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Steering box carnage

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 6.2Blazer, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    You will have to wait on the pictures, but I basically ripped the steering box off of the frame this weekend while running some fairly technical rocky trails. The truck is a '90 K5 with a front D60 w/ locker, 38" tires, and ORD crossover steering.

    Basically I need some suggestions for repairs. Here is a quick rundown of the rig:
    - installed ORD bolt-on brace years ago, includes the large box-to-crossmember brace on the upper and lower rear bolts, and the smaller "L" shaped brace that ties the upper front bolt to the factory front crossmember
    - after installing the ORD crossover setup and running some trails, I noted some small cracking around some of the bolt holes. The cracks were V-notched, welded, and ground smooth, and then a weld-on brace was installed.
    - the bolts holding the steering box on were re-checked for tightness several times after the weld-on brace was installed. The first time they were checked a couple were found slightly loose (like a 1/4 turn), and the final time they were checked all were still tight...........can't be sure they were not loose this time though....

    Anyway, I heard a pop and the steering wheel would move about 1/2 turn in both directions without moving the tires. Upon checking I found the following carnage:
    - upper rear bolt (newer grade 8) sheared off
    - lower rear bolt ear/casting broken off steering box
    - upper front bolt sheared off (again, newer grade 8), also causing the bolt ear on the box to be partially bent/twisted
    - lower front bolt and factory spacer pulled partially through frame...yes, pulled through frame and welded on plate.

    Fortunately I was able to fairly easy remove the broken bolt pieces and pound out the one frame hole that was pulled through. Between our group of 3 vehicles we procured 3 bolts of the proper size and length to use. A couple large washers was used behind the bolt where it pulled through the frame, one bolt hole on the steering box looked okay, and the third went into the still present but mangled upper front bolt hole. I could then drive the vehicle off the trail (it would have been a long way up some hills without any steering) and back to the trailer.

    It looks like 3 of the bolt holes on the frame are okay (the 3 holes which had some sort of bolt-on brace part installed), and only forward lower hole damaged.

    Do you think I can simply weld the damage hole back up and redrill it? I'm thinking of making some sort of backing plate for this location to reinforce it and prevent this from happening again.

    I know hydro-assist is probably the solution to prevent this from happening again, but any other recommendations? Do you think maybe the bolts just were loose, or that there was too much stress?
     
  2. koldsimer

    koldsimer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    The EXACT same thing happened to me a few months ago. Two bolts sheared off, one broken ear on the box and the other bolt pulled through the sleeve. I think that it happened to me because the bolts had worked loose and I had let my buddy (who loves furds) drive the truck around for a while. Bad mojo- never again! Funny thing is, I had replaced the box about two months prior to this breakage. All new grade 8 bolts and red locktite. I guess that lulled me into a false sense of security- I checked the bolts once or twice and they seemed ok. I put the truck in this huge ditch and was turning the tire against the side to try and climb out then POW! I can't wait to see those breakage pics! I think you are on the right track with the backing plate idea... and the hydro-assist!:D
     
  3. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I had two holes pull out even with the weld on brace so this is what I did it is boxed on the inside as well as plated on the outside my frame will never break here but I was a little worried about the bolts so I drilled the box to the next bigger size. of course I also moved the box. As far as your stuff goes I would not weld the hole shut and then drill it that would seem to be hard to do it. I would cut out a peice with the hole already drilled in it and weld that on, also putting some gussets on the spacer behind the frame would help if it pulled through, the load needs to be spread out
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2007
  4. SCOOBYDANNN

    SCOOBYDANNN 1/2 ton status

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    same thing happened to me.

    i boxed the frame on the inside, drilled out the origional holes for the steering box to "i cant remember" but 3/4 sounds right. Drilled straight through to the other side and sleeved it and welded it up on both sides. you cant box in the lower rear bolt cause of the crossmember so i just pounded it flat and fixed it. use bolts long enough to get a nut on the steering box side. seems to hold it tighter.

    while you are there you might as well box the other side and throw another crossmember in the front.
     
  5. 78Buford

    78Buford 1/2 ton status

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    I was on the trip with 6.2Blazer this past Saturday. A hybrid Samurai started to rip his steering box off the frame about an hour before this carnage. He left early. After 6.2Blazer and I ran the "Rock Garden" at Wellsville, he was climbing a moderate hill with a significant rut on one side. After getting out of the rut & getting to the top, it snapped. The entire situation turned out much better than expected. It didn't hurt that there were three mechanics in the small group of six people, and they made for a speedy repair. It was back in operation in an hour or so...helluva lot better than the multiple hour ****aroo I experienced last summer shearing a stock D60 knuckle in half. :eek1:

    I mentioned possibly welding beefy plate..ie: 1/4" thick to the inside/outside/both (effectively boxing it) of that area of the frame, but it was mentioned that this may cause stress risers elsewhere, and may not be any better than what he currently has. My thinking is that if the plates were staggered (say 8" on the inside of the frame and 12" on the outside of the frame) it would have to offer an improvement in strength. If this would create a stress riser "further back" the frame, I'm fairly certain that area of the frame would not be receiving nearly the stress that the "steering box area" of the frame is.

    I hope you guys can get him on the right track...it's not as fun showing up Jeeps when there isn't another fullsize rig & driver to snicker at the little vehicles...:pimp1:

    Roy
     
  6. ryaninc

    ryaninc Registered Member

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    broken ears

    I broke the lower rear ear off my box and replaced it with a new PSC tapped box. After 4 trips the ear has now broken off my new $600 box!! so so frusterating. I found this when I was installing my ORD Brace. What are you guys doing after you break an ear? Im thinking of running w/ the 3 good bolts and my new brace, till the next ear goes. Any thoughts? Thanks so much
    Ryan

    *Ihave assist and frame repair kit.
     
  7. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I'll bet you have a cracked frame.
     
  8. blazin' j

    blazin' j 1/2 ton status

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    That's one of the reasons I'm goin full hydro instead of hydro assist...
     
  9. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    I would suspect one of the following:

    1. bolts worked loose
    2. bolt holes in the frame were "ovalled" out
    3. frame is cracked

    Those are really the only reasons why the ear on the box would rip off.

    And no, I would not suggest running with just 3 bolts.
     
  10. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    So you broke the box before you put on the box brace?

    Do you have a weld on or just bolt on box brace?

    I would check the frame to make sure that there isn't a gap by one of the ears, basically I'm wondering if the box doesn't sit flush on the frame and you're using the bolts to draw it up, that's as easy way to bust an ear off.

    With hydro assist and a box brace you shouldn't be having these problems.

    Also, I'm sure PSC will put your new internals into a new housing for minimal cost.

    I would not run it with only three bolts.
     
  11. ryaninc

    ryaninc Registered Member

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    Yes I broke my original box then replaced it with the psc box.

    I have had the weld on ORD frame repair kit and when I was bolting on the new ORD box brace is when I saw the PSC box had broken the same ear again.

    I would agree that the box does not sit perfect, ever since the frame repair it is really hard to get it to sit flush.

    I guess Ill e-mail PSC about swaping boxs.
     
  12. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    Fix the frame and/or frame repair before you put another box on there. It's possible things were warped during welding, the plate wasn't flush against the frame, the frame wasn't straight in the first place etc.

    The ears need to sit flush with the frame at all four points with no gap. If there is a gap between the frame and the steering box at all, that's probably why you broke an ear.
     

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