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Old 07-27-2013, 09:19 AM
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Default Redhead Steering Box Installation

Well it had come time for me to replace the steering box in my truck and I couldn’t find a good write up on here. I have seen a lot of folks lately replacing their boxes with Redhead units, so I jumped on that bandwagon. I thought I would go ahead and document the procedure in hopes that it would help out others in the future.

Ordering:
There is really only one piece of information that you’ll need to give the folks at Redhead when ordering your box. The OBS boxes come in either a 2 bolt cover or a 4 bolt cover. That’s pretty self-explanatory, as all you need to do is look at the top of the box and see how many bolts are on the cover. The SD boxes come in two flavors as well, either 32 spline and 36 spline on the output shaft.
Tool/Parts List:
Safety glasses (to prevent dirt/debris from getting in your eyes while working under the truck)
Jack and jack stands
Pitman arm puller (a two jaw puller worked well for the drag link, but a conical style worked much better for getting the arm off the box. Something similar to a Snap-on part number CJ119). You’ll also need the proper socket size for the pressure screw on the puller you’ll be using.
Needle nose pliers
Side cutters
Hammer
Torque wrench good to 200 ft/lbs
Red thread lock ( I used blue because that’s what I had in my box, but I think red might be a better choice)
13mm socket (for a stock steering shaft pinch bolt)
14mm socket
21mm socket
1 5/16” socket
16mm flare nut wrench (a crow’s foot in the same size would have worked better I believe)

Removal:
1) Jack the truck up and rest it on jack stands. Unhook the negative battery cables and turn the key to the ON position. Loop the seatbelt through the bottom of the steering wheel. This immobilizes the steering wheel while you’re working with the steering shaft. Turning the steering wheel too much with the shaft unhooked can cause damage to the clock spring.
2) Remove and THROW AWAY the cotter pin from the crown nut on the drag link. Remove the crown nut with the 21mm socket.


3) Position your pitman arm puller on the top side of the drag link and center the pressure screw on the drag link bolt and remove it. Zip tie the drag link to the tie rod so it isn’t laying on the floor in your way for the rest of the job.





4) Remove your air intake to gain access to the steering shaft. You might want to stuff a rag into the turbo inlet to prevent dust from getting in there while you’re working.
5) Remove the shield that covers the end of the steering shaft by simply popping it off of the power steering line that goes into the steering box.



6) You are now ready to remove the steering shaft. I have a Borgeson unit installed on my truck, which requires a 4mm hex head and a ” socket to remove. I believe the stock pinch bolt is 13mm. Once you have it off just slide the steering shaft up a bit out of the way.



7) You can now use the 16mm flare nut wrench to remove the power steering lines. To prevent oil from getting everywhere, before I began the job I siphoned out the oil from the power steering pump. I also placed an oil pan under the steering box so oil didn’t drip all over the ground. You can put some tubing over the lines and place them into the pan to prevent making a mess.





8) Now it’s time to remove the box from the truck. Using the 14mm socket remove two of the bolts. Before you remove the last bolt MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE BOX SUPPORTED. This sucker is heavy for all the bigger it is, and dropping it to the ground could potentially damage something.

You also want to clean the holes that go through the frame that the bolts came out of. Mine had a bunch of rust and dirt in them, which caused me problems while trying to thread them into the new box. If you have shop air you could blow them out with that, and if not just send a rag through them a few times.


9) Now that the box is out of the truck it’s time to remove the pitman arm. First remove the nut with the 1 5/16” socket. As I stated previously I think a conical pitman arm puller would work much better than a two jaw, as it covers a larger surface area on the pitman arm while pulling.

My pitman arm was relatively easy to pop off. Yours may require a lot of penetrating oil, some pounding with a BFH, and possibly heat to pop it off. If all else fails you could cut it off. In preparation for these kinds of problems I actually ordered a new pitman arm which cost about $45 from RockAuto (Moog p/n K8769).



Installation:
These boxes come already centered from Redhead. DO NOT adjust the box without prior permission from Redhead, as doing so WILL void the warranty.

1) Reinstall the pitman arm back onto the new box. I probably should have put some thread lock on the new box but I didn’t. Torque the nut down to 199 ft/lbs.
2) After cleaning the holes that go through the frame, and cleaning the old thread lock off of the bolts, put thread lock on the bolts and reinstall the new steering box. It will make it much easier if you have some help while doing this as the box is pretty heavy. Torque these bolts to 59 ft/lbs.
3) Leave the plastic caps that come with the new box in the power steering line holes while installing to prevent dirt and debris from getting into them.



4) You can now go ahead and slide the steering shaft back over the input shaft to the steering box. Apply thread lock to the pinch bolt and torque to 36 ft/lb. For anybody else that has a Borgeson shaft like myself, I just tightened it down nice and snug.
5) Re-install the power steering lines that go into the box. The OBS lines are a flared end line, but I believe the SD trucks have o-rings that are associated with these lines. If you have a SD truck make sure the o-rings are there. I found it easier to do the back most line first, and then the line towards the frame last. Make sure the lines didn’t move and aren’t near the fan or the belt assembly.
6) Reinstall the shield covering the steering shaft.
7) Reinstall the drag link to the pitman arm. I had to adjust my drag link to get it lined up with the new pitman arm.
8) Install the crown nut and torque to 60 ft/lbs.
9) Install a NEW cotter pin.
10) You are now ok to put the air intake back in. Make sure you remove the rag from the turbo inlet if you put one in there earlier!
11) Connect the negative battery cables to the batteries.
12) Fill the power steering pump to the proper level and start the truck.
13) To bleed the system, first turn the steering wheel lock to lock once or twice and then check the fluid level. Once you have refilled the power steering pump, turn the wheel lock to lock a couple dozen times to bleed the rest of the air out. Try not to hold the steering wheel against the lock for more than a few seconds.
14) Take the truck off the jack stands and take it for a test drive. Recheck the fluid level in the power steering pump and refill if necessary.
15) Enjoy slop free steering!

