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Old 05-06-2016, 12:37 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Hmm I do believe the torsion bar is the most significant part of this equation.

The torsion bar is a tuneable diameter, and requires a certain amount of input torque to twist enough to open the hydraulic ports. Lets throw an arbitrary number on it and say it requires 20 ft-lbs of input torque (and matching resistance from the tires) to fully open the hydraulic ports and provide 100% assist. If you put a 2:1 quickener in front of that steering box, you've doubled the amount of input force required to twist that torsion bar, and open the hydraulic ports to maximum. So now it takes 40 ft-lbs of input force to fully open the hydraulics, while the tires are in the same scenario as the non-quickener situation.

I think that right there is why quickeners get such a bad rep, they're put on systems that were designed not to have a quickener. To properly use a 2:1 quickener before a servo/steering box (as they are traditionally used), you would have to rebuild the steering box with a lighter torsion bar that requires about half the input torque to open. Then at least the steering input torque to even get the hydraulics working in your favor hasn't changed.

I don't think the mechanical leverage through the system provides much of the strength, just the sensation we look for. Similar to the full hydro car that ran boat steering cables to meet the "mechanical" requirements
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Dovenosed 5 speed WJ on 9"s

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Old 05-06-2016, 12:40 PM   #52 (permalink)
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How is it stupid quick? I already drive a car with 2 turns lock-to-lock and I need the steering speed to correct for slide, hairpins, corrections, etc.. At high speeds, it will be twitchy and easier to get out of shape, but that's where we need to find the "sweet spot" for steering ratio. 10:1 sounds perfect, 2.5 turns lock-to-lock would be ideal, which is all dependent on pitman arm and steering arm length. Now, the rig has 4 turns lock-to-lock and I can't correct quickly enough in the fast stuff.

Saginaw boxes are used because most of us have those mounts already built on our chassis. There are tons of parts available, although it seems difficult to find 10:1 and 8:1 parts for them at the moment. Really, I'm not opposed to the servo and a manual box of the correct ratio, but I have yet to find a manual box with those guts already in place.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:45 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Since the quickener is not industry standard for our application, explanation will only go so far to those who have never dabbled with them. Try it. There's 2 ratios available.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:49 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Since the quickener is not industry standard for our application, explanation will only go so far to those who have never dabbled with them. Try it. There's 2 ratios available. 2:1 was too fast and too heavy for myself and most racers. 1.5:1 isn't too bad but still makes the steering heavier.

The torsion bar twists directly from the steering input to overcome the increased load/resistance at the tire, sector, post torsion or however we want to describe it.

No load against the tire, no demand for increased oil volume signaled from the action of the torsion bar in the servo.

Heavy load against the tire and the input overcomes the rate of the torsion bar signaling higher oil flow.

Is this not how it works?
What you just explained seems to coincide with why I think quickeners have a bad reputation, even though much of that heaviness can be designed out of the system. I can't tell if you're in disagreement with what I posted above?
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Dovenosed 5 speed WJ on 9"s
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Old 05-08-2016, 06:23 AM   #55 (permalink)
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I'm in disagreement (respectfully since I better use a nicer internet voice) that the load or heavy steering felt by the user inheritant to the nature of a quickener can be eliminated. (In a traditional orientation). I still can't comprehend that a remote control valve can fix this. Once again, the quickener imposes a resistance along with the load at the tires in front of the torsion bar. Oil is demanded to the DE ram to steer the tires overcoming the resistance opposed on them and the action and sensation for the driver occurs as it should but how in the end does this eliminate the effort of the quickener?

The harder I think of it, in a remote control valve system with the quickener in between it and the gear, it may be possible if the torsion or fluid volume was intentionally and correctly designed could overcompensate the effort of the quickener. But would it have adverse effects of ram speed or over power the steering components to a failure point?

Another note since this is a tech dump for gear comparison. Is lock to lock accurately relevant when specifically identifying each gear? It's dependent on the geometry of each vehicle. Furthermore even the free throw of a gear isn't accurate. Often times the gear is capable of more than the geometry of a steering system is capable of. (And should be appropriately limited )

Ratio is the solid info to label each gear by.

