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StevenBauer
06-29-2010, 04:09 PM
2001 Ford F150, v6, 2wd. This morning when I got in the truck the power steering was gone. I swung by the garage that inspected it 2 weeks ago and we found a pretty constant drip from the power steering gear box. He said a seal kit was available but with labor charges it would be better to just replace it. He quoted me $220 for the gear box and $120 to put it in. Is this something I could do myself? I'm fairly mechanical though I have no real automotive training. Cartalk isn't on until Saturday so I'm asking youse guys.



Steven

Canoeyawl
06-29-2010, 04:19 PM
Well, it's just nuts and bolts - but the pitman arm is a tapered press fit and you will need a $pecial puller to remove it.
That price quoted seems reasonable to me.
If there is something wrong with the rebuilt unit it will be their problem, not yours.

mmd
06-29-2010, 04:22 PM
My advice? Junkyard part, pro installation...

oznabrag
06-29-2010, 05:03 PM
My advice? Junkyard part, pro installation...

And good advice, from where I sit. There have got to be several tens of thousands of those pumps that have lasted longer than the rest of the vehicle. Having one shoot craps is probably fairly rare.

Ed Harrow
06-29-2010, 09:38 PM
Once upon a time I had to deal with a leaking Ford C-4 auto trans. The seals on the torque converter weren't... It was rather nasty and the Amco boys were smiling. It was pretty surprising what a bit of brake fluid did to that leak!

Real men, of course, don't have power steering! ;) (ummm, if there's any doubt, that's a winkie)

ben2go
06-29-2010, 10:03 PM
Remember to get the steering box and the steering wheel centered.My GF's 01 Ranger's is off and it cause the turn signals to constantly shut off when they're turned on.Your steering set up is the same as her Ranger.When you go to place the new box in,set the steering wheel perfectly straight.Use bungees cords from the steering wheel to the brake pedal,or bottom of the seat,to hold it still.Then center the steering box, make a very fine, but bright line, on the pit man arm shaft and the steering box body.I use a fine tip paint pen for this.When you are finished double check that everything is in line.If you are lucky,the steering column shaft is a D shaft and all you have to do is make sure the steering box is centered.

Oh, I used to be a mechanic in my youth.

Hwyl
07-01-2010, 01:25 AM
Did you fix it yet? Do you need a hand

Dumah
07-01-2010, 07:07 AM
Another way to remove the pitman arm is to hold a small maul against the side of the arm at the boss and strike the opposite side smartly with another large hammer, usually takes once but MUST be a solid strike. For safetys sake do not remove the retaining nut completely untill the taper is loosed.

Cheers, Dumah,
Halifax, NS

Garret
07-01-2010, 07:17 AM
My advice? Junkyard part, pro installation...

The problem with that is that many garages won't install junkyard parts. Also - most salvage yards nowadays charge 1/2 of new - so I bet a used unit would be at least $100 - with at most a 30 day warranty instead of (probably) 12 months.

To me - the real question is the $120 installation. Working in the driveway without all the special tools will probably mean more like 4 hours for you. Is your time worth $30/hr? Only you can decide that. Should you decide to do it yourself, make sure you find the exact torque specs for all nuts & bolts & torque them all carefully (especially the pitman arm nut!). This is steering we're talking about here....

mmd
07-01-2010, 07:54 AM
Hi, Garret; No insult intended, but if your mechanic refuses to install a good recycled car part, you should look for a new mechanic. As for warranty, if 12 month guarantee on a part that normally lasts five or ten years is worth $100 to you, buy a new part. Some bits are not worth buying used - brake calipers, batteries, and catalytic coverters certainly fall into this category - but many parts can be re-used with impunity. Your mechanic (provided that he is willing to give up his 15% - 30% markup fee for a new part and lower himself to using recycled parts) should be able to visually and manually inspect the part and determine its efficacy 90% of the time.

Your advice about finding out the proper installation procedures is spot-on, though.

Garret
07-01-2010, 08:14 AM
Hi, Garret; No insult intended, but if your mechanic refuses to install a good recycled car part, you should look for a new mechanic. As for warranty, if 12 month guarantee on a part that normally lasts five or ten years is worth $100 to you, buy a new part. Some bits are not worth buying used - brake calipers, batteries, and catalytic coverters certainly fall into this category - but many parts can be re-used with impunity. Your mechanic (provided that he is willing to give up his 15% - 30% markup fee for a new part and lower himself to using recycled parts) should be able to visually and manually inspect the part and determine its efficacy 90% of the time.

Your advice about finding out the proper installation procedures is spot-on, though.

None taken! "My mechanic" is usually me... However, I do take my cars in on some jobs (I can get an oil change for $4 more than I can buy the parts - why would I do that work for $4?). I also no longer have my own lifts, alignment rack, etc.

