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Ahhhhhh!!!! Truck broke down!!!

arveetek

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No, it's not the engine. Over 120,000 nearly trouble-free miles since rebuilt in 1996. The old 6.2L has been the most reliable engine I've ever owned. /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif

No, it's the steering! /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I disassembled the steering gear box in order to repair a power steering fluid leak. I ended up having to remove and reinstall the worm gear to fix it.

All seemed well since then. No more leak, and the steering was tighter than ever. However, after turning a corner at an intersection tonight, the steering wheel locked up solid and wouldn't turn either direction. /forums/images/graemlins/yikes.gif This locked me into a turn, so I had to pull into the center turn lane and come to a stop. There I was, in the middle of the road, unable to turn my wheel.

After wrestling the wheel back and forth a few times, I was able to get the wheels to turn a bit. I managed to pull into a nearby parking lot to see what I could do.

I could get the steering wheel to turn back and forth a few times, and then it locked up solid again. Finally, after trying to decide whether to attempt to drive to my in-laws a short distance away, or leave the truck where it was at, it decided for me. The gearbox broke, and now the steering wheel spins freely without any effect on the wheels whatsoever! /forums/images/graemlins/yikes.gif Good thing I didn't attempt to drive it any further.

Talk about scary! I'm just glad this didn't happen at 70 mph. I'd have run off the road, swerved into oncoming traffic, or gotten killed!

I had no idea that a gearbox could fail like that. So much for fixing it myself, eh? Guess I'll be buying a new box tomorrow!

Anybody else ever experienced anything like that? /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif

Casey
 

azblazor

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Wow, good story. I was thinking how easy you made it sound when you described the leak fix you did. It made me consider repairing a leaker I have. Maybe I'll pass on a self repair. Glad you are OK.
 

dallassnowman

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I just replaced all my power steering hoses and pump. Now after all that to fix a leak it will freeze up when I turn for a very short moment. Hope its not the same prob u had THATS SCARRY!! Im always taking my wife and daughter with me, somewhere in the blazer!! /forums/images/graemlins/yikes.gif
 

arveetek

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Yeah, I felt really proud of myself after being able to fix the leak for just a few dollars. I have no idea what I messed up, but something must have fallen loose and jammed up, causing a catastrophic failure.

I think from now on, I'll just replace the whole gear box when I have a problem! /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

Casey
 

arveetek

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Does the wheel freeze up to where it's just really hard to turn, like you've lost power assist, or does it actually lock up to where you can't move it?

If it locks up completely, I'd be thinking about replacing that gear box. I tell you what, it's not a good feeling to be making a turn in a busy intersection to have your steering wheel lock up to where you can't move it or steer out of the way of traffic! /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

Casey
 

tRustyK5

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Matt from West Texas Off-Road is really good with rebuilding those boxes. All I've ever done is unbolt one and bolt up a better one. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif Mine has a small leak at the pitman arm...but I have a good spare.

Rene
 

imiceman44

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[ QUOTE ]
Does the wheel freeze up to where it's just really hard to turn, like you've lost power assist, or does it actually lock up to where you can't move it?

If it locks up completely, I'd be thinking about replacing that gear box. I tell you what, it's not a good feeling to be making a turn in a busy intersection to have your steering wheel lock up to where you can't move it or steer out of the way of traffic! /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

Casey

[/ QUOTE ]

Hey Casey
Been there done that.
The problem you have is that when you reinstalled the worm gear, I am sure you adjusted the preload on the sector shaft to make the steering nice and tight.
Well what happens is that the steering gets hot and the shaft swells a little and since you had it tight to begin with, it didn't have room for expansion and bound up, and when you forced it it broke.
Mine was easier because i didn't have it that tight because my mechanic neighbour warned me about having it too tight, but it still got to where it was dragging too much, I was 200 feet from home so I went back and loosened it a little and after it warmed up I adjusted it and it worked fine after that.
Never adjust the preload when it's cold, get it close where you have about an inch of end play at the steering wheel and then when it warms up if it still has a lot of slop you can tighten it to 1/4-1/2" play. You don't want it real tight.
/forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
 

arveetek

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Now I know!

When the problem first occured, I tried loosening the bearing while on the side of the road, but it didn't help. Must have been too late. I did force the wheel to move before that.

I don't think I'll be messing with a gear box again! Too much of a safety issue for me.

Casey
 

imiceman44

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[ QUOTE ]
Now I know!

When the problem first occured, I tried loosening the bearing while on the side of the road, but it didn't help. Must have been too late. I did force the wheel to move before that.

I don't think I'll be messing with a gear box again! Too much of a safety issue for me.

Casey

[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah that happened to me once when I was adjusting the preload on an old blazer that I had and it was still in the driveway, it locked up, wouldn't release, tried backing off the adjustment but I couldn't the bolt was stuck, all I did was tighten it and saw the wheel back and forth to check the end play. Anyway I replaced the box and thought I would look at it later, ended up in the junkyard before I remembered I wanted to take it appart to see what had hapened.
/forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif
 

arveetek

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I got the truck back together today. I installed a reman gear box. The pitman arm was worn out, so that needed to be replaced. Since I was going to need an alignment anyway, I went ahead and replaced all 4 tie-rods and the idler arm while I was at it. Now all steering components are new.

I have an appointment Friday morning for the alignment and 4 new tires as well. I got 60,000 miles out of these BF Goodrich tires, so I'm pleased!

The truck will be better than ever! /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif /forums/images/graemlins/woot.gif

Casey
 
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