A gearbox is a part of the steering mechanism that aids in moving the vehicle in the appropriate direction. It is the component that converts the rotary motion of the steering wheel into linear motion that turns the wheels of an automobile. Often, the causes of a bad gearbox include the gearbox's age and the lack of an optimal level of steering fluid. However, the steering gearbox can also fail due to natural wear.
If you are skilled enough to install the gearbox, you can replace it yourself. Otherwise, it is always better to consult with a mechanic. We always prescribe that you refer to your owner's manual for all clarifications when you are installing parts on your own.
How to center a steering gearbox?
While installing a new power steering gearbox, there are a few crucial steps that need to be followed for a successful installation.
Prior to installing a gearbox, it is important that the unit is centered. Many mechanics assume that the unit is centered when it arrives. Gearboxes can shift in transit, causing it to be misaligned. In order to center the unit before the install, follow these easy steps:
1) Place the unit where it can be braced down and cannot move or fall.
2) Cover the spline with a cloth to prevent it from getting damaged during the centering procedure.
3) Turn the input shaft with a wrench, until you feel it stop (never force the unit). This will be the extreme for this direction. (for this install turn clockwise first)
4) Once the unit is at extreme clockwise rotation, mark the unit or move the wrench to a position where the number of return rotations can be counted easily.
5) With this position marked, begin to rotate the shaft back counter-clockwise and count the number of rotations. Do this carefully! Once the rotation stops counter-clockwise, the complete rotations for the unit are known.
6) Divide the number of rotations in half and rotate the shaft that many turns back. At that point, the gearbox will be centered and can be marked for center for reference. This ensures that the center is not lost during the install.
7) Once the box is centered, follow the proper procedure for the gearbox installation.
When these short steps are followed carefully, the gearbox will be centered and there should be no issues with the vehicle's steering.
In addition to centering a steering box, it is necessary that the timing and gear ratios of the new unit is matched with those of the older unit. Inspect other steering components such as the linkages and steering fluid while replacing the gearbox.
You can find a compilation of various articles written by our automotive experts in the how-to section. For steering-specific articles, please refer to this section: REPAIR STEERING
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