The job of the steering gearbox is to make sure that as the steering wheel moves, the front wheels on the vehicle will be able to move at the right angles as well. Different types of steering linkages, which connect the wheels on the front, are involved in this.
In manual steering boxes, the problem usually lies on their rugged construction. Power steering, meanwhile, tends to leak fluid or lose fluid easily. Hydraulics is key to the smooth and easier movement of the steering wheel as pressure is applied to the steering system. A hydraulic pump is used to create enough pressure. When the steering wheel is turned, pressure that has built up will be used to help move or turn the steering system. To minimize the force needed to turn the wheels easily, an electric pump may be used. If steering is messed up and it looks like the steering gearbox is the one to blame, don't waste time. Check the gearbox to confirm the damage or problem.
How to remove a steering gearbox
When the gearbox or any other steering component conks out, it will be difficult to steer the vehicle. Things can easily go out of control. So before any serious trouble strikes, you have to check for a faulty steering component. You have to follow almost the same steps when removing the gearbox. It doesn't really matter what kind of steering linkage is used since you won't have to disassemble the linkage. Here are the steps:
Needed tools and equipment:
- Ratchet and socket set
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wrench set
- Flathead screwdriver
- Pickle for tie rod end tool
- Rubber tubing caps (for power steering)
- Safety goggles
Step 1: Park the vehicle on a level ground. The wheels should be angled straight.
Step 2: Check where the steering column is linked to the input shaft in the steering gearbox. You'll find a pinch clamp that's round with a bolt through it. This bolt should then be loosened, after which the clamp should be spread open by putting a flathead screwdriver in the opening or the gap somewhere around the bolt. The pinch should be slid up and off the input shaft.
Step 3: Crawl underneath the vehicle to see where the steering linkage is connected to the gearbox's pitman arm. Look for a tie rod type with tapered fitting. This pretty much resembles tie rod ends that connect the steering linkage to the wheel. At the linkage end, you'll find a castle nut and cotter pin. Use needle-nose pliers for removing the cotter pin, followed by the castle nut.
Step 4: Position the pickle fork between the pitman arm and linkage end. Tap the pickle fork's end with a hammer until the fork is ready to snap the fitting out of the pitman arm. For power steering, power steering lines must be removed. Rubber or plastic end caps must be fitted on them to keep fluid from leaking.
Step 5: Undo the bolts securing the steering gearbox to the frame. You can then lower and pull out the gearbox.
Once removed, you can now visually inspect the gearbox, do the necessary repairs, or even replace the part if already damaged.