I certainly agree with you that mechanics should be willing to do this, but my experience is that (at least here in Vermont) many are not willing to do so. There is the markup issue, but also liability & good will. In our litigious country, garages really have to watch their backsides. Back when I mechaniced for a living, I had a customer try to sue me because his brakes quit a month after I did a tune-up. Luckily, I could show his attorney the note on the work order saying that he needed new brakes (I always checked brakes & steering whenever a car came in) & the attorney told him to drop it. The good will piece is that many mechanics worry about an unhappy customer if the part goes bad right off - so they tend to go the "safe" route.

The other piece is how "used" is the used part? It's always a crap shoot (as mentioned in a previous post) & you may end up with a steering box that lasts 2 weeks & starts leaking. If you've brought the part to the mechanic, you'll pay to have it replaced. If he provides a rebuilt unit, at least for the warranty period, the labor's on him. I am a believer in recycled parts - but there are downsides to using them.

YMMV.... Hey - it's a truck ;-)

mmd
07-01-2010, 09:22 AM
Certainly good points, Terry. I am presuming that the customer has taken the time to select, then get to know, his or her mechanic. I realize that that is sometimes difficult to do in this world of high-volume "repair centres" with "service advisors" to prevent customers from actually talking to the mechanic whom is working on their car. (I hate those places.) OTOH, I read someplace that the average North American spends more time interviewing for a mechanic than they do in looking for a personal physician. Go figure. In my case, my buddy who had been my mechanic for several years had to stop due to a deteriorating back injury, so I was on the lookout for a new mechanic. On a reccommendation, I went to see Alden. I asked him what his shop rate was. He said $XX.xx per hour. I told him that I would gladly pay him that amount for an hour if he would sit on a milk crate and stare at my truck while figuring out what the problem was before he began swapping out parts, rather than set in immediately changing parts until he found the one that fixed the problem. He agreed that that was the proper way to go about it, but that if it took him an hour to figure it out, he needed to find another line of work. I liked that answer and we have been friends, and he has been the mechanic for my trucks, my wife's and daughter's and father's and mother-in-law's cars for about a dozen years now. I used to do a lot of my own mechanic-ing, but recent work assignments have placed me far from home, putting large amounts of mileage on the truck, and little spare time to spend on wrenching, so I have turned all but the simplest tasks over to Alden. He has stepped up to the plate wonderfully, even to the point of estimating when Maureen or Gwyn will need an oil change and calling them to remind them to check their mileage.

A good relationship with a good mechanic is a wonderful thing...

Hwyl
07-03-2010, 08:07 PM
2001 Cartalk isn't on until Saturday I'm askso

They mentioned steering repair today and cautioned about airbag problems. I'm still available to help, tomorrow is some local fiesta celebrating a minor insurgency.

Call if you decide to give it a go

Hwyl
07-03-2010, 08:20 PM
http://www.stp.com/products/functional-fluids/power-steering-fluid-and-stop-leak/

Michael D. Storey
07-03-2010, 08:23 PM
I do this kind of stuff. Not professionally, but I know better than to put the hot end of a wrench n my mouth. Listen to the Man From Bridgewater. No rocket surgery here. If you buy the part from somebody who is big, say, Advance, you can arrange to 'borrow' the puller very reasonably. Plus, with that super pickup road clearance, you will have plenty of feng shei room down there. It should not take you longer than a six pack.

StevenBauer
07-03-2010, 08:31 PM
After looking into this a little I think the shop where I got the truck inspected may have damaged the gearbox. They replaced a tie-rod end and didn't quite get the steering wheel lined up right. I think I'm going to try to get them to fix it. I'll let you know how it works out. Thanks for all your replies.

Gareth, our street is having a block party tomorrow afternoon. If you aren't busy, 4pm.



Steven

Garret
07-04-2010, 08:41 AM
After looking into this a little I think the shop where I got the truck inspected may have damaged the gearbox. They replaced a tie-rod end and didn't quite get the steering wheel lined up right. I think I'm going to try to get them to fix it. I'll let you know how it works out. Thanks for all your replies.

Gareth, our street is having a block party tomorrow afternoon. If you aren't busy, 4pm.

Steven

Well..... Actually, I don't necessarily see a connection here. The outer tie rod end (depending on the side) is either ~2 ft. or ~6 ft. away from the gearbox. The inner is attached to it, but they'd have to do something really stupid to mess up the gearbox when they removed the tie rod end. They would notice a leak ('cause they were under there), but changing the tie rod end shouldn't affect the box at all. As far as the wheel not being straight - that is caused by their setting the toe-in portion of the alignment without having the steering wheel dead ahead. That part of the job they should re-adjust.

My 2 cents....

Mrleft8
07-04-2010, 08:59 AM
Just fill the resevoir up with 5200 it'll be good as new!