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1999-2007 General Questions General questions related to 1999-2007 Super Duty trucks. If it doesn't fit the other categories, post it here. Gas engine discussion that pertains to all models is allowed. Specific gas engine questions should use the Gas Engines forum.

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Old 06-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Steering box freeplay

Had the steering box replaced under warranty by Ford in February because of excessive freeplay at the steering wheel rim (like 3+ inches) 500 miles ago. (Vehicle only has 40K total miles on it.)


After replacement, all the joints, mounts, etc. were deemed good and it had only about 1/2" freeplay at the steering wheel. It was great. Now, only 500 miles later, it has 2 1/2" of freeplay.


The extended warranty has since expired, but the box is covered by a 12 month 12K warranty. I plan to take it back to the dealer, but expect them to say it is "in spec."


I have been told to never tighten the steering box adjusting screw, but what do you folks think?


It seems to me the only good long-term solution is a Red Head box. If I ultimately will end up be sending this one to Red Head as a core, do I really have anything to lose by tightening the screw (a little) and possibly shortening the life of this new box?


Thanks as always,


DOC
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you sure it is in the box? What have you done to eliminate ball joints or something else?
If the vehicle is off, sitting still can you move the wheel? If so does the pitman arm move?
If it truly is in the box you will have no move at the pitman arm when you move the wheel.
You can access the steering shaft through the wheel well easily and or the pitman arm from just laying underneath.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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As noted in the post, all joints, etc. were deemed good by the dealer 500 miles ago. Pitman arm joint was replaced 1000 miles ago. Going back to dealer this week.

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Old 07-03-2012, 06:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well unless you bent your pitman arm or it wasn't tight enough and then was damaged that's about the only way it would be bad. It is basically a chunk of metal. On one end it has a hole for the steering gear to connect, which can wear if something is wrong, worn, or loose and the other end is just a slotted round hole. It requires close to 200lbs of torque to tighten the steering box nut. The drag link connects to the other end and if that was bad you would see a ton of play too. If the drag link bolt was loose and it wore out the pitman arm then it should have been replaced too.

So they deemed everything OK and you expect them to tell you the steering box is "in spec".

I guess I am missing something, you seem to trust their comment on the steering gear (ball joints) yet expect bs on the steering box...

The only way you are going to know is to get under the truck and look, or you will only know what they tell you. The Ball joints in these are a common failure point. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, the first report was that the tech found the left front hub to be seized, the right front was "tight" and that he needed these to be addressed before the steering box. I explained that I felt badly for the tech who did a good job installing the box, only to have it fail due to no fault of his own and how now would have to do work for free due to the flat rate system. He needed to do some work to "amortize" the "free" work over. I explained how I checked the freeplay and how I had a hard time understanding how the hub status could factor into that.

The SW then changed his attitude and became concerned about me being a satisfied customer. I suggested that would be acheived by their installing a Red Head box that I supply at no additional labor charge.

He indicated that he would get back to me.

Any suggestions for front hub options besides OEM?

Thanks,

DOC
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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For prices, check Rockauto.com or there are complete kits that use the old spindle/bearings/hub setup of old. But those are $2400 or more. iirc
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry, but they were referring to the locking hubs. Looks like they are about $200 each for OEM from Tousley. Manual ones are available from Warn and Milemarker at close to the same price.

Anyone have any experience with rebuilding OEM hubs?

Thanks,

DOC
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2001 4WD 7.3 PSD Excursion: Detroit TrueTrac Vs and CT's Mod Bs Shortest F250 Blocks Tuff Country Ladder Bars Helwig Anti-Roll Bars Front and Rear 2003 Ex Front Bump Stops Superduty Rear Airbags CT's 4 Front and 2 rear Bilstein 5100s Top Gun Double Bilstein Steering Damper Red Head Steering Box 5 Degrees Positive Front Caster Stock wheels with Pirelli Scorpion ATs ART Rotors Porterfield R4S pads Walker BTM Zeibart
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Old 07-07-2012, 02:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Update: When I went to check on the truck at the dealer today, it was parked in the lot. I fired it up before going in and found that most of the freeplay was gone. Obviously, the tech had adjusted the steering box, supposedly an absolute "No-No" to do while on the vehicle. (It is supposed to be setup on the bench with a complex set of procedures, then left alone.) However, it is great to drive now that it does not have 3" of on-center freeplay at the steering wheel rim.

A power steering hose was rubbing against the steering box and needed to be tied out of the way.

The left locking hub that was supposedly "seized" was fine. The axle spun freely when the hub was unlocked and locked firmly when the knob was turned to the locked position. After I reattached the detached vacuum hose, it worked fine remotely from the cab. Regarding the right hub, it also locks and unlocks fine, but when unlocked, there is a little bearing rumble when you spin the axle by hand that the SW thought sounded like the bearing in the locking hub.

So, can these Ford OEM hubs be rebuilt with a new bearing, etc.?

Thanks,

DOC
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2001 4WD 7.3 PSD Excursion: Detroit TrueTrac Vs and CT's Mod Bs Shortest F250 Blocks Tuff Country Ladder Bars Helwig Anti-Roll Bars Front and Rear 2003 Ex Front Bump Stops Superduty Rear Airbags CT's 4 Front and 2 rear Bilstein 5100s Top Gun Double Bilstein Steering Damper Red Head Steering Box 5 Degrees Positive Front Caster Stock wheels with Pirelli Scorpion ATs ART Rotors Porterfield R4S pads Walker BTM Zeibart
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