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Power Steering Locking Up and Brakes Failing


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Hey guys I’m having a pretty scary issue with the truck recently that got pretty bad yesterday after a long trip. 
 

This issue or one similar seems to have occurred to the previous owner only 13k miles ago. This is the invoice for his repairs at 198k (212k now) Invoice

I also have a synergy steering box brace. 
 

Whenever I’m not on the gas or the truck is decelerating the steering will get very heavy, if I’m on the highway I can tell there is no power assist when I’m on the gas. If I’m pulling into a driveway or pulling up to turn at a stop sign or something, the steering will usually lock up completely. Taking my foot off the brake and turning the wheel the other way and trying again usually frees it up then it acts normal until I slow down again. No groaning like it does when I’m not moving just silence and locked whee. I flushed out the nasty ATF  yesterday and replaced with straight Napa PS fluid. No real difference. The ATF was bad, smelled burnt and had a lot of deposits in it. Way more than it should have if everything was flushed and replaced. 
 

Where do I start? 

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It sounds like something in the steer box is binding. If the fluid has been in there for a very long time, it will start wearing the metal parts as contaminants build up.

 

PS pump may be weak as well.

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6 minutes ago, That Guy said:

It sounds like something in the steer box is binding. If the fluid has been in there for a very long time, it will start wearing the metal parts as contaminants build up.

 

PS pump may be weak as well.

Why do you think this would only be happening when I let off the gas if it was  the box binding? What would I do to check or adjust the box

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Looking at your avatar as well seeing over sized tires. Make sure you NOT using a quick ratio box. If your box is failing because of binding up then I say replace it. Only use a standard ratio steering box. This will lessen the load on the steering box. Steering boxes are super easy to rebuild too and some of the companies like Ryan @Blue-Top Steering has kits to rebuild our boxes or just send yours in and he'll rebuild it and send it back. 

 

As for the power steering pump if the pump is wiped out. While you have it apart I would consider doing the vacuum pump rebuild too. 

 

The landlord at my other shop just lost the steering column bearing in his Dodge. You can run your hand down the cab side and rock the wheel and feel it popping in the shaft. 

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18 minutes ago, Mopar1973Man said:

Looking at your avatar as well seeing over sized tires. Make sure you NOT using a quick ratio box. If your box is failing because of binding up then I say replace it. Only use a standard ratio steering box. This will lessen the load on the steering box. Steering boxes are super easy to rebuild too and some of the companies like Ryan @Blue-Top Steering has kits to rebuild our boxes or just send yours in and he'll rebuild it and send it back. 

 

As for the power steering pump if the pump is wiped out. While you have it apart I would consider doing the vacuum pump rebuild too. 

 

The landlord at my other shop just lost the steering column bearing in his Dodge. You can run your hand down the cab side and rock the wheel and feel it popping in the shaft. 

How do I tell if I have a quick ratio box? My steering column clunks like that as well, I wonder if it’s possible that the binding is occurring in the steering shaft due to worn bushings? Also, any way to determine if my pump is really bad or just shooting in the dark there? 

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Less than ~ 4.5 turns lock to lock would be a quick ratio box. 

 

You can check steering shaft slop by having someone turn the wheel back and forth and see if there is slop. But that usually just means a lot of play. 

 

Binding while turning, or while taking sharp curves is indicative of a worn steering box. A badly adjusted box can cause binding and the wheel would not want to return to center.

 

Can we assume that this truck is an automatic?

If so, when letting off the throttle, the engine rpm drops. That would mean lower output from the very likely equally worn pump resulting in weaker steering and brake assist.

 

 

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45 minutes ago, That Guy said:

Less than ~ 4.5 turns lock to lock would be a quick ratio box. 

 

You can check steering shaft slop by having someone turn the wheel back and forth and see if there is slop. But that usually just means a lot of play. 

 

Binding while turning, or while taking sharp curves is indicative of a worn steering box. A badly adjusted box can cause binding and the wheel would not want to return to center.

 

Can we assume that this truck is an automatic?

If so, when letting off the throttle, the engine rpm drops. That would mean lower output from the very likely equally worn pump resulting in weaker steering and brake assist.

