So I disassembled an 03-06 TJ box for you fawkers.. - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So I disassembled an 03-06 TJ box for you fawkers..

Well I have acquired a spare steering box and I am going to tap it for hydro assist. In the process I wanted to take it apart to make sure I don't get any metal shavings inside to wreck the seals and stuff.

These gearboxes are supposedly non-servicable and if you were to take it to a dealer you'll get charged something like $400+ for the steering box alone

For starters I've never taken a steering box apart before so I'm learning this just as much as you guys are... with that in mind, I decided to take this thing apart and take pictures of everything so it can hopefully help out somebody else...

Here's the box out of the Jeep with the pitman arm removed... I had to cut the stupid thing off after breaking 2 pullers. It was ON there!



I removed the (8) bolts holding the input shaft assembly on... they are 6mm allen bolts. I used a dial indicating torque wrench when removing them to get a rough estimate on torque, I measured 25ft-lbs for these.



Everything will slide right out pretty easily, I tapped it with a chisel CAREFULLY because there is a paper gasket under there. I was lucky and it didn't rip or anything... I am going to try and hunt down some gasket material and trace it to reproduce it.



This is the entire input shaft/piston assembly when removed... When you pull it out, pull it straight out, don't twist the worm gear too far out or else you'll hear a clickity clack and you'll have to pull the cylinder apart to reinstall the ball bearings where they belong... I found this out the hard way out of stupid curiosity

Here is a look into the box, you can see the teeth of the sector shaft in there:



It's hard to tell in that pic, but the teeth on the sector shaft are no completely straight... they are angled slightly, as you adjust the steering lash, you pull the entire sector shaft either in or out which forces these teeth into or away from the cylinder assembly. It is basically the same as adjusting backlash in a ring and pinion.

Back to the cylinder assembly, I twisted the worm gear too far out and heard the ball bearings fall where they shouldn't. Doh!

I twisted it all the way out and poured all the bearings out... I counted 24 of them total.



Here's a look how the bearings look inside... keep in mind they're not in the right spot, if you look in there in person there are two tabs that keep the balls from going to far forward or backward along the worm gear.... they recirculate along the outter passage we're about to tear apart... Hence the term "recirculating ball steering gear."



There are two 10mm bolts holding retainers that keep the bearing "shute" in place... there are tabs at the very end that are folded up to keep them from backing out. I have bent the one down on the left, the one on the right still needs bent down for removal.

These are the little "tabs" inside the cylinder that lead the bearings into the bearing shute... these are part of the bearing shute halves:



For reinstalling the bearings, you put the worm gear into the cylinder most all the way:



....
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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....

Feed the bearings into one hole until they come out of the other... at this point you won't be able to get any more in, you install one of the bearing shute halves so the balls don't continue being pushed around the worm gear and start recirculating:



You can fill the shute and then throw the other half on:



I forgot to snap a pic but you put refer back to the pic of the 10mm bolts, there is a middle piece that holds the two shute halves together and then two more tabs go on with the 10mm bolts keeping everything down.

Next I wanted to see what was hiding under this thing:



Obviously remove the snap ring first, then I pried on the "button" on top with two screwdrivers and it moved without a -ton- of effort.



I pulled it the rest of the way out with some pliers and this is what came out:



In the middle in the last pic there is a spring just barely sticking up, you can pull it out.

Then looking in there this is what you see:



There is another snap ring in there, but it is NOT necessary to remove it... You can grab the whole assembly with pliers and pull it out. There is another spring on the bottom just like what was on top. They -appear- to be identical but I am keeping them separated and going back where removed from. Sorry I forgot to snap a real detailed pic of what came out, but you'll see it in the end.

At this point I decided to pull the sector shaft retaining plate off... it is held w/ 4 bolts, also 6mm allens. These have a lot of loctite on them and I measured 30ft-lbs of torque to remove them.



The plate comes out, but it is a complete pain... there is no gasket under there, there is a large o-ring that seals it way inside that you will be fighting the whole way. The only thing you have to be careful of damaging is the small green o-ring which is sealing an oil port which I can only assume lubes the sector shaft bearing.

Here you can see the whole thing out:




You can also see me using a 6mm allen opposite of the sector shaft... this is the lash adjustment nut. An 18 or 19mm(forget) lock nut is around the 6mm hex, remove the large nut entirely using the allen to keep the center from rotating.

You then turn the lash adjustment to the RIGHT to completely thread it into the box pushing the sector shaft out of the other side.

