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.
I got a 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 v10 and the power steering fluid is leaking out by the gear where the pitman arm bolts in. I am just gunna replace the whole power steering gearbox. I'm just curious if anyone knows all the tools that I will need. I know you can rent a pitman arm remover from Autozone. If anyone knows exactly what tools and what size sockets I'll need that would be great!
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What kind of replacement box did you get/have in mind? If you're thinking an oem rebuilt one from the auto parts store, don't even bother. They don't last. Better off replacing the seals and bearings yourself for like $30.
Spend the extra $ on a redhead or borgeson box..or just deal with the leak like I've done.
To replace it, you need an allen bit/hex key for the steering column coupler bolt. A socket for the 3 frame rail mounting bolts. And a wrench for the power steering lines, pretty sure you need to use a crow foot type wrench not a regular open end. And of course you need the pitman arm remover and an impact wrench.
That leak is pretty easy to fix - you can purchase a lower seal kit from places like NAPA for about $20. To keep it from leaking again, you must be sure to adjust the slop/movement in the steering box output shaft by loosening the lock nut on top of the steering gear box and tightening the allen head bolt just enough to remove the slop/movement of the steering box output shaft, then re-tighten the locknut. This will ensure that the seal will live and not leak.
If your steering box is all around sloppy and your truck isn't handling well, by all means replace it. Redhead and Borgeson are the best replacement options available. I replaced mine with a Borgeson unit a few years ago and I've been pleased with it.
Well ever since I got the truck which was almost 4 years ago there is a lot of play in the steering. You can turn the wheel quite a bit before the wheels turn. Doesn't the gearbox control that? So if I replace it shouldn't it tighted that up and reduce the amount of play? If I just replace that bottom seal do I even have to pop the gearbox off?
When you have a moment, please update your profile to include details about your truck.
The seal can be replaced with the steering box in-place. All that needs to be done is to remove the large nut (1-5/16", I believe) that holds the pitman arm in place, remove the pitman arm with a puller, then remove the snap ring that holds the washer and seal in place.
Movement in the steering can be caused by several things. The steering box, the steering column, loose joints in the intermediate shaft, wheel bearings, slop in the inner and outer tie rods ends are some of the most common causes. When I bought my truck used (which had about 125,000 miles), I ended up rebuilding the entire front end to restore decent driveability.
Last edited by AtomicDog; 01-22-2014 at 07:18 PM..
It has play but it's not like it's a massive amount of play where it is unsafe to drive. My grandpa said usually it's a bad idea to replace just that seal where the pitman arm goes into. It's a 96 with a lot of original parts so I'll probably just replace the whole gearbox. Plus I'll know it'll be safe.
Replacing the seal does nothing to compromise the safety of the gearbox and my truck is also a 1996 3/4 ton truck (same as yours). After I replaced the seal and adjusting the gearbox, it never leaked again. I drove it for another 6 months to a year and noticed that I had too much play in my gearbox (after replacing all of my other front end parts during my front end rebuild) and it was time to replace the steering gearbox.
The adjuster, and jam nut he was talking about will remove a lot of the play in the box. (but, not all of it...) I have done a couple of these. Usually works fairly well. If they start leaking again though, I just replace the whole box.
Matt is correct though. If you just buy a 'stock replacement' from the parts store, you are going to be right back in the same situation again within a year. If you replace the box, get the redhead, or borgeson box. Then, never worry about it again.
Money is kind of tight for me right now. Around August is when I'll have a lot more spending money lol. I'm just gunna replace the gearbox with one from Autozone just to get me by. How much are them better gearboxes that you guys are talking about?
I have a 2000 Dodge Ram with a 167000 miles on it, and the steering box is also very loose. I can turn the steering wheel more than a quarter of a turn going down the road before the truck turns. I took the truck to a shop and had the suspension and steering inspected, had a few things replaced that helped a lot, but the steering box on my truck is shot. I will be getting a redhead steering box in the next couple of months.
The redhead steering box is $329.00 dollars with exchange. there are other steering boxes you can get that are cheaper, about half the price, but the redhead steering box is the best one you can get in my opinion.
Yea I'll wait to buy a redhead when I got the money but I'll just spend $155 on one from AutoZone for now. I just need steering/breaks so I can get new tires put on my truck. Since my truck's power steering gearbox is shot and leaks all the fluid I have no breaks cause of the break booster runs with that or whatever
Your steering box sounds like it will hold up with just a seal and an adjustment. I'd install the seal and save your money for the redhead box as your funds improve this spring/summer. The seal is cheap and easy to install..
You must be more concerned since your truck has a hydro-boost unit on it? Regardless, based upon what you have stated here, the seal is only $20, is easy to install (along with the steering box adjustment) and should keep you going until you can save up for a quality steering box (RedHead or Borgeson). I've done several seal replacement jobs on these steering boxes (since this is a very common issue with them) and every one sealed up fine with the seal change and the steering box adjustment. Still, your truck, your money and your call..
Atomic, what all do you have to do to get that out to replace just that seal and adjust the box? Will I still have to take the whole assembly/unit off to do so? I'm not much of a mechanic but things breaking on my truck is teaching me lol. I already learned all about a tranny on her, typical Dodge they say! I'm an all out MOPAR guy though.
No, you can replace the seal with the box in place. Pull the pitman arm, remove a snap ring, pull the seal. Put it back together. Loosen the jam nut on the adjuster, turn the adjuster in some, tighten jam nut, check the steering. If there is still an excessive amount of play, tighten the adjuster some more. Lather, rinse, repeat. (and you don't even have to start the engine to do the adjustment. I usually have the front wheels off the ground while doing it.)