 

 

Yes, the truck is auto and when I let off and the engine returns to idle is when this binding happens. However, once I shake the bind loose it works great, pump will turn the tires fine at low speed but then it binds and quits again. It doesn’t groan like the pump is struggling it just doesn’t turn. For example this morning I pull into a parking lot, wheel binds when I slow down and pull in but then I shake it loose and find a spot and it pulls into the parking spot just fine. When I go to leave it binds up again. I did an adjustment on the top screw of the box probably 6 months ago and took a good amount of play out, never had any issues with it until now but maybe I should loosen that screw?

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5 minutes ago, Dieselfuture said:

http://rocksolidramtrucksteering.com/

This may help to an extent if problem is there.

I’ll probably just buy that when I get new steering even if that isn’t the problem, looks like a sweet solution. I have full synergy steering and 3g track bar conversion coming for the truck but I doubt any of that will fix this. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a bit of an update:

 I took the truck to Lake Tahoe and lake arrowhead and experienced the problem significantly worse in both those places than down around sea level, which says to me it’s related to air in the system. The system seems to bleed easily and I’m getting no froth or air in the pump at all. I also noticed that my steering box is leaking out of the shaft attached to the Pittman. This is pretty annoying since I bought the synergy brace to prevent that :mad:. Another thing I found is the box in my truck is absolutely a quick ratio box. A little over 2 turns lock to lock. Thinking quick ratio+35s May have killed her pretty fast. 
 

I checked both high pressure lines for any indication of blockage or the pesky Teflon liner and nada, lines are like new. Took the pumps output apart and it was clean, barely anything on the relief valve screen and parts look new. Did the hotrod power steering mod based on Cowboy’s write up and man it sure made a difference for about 2 hours and now the problem is the same if not worse. Just suddenly went to **** coming down an offramp and is happening every single stop now. I’m also getting varying brake pedal feel. Sometimes it’s squishy and goes pretty far, sometimes it’s firm and feels great. Thinking hydroboost there can’t find any leaks in brake lines. I found a decent deal on an almost new redhead box for $200 so I figure I wana get the quick ratio out of there anyway. If that solves nothing then im thinking hydroboost. Any tips on either fixing that or getting a new/used one? No leaks from it yet.

 

Happy to be a member now and support this sweet site :cool:

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How does temp affect it? Both ambient and first start versus up to temp.

 

I have a Borgeson steering box that is the larger than the original, and by their own claim, a newer design. It is a quick ratio, just over 3 turns lock to lock. Been in there for almost 50k with no noticeable wear on 33's, and on bad ball joints 

 

Edited by That Guy
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20 minutes ago, That Guy said:

How does temp affect it? Both ambient and first start versus up to temp.

 

I have a Borgeson steering box that is the larger than the original, and by their own claim, a newer design. It is a quick ratio, just over 3 turns lock to lock. Been in there for almost 50k with no noticeable wear on 33's, and on bad ball joints 

 

Doesn’t do it when the truck/fluid is cold but here in LA it doesnt get below 55 or 60 at night so I don’t really notice the effects of ambient temp. This truck will have 37s on it within a year so there’s no way a quick ratio will survive nor do I really want one. Unfortunately the deal I had lined up on a redhead fell through. Guy decided he needed a spare in case his brand new psc big box went out. Must be nice... 

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4 hours ago, Reaper22 said:

Thinking quick ratio+35s May have killed her pretty fast. 

Yup with oversized tires yes you killed it quick. You not suppose to use quick ratio box on oversized tires as I was told from Ryan at Blue Top Steering. All oversize tires truck should use the standard ratio. On this thought with power steering if the fluid is getting over heated from the quick ratio and possible constant load on the pump. Might check the fluid temp with IR gun and see. 

 

Personal note since I'm running 30 inch tires I've opted for the quick ratio as a upgrade. As suggest by Blue Top Steering.

 

Hydrobooster can be rebuilt with a seal kit from Pirate Jacks after doing one myself its not too bad but watch carefully about the input rod and the small check valve that might fall out when you split the body. As for the hydrobooster it does have any way to vary the pedal feel or distance. The only thing I can think of pressure is low and the pedal is hard, doesn't travel much. 

