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1980 - 1986 Bullnose F100, F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Early Eighties Bullnose Ford Truck

Steering box question

 
  #1  
Old 03-19-2019, 09:14 AM
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Steering box question

Hello, all. I have a '85 F150 4wd. Very clean original truck for the most part, 78k miles. Steering's getting rather sloppy, and all the hydraulics have taken up some bad leaking lately. Pondered just resealing it all, but figured if it was out already, might as well do it. The shaft itself seems to be fine. I've adjusted the box a few times, it's just had it.. surprising for the mileage. Anyway, with this one, I like to repair or improve as it's my daily driver.
That being said, do you all have any input on, for a stock original truck, using one of the redhead/bluetop steering boxes? The most offroad this truck sees is the occasional gravel driveway, I don't beat on it. But from what I understand they do work a bit more smooth and precisely. If I did that I'd also probably go with the Saginaw pump, but time will tell on that one. That and all joints anyway. For the extra cost, I should hope it's an improvement.. I've but never tried one.
Input, anyone?
 
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:21 AM
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Stock these trucks drove and steered down the road fine. I have heard the red/head boxes are nice and they take more care when rebuilding them, but you pay for it also. I am not sure the Saginaw pump is worth the trouble either, but if you feel you need it, go ahead.

With that many miles on it, your steering box is probably fine, but you have adjusted it so it's probably sticky now correct? And I would anticipate seals to start leaking after they get this old.
 
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Stepney View Post
For the extra cost, I should hope it's an improvement.. I've but never tried one.
Input, anyone?
I have a new RedHead steering gear laying on my work bench, still in the box. Bought it when they had a sale either at Christmas or Thanksgiving, can't remember which now. I've read enough good reviews that I'm sure it will be a nice improvement. I've replaced the stock box with two reman units from Napa, one after another, and they're both sloppy enough I'd call them borderline dangerous. That might be a bit extreme, but they're way too sloppy imho. I also just bought an intermediate shaft from an 87-91 truck which I'm told is supposed to be an improvement also. The rubber boot is torn on the upper joint in my original shaft.

I know very little about the Saginaw pump upgrade. I understand it takes away the whining issues with the stock pumps, but I'm not sure what further benefits there are.


 
  #4  
Old 03-19-2019, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Stepney View Post
Hello, all. I have a '85 F150 4wd. Very clean original truck for the most part, 78k miles. Steering's getting rather sloppy, and all the hydraulics have taken up some bad leaking lately. Pondered just resealing it all, but figured if it was out already, might as well do it. The shaft itself seems to be fine. I've adjusted the box a few times, it's just had it.. surprising for the mileage. Anyway, with this one, I like to repair or improve as it's my daily driver.
That being said, do you all have any input on, for a stock original truck, using one of the redhead/bluetop steering boxes? The most offroad this truck sees is the occasional gravel driveway, I don't beat on it. But from what I understand they do work a bit more smooth and precisely. If I did that I'd also probably go with the Saginaw pump, but time will tell on that one. That and all joints anyway. For the extra cost, I should hope it's an improvement.. I've but never tried one.
Input, anyone?
The saginaw pump is not really needed, most of the whining issue people experience is the result of using the wrong P/S fluid in the system. These systems and more importantly the Ford pump was designed to use Type F trans fluid.
 
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:30 AM
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I've only heard good things about the RedHead steering boxes. Supposedly, folks also install Borgeson steering shafts in their Bullnose trucks and it improves steering. I didn't know you had to cut the shaft before install though. Here's a thread:

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/5...n-install.html
 
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Olds64 View Post
Supposedly, folks also install Borgeson steering shafts in their Bullnose trucks and it improves steering.
I was going to install one of those shafts with my new RedHead box, but Steve83 recommended installing a 1987-1991 intermediate shaft. He says they're much better. Edit: Better than the original Bullnose shafts,....not the Borgeson shafts.

The rubber on the upper joint of mine is torn and leaking, and I just wanted to replace it with something better anyway.
 
  #7  
Old 03-19-2019, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Franklin2 View Post
Stock these trucks drove and steered down the road fine. I have heard the red/head boxes are nice and they take more care when rebuilding them, but you pay for it also. I am not sure the Saginaw pump is worth the trouble either, but if you feel you need it, go ahead.

With that many miles on it, your steering box is probably fine, but you have adjusted it so it's probably sticky now correct? And I would anticipate seals to start leaking after they get this old.
Seals, of course I can reason with that too. The engine is no better haha. No, it's not sticky at all. Actually it's quite smooth, just more play then I would care to have. Not going to bother with seals in a box that has better then a quarter turn of slop. As for the Saginaw, I do run type F in this. It's not too bad a noise really, and it is older, but figured if it had any benefits I might as well. Probably won't. As for reman vs the other boxes .. I've read nothing good of reman steering boxes from Napa/motorcraft/etc. Which is why I brought up the redhead.
 