Note: After doing this job an alignment may be necessary. I think I’ll be taking my truck to the local shop to have the alignment checked out for good measure.
Also, the torque values that I provided were for SD trucks as I couldn't find the OBS values. If anybody would like to chime in with the OBS torque specs that would be great!

I hope this write-up helped with the installation of your power steering box.
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1997 RCLB Puller 86k- Being rebuilt
1997 CCLB Tow Rig 91k- Waiting for my puller to be done so it can tow something
2010 Jetta TDI 6spd Manual 51k- My daily driver

Last edited by PSDEng; 07-27-2013 at 09:23 AM.
  #2  
Old 07-27-2013, 10:37 AM
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Nice! Thanks Nick!

Been thinking about getting one soon myself.
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2002 F250 7.3, Forged Rods, Billet Wheel 38R, 250/200's, H-11's, Smith Push Rods, Comp 910's, DI Uppipes, Marty's Fuel System, Twisted Diesel Built Trans, ******** Tunes.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:19 AM
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Really nice write up man. About how much are these steering boxes?
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2009 F350
Elite Diesel fuel, air, and trans | OUO Link arms and trac bars

11.57 @ 120.09 8,520# and 6,000' Fuel Only
11.25 @ 128.15 8,550#
1202/2133 uncorrected
  #4  
Old 07-27-2013, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David N View Post
Nice! Thanks Nick!

Been thinking about getting one soon myself.
You won't be disappointed if you get one David, trust me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdgleason View Post
Really nice write up man. About how much are these steering boxes?
The two bolt cover that I bought ran me $265. I believe the four bolt covers, which I think is what all the SD trucks have are $30 more, so $295. They charged me $34 for shipping from Washington where they're at to here in Texas. Also, there's a $100 core charge and return shipping is not pre-paid. They sent it in a USPS large flat rate box and they recommend that you return in the same manner.
All in all the quality of the box is well worth it!
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Nick Fornicola
1997 RCLB Puller 86k- Being rebuilt
1997 CCLB Tow Rig 91k- Waiting for my puller to be done so it can tow something
2010 Jetta TDI 6spd Manual 51k- My daily driver
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:39 AM
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Awesome thank you!
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2009 F350
Elite Diesel fuel, air, and trans | OUO Link arms and trac bars

11.57 @ 120.09 8,520# and 6,000' Fuel Only
11.25 @ 128.15 8,550#
1202/2133 uncorrected
  #6  
Old 07-27-2013, 11:42 AM
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cw96stroker cw96stroker is offline
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Nice write up. I am planning on getting one of these very soon for my SD.
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  #7  
Old 07-29-2013, 01:13 PM
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I spoke with the folks at Redhead this morning as I have noticed that the steering wheel does not return to center on its own now. They recommend that I give it 500-1000 miles to break in before I consider it to be an issue. I have an alignment scheduled for tomorrow and I suspect that I have more steering components that will need replacing soon. The box did take care of one problem though and I am happy with it.
I just thought I would put this info out there in case anybody else experiences the same.
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Nick Fornicola
1997 RCLB Puller 86k- Being rebuilt
1997 CCLB Tow Rig 91k- Waiting for my puller to be done so it can tow something
2010 Jetta TDI 6spd Manual 51k- My daily driver
  #8  
Old 07-29-2013, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSDEng View Post
You won't be disappointed if you get one David, trust me!



The two bolt cover that I bought ran me $265. I believe the four bolt covers, which I think is what all the SD trucks have are $30 more, so $295. They charged me $34 for shipping from Washington where they're at to here in Texas. Also, there's a $100 core charge and return shipping is not pre-paid. They sent it in a USPS large flat rate box and they recommend that you return in the same manner.
All in all the quality of the box is well worth it!
Really? I looked on Swamps website (The first one I came across) and they were over $500. Im guessing you dealt straight with Red Head?
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2002 F250 7.3, Forged Rods, Billet Wheel 38R, 250/200's, H-11's, Smith Push Rods, Comp 910's, DI Uppipes, Marty's Fuel System, Twisted Diesel Built Trans, ******** Tunes.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:09 PM
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Yep I called them up and ordered over the phone. I saw swamps site as well and decided to just go ahead and call Redhead.
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Nick Fornicola
1997 RCLB Puller 86k- Being rebuilt
1997 CCLB Tow Rig 91k- Waiting for my puller to be done so it can tow something
2010 Jetta TDI 6spd Manual 51k- My daily driver
  #10  
Old 07-29-2013, 02:38 PM
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Enslow Enslow is offline
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Nice write up!!! I've been in need of a steering box for a lonnngggg time!!
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