1999 Dodge Ram Truck (4x2) Steering Box Seals

I just found that the seal for the output shaft (pitman shaft?) on the steering box of my truck is leaking pretty badly. Can someone tell me how hard a job it is to replace the seal? I have a factory service
manual and it doesn't give any instructions for replacing the seal. And because of the power steering I know that there's some high pressure involved. I can pick up a rebuilt unit from NAPA for a bit over $200, I don't mind trying to replace the seal if I've got a good probability of success, and I don't mind replacing the whole box if that's the wiser choice; I only want to do the job once (it's darned cold outside - Northern New York).
Opinions?
Thanks,
Dave Young
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IIrc it's not a big deal if you have a puller to remove the pitman are. I would mark everything before your take it off.
Also, I believe there is a preload issue to deal with as well. I think your FSM would address that. Or perhaps others here will jump in.
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IIRC, that seal is a two piece PITA that for the most part requires special tools to properly remove and install. First there is the outer grease seal that you see and under that is a snap ring, backup washer, and then the actual seal. One way to get it off is to remove the pitman arm, pry out the grease seal, remove the snap ring and backup washer, then put a catch pan under the gear, start the engine and turn the steering wheel all the way to the left. That should cause the pressure in the gear to push the seal out but putting the new one back in still requires special tools to reinstall it. You could attempt to drive the new one back in with a large deep socket but it could crimp it. Then there is the reason as to why it failed to begin with. If the sector shaft is pitted, the new seal won't last long either. Your best and easiest bet is simply to replace the steering gear.
--
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Thank you both for your answers. I've worked with hydraulic equipment before and it can be a pain, especially if you don't have the special tools. And like Tbone said, what made the seal go bad to begin with? I've never had a seal on a steering box in all my years of driving. I do have a pitman arm remover (I've replaced the pitman arm on this truck) so, although I've never replaced a steering box, I shouldn't have a problem replacing the box.
Again, my thanks for you both taking the trouble to write.
Sincerely,
Dave Young
Dave Young wrote:

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