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power steering problems

 
  #1  
Old 06-30-2012, 11:46 PM
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power steering problems

one of the (many) issues with my new to me f350 is the power steering. it was leaking real bad, and i couldn't tell from where. the power steering would also seem to cut out when the truck's stationary, but revving the engine would restore the power.
anyway, i cleaned everything up and found that most of the leaking fluid was coming from the sector shaft, and so i replaced its seal. the leak is still there, but instead of leaking cups of fluid every day, it's down to a few drops. not satisfactory, but still okay.
unfortunately, on the test drive, the steering was still difficult when the truck's not moving. does that mean that the pump's bad? there is also a whole lot of play in the steering shaft (in the order of 1 inch at the firewall). is that normal?

thanks!
 
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:32 PM
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any suggestions?
 
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:13 PM
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i've never had to diagnose ps problems. maybe someone can give me some advice as to how i can do so?
 
  #4  
Old 07-03-2012, 09:06 PM
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Well, there should be no "slop" in the steering system parts.

I would guess that your sector shaft has worn bearings and you need a general steering box rebuild. The new seal slowed down the leak, but if the shaft has too much "slop" then it will never be optimum.

I have never used them, but Redhead steering gears has a good reputaion for a steering box. You will probably need a new rubber isolator / coupler on the steering shaft as I am sure it is deteriorated.

As far as the lack of power assist, too ways to approach this. First is to get a pressure guage and plumb it in line between the pump and box and see what the pressure is. Compare that to the factory specs found in your service manual.

Not enough pressure? Bad pump. Pressure within specs, then the box is bad, but we already suspect that it is bad due to wear.

So, the second method is to replace the known worn box and see what happens. If it works, great, if it still needs a pump, well put one one. it is not like you are wasting extra money replacing parts in a dart board type of diagnosis, the box is bad.

A good general inspection of the front end would also be in order to check for wear and slop.

If the truck has been lifted and/or has non spec larger tires, this just accentuates the wear and slop, so make sure that the kit as installed is properly engineered, IE if the lift is above about 4", make sure the proper drop pitman arm is installed, as well as other drop brakets. Make sure NO spacers/blocks are used on the front end. These are not only dangerous on a front axle, they are also illegal for that very reason in most states.

Check the tires, if they are a lot wider that the proper spec'd tires (as by Ford), then most likely they have lots of offset to the outer edge, if so then that also just increases the wear and tear on steering componets, as well as reducing the front axle load capacity due to improper wheel bearing loading.

Hope this helps, please report back what you find and we can troubleshoot further...

David
 
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:47 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I still am wondering about the play in the steering shaft, where it goes through the firewall. From what I've gathered reading the forums, it seems like it's the upper bearing that's shot (probably from the PO using the steering wheel to pull his you know what up and onto the seat). Do I just replace that bearing, or should I just go 'head and get a new shaft and put it in with the new steering box?

I'm planning on using this truck to take me and my family on a long drive down the Pan American Highway.

Thanks, Mike
 
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:41 PM
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Is the belt in good shape? When I replaced the belt at the same time I changed the alternator my power steering improved quite a bit.

The old belt looked ok, little worn but not too bad and the tensioner was in range but must have been slipping.
 
  #7  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bdelmar2 View Post
Is the belt in good shape? When I replaced the belt at the same time I changed the alternator my power steering improved quite a bit.

The old belt looked ok, little worn but not too bad and the tensioner was in range but must have been slipping.
good call. i will check that out.

i was towing my poor dart back home once, and when i was backing up with the wheels turned i noticed a burnt rubber smell. could it have been the belt?
 
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:32 PM
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in the end, this is my plan of attack for the power steering:

-make sure all the connections are tight and not leaking,
-replace belt
-bring it to a shop so that they can slap a power steering analyzer on it. that will tell me exactly what needs to be done, thus saving me the headache and expense of replacing parts that may not need it.
 
  #9  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:36 PM
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i'm still a little bit in the dark regarding the steering shaft. should i:

-replace the upper bearing
-replace the shaft with a junk yard part
-get an aftermarket one, like from Borgeson?

knowing that i am not made of money and that this truck will have to be good for 15-20,000 miles (about the distance from sf bay area to ushuaia argentina, what are your thoughts?
 
  #10  
Old 12-08-2012, 06:11 PM
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Well, I've never heard of a power steering analyzer. Doesn't mean there is no such animal, but I've never seen one.

I'm not clear on where the play is in your steering. Is the shaft moving up and down, or is there just a delay from when you turn the steering wheel until the front tires turn?

If its just a delay, the steering box is probably getting loose. While its not the "correct" procedure, it is often possible to tighten the box up and remove the play. It does mean the box is basically worn out, but I've known people to drive ford trucks for years after tightening them.

Might even stop your leak and its free to try.
 
  #11  
Old 12-09-2012, 06:16 AM
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i read about the analyzer in my factory service manual. it costs 600 bucks and measures fluid flow and pressure.
my steering definitely has a delay. but what i'm worried about is the shaft itself moving around at the firewall.
 
 
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