And you can see the entire thing disassembled:



In the lower left area you can see the springs and the weird valve assembly underneath the o-ring button-top thing under a snap ring.

Bottom is obviously the sector shaft... you can more clearly see the angled teeth on it... as you move it in and out of the box via the lash adjustment screw you tighten the mesh between the sector shaft and cylinder assembly.

Here is a better look at the sector shaft adjustment bolt... it just spins in the sector shaft and is retained by a snap ring.



.....
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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.....


Here's the inside of the sector shaft retaining plate:



The little oil orifice for the sector shaft bearings:



And the inner sector shaft bearing... you can also see through the threaded hole that the lash adjustment bolt goes through:




Figured I'd be the guinnea pig to further the knowledge of the PBB

What's nice is the entire thing is sealed with o-rings save for the input shaft/cylinder assembly. I'm going to pull some part numbers off the other seals if possible and take some measurements and stuff before I screw up trying to tap it and attempt to reassemble
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I was just considering drilling & tapping mine a month ago and after some research found out a couple things about my '03 Rubican't....

That steering box is a Mercadies steering box, not the Saginaw boxes that they used on every other TJ before it. Kelvin at PSC said that they don't even tap them anymore for customers because they go all psycho at about 40-45 MPH. It has something to do with the size of some internal part (a flapper of some sort I think???) that can't get enough flow. After much deliberation I decided to just bite the bullet and buy a new box from PSC. It's a Saginaw box that's been converted to bolt right up on the '03 & up TJs. I got it bolted up, the steering shaft shortened, and the pump, res, & cooler all installed. I'm putting the ram on this weekend and she should be good to go

Just FYI on what I found out about this box. Nice pics BTW.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The little balls in the Saginaw box are two different colors indicating two slightly different sizes. They alternate when going back in. I assume you checked the size of these prior to just putting them back in? If not you might want to.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Very cool info, I had a bear of o time putting my box back together a while back as was clueless on the process so this definitely helps! Thanks for the info and great pics!
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Last edited by geberhard; 04-30-2010 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubiconJeepGuy View Post
I was just considering drilling & tapping mine a month ago and after some research found out a couple things about my '03 Rubican't....

That steering box is a Mercadies steering box, not the Saginaw boxes that they used on every other TJ before it. Kelvin at PSC said that they don't even tap them anymore for customers because they go all psycho at about 40-45 MPH. It has something to do with the size of some internal part (a flapper of some sort I think???) that can't get enough flow. After much deliberation I decided to just bite the bullet and buy a new box from PSC. It's a Saginaw box that's been converted to bolt right up on the '03 & up TJs. I got it bolted up, the steering shaft shortened, and the pump, res, & cooler all installed. I'm putting the ram on this weekend and she should be good to go

Just FYI on what I found out about this box. Nice pics BTW.
Good to know... this is the first I've heard of this happening, there are probably 3-4 people who have tapped these boxes that I've read about here on PBB, so I'm going to do it anyway and see what happens. Worst case scenario I waste some time and a case or two of beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostytj View Post
The little balls in the Saginaw box are two different colors indicating two slightly different sizes. They alternate when going back in. I assume you checked the size of these prior to just putting them back in? If not you might want to.
They all appeared the same size and are the same color... I'll pull them back out and put my dial calipers on them to double check before I tap stuff and reinstall.

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Very cool info, I had a bear of o time putting my box back together a while back as was clueless on the process so this definitely helps! Thanks for the info and great pics!
No problem! Was it a Mercedes box? What did you have it apart for?



Anyways tonight I'm going to take some measurements and may tap it at that time as well. We'll see what happens.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Mine was a Sagi pump, a bit different from the Merc. drilling and tapping. I also took an Astro apart with a buddy, pretty similar.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Mine was a Sagi pump, a bit different from the Merc. drilling and tapping. I also took an Astro apart with a buddy, pretty similar.
This has been around for a while now and is what I used when I rebuilt mine. https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=570869

I guess you missed it when you were doing yours?
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Nah, I mean a while back . Check this form Bill as well, very helpful:

https://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billav...Tap/index.html
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The box is a MB box and is totally servicable. I work for MB and rebuild the boxs all the time. Let me know if want a rebuild kit and I will get you a part #.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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That would be excellent! Out of curiosity what MB vehicles is this box based on or related to?

I really need the felt/papery gasket for the input shaft retainer and that's about it.