Each drivers "desired" lock to lock for a specific vehicle is an entirely different thing.
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Old 05-08-2016, 09:02 AM   #56 (permalink)
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I'm in disagreement (respectfully since I better use a nicer internet voice) that the load or heavy steering felt by the user inheritant to the nature of a quickener can be eliminated. (In a traditional orientation). I still can't comprehend that a remote control valve can fix this. Once again, the quickener imposes a resistance along with the load at the tires in front of the torsion bar. Oil is demanded to the DE ram to steer the tires overcoming the resistance opposed on them and the action and sensation for the driver occurs as it should but how in the end does this eliminate the effort of the quickener?

The harder I think of it, in a remote control valve system with the quickener in between it and the gear, it may be possible if the torsion or fluid volume was intentionally and correctly designed could overcompensate the effort of the quickener. But would it have adverse effects of ram speed or over power the steering components to a failure point?

Another note since this is a tech dump for gear comparison. Is lock to lock accurately relevant when specifically identifying each gear? It's dependent on the geometry of each vehicle. Furthermore even the free throw of a gear isn't accurate. Often times the gear is capable of more than the geometry of a steering system is capable of. (And should be appropriately limited )

Ratio is the solid info to label each gear by.

Each drivers "desired" lock to lock for a specific vehicle is an entirely different thing.

Hmm the way I see things-

The effort we see in a steering system is 100% due to the torsion bar. If we remove the torsion bar and reassemble a steering box, we would be able to open the hydraulic ports turning the wheel with our pinky, zero resistance. Only problem is the feel would be so light, it would be unmanageable even with a quickener. There is nothing saying that energy is required to open the hydraulics except the torsion bar, but without it all that heaviness is gone and we're landing on the other end of the spectrum where things are twitchy and light.

We're talking about pistons roughly 3" in diameter So that piston has over 7" of surface area (minus the center "rod"'s surface area). 1200PSI (ballpark) over 7" surface area is 8,400lbs of assist. I think the physical motion of us cranking on the steering wheel provides minimal torque to turning the wheels as compared to the gear box's piston, and the only thing that defines the steering effort for the hyraulics is the torsion bar.

So where we love our high crawl ratios to multiply torque, a quickener is an overdrive unit. So for a 2:1 quickener where every 1 rotation of input, you get 2 rotations of output at half the torque. So if you are putting a quickener between you and the steering box, you have to reduce the dimeter of the torion bar to a measurement that requires half the input torque to open. If you build it like my first post where it goes servo>quickener>box, then the torsion bar is upstream of the overdrive unit and the torque straight from your hands through the torsion bar is as expected from the factory.

If your steering feels heavy just to get the hydraulics working, a lighter torsion bar will reduce that feel.


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Dovenosed 5 speed WJ on 9"s
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:54 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Good explanation and debate.

So is your thought that the "Q" post control valve falls under the work performed in general by the hydraulic system? Thus relieving the effort we would feel otherwise if it were pre control valve?
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Old 05-08-2016, 03:40 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Good explanation and debate.

So is your thought that the "Q" post control valve falls under the work performed in general by the hydraulic system? Thus relieving the effort we would feel otherwise if it were pre control valve?
Thanks, trying to keep it objective as possible to help develop my own understanding further, and so we can all gain from it in the end. I love tech discussions like this, so thank you for keeping it along as well

So on this one, let me explain how I believe the servo/control valve works. First the general stuff, then the specifics Honestly these things are pretty cool-

The first thing in the line of things connected to the steering wheel in a power steering system is the control valve. This valve regulates the hydraulic fluid to provide assistance when necessary. It is NOT RPM sensitive, but it IS torque sensitive due to the torsion bar. If whatever is downstream (steering box, rack) provides no resistance, like when the tires are off the ground, the valve freely spins but never opens the ports to provide hydraulic assistance. Now if the tires hit resistance so the output of this control valve doesn't want to spin, but you twist hard on the steering wheel attempting to make things move - the torsion bar inside the valve actually twists however many degrees to open a hydraulic channel for assistance. These torsion bars are a replaceable and tuneable option that range from fingers on the steering wheel assistance at one end, to having to crank on the wheel and hardly even noticing you have power steering at all.

So as long as the control valve is the first thing connected to the steering wheel and gets that resistance, all it knows is "hey, you're twisting that steering wheel with 20ft-lbs or torque, let me send fluid to help". You can change the ratios of the box downstream, or add quickeners as you please without changing the force required to get that fluid flowing. If you put a quickener before the control valve though, you have to account for the reduction in torque (corresponding to ratio) the torsion bar will actually see for a given input.