  #8  
Old 03-21-2019, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Stepney View Post
Seals, of course I can reason with that too. The engine is no better haha. No, it's not sticky at all. Actually it's quite smooth, just more play then I would care to have. Not going to bother with seals in a box that has better then a quarter turn of slop. As for the Saginaw, I do run type F in this. It's not too bad a noise really, and it is older, but figured if it had any benefits I might as well. Probably won't. As for reman vs the other boxes .. I've read nothing good of reman steering boxes from Napa/motorcraft/etc. Which is why I brought up the redhead.
My truck has a reman pump, haven't scraped the grease off yet to see whose name is on it. Screamed like a banshee when I got it. I pit the recommended amount of Lucas in, can no longer hear it in the truck. What's the rag joint look like?

 
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:58 AM
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I put in a Red-Head years ago, Love it.
As Gary mentioned years ago, the stock boxes did not have berings and races in them. Ford (or whoever) machined the box with a "race" and popped a bering on it,
Years later the "race" gets egg-shaped.

Soooo, when you by a re-man box from and auto store, you get a "new" box with the original egg-shaped "race"
this is why you hear "replaced the box 2-3 times and it's still sloppy, what else is loose?" when its the "new" box.
Red-head (and others) machine out the "race" and install real, matched bering and race. that's why they are "tight" and cost some more.

BTW, any time you "adjust" a box you are damaging it more......
 
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by reamer View Post
I put in a Red-Head years ago, Love it.

As Gary mentioned years ago, the stock boxes did not have bearings and races in them.

Ford (or whoever) machined the box with a "race" and popped a bearing on it.
(sigh) Where in the world did you get this info? It's incorrect!
The Ford/Saginaw P/S box has a flaw .. there are no bearings on the sector shaft, it rides directly on the housing. So, before too long, fluid begins leaking from the sector shaft seal.

Red Head takes the housing, machines it, installs the needle bearings that Ford omitted...on purpose, so they could sell a gazillion sector shaft seal kits.

So called auto parts store "rebuilt" gear boxes are nothing more than resealed gear boxes.

The gear box adjustment nut only sets the pre-load for the sector shaft. Over tighten it, the box could lock up. Backing the nut off when this occurs, may not solve the problem.
----------
1978: Ford introduced the C-II P/S pump on EVERYTHING except cars with Hydro-Boost and Econolines (both used the Saginaw pump).

The Ford C-II pump was used into the 1990's and has a plastic reservoir. The P/S pressure hose attaches to the pump w/a qwik connect fitting.

Upper pic: Ford/Saginaw P/S gear box // Lower pic: Ford C-II P/S pump.




 
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:20 PM
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The trick in getting a good rebuilt box is getting one that was on the little Ranger pickups and Bronco II's. They use the same box and have a much easier life than in a larger pickup.
 
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Old 03-21-2019, 02:44 PM
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I don't believe you and "trace" a box at Autozone or wherever to find it's history of what truck it came out of. Go red-head and call it finished.....
 
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:21 PM
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Hey all, thanks for the updates. As for the adjustment.. frankly it did help just a hair but only for a short time. I was planning to replace the box anyway, so even if it played up, no big deal. Been over a year now. By most standards the steering is actually probably considered good, but not good enough to me I guess haha. The '35 1.5ton Ford I drive on occasion feels more 'correct' if you will. Anyway I'll see about a new box, and never mind the Saginaw for now. I have been fully aware of the Redhead/Bluetop machining practice for some time. The only thing that prompted this was the sudden leaking, which I have tracked down to the top bolt on cover. Rag joint looks fine but I'll probably do it since I'm in there anyway.
Thanks for all the comments again.
 
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by reamer View Post
I put in a Red-Head years ago, Love it.
SNIP
Red-head (and others) machine out the "race" and install real, matched bering and race. that's why they are "tight" and cost some more.
SNIP
Is Red-Head the only supplier to consider? They are in Washington State. There is also a shop in Texas that rebuilds steering boxes, https://www.westtexasoffroad.com/
Our 86 has loosebowelssectorshaftitis which is now becoming restless tightsteeringandwanderlegs syndrome. Rebuilt NAPA box in there. Junk.

Red-Head calls it 2757: 1980-97 Ford F-Series With 2 Bolt Top Cover and it's $266
https://redheadsteeringgears.com/pro...olt-top-cover/
 
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Old 05-05-2019, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kramercd View Post
My truck has a reman pump, haven't scraped the grease off yet to see whose name is on it.
Ford C-II P/S pump introduced in 1978 on everything except 1978/79 cars with Hydro-Boost & Econolines (both used the Saginaw pump).

This pump has a plastic reservoir, the P/S pressure hose attaches to the pump w/a qwik connect fitting.
 

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