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Prematurely worn 2008 and up Ford superduty truck steering gearboxes

Hey guys!

Our fleet has a lot of Ford superduty trucks, as I’ve undoubtedly told you before.

In any case, I’ve noticed a rather disturbing pattern. The 2008 and up F-series superduty trucks . . . F-250, F-350, F450 and F-550 . . . seem to have a steering gearbox which has a very short lifespan. In some cases, within 4 or 5 years, the box is all slopped out.

I mean within a few years, the gearbox is sloppy, and the trucks don’t even have sky high mileage. Not necessarily dangerous enough to cause a wreck, but bad enough that if it were your own truck, you would be irate

I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but I’m just asking if the others have noticed this to be a common trend on the specific trucks I’ve mentioned.

I find this to be kind of pathetic on Ford’s part, considering we have plenty of GM trucks of similar size and the same vintage, and the steering gearboxes are just fine. Makes me wonder if the problem is the manufacturer of the box, or perhaps Ford isn’t spec’ing them out correctly.

I’m not asking for advice, if anybody’s wondering. I’d like to think I’m pretty capable of doing my own diagnosis and repairs, considering that’s literally my job.

So, anybody telling me about loose steering gearboxes on a F-150 or a 1997 F-350 isn’t really helping, so to speak, because they use different steering gearboxes

I’m not familiar with the problem but I note there’s a bulletin referring to certain Ford trucks and vans built after somewhere in 2009 that suffer loose gearbox problems.

My first thought was gear mesh so maybe the info in the link is correct. You wouldn’t think reasonably low miles vehicles would suffer from this but on the other hand… :frowning:

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Yeah, we do maintenance for the local yard of the phone/cable company, from F150s to F550 bucket trucks. But mostly SuperDuty F250s. We do seem to see our share of gearboxes, also ball joints. As a repair shop I don’t see a problem with it because it means more business for us! Dodge trucks are pretty good for needing gearboxes too. Maybe Ford and Dodge use the same supplier? I can’t recall the last time I did a GM box.

FWIW, I’m not particularly impressed with the 6.4 diesels either. On the whole, it seems to me a 2002 SuperDuty 7.3 is a whole lot more durable than a 2012 6.4.

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The 6.4L was gone by 2011. The current Ford-designed and built 6.7L Powerstroke has been the diesel option since the 2011 model year. It’s reputed to be be much more reliable than the Navistar built 6.0L diesel. The 6.4L wasn’t terrible. But it was the first swing at making a diesel that had to meet more stringent emissions standards. It’s major failing was that it wasn’t particularly fuel efficient compared to the other diesels and or even the gas engines. It only got about 2-3 MPG better than the gas V10, Meaning that once you took the cost of the diesel option into account and the usual higher cost of diesel vs. unleaded at the time. You’d never recoup anything in fuel savings.

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Broken down trucks keep shops in business . . . so a loose gearbox is a good thing for the shop!

We’ve also done our fair share of ball joints on those trucks I mentioned, and they’re not too bad to replace, IMO

Next time I have one of those trucks racked, I’ll check for a manufacturer’s name on the steering gearbox

I’ve done a few GM gearboxes on the GM equivalent, which would be the C4500 and C5500, but mostly for severe leaks, not slop

Just thought I’d mention . . . I use this exact tool to separate the pitman arm from the gearobx on those F-450s I mentioned. It effortless pulls them off, as if it were nothing, and that is one beefy pitman arm. I don’t know what you’re using, but if you’re looking for something, I highly recommend this

That’s an interesting article, and I actually spend time on their website, but not in the last few weeks

We actually have several of those exact vans in our fleet . . . the ones mentioned in the article, and the exact model years, as well . . . but interestingly enough, ours haven’t yet exhibited those symptoms.

The Econoline vans have a twin i-beam front suspension, and so do the F-250 superduty and F-350 superduty, but it’s not identical. The trucks have a more heavy duty setup, versus the vans. I’m wondering if the truck’s weight, versus the van, helps wear out the steering gearbox faster . . . ?

Needless to say, the F-450 and F-550 are beasts. That said, the GM trucks with equally beefy front end don’t seem to wear out their gearboxes quickly.

We use this one and it works well for us. But I only get into the heavy stuff when I have to. I’m happiest when the heaviest thing I have to lift is a scan tool or labscope.

Yeah, I knew there was a reason I try to push the diesel stuff to the other lead tech. He loves them and if I never touched another oil burner again I wouldn’t miss it.

I believe i also have that exact puller, and if I"m not mistaken, it will fit the F-250, but not the F-450 pitman arm

I spent a lot of time lifting my scanner today :wink: