What did you do to your Sierra/Silvy today? - Page 4202 - Chevy and GMC Duramax Diesel Forum
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post #42011 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 08:33 PM
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To swap the steering gear you have to:

Lock the steering wheel so that it doesn't rotate and destroy the air bag clock spring. A bungee cord through the wheel and down the the seat frame works well.

Remove the hydraulic lines.

Disconnect the steering shaft. It may be under a plastic shield that will have to be pulled back to access the clamp bolt.

Remove the pitman arm or else undo the end stud from the center link.

Then undo the three bolts that hold the steering gear to the frame.

Technically it isn't hard at all.

Of course you have to get access which in itself can be a big job. Typically you will need to take out the down pipe from the turbo to the intercooler and possibly relocate some wires and hoses. You can go in through the wheel well by removing the liner if that is easier for you.

This job can be really easy if you have the right tools (tubing wrenches for the hose fittings and puller for the pitman arm) and everything cooperates. It can be very difficult if you don't have the right tools and everything fights you. This is one job that can be done in half an hour if it all goes well or can take all day if you have to fight it. One suggestion is to spread the clamp on the end of the steering shaft to make it easier to get back onto the replacement gear. You can spend a lot of time fighting that spline otherwise.

Everything is keyed and splined so that you can't put it together wrong. I shouldn't say that because people can be pretty ingenious about finding ways to mess things up but unless you really try it should be hard to make a mistake.

You could reseal what you have but I never to that. You would have to remove the steering gear to replace the input seal and then readjust it properly. Unless money is really tight it just isn't worth the time and risk of a mistake.

One thing to consider is that if there is even the slightest chance that the pitman arm needs to be replaced then now is the time to do it. If you put on a new pitman arm then you don't have to get the old one off the steering gear. It can be a real bear to remove the pitman arm without the right puller.

If it is leaking only from the pitman shaft the that is worth replacing the seal because it doesn't mess up any of the adjustments to go into that one. You just have to remove the pitman arm to get access to the seal and its retainer.

Last edited by mizterwizard; 02-10-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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post #42012 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyDMax89 View Post
Believe me I wanted to but the current one on the trailer is welded to the tongue so it's a lot easier just to swap balls. OR, I can pony up a few hundred bucks and buy a nice, newer drop down adjustable hitch with the 2 different size balls already installed, but why spend that kinda money when I already have a drop hitch.... That's my thought process anyway
I just don't like 1 7/8 " hitches. I wish they would all go away because I see a lot of 2" hitches on 1 7/8" balls which is just asking for it. For myself, I have standardized on on 2 5/16" but I guess if you are careful you could do just fine with the full assortment.
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post #42013 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyDMax89 View Post
Believe me I wanted to but the current one on the trailer is welded to the tongue so it's a lot easier just to swap balls. OR, I can pony up a few hundred bucks and buy a nice, newer drop down adjustable hitch with the 2 different size balls already installed, but why spend that kinda money when I already have a drop hitch.... That's my thought process anyway


IMO... it is essential to have an adjustable hitch so you can tow as level as possible as each trailer height is a little bit different. Swappable balls are an added bonus. :humpin


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post #42014 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizterwizard View Post
To swap the steering gear you have to:

Lock the steering wheel so that it doesn't rotate and destroy the air bag clock spring. A bungee cord through the wheel and down the the seat frame works well.


Easier yet, run the seat forward and run the seatbelt through.


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Ryan

2006 GMC Sierra 3500 SLT CCLB 4x4

Mods: EGR block, EFI LIVE by Rob (DSP5), Edge Insight CTS2 w/ backup cam and EGT probe, Pacer 07.5+ smoked cab lights, M-A Pump rub fix, TransGo Jr w/ Mike L springs, Russell stainless brake lines.

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post #42015 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyDMax89 View Post
Believe me I wanted to but the current one on the trailer is welded to the tongue so it's a lot easier just to swap balls. OR, I can pony up a few hundred bucks and buy a nice, newer drop down adjustable hitch with the 2 different size balls already installed, but why spend that kinda money when I already have a drop hitch.... That's my thought process anyway
Get one of these, you can swap balls in less than one minute.
And it wouldn’t be just used for that, it’ll break loose 150 + lb torque lug nuts.
I have a good quality Ingersol-Rand 1/2” air impact, my Dewalt works just as good than it does, and no air hose to drag out.
Made in USA, the short stubby ones made in China.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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post #42016 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 06:33 AM
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Not a good idea to get into the practice of swapping balls out.
You'll never get the ball as tight as when new and 1st torqued down.
Over time, as the threads flatten out, you won't even be able to hand thread the nut on.

Better to invest in another ball mount and leave the new ball installed, swapping out the ball mounts. You'll never have one come loose that way.
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post #42017 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizterwizard View Post
To swap the steering gear you have to:

Lock the steering wheel so that it doesn't rotate and destroy the air bag clock spring. A bungee cord through the wheel and down the the seat frame works well.

Remove the hydraulic lines.

Disconnect the steering shaft. It may be under a plastic shield that will have to be pulled back to access the clamp bolt.

Remove the pitman arm or else undo the end stud from the center link.

Then undo the three bolts that hold the steering gear to the frame.

Technically it isn't hard at all.

Of course you have to get access which in itself can be a big job. Typically you will need to take out the down pipe from the turbo to the intercooler and possibly relocate some wires and hoses. You can go in through the wheel well by removing the liner if that is easier for you.