No matter what ratio box is chosen, the actual volume and surface area the hydraulic assist has to work with doesn't change, which means the responsiveness of the system shouldn't change. In the case of a steering box, let's throw some arbitrary numbers around and say the piston has 3" travel, and rotates the sector shaft 90* in the process of doing so. No matter what ratio box you choose, that piston is still going to travel the same distance per rotation of the sector shaft. So you would get the same amount of hydraulic assist out of a 6:1 box, as you would a 13:1 box (fixed ratio for simplicity). The only difference would be that it would be easier to demand more out of the 6:1 box due to the fact that you could keep the torsion bar in the control valve twisted and at max assist easier. You might run out of pump capacity when dealing with the ability to go lock to lock in 1 second versus 2 seconds before (random numbers for example). I'd bet restrictions in the lines, fittings, and box itself would become apparent at some point though I'm pretty sure some tinkering can be done there
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:40 PM   #59 (permalink)
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I'll add some Ford tech since what I saw was kind of patchy. 80-96ish F-series, Broncos, Explorers, Rangers, BIIs, E-series use the same basic box (I wouldn't be surprised if the Aerostar, LTD and Panther platform as well but I've never checked). These boxes are known for having a fuckton of slop as well as idiots breaking them when they crank the adjustment screw trying to get rid of the box. There are different pitman arms and minor differences in ratio available (IIRC there's less than 1 turn lock to lock difference between them all). They all use the same 3-bolt mount, 32 spline sector shaft and 3/4-36 input shaft as mentioned earlier. I've never seen a "flat chunk of steel" pitman arm on one of these boxes, doesn't mean they aren't out there.

Some Rangers as well as early 80s F-series and Vans came with manual steering (I've never seen a manual steering equipped 80-96 F-series or E-series but supposedly they're out there). Same mounting pattern and steering shaft spline. I've never checked if the sector shaft spline is the same but I recall reading something on another forum saying it wasn't. Ratios are 7 turns lock to lock (never seen one in person) and 6-something turns lock to lock (seen two).

The 99+ superduty boxes use the same 3-bolt mounting pattern, steering shaft spline and some use the same sector shaft spline but as mentioned earlier some use a different 36 spline. Ford had issues with one of the OE suppliers for this box. Reman ones are good but do your homework before getting a junkyard box. This box supposedly (I haven't taken one apart) has a larger piston and is beefier all around. These boxes aren't known for having as much slop as the 80-96 ones (but none them have been driving gravel roads for 20yr so we'll see...)

I'd like to see more tech on the newer SD box it seems like a good option for everyone who doesn't need to save a few ounces in every part of the vehicle.

I also don't think that the reputation for bad sloppy steering from these boxes is worth worrying about. Redhead rebuilds them and everyone says there's no more slop. From what I've heard they just use high quality components all around and double/triple check that all the tolerances are tight but good. I've yet to rebuild my manual ranger box (will probably get a second to rebuild and swap) but I'll get a sector shaft spline count at that time.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:55 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Great ford info there!

I've got a '97 dodge ram 1500 in the shop right now, and it's got a saginaw style box with a friggin 3.47" bore. This thing should have some serious power to it
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Old 05-19-2016, 12:46 PM   #61 (permalink)
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I understand & see several mentioning using the torsion bar to tune the steering feel, but I don't see listed (& google doesn't seem to be helping me) where someone would find them to do some tuning? Is is something available through the usual steering guys, just not listed anywhere, or do you just have to dig through OEM parts diagrams & guess at sizes?

Specifically thinking for a saginaw box, but it's for an upcoming project for me, so if tuning is simpler on another box I'd absolutely consider it.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:31 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Sweet MFG has a huge variety of torsion bars they build their servos and steering boxes with, but I'm cruising around on their website and haven't seen them sold individually. Don't know if it might be a special request item, or they specifically avoid selling just the torsion bars?

https://sweetmfg.biz/home.php

I've heard some servos are literally just traditional saginaw control valves, dropped into an aluminum housing with porting and such. If that's the case, the torsion bar from a servo could match a saginaw, and be interchangeable. Not sure if that's exactly the case at Sweet, but I'm sure they could answer.

