Steering Box 1985' K5

1985 TH700R4 NP208 305CUI 161000 miles
As far as I know it is the original steering box, power steering pump.
One day I started to notice "flat spots" in the steering. IE parts
where it felt like the power steering stopped working. It stayed around the same for a while, only happening once and a while (noticing it maybe once a week).
It's a junker truck, so I basically said whatever. Then one day it got progressivly worse (it was during a snow storm to boot) making the steering somewhat erratic and smooth steering quite dificult.
I got it home and checked the PS fluid and found it didn't even touch the stick. It smelt kinda toasty too. I purchased some fluid and filled it up, checked for leaks and didn't see anything obvious (looking from the top, too wet and cold to get underneath right now). Well with it filled the steering seemed to get WORSE. Just cutting the wheel in my driveway it felt like it was fighting me. Then after about 3-4 minutes, it got back to normal.
It was slightly over filled COLD and when I checked it after a 40 minute drive, about 50/50 highway/backroad (I'm assuming that would make it hot?) it wasn't quite up to the hot line. I would think this means it's leaking. I have not had a chance to check it cold yet. The steering also seams to pull to the right now. Especially on breaking. It always used to pull randomly on braking (left/right/left/right coming up to the same light) but I always thought it was the cheap brake pads put in by the previous owner (wheels are caked with dust after 200 miles). Now it consistently pulls to the right, every time.
Any thoughts? Do PS pumps die when they run too low? Does it sound like a steering box problem? What kind of fixes am I looking at? Is it something I could just let rot and deal with the drivability? It is a $350 beater, including parts and fluids. So I don't want to perform any acts of heroics in a slushy mucky driveway.
-The Lonely Grease Monkey 1985' K5 305CUI TH700R4 NP208 KJ's successor
"Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, then he who believes what is a wrong." - Thomas Jefferson
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Inline.............

Your fluid got low, you got air in the system, hence the dead spots. Dontcha check yer' fluids bud? When you filled it up, it took a few minutes to bleed all the air out of the system. Expect dead spots for the next 50-100 miles as there is likely more air that will work it's way out.

Yup.
Nope.
If the steering is working, leave it be. If it dies, a rebuilt pump is only $39.99.
Doc

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I checked it when I bought it. It was full cold, that was 3000 miles ago. Is there any "proper" way to bleed the system, or just wait for the bubbles to float up in the reservoir?
~KJ~

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just keep racking it back and forth, lock-to-lock, for about 10 cycles
any 'bubbles' remaining will be microscopic

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Check the tension of the v-belts. A loose and wet (you mentioned snow) v-belt will cause lost of power assist.
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Have you checked out the steering linkage and ball joints for possibly causing some of your steering problems? Worn or dry parts can cause symptoms of "flat spots" or lack of power assist.

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