This job can be really easy if you have the right tools (tubing wrenches for the hose fittings and puller for the pitman arm) and everything cooperates. It can be very difficult if you don't have the right tools and everything fights you. This is one job that can be done in half an hour if it all goes well or can take all day if you have to fight it. One suggestion is to spread the clamp on the end of the steering shaft to make it easier to get back onto the replacement gear. You can spend a lot of time fighting that spline otherwise.

Everything is keyed and splined so that you can't put it together wrong. I shouldn't say that because people can be pretty ingenious about finding ways to mess things up but unless you really try it should be hard to make a mistake.

You could reseal what you have but I never to that. You would have to remove the steering gear to replace the input seal and then readjust it properly. Unless money is really tight it just isn't worth the time and risk of a mistake.

One thing to consider is that if there is even the slightest chance that the pitman arm needs to be replaced then now is the time to do it. If you put on a new pitman arm then you don't have to get the old one off the steering gear. It can be a real bear to remove the pitman arm without the right puller.

If it is leaking only from the pitman shaft the that is worth replacing the seal because it doesn't mess up any of the adjustments to go into that one. You just have to remove the pitman arm to get access to the seal and its retainer.
Since you don't have to remove the Pitman arm if you are replacing it, would it not be easier to remove it by simply removing the steering box and then remove the Pitman arm with the steering box on a bench where access to the nut would be easier?

It seems this would make aligning the splines to reinstall the Pitman Arm easier as well?

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FASS 95 Lift Pump (with Baldwin filters), Edge Insight CTS Monitor on a Windshield Mount, Nicktane Fuel Filter Adapter w/ CAT 306-9199 UHE tertiary fuel filter, Bilstein 5100 Stock Height, Bushwacker Bed Rail Caps, AMP Research Bedstep, Fumoto oil drain valve, Dorman PS Oil cooler, Pioneer AVIC 7200NEX GPS/Stereo, Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 Air Bags.
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post #42018 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellassaiw10 View Post
How was the steering box swap? Mine drips sometimes and I was thinking about going ahead and replacing, did you go oem or aftermarket?
Went with a Delco reman unit. Was only $186. Thought about just replacing the seal because even with all the miles, my steering was really good and tight. Glad I replaced the box. When I got the old one out and on the bench I was able to wiggle the sector shaft side to side with very little effort with my thumb and 1 finger.

Anyway, It's not a horrible job but it takes a while. I have a 2 post lift so that made it easier.
Pulled both front tires.
Disconnected pitman and idler from center link.
Removed steering damper.
All that allowed the center link to drop down out of the way.
Removed the driver's side inner fender.
Removed the intercooler pipe.
Disconnected the PS lines from box.
Disconnected the steering shaft from the box.
Pulled the 3 bolts holding box to the truck frame and the unit came out the bottom.
On the bench I removed the pittman arm from the sector shaft and installed on the new box. Pitman arm is only a few months old so I re-used it.

After that it was basically just a matter of reversing the above.
Not a terrible job but took a while - even with a lift and air tools.

Not really sure how good the Delco reman unit is and how long it will last. I usually avoid reman parts like the plague but have more faith in Delco stuff and I plan to replace the truck with either a '20 or a '21 so I'll only have the truck for another year and a half max anyway.


Reading Wizard's post on this I will correct one thing he said. The steering shaft to box connection is not splined (on my truck). It is a "double D" (round with two sides shaved off). From all appearances you could get it back on 180* out but I re-connected the steering linkage first and then made sure both wheels (brake rotors) were pointed straight ahead and then moved the steering wheel a tiny bit to make sure it was right-side-up before re-connecting the steering shaft to the box.
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Last edited by long-time-dmax; 02-11-2019 at 07:52 AM.
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post #42019 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hook'em_Horns! View Post
Not a good idea to get into the practice of swapping balls out.
You'll never get the ball as tight as when new and 1st torqued down.
Over time, as the threads flatten out, you won't even be able to hand thread the nut on.

Better to invest in another ball mount and leave the new ball installed, swapping out the ball mounts. You'll never have one come loose that way.
Fast, easy and the best solution, and anything with a 1 7/8" ball is not heavy so an inexpensive ball carrier will do just fine.

2008 Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel
FASS 95 Lift Pump (with Baldwin filters), Edge Insight CTS Monitor on a Windshield Mount, Nicktane Fuel Filter Adapter w/ CAT 306-9199 UHE tertiary fuel filter, Bilstein 5100 Stock Height, Bushwacker Bed Rail Caps, AMP Research Bedstep, Fumoto oil drain valve, Dorman PS Oil cooler, Pioneer AVIC 7200NEX GPS/Stereo, Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 Air Bags.
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post #42020 of 44546 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_R_C View Post
Get one of these, you can swap balls in less than one minute.
And it wouldn’t be just used for that, it’ll break loose 150 + lb torque lug nuts.
I have a good quality Ingersol-Rand 1/2” air impact, my Dewalt works just as good than it does, and no air hose to drag out.
Made in USA, the short stubby ones made in China.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
That is an expensive solution compared to a new ball and carrier.

2008 Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel
FASS 95 Lift Pump (with Baldwin filters), Edge Insight CTS Monitor on a Windshield Mount, Nicktane Fuel Filter Adapter w/ CAT 306-9199 UHE tertiary fuel filter, Bilstein 5100 Stock Height, Bushwacker Bed Rail Caps, AMP Research Bedstep, Fumoto oil drain valve, Dorman PS Oil cooler, Pioneer AVIC 7200NEX GPS/Stereo, Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 Air Bags.
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