The other answer: Got a lathe? . Although if these are true torsion bars, they might be heat treated to a certain depth? That's pure speculation though

*edit*

Woodward too. Still probably need to call to see whats available though

http://www.woodwardsteering.com/
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:27 PM   #63 (permalink)
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A look at the servo detail shows 13 different torsion rods. Hope customer service is good on that one.


Edit to below: Follows that a smaller diameter makes the "turning easier."

Another item in the Sweet tech section was to offset the steering joint universals to negate shaft lengthening. Offset one at 45' to the other. Interesting when working on a friends golf cart we had major steering stiffness problems. We started messing with the orientation of the universals and solved it.... Probably found that same spot.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:49 PM   #64 (permalink)
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A look at the servo detail shows 13 different torsion rods. Hope customer service is good on that one.
Those listed options are the different diameters you can choose from. If their part numbers reference like the Sweet stuff, they range from .180" torsion bars to .240" torsion bars .

I still honestly have no clue what diameters relate to what feel at the steering wheel, but I'm going to be measuring and taking note of the diameter on every steering box I pull apart from here forward.

*edit* Just for future reference, i double checked some of the bars on the Sweet site and see between .185" - .275" for steering boxes, .185" - .320" for servos
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Dovenosed 5 speed WJ on 9"s

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Old 05-25-2016, 02:28 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Sweet MFG has a huge variety of torsion bars they build their servos and steering boxes with, but I'm cruising around on their website and haven't seen them sold individually. Don't know if it might be a special request item, or they specifically avoid selling just the torsion bars?

https://sweetmfg.biz/home.php

I've heard some servos are literally just traditional saginaw control valves, dropped into an aluminum housing with porting and such. If that's the case, the torsion bar from a servo could match a saginaw, and be interchangeable. Not sure if that's exactly the case at Sweet, but I'm sure they could answer.

The other answer: Got a lathe? . Although if these are true torsion bars, they might be heat treated to a certain depth? That's pure speculation though

*edit*

Woodward too. Still probably need to call to see whats available though

http://www.woodwardsteering.com/
Yeah, turning one down worried me a bit as well. There has to be a factory part listing somewhere, I'm guessing it's just something that hasn't been pushed much in any DIY corner yet, making info scarce.

I did find this reference: Shea_3, Saginaw Power Steering Ratio Spread Sheets Looks like most anything from a car will be smaller for someone with junkyard spotting skills. Seems the car crowds are swapping out for jeep box t-bars to get less power feel (more feedback to the wheel), so maybe even some cross-genre trade potential there too.
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Old 05-29-2016, 03:56 PM   #66 (permalink)
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So I got around to disassembling the Ford steering gear today. This box had water damage but would have been rebuildable. I wanted the sector shaft for an idler arm so this box was basically trash and I beat the crap out of it. I couldn't find a guide on-line that covered disassembly of the input shaft and valve body so that got more than a little ghetto.


Obviously the piston, sector shaft pitman arm and so on are dirt simple. The torsion spring runs inside the worm gear part of the shaft. Taking the torsion spring out required driving out two ~3/16 pins, kind of a bitch without a press but totally doable for a shade tree mechanic.

The part of the valve with the seals comes apart after that because the torsion spring pins are what hold the lower, worm gear part of the shaft to the upper steering input and hydraulic valve part. If you only want to change the torsion spring this is enough. To change the bearings on the shaft you need to pull a 1-1/8 12pt nut off. The nut has a sheet-metal section on the end that's crimped onto a knurled portion of the shaft (acting like a lock nut). I cut this off with an angle grinder but it may be possible to open it up or just force it to turn over the knurls and reuse the nut with some thread locker or by deforming the threads. From there the two needle thrust bearings and one final O-ring slide right off.

If I could find a source for a replacement lock nut a rebuild would be easy but taking the nut off in some way that it's reusable is the only hard part to rebuilding this box, It's not quite as simple as a Chevy box but anyone with half a brain can probably rebuild a junkyard close to perfectly box on their second try,

I didn't bother measuring the torsion spring.

My phone is being stupid and I'm too lazy to fix it to upload pics.

The later Superduty boxes may be different on the inside even though they physically interchange.

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Old 05-29-2016, 04:45 PM   #67 (permalink)
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20 pt. nut Of the 4 I have, they are 12 pt. 1-1/8".

