How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

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Retired BLM Rig
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How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

Post by Retired BLM Rig » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:48 am

This information will be useless for those of you with shiny new trucks and lifetime warranties, but maybe it will be helpful for another DIY'er out there.

My steering box pitman shaft seal has been seeping for a couple years, but lately it had increased to a drip, so it was time to fix it.
Steering Box - 1.jpg
The factory service manual procedure involves pulling the pitman shaft out of the box, but I wanted to try doing it the old school way.

Disassembly: I started by removing the pitman arm from the steering box. Use a 1-5/16" socket to loosen the nut, then leave the nut on the end of the shaft to catch the arm when it pops loose with the puller.
Steering Box 1 - 1.jpg
Sorry the sway bar was right in the way of this picture.

The next item to remove is the dust seal. It's not the main oil seal, just a thin single lip dust seal. I used my Lisle seal puller to pop it out. I had to grind a red cleatus hair off the tip of the puller to get it to slip between the shaft and the seal and then it popped it right out.
Lisle 58430.jpg
Lisle 58430 Seal Puller

The next item is a snap ring that doesn't quite come out. Oh it would come out fine if the pitman shaft wasn't in the way, but that was what I wanted to avoid. I compressed the snap ring with pliers and then used a hook tool on the opposite side to get it out at an angle. Once it was out I removed a black cleatus hair of material from the inside of the ears and now it fits perfect between the housing and the shaft.
Snap Ring.jpg
I removed about .020" from the inside of the ears of the snap ring for clearance with a small drum sander. Now is slips in with no problem.

Above the snap ring is a washer that usually falls out on its own, then the main oil seal. Here's the old school secret for getting the seal out without getting oil all over yourself in the process. Position a oil drain bucket right under the steering box, as close as you can get it, to avoid splash, then start the engine and turn the steering wheel all the way to left and hold it. The pressure in the steering box will blow the seal out of the housing into the bucket. Shut off the engine and let the fluid drain out while you grab your new parts to put in.
Steering Box 2 - 1.jpg
Tools and parts.

Reassembly: Clean up the housing bore, put a little grease on the inside lip of the new seal and then slip it up onto the shaft. Put the steel washer over the seal and use a long thin punch and hammer to gently and evenly tap the seal up into the housing, hitting on the steel washer not the seal. Install the snap ring, dust seal and pitman arm. Torque the nut to 185 ft. lbs. and refill the P/S fluid reservoir. Start the engine for 5 seconds and shut it off. Add more fluid, do this a couple times until all the air is out of the system. Jack up the front end, start the engine and turn the steering wheel from lock to lock to bleed out any last pockets of air. Let the jack down, check the fluid level and DONE!
Steering Box 3 - 1.jpg
All cleaned up and reassembled.

Actually before I refilled my system I removed the reservoir from my pump to clean it out. There's a fine mesh nylon screen filter inside the reservoir that can get clogged up with sediment over time. Mine was pretty bad, but now it's nice and clean with fresh fluid and no more leak!

Well that's it for this episode, tune in next time when I'll be fixing the next thing that breaks on the old Retired BLM Rig. :patriot:

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Reloaderguy
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Re: How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

Post by Reloaderguy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:44 am

Excellent, thanks for posting. Just for clarification, this is the smaller pre '09 steering box, correct?
Best Year Power Wagon

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Re: How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

Post by Retired BLM Rig » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:18 am

Reloaderguy wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:44 am
Just for clarification, this is the smaller pre '09 steering box, correct?
Yes, but this procedure works on most all recirculating ball type steering boxes, I've used it on Ford's and Chevy's in the past as well.

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Re: How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

Post by DamageWagon » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:33 am

Sweet writeup man, I love knowing the easy way. I always appreciate that you put the time into even simple write ups

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Re: How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

Post by w2dodge » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:44 am

thankyou...excellent work

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Re: How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

Post by Colibri » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:21 am

Solid gold sir! As always thanks for your contributions!
Central Texas and Houston area
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Lots of other stuff lol

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Re: How To Replace A Leaking Pitman/Sector Shaft Seal

Post by djgaston » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:16 pm

Nice!
Danny Gaston, Dodge Off Road  -  Email sales@dodgeoffroad.com - Phone 855.9009.DOR


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