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Steering Shaft

Discussion in '3rd Gen - 2007 - 2017' started by Trainmaster, Apr 19, 2021.

  1. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Old School Member

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    As regular readers know, these trucks have a problem with the universal joints on their steering shafts. They bind and the steering becomes stiff.

    Today I changed the bitch.

    There's a 13mm pinch bolt on the top of the shaft and a 10mm pinch bolt on the bottom. The top is easy. The bottom will try your skill and patience if you're working on the ground. There's factory Loktite on them so you need some muscle and a good socket to get them out without stripping the heads. They fight you till the end.

    Remove the air cleaner top and unclip the EGR hose.

    After setting and locking the wheel right, you can reach the bottom one with a 6" extension working from under the under the truck around the radiator hose. Once you get the crimp bolts out you can hammer the bottom of the shaft up free from another spot right below the steering gear.

    The new ones go in at 22 ft-lbs with blue Loctite.

    About two hours of cursing.

    The Motorcraft replacement from Tasca is $130. If you're that guy who trusts Chinese steering parts, you can get a knockoff on Ebay or Amazon for $15. Good luck with that.

    When your time comes you'll have fun with this one. Certainly no job for a winter day.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  2. Frank Wilson

    Frank Wilson Full Access Members

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    Thanks for the warning. Had to spray lube mine a couple months ago so I now it's time has come.

    Wad does your old one look like as far as wear location.?
     
  3. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Old School Member

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    The top u-joint on my steering shaft had one bearing that was very stiff, so it could hardly move. Aside from the wheel being very stiff and not returning after a turn in cold weather, it could have gone on forever. There was no wear to speak of and nothing was in danger of falling apart.

    That part has no road salt exposure so it stands to reason that these bearings just dry out after the years and bind.

    I sprayed and greased it this winter and that offered a little temporary relief, but the problem persisted and I didn't want to take a chance that it might be falling apart.

    Get some penetrating oil on these bolts ahead of time. They don't want to come out and your access for leverage is quite limited.

    Really not a bad job once the cursing and rolling around on the ground is behind you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  4. CHRIS HODGE

    CHRIS HODGE Full Access Members

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    That does not sound like a fun job, can or should u=joint be lubed?
     
  5. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Old School Member

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    There are no fittings on it, but you can spray penetrating oil in it to free it up. It's a chore to effectively reach with a spray can.

    My experience has always been that the problem will reappear every few months until you replace the silly thing once the grease gums up. The light oil will only free it up for awhile and you really can't get any heavier grease into the tiny "sealed" bearings.

    Spraying it got me through winter and the warmer weather helped, but I knew now was a good time to do the job.

    I suppose you can take the thing out, try to work some grease into it to free it up and re-install it, but that's getting stupid unless you're really strapped for cash.
     
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  6. 10Expedition

    10Expedition Member

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    I have been experiencing something similar. It sort of just happened. Here are the symptoms: steering wheel stiffer than before, does not return to center and, more oddly, turning the steering wheel feels "lumpy"; it feels stiff and loose as you turn the wheel. Are these the sign of what you guys have been discussing?
     
  7. JExpedition07

    JExpedition07 That One Member Supporting Member

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    This is one I just paid my mechanic to do, I looked and said “nope”. He ordered it from Ford, called me when it came in, and did it out the door for $400
     
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  8. Frank Wilson

    Frank Wilson Full Access Members

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    Yes, that's the symptoms.
     
  9. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Old School Member

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    I try to never pay for skilled work if I can do the job myself. I think it keeps me young and sober.
     
  10. JohnA

    JohnA Member

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    yes, Trainmaster,its fun. remember when you remove shaft, don't move wheels or steering wheel wheel or you'll be sorry! Trust me! Did mine (2010 XLT) 2 yrs ago in winter, outdoors, Upstate NY. Have two of the shafts available, used, one from F150 (yes it fits, but it didn't last long) free if anyone wants one. Replacement was from Texas junkyard, 2011, still working fine, $50 pls freight. No salt down there and 2010 does not have any splash guard, skid plate.
     
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