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Old 01-14-2020, 02:46 AM   #1
conoco
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Rag joint and steering box removal

I'm reaching out in Hope's to get help with disassembly instructions for the rag joint and power steering gear box for my 1972 k2500. I bought a new gear box and rag joint and need to replace them. The steering is pretty loose and I discovered the rag joint is I. Really bad shape and the gear box was in bad shape and had 40 years of dirt packed In it. Also I was leaking pretty good. I started to take the buts off of the rag joint but realized it was a little more thank just taking the bolts off and removing it. I can handle the gear box once I get the pitman arm off so that shouldn't be a problem. It is my daily driver and I dont want to get stuck and screw my self because I can get it back together or break something trying to get it off because I was missing something I am thinking about replacing the intermediate steering shaft also while I ha e it apart. But I plan to go with tilt steering after summer so I might just fix the rag joint an gear box. Any guidance would be great. Thank you everyone .
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:54 AM   #2
REDROCKER652002
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Perfect timing, as my son and I are going to tackle the rag joint this week if it doesn't rain. As near as I can figure and what I have read it is pretty simple. You need to drop the steering column inside the cab, I think that is just a few bolts on the firewall and under the dash. Once you have done that, you need to unscrew the pinch bolt on the rag joint and take off the two nuts off the rag joint. Pay attention as they are two different size nuts. Then slide the steering column up and out of the way. Once you have done that, it should slide off. More than likely you might need to persuade it a bit, but from what I have read it is not too bad. Make sure you take note of how it sat as you will need to line up the flat spot on the steering box to the rag joint pinch bolt so you can put it back on right. Steering box might be a bit more as you have to disconnect lines and remove the bolts from the frame, which could be a bit tough as they are probably on there pretty good. if you go to YOUTUBE, there is a video put out by Brothers Trucks I think that was pretty good on showing you how to get the rag joint out. I am sure the pro's here will chime in, but from what I can see, it looks to be a pretty simple removal. I give it a two beer job. LOL. Good luck. If you can, take some pics, I will try and do the same.

Last edited by REDROCKER652002; 01-14-2020 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:54 AM   #3
REDROCKER652002
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Here is the video I was talking about. It is on a early 60's truck, but I am sure it is all the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmkMDRMurXQ

Hope this all helps. RR
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:40 AM   #4
conoco
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

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Originally Posted by REDROCKER652002 View Post
Perfect timing, as my son and I are going to tackle the rag joint this week if it doesn't rain. As near as I can figure and what I have read it is pretty simple. You need to drop the steering column inside the cab, I think that is just a few bolts on the firewall and under the dash. Once you have done that, you need to unscrew the pinch bolt on the rag joint and take off the two nuts off the rag joint. Pay attention as they are two different size nuts. Then slide the steering column up and out of the way. Once you have done that, it should slide off. More than likely you might need to persuade it a bit, but from what I have read it is not too bad. Make sure you take note of how it sat as you will need to line up the flat spot on the steering box to the rag joint pinch bolt so you can put it back on right. Steering box might be a bit more as you have to disconnect lines and remove the bolts from the frame, which could be a bit tough as they are probably on there pretty good. if you go to YOUTUBE, there is a video put out by Brothers Trucks I think that was pretty good on showing you how to get the rag joint out. I am sure the pro's here will chime in, but from what I can see, it looks to be a pretty simple removal. I give it a two beer job. LOL. Good luck. If you can, take some pics, I will try and do the same.
Thank you very much, I was thinking when I started to take it apart that I might need to drop the steering, I didnít want to do it if I was wrong! Thank you for the help, I really appreciate it, makes more sense now. Good luck to you and your boy.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:27 AM   #5
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Take a marker and put a mark on the steering shaft and column at the top. When u put it all back together, line your marks back up. This will help keep the steering column and steering wheel straight. Take a pic of the pitman arm to steering box set up before u take it off. Use this as your reference when u put it back together. U can mark the arm to box relationship as well just to give u an idea of how it all was before hand. Your power steering lines are different sizes. Use different colors on the lines to help u know what goes where when u put it back together.put a mark on the box as well. The reason I tell u all this is because being itís a daily driver, it helps to know what goes where and use marks as a reference point speeds this up. It also lets u know that your alignment and turning radius will b unchanged. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:38 PM   #6
conoco
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