 

4 hours ago, Reaper22 said:

Just suddenly went to **** coming down an offramp and is happening every single stop now. I’m also getting varying brake pedal feel. Sometimes it’s squishy and goes pretty far, sometimes it’s firm and feels great.

 

This is partial because the speed in the ABS is most likely not corrected possibly. The ABS thinks there is 31 inch tires not 35 inch tires. So what is trying to do possible is dump pressure to prevent lock up or what it think is lock up (speed sensor dropped lower quick). Could be a bad front sensor that causing the brake pedal to fall or be pump back up. ABS system can drop the pedal, dumping pressure if the one front axle is looking like a lock up. This would be one place I would look being ABS can vary the pedal feel.

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@Mopar1973Man I don’t believe I have an IR temp gun where I’m at currently but I can tell you that the lines out of the HB are damn hot, hot enough to burn me after driving the truck. That’s also in 95 degree heat mind you, everything burns regardless but the lines are very very hot even after driving 10 minutes and back to get a burger they’re almost burning. As for my ABS... an unfortunate alcohol fueled incident while working on my front end caused one of my ABS wires to become... cut. Never had an issue with that, brakes are **** anyway cant use ABS. Maybe I’ll disconnect the other one and see what happens :ahhh:
 

A deal popped up for a used box and pump with 41k on them for 100 bucks shipped. I’m picking those up and I’ll swap each one separately and see if a difference is made and then I’ll know for sure, and have spares :D. Also picking up 2 of those magnetic filters I’ve seen you guys recommend for the PS return lines, if you guys know the brand or the website link it up I can’t remember what it was. 
 

I would’ve just bought a blue top and a psc pump but according to his site he’s out of the 2nd gen boxes. Sent him an email to see what’s up. 

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One thing I got to looking at, it seems a LOT of the gas powered rams got a power steering cooler.   I replicated one on my truck with the oil cooler from a SuperDuty (lol post 7.3 fords ARE good for something...)

 

image.png.64618520c69705aa9821fdf1632f76b4.png

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@NIsaacsPrestone PS fluid from autozone. Great sale right now.

 

@Haggar     Do the fittings for the ford cooler match up to the dodge box and pump? Did you plumb it in like that between the HB and the box? What lines did you use? 


I wish I had a post 7.3 superduty right about now.  It’s become a running joke that the 6.0s in my group are the indestructible ones. In the time my friend has gone through 3 engines and 4 transmissions, he’s never blown a pump, box, hydroboost, never had brake problems, no axle problems, jumped the truck so many times his ball joints should be dust. 37s on almost all stock parts. Never seen any other truck take that kind of repeated abuse in the dirt and just keep going. His **** doesn’t even leak. 

5.9 in a 6.4 chassis..... someday

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Reaper,

 

I don't know for a fact that the hoses will, but I really suspect they will.  I would find a gasser in a pull apart, grab the whole shebang and see.  These hoses are all on the low pressure side (return side) so it really does not take much.

 

GL

 

Hag

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4 hours ago, Haggar said:

 the oil cooler from a SuperDuty (lol post 7.3 fords ARE good for something...)

 

And the transmission cooler.:thumb1:

 

a lot of chrysler vehicles came with PS coolers. Sees odd to me that trucks and stuff with higher load didnt(same with GM). 

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6 minutes ago, Haggar said:

Reaper,

 

I don't know for a fact that the hoses will, but I really suspect they will.  I would find a gasser in a pull apart, grab the whole shebang and see.  These hoses are all on the low pressure side (return side) so it really does not take much.

 

GL

 

Hag

Something like this looks pretty good. Not sure where I’d mount it have to look at the truck today. Summit Racing Derale PS cooler

 

Are our lines 3/8 or 11/32? 

Edited by Reaper22
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Ok guys bit of a bittersweet update. Long story short, the guy with the used pump and box tried to scam me. Unfortunate but I decided to just say screw it and ordered a redhead and a psc hi-flow pump for the truck. Praying it isn’t a hydroboost failure. Also getting the PS filters and looking into the cooler. Next week Saturday the truck goes on the lift for a whole lotta fun stuff and it needs to be dialed in by then. Will keep y’all updated if I get it fixed. 
 

Was thinking about opening up the HB and seeing if there’s any crap in there, any tips or advice for being sure that sucker is clean? 

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