too) pick up the needle bearing(s) for the shaft as well. Don't forget to get power steering fluid too.
Have someone turn the wheel as you look at the pitman arm. If there's a delay (a little might be okay) in the movement of the pitman arm when the steering wheel is turned, replace it.
That's the seals. If there is a little play in the gearbox, it can be corrected. See sevice manual for details. Get a good puller for pittman arm. They can be a PITA to get off. Good time to check tie rod ends for play as well.
Ram 1500, 5.2L, 2wd, hardened trans with Derale pan, Hayden trans cooler, kegger mod, SCT tuned. New metallic black paint, TCP e-fans, HS 1.7 Rockers, restored interior.
i just did mine 2 days ago for 220 with lifetime warranty. took less than two hours. to avoid the core charge pull yours out and take it to em before you buy a new one. lol verify they have one first. i replaced the hose's while i was in there too.
1995 1500, 5.9. 5" rough country lift, 35x12.50 15 Dick Cepek FC-IIs, procomp 15x10 crawler wheels, spectre CAI, double roller timing set, true dual with mag highflows dual 23" thrush glasspacks 2 1/2 all the way.