Dakota Steering Gear

Anyone ever tried to rebuild a leaking power steering gear on a 1995 Dodge Dakota or any simalar model? My is leaking badly around the seal and the
new or rebuilt ones cost an arm and a leg. The rebuild kit is only 9.99.. Can this be done by an amature? John
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Yep - done it before... pretty simple. You can do it with the gear still bolted into the truck, but it's a whole lot easier if you can remove it. Either way, you'll need a pitman arm puller to remove the pitman arm (after removing the big pitman arm nut). From here, if you just disconnect the two hoses (let them drain into a bucket or suitable [clean] container - you can re-use the fluid if it doesn't get dirty), then unbolt the gear from the frame.
As for the work itself, I forget the exact steps (been a while since I disassembled mine), but aside from a snap ring, everything comes right out (you can remove the sector shaft by removing the four bolts around the perimeter of the cover. DO NOT touch the adjuster nut in the middle).
Now - if the gear was leaking just because the seal went bad, then the $10 kit will fix it. If it started leaking because the roller bearing wore and allowed the sector shaft to flex side-to-side, then you'll need to replace the roller bearing (and I don't think this is included in the $10 rebuild kit).
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Thanks Tom,
I've ordered a kit off ebay that's supposed to fit my truck, so when it gets here, I'm going to tear into it. A shade tree mechanic replaced the pitman arm for me and sufices to say, I'm pretty sure he made the seal around the sector shaft leak by beating on the side of the old pitman arm while he was trying to take it off. He had a pitman arm puller that I leased from AutoZone, but for some reason we had pure hell getting that pitman arm to break loose and come off there.
That happened last month and the seal has been leaking pretty much since then.
John

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Well, sounds like he might have damaged the bearing, which is letting the shaft move around, which is opening up the seal. I'd pop by the local parts dept. and get a new roller bearing. You can take the old one out pretty easily with a long drift/punch (try and use a brass drift, so you don't score the bore), and install a new one using a socket and an extension as a driver (find a socket that matches the diameter of the bearing cage).

They can be tough sometimes. Heat is usually much better than pounding on it. Hopefully, you/he put some anti-sieze on the splines when it went back on, so you won't have the same headaches.
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Tom,
Do you know what the diameter of the drift punch would be off hand. I will get one made out of brass or aluminum if you have an idea what diameter I'd need.
John

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A standard drift that tapers down to 1/4" or so is what I'm talking about - you just work it around the bearing, tapping it out. Alternatively, you can use the socket/extension deal to remove it as well.
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Thanks Tom. You've been a lot of help. This thing is leaking progressive worse. I'm replacing the lost fluid with steering fluid stop leak and it's running right on through just like the steering fluid does.

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Stop leak just swells the seal but if it is ripped or damaged, stop leak has little effect and may actually make the leak worse.
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Hey everyone, I replaced the lower seals around the sector shaft and it's been leak free since Saturday May 14th.
Thanks for all the help.
John
OH and TBone you were correct in that the little spring that holds the seal tight around the shaft was broken. The stop leak wouldn't even slow the leak down. The little spring is inside the slit on the side of the seal.

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