How far off were my estimated torque values?
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I tookd the voz measuremmtn. Snf got 355mm forward selector shadft and 332nnm for inside tether on sector aheaft and balls - 7mmm
Or so.

Piasto. Is about three inxzhes in xdiamrt and figured out the valve with the. Training sprinfs on both sides Morse the flaoppr thigh.to bypass steering stopn prssssuesjf. Will. Post ifs when. Room muskrat
Spinngs.
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I tookd the voz measuremmtn. Snf got 355mm forward selector shadft and 332nnm for inside tether on sector aheaft and balls - 7mmm
Or so.

Piasto. Is about three inxzhes in xdiamrt and figured out the valve with the. Training sprinfs on both sides Morse the flaoppr thigh.to bypass steering stopn prssssuesjf. Will. Post ifs when. Room muskrat
Spinngs.
lol.
I guess whiskey isn't your drink?
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Ahh... me and a friend went bowling with our wives. 3 pitchers of Miller lite and having a smart phone so I can post anywhere is a bad combination.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:01 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatlander757 View Post
I tookd the voz measuremmtn. Snf got 355mm forward selector shadft and 332nnm for inside tether on sector aheaft and balls - 7mmm
Or so.

Piasto. Is about three inxzhes in xdiamrt and figured out the valve with the. Training sprinfs on both sides Morse the flaoppr thigh.to bypass steering stopn prssssuesjf. Will. Post ifs when. Room muskrat
Spinngs.
Translation:

Took some box measurements, the sector shaft is 35mm on the large side and 32mm on the smaller side. All the ball bearings are the same size, 7mm.

The piston assembly measures 3in, it was actually like 2.970 or something, so close enough.

Also figured out the "flapper" valve thing seems to go in the middle of that funny valve with springs on both sides... I think that when you turn the box all the way left or right the flapper thing pushes against those springs which divert flow to bypass. At least that's how it looks to me.

Not sure about that last part
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:06 AM   #17 (permalink)
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That would be excellent! Out of curiosity what MB vehicles is this box based on or related to?

I really need the felt/papery gasket for the input shaft retainer and that's about it.

How far off were my estimated torque values?
They are in all 202 chassis 1994-2001 c classes.
I don't torx sh!t, so I have no idea

I will see if I can find you a p/n or even a seal kit.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:35 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hurleygo3 View Post
They are in all 202 chassis 1994-2001 c classes.
I don't torx sh!t, so I have no idea

I will see if I can find you a p/n or even a seal kit.
That would be very cool... I did find something online looking for 202 steering box seal kits but it didn't have in the picture the 8 bolt gasket under the input shaft retainer that I need.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Here's a look inside the case... see the white o-ring? That is where the cylinder seals, you could tap for hydro assist anywhere on either side of the piston. You could tap it at the very end of the box(where the "cap" -would- be on a Saginaw box) as long as the piston doesn't bottom out and hit it. Not entirely sure how far it can go when fully assembled.



I chose to tap it in the small port at the very back... it is visible from the outside by the large "bump" towards the end where I tapped it at:




The other port I placed directly under the sector shaft. Seems easiest and best placed for my application. You can tap damn near anywhere for this side of the piston provided it doesn't interfere with anything inside. This is your "turning left" port from what I can tell... nearly the entire box fills with pressure on left turns.



The last few inches of the cylinder assembly is where the o-ring rides.




That's what I got for now.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:09 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Anyways, got my box back together, fittings installed(1/4" NPT to -6AN), hoses made, everything installed on the Jeep and driveway tested:





Here's a video of me testing it... note that in order for it to actuate the ram without the drag link attached, I had to turn it all the way to the stops... that would lead me to believe that at the box's left and right extremes the box has no internal relief of any kind.

On the Jeep, my steering box has just a little bit more travel than the ram does(since it's now limited) and the steering stops(which I set up at the same point as the ram hitting it's stops). Time will tell if the box will self destruct or not


edit:

I still need to plumb in a PS cooler and replace my PS pressure hose from pump to box before I actually test drive it(and find out if it goes crazy at 45mph).
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Last edited by flatlander757; 05-10-2010 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:48 PM   #21 (permalink)
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How's it working now ?
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:05 PM   #22 (permalink)
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having a crazy time in rebuilding the gearbox cannot see your pictures,,, how....
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:20 PM   #23 (permalink)
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google "photobucket embed fix for chrome". download that
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Old 03-25-2018, 11:04 AM   #24 (permalink)
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google "photobucket embed fix for chrome". download that
that link is kick ass, thank you
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