Un-Steered

With the engine out, I’m in full mission-creep mode, and I’ll be attempting a lot of work on the front suspension this summer. First on my list is getting the steering box rebuilt. I never found the steering all that loose, but it leaks like crazy and I’m pretty tired of pouring Type F in the top of the system only to clean it off the floor a few days later.

It looks like this steering wheel puller will work to remove the pitman arm, but it won't.
It looks like this steering wheel puller will work to remove the pitman arm, but it won’t.

The steering box in held on with three bolts, though you need to detach hoses, the steering column and the inevitable ground strap to make sure it actually comes out when the bolts are removed.

It is, of course, also attached to the suspension via the pitman arm, which requires a special puller to remove. I tried to use my steering wheel puller for the job, but quickly realized it wouldn’t work. A local auto parts store loans the proper tool for free, but I had to wait a few days for it to become available. Once I had it, the arm came off in just a few minutes.

With the correct tool, the pitman arm came off easily.
With the correct tool, the pitman arm came off easily.

I thought at first that I could use a jack to lower the box when it was loose, but there’s no real flat surface on the bottom to rest the jack, and it appeared that the box needs to slide sideways a bit before it drops down. The darn thing is heavy and I didn’t want it falling to the ground, so I wrapped a chain around it and hooked it to my engine hoist, which worked pretty well: with the bolts out, I could lower the box a bit, maneuver it around obstacles, lower again, rinse and repeat.

It's a long reach with the hoist back to the steering box, but this worked well.
It’s a long reach with the hoist back to the steering box, but this worked well.

When it got close to the ground I slipped the chain off and lowered it the rest of the way by hand, where it fell over a barfed up a few more ounces of fluid (of course!) I’ll be off to the rebuilders a little later this week.

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