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Take a marker and put a mark on the steering shaft and column at the top. When u put it all back together, line your marks back up. This will help keep the steering column and steering wheel straight. Take a pic of the pitman arm to steering box set up before u take it off. Use this as your reference when u put it back together. U can mark the arm to box relationship as well just to give u an idea of how it all was before hand. Your power steering lines are different sizes. Use different colors on the lines to help u know what goes where when u put it back together.put a mark on the box as well. The reason I tell u all this is because being itís a daily driver, it helps to know what goes where and use marks as a reference point speeds this up. It also lets u know that your alignment and turning radius will b unchanged. Hope this helps.
What all do I need to disconnect on the steering column its self to move it up? The inside of the can is pretty self explanatory but the engine back side I didnt know if I needed to disassemble all of the column. It looks like the arm to put my truck in gears is hooked up on the side close to the firewall, but its attached to the column. Also, it looks like there is a spring that I am able to move up a little by hand, could I just disconnect the rag joint and then the bolts that the spring is connected to and pry up with a pry bar? Would that give me enough clearance so I wouldnt have to disassemble everything. I guess I just need to know if everything needs to get disconnected on the column from the rag joint to the inside of the column. Sorry so long and thank you. I will start marking everything now. I attached pics of what I was asking needed to be disconnected. Thanks again for your time.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:45 PM   #7
3767
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Since u are taking gear box off, consider doing this from the bottom. No column to move nor linkage to take loose. 4 bolts hold the box to the frame. Get Pittman arm off before u take box loose. The top pinch bolt is located under ur white zip tie. Once u get gear box off with this bolt lose the box shaft assembly comes out together. Change out rag joint then. U have another pinch bolt where the shaft meets the box. The gear box will have some thick washers between the box and frame. Dont forget to put them back on. Once rag has been changed out, put shaft back on and run down that top pinch bolt to hold shaft on 2 column. Before u put new gear box on 2 frame, reattach both of shaft to box. U wont b able to once u start the bolts back n from the frame 2 gear box. U can tighten down the top and bottom pinch bolts once u get the box back on to the frame.the bigger power steering line is the high pressure or feed line the smaller 1 is the return. U may want 2 consider watching a video on all of this. It will help u understand what each and every part does n ur steering system. It may help u out before u take this stuff apart.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:13 AM   #8
REDROCKER652002
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Based on the video from Brothers, you don't have to move the shaft that much, so I am going to assume nothing else needs to be touched. But, good point made by 3767. You are taking everything off, so loosen the steering box at the frame and the rag joint pinch bolt. You should be able to work the box back off the joint. Replace the joint and then put the box back on after. No need for you to move the steering column or shaft that I can see. But, I am just a weekend warrior.

Also, great suggestion to take pictures and mark stuff. Don't hurt and might save you a ton of work later.

Good luck. I will be watching this thread to see how it goes.

RR
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:34 AM   #9
conoco
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3767 View Post
Since u are taking gear box off, consider doing this from the bottom. No column to move nor linkage to take loose. 4 bolts hold the box to the frame. Get Pittman arm off before u take box loose. The top pinch bolt is located under ur white zip tie. Once u get gear box off with this bolt lose the box shaft assembly comes out together. Change out rag joint then. U have another pinch bolt where the shaft meets the box. The gear box will have some thick washers between the box and frame. Dont forget to put them back on. Once rag has been changed out, put shaft back on and run down that top pinch bolt to hold shaft on 2 column. Before u put new gear box on 2 frame, reattach both of shaft to box. U wont b able to once u start the bolts back n from the frame 2 gear box. U can tighten down the top and bottom pinch bolts once u get the box back on to the frame.the bigger power steering line is the high pressure or feed line the smaller 1 is the return. U may want 2 consider watching a video on all of this. It will help u understand what each and every part does n ur steering system. It may help u out before u take this stuff apart.
Oh man, thank you for the explination!! I got the gear box out no problems, the rag joint came off with the gear box. I think I will just replace the rag joint, this entire set up looks like it has never been changed. I marked everything the best I could in multiple spots, hopefully they are true. All I had to do to get the rag joint free was to pry the slightest bit and move it towards the fire wall, it came right off. I dont know if I should just install the new rag joint onto the new gear box first and then pop it in, or bolt up the rag joints and the. Line up the splines while I put it in. Thanks again for your help. Hopefully everything goes smooth going back in.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:18 AM   #10
3767
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Put rag joint back on 2 gear box before u put it back n. The studs from the column are u line up marks. Look at how the old 1 came off. To line the rag up to column move rag . don't move the column nor turn the grear box to do so. When u get ur new gear box,look at the Pittman end. There are small splined and then u will c a big 1. That bigger 1 is a master spline. Just by looking at the pic u posted u are n great shape good job! That master spline along with how u got it marked makes this easy now. The bolt that holds the Pittman on just needs to b put back like ur pic. That will align the arm with the drag link. Also, assuming the wheels are sitting straight now on the truck, u will b n the center 4 the box Turing radius as well.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:53 AM   #11
3767
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

If u havenít gotten a steering box yet u can get 1 from a 75 model. Itís the same looking at it from the outside, hooks up the same as well. Itís a variable ratio. The more u turn the the less steering wheel movement u need to make such turn. Itís an upgrade and the cost isnít much different than the 1 that came off yours. Your original needs around 4.5 turns lock to lock and this 1 will b around 4 turns lock to lock. Not a huge difference but depending on how much effort u put n 2 the wheel u will notice. Turning radius is the same but just takes a little less to get there. I hope this helps but u are doing great on your own!
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:47 PM   #12
Smitty
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

When my steering box was replaced, the drag link was worn. Replaced that as well. Now steering is nice and tight.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:27 AM   #13
conoco
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

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If u havenít gotten a steering box yet u can get 1 from a 75 model. Itís the same looking at it from the outside, hooks up the same as well. Itís a variable ratio. The more u turn the the less steering wheel movement u need to make such turn. Itís an upgrade and the cost isnít much different than the 1 that came off yours. Your original needs around 4.5 turns lock to lock and this 1 will b around 4 turns lock to lock. Not a huge difference but depending on how much effort u put n 2 the wheel u will notice. Turning radius is the same but just takes a little less to get there. I hope this helps but u are doing great on your own!
So every thing is back in, went smooth, i have one last question. The steering box that i got came with bleed off directions and it also came with 2 small orings that it says go onto the in and out power steering lines into the gear box, however the one i just took off didnt have any o ring's, atleast that i could tell. I have Flang fittings also and assumed it should be metal on metal and thats what makes the seal. Did you have o rings? I dont know if i should put them in or not.

On a side note i can nit replace the coupler, apparently NAPA, Auto zone and o'Reilly's in ALASKA would have to order them. I fly back to the oil fields monday and i have to get this done. So i think i am going to replace the intermediate steering shaft with one that has u joints instead. Looks pretty easy to do and everyone says its stronger. Anyway thanks for the help with everything not sure if i should leave the o rings off . Oh yeah, the steering wheel is strait and everything lines up!! I when a little mark crazy with the paint pen lol.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:53 AM   #14
3767
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

The steering boxes cover from mid 60's all the way to 87. What happened here is chevy changed the style of the fittings from inverted flare to o ring. This happened n the latter part of the 70's. Also...if u get a box with metric adpaters,this is 1 from 80's. With all that being said u have variable box from the mid to later 70 model yrs. It should have variable ratio. Last pic looks like the bronze o ring adapters n the box. U have to use them or it will leak. U joints are ALOT stronger. U have to get this done so if u can change out n the next few days then go 4 it. If it's gonna put u n a bind 2 get done, then just get it back together and worry about it when u got more time. Some where down the rd u might want 2 take a look at replacing the ball joints and tie rods. Wouldn't do that till warmer weather. When u get it all back together, raise front end with both wheels off the ground and move wheel all the way left and right. Leave cap off ps resivore. Move it a few time each way then add fluid as needed. Takes about 20 /30 times 2 get all the air out. When u stop seeing all the bubbles at the top u got the air out.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:12 AM   #15
REDROCKER652002
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Looks like you are in great shape and getting great advice. My son and I are gonna tackle the gear box later when it gets a bit warmer. So, this is good info. Seems I can look at getting something in the 70's and it will do exactly what he wants. Also, I have a Ididit column from a previous build that never got done, that is gonna be put into his truck at some point, so the U joint and Intermediate shaft part of the post was something I realized is gonna be more than likely needed.

Great post, and great job. Also, great advice and help. This is a great forum for help, you guys rock.

RR
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:49 AM   #16
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

There are several choices out there 4 a replacement shaft. Stick with a collapsible 1.
U joints...if u run a u joint on each end, 1 needs to have a vibration damper n it. Make it the top 1. U can buy them n steel or stainless. If u get the steel 1, paint it so it won’t rust over time. Original shaft is 3/4 dd.
Columns...3/4 x36 spline is what chevys came with. If u are n doubt then use a tape measure to check shaft size then mark 1 of the splines and start counting them.
Gear box...3/4 30 spline is on the box. If u want to check 4 your own peace of mind then do the same as above. Only takes a minute and u will have to know this before u order. Don’t assume the parts guy knows cause most don’t anymore.
Steering shaft....yours is supposed to collapse but due to it being as old as it is most won’t due to rust. Junk yards have plenty but they are old as well so keep that n mind if u go that Rt. Plus they will b set up like what u got with a rag joint.
Borgeson is what I used. They make the shaft and the u joints. They are n sc and 4 me here n nc that’s less down time to get parts. I went thru summit as they were cheaper and Borgeson sent them direct to me .they also make a nice (kinda pricy)steering box that’s worth a look . Funny to me how I can go thru a third party and get a better deal that what the manufacture will offer and yet send it to me .
I’m glad if anything that any help I gave was worth it. U will find that most folks on the board are nice and some 1 has already been thru what u are going thru.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:08 PM   #17
conoco
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

You guys are awesome, thank you. I am going to to switch the steering to u joints whe home from work in a couple weeks. Thank you for the sizing, you were right on the money with the dimension. Next step is to replace everything on the front end, it all works good now but i want to strip everything and paint it, replace pitman arm bearings etc with all new. It took me a long time to find one of these truck in alaska. The most frustrating part is paying for shipping for parts lol. Thanks again everyone. I would still be half way taking everything apart with out ur help. Be safe everyone, the world is crazy !!!
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:24 PM   #18
3767
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Re: Rag joint and steering box removal

Tie rod ends.....u will have to stick with ur make to get correct 1’s. There are 3 different sizes . 63/70, 71/72 & 73/up. This has to do with hub vs disk brakes along with the bore size n spindle. Moog is popular with most but...look at a company called pro forged. Made n us. Very nice quality. Also look n 2 the whole as a kit. U will get inner, outer,idler & adjuster sleeves.
Draglink(n parts books it’s called a center link) this will have 2 come thru what they call parts from most retailers like oreillys ,advance etc. compare prices with amazon and rock auto 4 the best deal. U most likely will b. Charged a delivery fee with the box stores because of the nature of what u are asking 4. The only way they wear out is due to inner rubbing against the hole a making it bigger over time. That why previous poster said it tighten his steering back up. These are also more model specific so get the 1 for your certain model.
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