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Home >   How To >   How to Repair Steering >   How To Determine Gearbox Types

How To Determine Gearbox Types



The steering gearbox is a unit that can be found on most of the larger duty trucks and older cars. Gearboxes are used in cases where the weight of the vehicle would be too much for a rack and pinion to handle. As the materials that are used in the construction of vehicles have become more and more advanced, the need for a gear box is diminishing.


Gearbox Layout    


Basic Functionality:


The gearbox is the unit that is used to convert the rotational input from the steering wheel into directional movement of the wheels. The input shaft attaches to the steering column and transfers the driver's inputs to the gears which in turn, rotate to move the tires in the desired direction.




A torsion bar connects the pinion or worm gear to the steering wheel. It gets twisted when there is any movement in the steering wheel. A rotary or spool valve senses this change and directs the steering fluid from the pump in the appropriate direction that results in the turning of the automobile's wheels.


Various Kinds of Steering Gear Box:


There are thousands of cars on the road nowadays and no two models are exactly alike. To assume that every model uses the same steering components would be incorrect, there are 8 major box types and each of those have many variations.


Gearbox Types    


Bolt VS Ring Retained Cover - This refers to what is used to hold the housing cover in place, 4 bolts or a snap ring.


Ford VS Saginaw - Ford boxes use a 2-bolt housing cover while Saginaw uses a 4-bolt cover.


Ford VS Bendix - The differences in these 2 boxes can be seen in illustration (5).


Standard VS Reverse Rotation - This refers to the relationship of the input shaft to the output shaft.


When installing a gearbox in any vehicle, proper understanding of which unit is needed is essential to ordering the correct parts that will avoid future complications.


Common Problems:


The gearbox is filled with hydraulic fluid and obviously over time, there are chances of a fluid leak. This leak will make the vehicle's wheels less responsive to the steering wheel. Hence, the hydraulic fluid level should be monitored and maintained at its proper value. Problems with the steering gear can be found by the color of the steering fluid. A black colored fluid indicates an excessive heat build-up in the gear whereas a milky color indicates that water has mixed with the fluid.




Some of the common symptoms of a damaged steering gear include a steering wheel free play and hard steering. An audible indication of a faulty steering gear box is a popping sound while driving.


Choose your vehicle's right year, make and model and find your matching parts!


Buy Auto Parts is the best place online to get replacement steering gear boxes that come with a warranty at unbeatable prices. We stock a wide range of OEM replacement and aftermarket parts for every make and model. To find the right gear box for your car, simply tell us your car's year, make and model. Your order will be shipped from the warehouse closest to your location. We offer free shipping for purchases over $50. Our products have been throughly tested to meet or exceed industry standards. You can reach us on our support line at or leave us an email at [email protected], if you need help in choosing the part. Please feel free to leave us an online review. We value your feedback!


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