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Steering box removal and installation

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Bross82, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Bross82

    Bross82 1/2 ton status

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    hey, i just ended up getting a new steering box.... i think i'm gonna keep the old one and send that away later when i have the money to get the complete hydraulic setup....this would be better since i cant have my truck not driveable for long, and a rebuilt steering box at the parts store without the core was as much as a new one minus the shipping cost.

    I was wondering, are there are any special tools needed to remove the part the connects between the steering box and the tie rod? Also, is there is anything else i should know for doing this?

    thanks,
    matt
     
  2. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    I just unbolted the pitman arm and it fell off, it was soaked in PS fluid though...usually requires a puller I think. Also, might need a pickle fork to get the tie rod off...just depends.
     
  3. Rolled

    Rolled 1/2 ton status

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    I just replaced my gear box tonight. Very easy to do if your rig is lifted :-).

    More than likely you will need that fork tool (can't remember the name of it off hand.) You can get these at Pep Boys or any other parts store. I have done this without the special tool in the past by using a 5 pound hammer and just beating on the side of the ball joint a bunch of times but the specialty tool is much easier and faster.


    Good luck
     
  4. Bross82

    Bross82 1/2 ton status

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    i'm pretty sure the part i'm talking about isnt a pitman arm... i have a steering arm, the tie rod, that part and then the steering box. if anyone knows what i'm talking about, do i need a special tool for it? dont you only have one or the other, if you have a pitman arm you dont have a steering arm, or the other way around?

    also, when i put the new box in, do i have to put it on jackstands? i thought i read that i would have to turn the wheel from end to end to center something in the steering box itself.

    thanks,
    matt
     
  5. Bross82

    Bross82 1/2 ton status

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    could someone please respond..... i have to do this tomorrow and the last time i can probably check this site is at 4:30

    thanks again,
    matt
     
  6. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    the PITMAN arm is the arm on the steering box
    the STEERING arm is the arm on the knuckle
    the DRAGLINK is the rod from the pitman arm to the steering arm
    the TIEROD is the rod that joins the 2 knuckles together to provide steerin to both sides

    to add to the confusion the rod ends on all the links are refered to as TIEROD ends even when they are in a draglink or other location

    now to break the rod ends free the best method is to bash really hard with a BFH near the hole the rod end is in.
    the pickle fork things usually destroy the rodend or at least the boot
    with any luck you will pick a good spot to bash and with 1 good smack it pops loose, people tend to be a pussy about bashing it hard enough and end up beating on it repeatedly causing more damage then the 1 good shot that is required

    now I hope that vocabulary helps you ID the part you are having trouble with so we can help you out
     
  7. Bross82

    Bross82 1/2 ton status

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    ok... now then when i have to take the pitman arm off... is it necessary to remove it from the tie rod end? or can it just be left on and then just put the other end of the pitman arm back on the new steering box.

    also, i asked, is it necessary to raise the front end and turn the wheel from all the way to the left or right to the complete opposite direction in order to center the new steering box? i thought i read this somewhere that it might need to be done.

    thanks a lot,
    matt

    thanks also for clarifying what some things are called
     
  8. kumma

    kumma 1/2 ton status

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    you better get some one to help because that steering box is heavy. i did it myself but holding it to the frame and lining up the bolts are a pain in the butt. other than that just r & r.

    cant help you with centering the box to the wheel because i dont remember what i did but it wasent very difficult to get things lined up. all the adjustments are in the draglink.
     
  9. Rolled

    Rolled 1/2 ton status

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    I just disconnected it from the stering arm and let it hang.

    This is how I did mine:

    1. Center the steering wheel.

    2. Disconnect the fluid lines and wire tied them to the upper radiator hose so they would not leak.

    3. Unbolted the two nuts holding the gear box to the column.

    4. Took out the kotter pin and removed the bolt holding the ball joint on.

    5. Got out the pickle fork and hammered it off. The rod easily moves out of the way when loose.

    5. Unbolted the four 11/16 (I think) bolts holding the box to the frame. I let it slide down and rest on the springs (no jack yet, 4 inch lift).

    6. Pulled the box clear of the steering column and set in on the work bench.

    7. Took off steering arm off old box and put it on new one and positioned in the same relative position it was in on the old one. Also noted the bolts to the steering column were on the correct sides (small bolt and big bolt.)

    8. Set the new box on the springs (4 inch lift)

    9. Lined up the collumn bolts and slid it in and loosely bolted it on.

    10. Used a floor jack to jack up the gear box untill the frame bolt holes lined up and hand threaded the screws in.

    11. Got out the wrench and tightened them up.

    12. Swung rod over and put ball joint in, tightened down the nut making sure I was aware of the kotter pin hole. Placed pin in when nut was in the right position.

    13. Tightened up column to gear box.

    14. Connected hoses to gear box.

    15. Checked fluid and fired it up.

    16. Test drive.

    Hope this helps
     
  10. Bross82

    Bross82 1/2 ton status

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    thanks a lot for the detailed instructions

    -matt
     
  11. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Heres a question for you...anyone I guess. Is the steering box input shaft (where the steering shaft bolts on) "keyed"? Cars can only go on one way, as GM used a pin that lined up with the steering shaft, but I haven't had a truck one apart in a LONG time.
     
  12. Rolled

    Rolled 1/2 ton status

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    Glad I could help Bross82. BTW I may be using the term Ball Joint incorrectly. It might be Knuckle, Tie Rod or go by some other name. I never pay to much attention to things like that ;-)

    dyeager535

    Mine was like the old GM's I have done in the past. There was two different size bolts in the box that attached to the input shaft so you could only bolt it on one way. The heads of the bolts and nuts are the same (1/2 and 9/16) but the threaded part is thicker on one of them and the input shaft has coresponding sized holes.
     
  13. Bross82

    Bross82 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks again, i had a friend come over and we swapped in the new steering box yesterday... it seems like most if not all of the play in my steering is gone now! /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif /forums/images/icons/grin.gif That part on the steering box the pitman arm connects to stays in one position now, unlike the old box which popped down about a half inch when turning past the wheels being centered.

    One thing though... whenever i turn the wheel to the right (it doesnt seem to matter how much i turn to the right and then back to the left) there is a slight thump noise. This happens at any position that the tires are in. My friend said he thought he saw at least one side of my front bumper move slightly, maybe i just need to tighten the bolts to keep it from thumping when the body twists. If it was even moving and if that is even the problem.

    Also, we noticed on the front driverside leaf pack, the rear shackle moved forward slightly. The passenger side rear shackle also moved, but not as much. Are these supposed to move at all to allow better flex of the leafs or should the rear shackles on the front leaf packs just not move at all?

    thanks,
    matt
     
  14. outlaw612

    outlaw612 1/2 ton status

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    I dont know about the thumping noise, but the shackles at the rear of the front srings should move. Thats what allows the springs to droop and compress.
     
  15. Bross82

    Bross82 1/2 ton status

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    ok.. thanks, i'll have to check the bolts on some things and inspect a little more where its coming from.

    matt
     
  16. K10ANDYKHAMNIC

    K10ANDYKHAMNIC 1/2 ton status

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    ours can only go on one way , the have a flat spot on the in the box and also a matching one on the shaft
    HAS to be lined up or it wont go together.
     

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