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55 Fargo

Steering Box Debate

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In theory the pitman shaft seal can be installed in the car, undo the pitman arm nut, remove the pitman arm and then pry the old seal out......installing the new seal is the reverse, however due to the length that the pitman shaft protrudes from the steering box it may make using the old standby of a large socket to tap and push the new seal into the box more problematic......a piece of tube or deep socket maybe the answer.I don't know of any "stop leak" that will work on  if, its a leather seal......if its a neoprene seal then an old trick for neoprene seals in power steering pumps, engines and transmissions was a small amount of brake fluid as brake fluid softens rubber which neoprene is more or less and that may help.....I still wouldn't use grease in a steering box as its viscosity is too high, and would not flow into the nooks and  crannys inside a steering box, I'd use the thickest oil I could find.........andyd 

Edited by Andydodge

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Thanks for the reply. I ordered the pitman shaft seal... we will see how it goes. In the meantime I came across something from the Ford Forum .... Cornhead grease. Apparently it was developed by John Deere for leaky gearboxes on their farm equipment (it is well spoke about on the tractor forums as well). It is a grease that does flow but the viscosity is such that it prevents/slows the leak while still being able to flow (except in very cold weather - not an issue for me 😉 ) ... check it out. If may be worth keeping in the back of your head for the future If you can’t fix something the “right” way ...

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One of the issues with the modern seals is that they are very intolerant of shaft movement or incorrect shaft size. The old leather was much more forgiving on those items.


One needs to make sure that the shaft size is within the specification of the seal one wants to use.


I have an issue on my 1949 Desoto. The hubs supplied with the front disc brake kit had seals that were too tight. When I took it apart after about 2000 miles the grease was jet back. The seal lip had been ground off by the spindle. When I ran down the seal number at CR it became apparent that the seal was for a FIXED shaft size. My spindle is about 4 thousands over that. The CR engineering team told me that there is no plus or minus spec on that seal. I should machine my spindle down to that size.


I elected to just clean up the seals that had already been "lapped" to shape. I will check it again in 2000 miles and if the grease is not coming out, then I will forget about it for now.


Just be sure you check the seal specification sheets and make sure that the seal is within the shaft size.



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