Ford gears are far simpler than Saginaw for tear down. No special tools required for sector shaft removal or control valve swaps. I can't find a single source to mention different torsion rates or anything beyond a 17:1 ratio. In short, when and if you were to break a sector or the torsion, you are 3 hand wrenches away from a trail fix. There's no guess work of interchangeability when it comes down to getting yourself out of the woods or back into the race. End of story.

The only specialized tooling necessary for a 100% tear down is a 4 point spanner wrench that allows the entire spool valve assembly to slide out of the housing. With a 2" pipe nipple or 2" X 1/4" wall DOM and a grinder, any shade tree can make one. Page 1 of my steering gear thread illustrates the wrench I created.
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Old 05-30-2016, 06:04 PM   #68 (permalink)
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20 pt. nut Of the 4 I have, they are 12 pt. 1-1/8".

Ford gears are far simpler than Saginaw for tear down. No special tools required for sector shaft removal or control valve swaps. I can't find a single source to mention different torsion rates or anything beyond a 17:1 ratio. In short, when and if you were to break a sector or the torsion, you are 3 hand wrenches away from a trail fix. There's no guess work of interchangeability when it comes down to getting yourself out of the woods or back into the race. End of story.

The only specialized tooling necessary for a 100% tear down is a 4 point spanner wrench that allows the entire spool valve assembly to slide out of the housing. With a 2" pipe nipple or 2" X 1/4" wall DOM and a grinder, any shade tree can make one. Page 1 of my steering gear thread illustrates the wrench I created.
A punch worked fine instead of the tool you made. I would have made one if it didn't move easily with a punch. Getting the spool valve out of the housing was no problem.

20 was a typo, I mis-counted and thought it was 10pt. However, the nut I had was crimped on way more than the one in your thread. Instead of the machine punch marks holding it to the knurled section like in your pic mine was crimped more like a hydraulic hose. Probably a different supplier or a re-builder using different tooling or something. I'm not rebuilding this gear, just stealing the sector shaft to make a beefy idler arm so it doesn't really matter to me.

If all you want to do is swap spool valves than it doesn't matter. Of course rebuilding a box mid-race is a waste of time and dropping in a spool valve would be really quick.

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Old 05-30-2016, 06:33 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Yeah the crimp is a bitch.

Punch, chisel or screw driver will break the nut loose just fine too as you said. I liked the challenge of making a tool. Iirc there's a torque value for reassembly but I don't see it necessary. Just run er back snug and realign the set screw marks. I say this because it "comes off" the spool valve quickly. Really it just retains the assembly and doesn't require a specific pre load against it.
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:58 PM   #70 (permalink)
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I was kinda annoyed that the torsion spring in the ford box is all the way in the worm gear part of the shaft. I was kinda hoping to build a general purpose hydraulic valve out of the box. The junkyard is full of Chevy trucks so not a problem but those boxes aren't free and this one was.
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:15 AM   #71 (permalink)
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So I have a bit of an issue. 95 yj Saginaw box. Where the pitman shaft goes through, the snap ring that holds the seals and washers in the box.... What is standard procedure when there is no groove for a snap ring? I keep blowing the seals out.
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Old 08-17-2016, 09:32 AM   #72 (permalink)
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What pump are you running? Hydro assist? Are you positive there is no groove?

Seals blow out from too much pressure, usually. Did you do the West Texas spring mod? That, or another high pressure pump, could cause it.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:23 PM   #73 (permalink)
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I am running just a reman stock yj pump, no mods to it. I have drilled and tapped the box, but nothing else.

So I had a rebuild kit here. I put the new bearing, seals, and washers in the box, they seem to be a tighter fit. I'm still a bit stumped on the lack of snap ring. At least 1 of the astro boxes I've done also didn't have a groove, but I didn't blow the seals out of it (astro pump and box in an s10).

I know it's hack, but I didn't have any other ideas. So I ended up stacking a few more washers so that the pitman arm is sandwiching it all together. I don't know yet if it's going to work, but that's what I did. I won't be able to run it for a few days, I'm waiting on a psc pulley before I can finish putting it together.


Last edited by _Stucky; 08-17-2016 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:07 AM   #74 (permalink)
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It didn't work.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:17 PM   #75 (permalink)
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If anyone is watching this thread, does anyone know what the sector shaft nut size/thread is on a Saginaw steering gear? My re-man steering box did not come with one.
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