Dodge Ram Steering Box

#1

Howdy All, 1995 Ram PU 2WD/stick 3.7V6 with 200K miles went to the shop for needed ball joints. Told my trusted independent mechanic (10 year relationship) to check out other front end components. Service writer called to say steering box is worn out. This truck tracks straight, tires wear evenly and there is no play in the steering. In fact, it’s never had or needed alignment since I purchased it new. Question #1: Is this guy shooting straight or can the steering box be shot with no noticeable action at the steering wheel? Guy says, “The arm is wobbling around.” I said, “Replace it and save the old one for me.” Question #2: How can I check the old box ex parte truck? I’d like some negotiating ammo if there is just cause.

(No, I don’t think he has a shucked-out Ram steering box already in his trash barrel.) TIA

#2

If you have power steering, it might make sense to change the steering box instead of changing the bearings or adjusting them. I hope there is someone with a steering box experience or two. Everything seems to sound funny these days. I would want to know if the engine was running or not when the steering box was checked. If the problem happens with the engine off and it doesn’t happen with the engine running, I would want to leave the old one in the truck.

#3

“The arm is wobbling around.”

If that was the case, the lubricant or PS fluid should be pouring out…

#4

If there are no symptoms of a problem like noise or play or leaks…I would not have the steering box changed. I think your mechanic may be looking for some extra work in a slow economy. Ask the guy what is really wrong with it and what will happen if it is not replaced. If all he can come up with is a vague answer like “the arm is wobbling around” forget it. Ask for specifics and have him show you.