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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
have a 78 w-150 with only 350,000 miles on 'er (and going strong). a couple months ago, the steering started getting way loose so i consulted the FSM, and did all their tests in there for loose steering to no avail, so i replaced the steering box (its power steering). its been four months and ive replaced it three times now, but the steering has barely improved. it will be nice and solid for a few days, and then back to the same old s***. there is at least a 1/4 turn of play in the wheel before it hits any resistance. anyone know what the problem might be?
 
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Have you checked the steering coupler? Mopar is still laughing over that design. Most people will replace the entire steering shafy with an aftermarket from Borgeson or Flaming River. Several members have fabbed their own shaft. Look in the how to section for more
 

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Interesting part in this post is that you mention that the steering is fine for a few days after you have replaced the steering box. So either you have boxes failing, or there is something you are doing each time you replace the box to make the problem go away for a few days only to have it return. I will ponder this one for a while.

Mac
 

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Are you installing used boxes or reconditioned ones? You need to get under there while someone else turns the wheel and while you look for lost motion somewhere in the steering system. What condition are the rest of the parts like drag link, tie rod ends,etc.?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
drag link and tie rod ends were just replaced (professionally), so they are in great condition. the boxes are reconditioned, and i havent used ones from the same company. by the way, is it normal for the steering link (big bar across the axle) to be able to turn a little bit? if i hold on and twist it, it moves less than half an inch. is that bad?
 

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78machowgn4me said:
have a 78 w-150 with only 350,000 miles on 'er (and going strong). a couple months ago, the steering started getting way loose so i consulted the FSM, and did all their tests in there for loose steering to no avail, so i replaced the steering box (its power steering). its been four months and ive replaced it three times now, but the steering has barely improved. it will be nice and solid for a few days, and then back to the same old s***. there is at least a 1/4 turn of play in the wheel before it hits any resistance. anyone know what the problem might be?
OK heres a few thoughts. If you are running tall tires and / or off road the truck frequently your steering boxes may not be big enough for the job. Big, heavy tires alone can easily eat steering boxes. If this is the case, you may need to upgrade your steering system with hydralic assist. (There is a How-to on this)

Hows the condition of your pump? If the pump is taking a dump, your steering boxes might get trashed. There could be contaminants, rust, water etc. in the steering pump, or the pump isn't fully pumping and this can result in excessive heat in the steering box.

You might not be using the proper power steering fluid. Contrary to popular opinion, you should not use automatic tranny fluid in the power steering pump.

Other parts in the steering system can result in excessive steering wheel play. You should replace the rag joint as these tend to wear with mileage and age. Also check your tierod ends and the ball joints. Finally check all of your suspension bushings, i.e. those at both ends of the leaf springs (You may need to disassemble hem to find out if they need replacing.)

Ed
 

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A few suggestions; are you flushing the pump when you replace the steering box? if not the pump is just filling the new one with trash and then it dies. Also you may want to try a P/S filter, Autozone has them, ATSCO #2210 $17.99 it goes in the return hose between the gear and the pump.
 
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