Steering gear box removal

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scolastico
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:39 am

Steering gear box removal

Post by scolastico » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:33 pm

This is a continuation of my steering issue set out in a previous post. After separating the drag link from the pitman arm, I noticed the same slight "drag" or "resistance" in the steering wheel, which leads me to beleive the steering gear box is the culprit ( it has been leaking as well). The questions I have are:

Am I right in assuming that the problem is in the steering box and not the steering column?

Can the box be removed from the car without fussing with the steering column and wheel?

I am assuming that it makes more sense to loosen the nut holding the pitman arm to the box before removing the box from the frame. Please comment if this is not true.

Any tips on removing the box is much appreciated. I have the shop manual, but as a novice, it seems to assume some knowledge. Also, any tips on how to reinstall ( or remove) the box so that it won't change the wheel alignment or steering wheel position?

Thanks again I really appreciate the help from the members of this forum.

David1955Tbird
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by David1955Tbird » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:09 am

There's a video on youtube about this for a 55. My steering box won't hold fluid and I watched it, but have been too intimidated to rebuild it. Anyway, here's a link to the 30 minute-long video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJiEtVptNZw&t=127s.

scolastico
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Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by scolastico » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:35 pm

Thanks David, appreciate it.

1957Birdman
Posts: 157
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Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by 1957Birdman » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:57 pm

I did this job a couple of years ago. My car has power steering so it is a little more complicated than yours will be. You will need to remove the steering column and the horn wire, at least for me that was the easiest way to go. Removing the pitman arm from the steering box was tough. An old Ford mechanic told me the best way to do it was loosen the nut on the steering box, put a jack underneath it and pound on the top of the pitman with an appropriate drift and small sledge hammer until it loosens. That worked and the rest of the job was fairly easy. I sent it to Rock Auto who then sends it to Lares to do the rebuild. https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/for ... +gear,7416
That turned out to be the best price although it has gone up some since I did my repair. Lares does a really nice job. The other way to go is to get a rebuilt one from one of the T-Bird parts suppliers that I'm sure are just as good but they are more expensive. Of course you can also try to do the job yourself, but with something as important as steering I decided to leave it to the professionals.

One last thing, if your instruments need cleaning and restoration then this is a good time to do that because it is much easier to access them with the steering wheel and column out of the way. There are also wires in the steering column that need to be disconnected from the wiring harness. Be sure to mark each of those wire so that you are sure how to reconnect them. That will save you a lot of problems later.

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Lew Bachman, 1957 Colonial White

scolastico
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:39 am

Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by scolastico » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:36 pm

Birdman, thank you very much -that was a big help. Removed it today and having it rebuilt. I did in fact remove the steering column. Any tip on reinstalling?

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paul2748
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Location: Northeastern New Jersey

Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by paul2748 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:00 pm

Who are you having rebuild it?
scolastico wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:36 pm
Birdman, thank you very much -that was a big help. Removed it today and having it rebuilt. I did in fact remove the steering column. Any tip on reinstalling?
1956 Fiesta Red 312
1954 Ford Victoria 312
1948 Ford Convertible Street Rod 302

1957Birdman
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:58 am

Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by 1957Birdman » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:56 pm

The main thing is to take care of or replace everything that you can't replace with the steering shaft in the care. I replaced all of the chrome pieces except for the steering shaft tube, which I cleaned up with extra fine steel wool. I also replaced the seal at the bottom of the firewall where the steering shaft goes into the engine compartment. Getting the steering shaft back on the spline coming out of the steering box is not the easiest thing to do and it would probably facilitate things to have someone help. You should also put the horn wire through the spline in the steering box before you slide it on. If you don't it will be tough to get it through the hole. If I can think of anything else I will post it.
Regards,
Lew

scolastico
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Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by scolastico » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:33 pm

Birdman - Thank you. I would like to replace the chrome parts on the steering column as well. Did you have to remove the steering wheel? After loosing the clamp on the shaft by the box, I removed the steering bracket screws and slid the steering column ( with the wheel still attached) just enough to slide it off the box shaft. I did not remove it from the car and there was enough slack in the signal light wires so that I did not have to disconnect them. From what I can see, I don't think I can slide the chrome parts toward the bottom of the shaft ( assuming I remove the column from the car) and slip them off that way. What do you think?

As always, thanks

1957Birdman
Posts: 157
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Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by 1957Birdman » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:49 pm

Yes, you will have to pull the steering wheel. I was hoping to be able to slide things off at lower end of the steering column but that isn't possible, so the steering wheel must come off. The turn signal wires present a problem because of the way that they are strung through a channel in the steering column. It is a little hard to describe but will be obvious once you take things apart. Also look carefully at this article: https://www.ctci.org/gilsgarage/steering.php
It describes a very important step in steering column restoration. If you get this wrong you can completely lose you steering.

It is not the most difficult job I've done on my T-Bird but it does take a fair amount of time and attention, especially snaking the turn signal wires down the channel when you put things back together. Take plenty of pictures as you take things apart. It will help later.
Lew

scolastico
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:39 am

Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by scolastico » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:43 pm

Thanks Birdman - I checked the site you posted. Looks like some scary stuff. I've decided to just reinstall the steering box at this time and leave the upper column chrome for another day. I was able to slip the full steering column off the box shaft without removing the signal light wires ( there was enough slack) - so I moved the whole steering column assembly back on to the seat in one piece.

Is there a tip or trick(s) to reinserting the steering column assembly back on to the box shaft? I know that there are key splines that have to line up but I can't see the one on the column because it is recessed in to the chrome tube. I'm, guessing that when the steering wheel is in straight away driving position the key spline on the steering column is at the top.

Thank you again for your help.

1957Birdman
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:58 am

Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by 1957Birdman » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:52 pm

I didn't mean to scare you about doing the restoration. The main take away is that part number 3509 is press fit onto part number 3511. I did that and have had no problems at all. If you don't do it now you may never do it. Just something to think about.

As for getting the column back onto the steering box, as long as you had your steering wheel straight when to took things apart you should be able to slip it back on without too much problem. If you are getting the Rockauto/Lares rebuild, they return it with the spline in the proper place slip the steering shaft onto the spline. I did it myself but having a helper would be better and save you some frustration.

Regards,
Lew

scolastico
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:39 am

Re: Steering gear box removal

Post by scolastico » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:57 pm

Thanks Birdman - with your help and that of others on the forum I pretty much finished the job. I only need to attach the pitman arm to the drag link and I'm done. I'll do that tomorrow. I decided to not do the column and just do the box, mostly because of time and the fact that Prestige Thunderbird rebuilt my box with a 24 hour turn around. Since it's "Thunderbird season" and I want to drive while the weather is still good, I figure I'll do the column and several other projects over the winter. BUT, I'm very conscious of your advice about " not getting the column done if I don't do it now" I have been victim of that many times.

Again, thanks for your help

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