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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
***NOTE***
Early model year 2000 Xterras that were manufactured before december '99 were equipped with a different box than the rest of the '00-'04s...MAKE SURE YOU VERIFY YOUR PART NUMBER BEFORE FOLLOWING THESE INSTRUCTIONS, I'M NOT SURE WHAT THE DIFFERENCES ARE BETWEEN THE TWO PARTS...THIS DIY IS FOR THE LATER PART #

The FSM doesnt outline how to rebuild the box, just check it for turning tourque, etc...the included instructions are better, but there are still lots of gaps in the information

Tools you will need:

good set of snap ring pliers...not the cheap crap from autozone, you will break them trying to do this project, guaranteed
standard socket wrench
small flathead screwdriver(s)
rubber mallet or small sledge
possibly impact gun/breaker bar, depending on how stubborn the cover bolts are
stone-style cylinder hone & power drill

Parts you will need:

steering box in need of rebuild
steering gearbox rebuild/seal kit

Random supplies:

degreaser or brake cleaner
lots of rags
power steering fluid WITH SEAL CONDITIONER
drain pan to drain old fluid into
tub of assembly grease

OK, lets start

first, lay the steering box out on the ground (or work bench) and get it ready to pull apart...


open the rebuild kit box and pull out the instructions included....you will be using this reference only, as the instructions are for domestic style boxes with removable end covers and are set up a little differently




grab a cold one, take a deep breath, and lets get to it!


start by removing the 4 bolts holding the stub shaft cover plate on, mine were stubborn and needed some impact persuasion:


once the bolts are out, grab your mallet and tap firmly(not too hard, but with force) on the output shaft (where the pitman arm attaches to) until the entire sector shaft pulls out the end:




remove the output shaft seal, snap ring, metal washer, followed by a multi-layered seal, leave the bearings in place...








shoot some cleaner into the bearings, work the bearings around, and get them as clean as you can....now grab a finger full of grease and work it into each of the two bearings....


now, grab the right seals from the kit, grease the outside of everything, and drive them all back in the way they came out, dont forget the snap ring!:


now lets focus on the sector/stub shaft cover:
remove the bolts holding the cover on and tap the cover off with your mallet...remove the o-ring going aroung the edge of the inner portion, and remove the two smaller o-rings in the holes for the fluid lines.




now lay the cover on the ground and find a socket to use with your mallet to drive out the seal and bearing that sit up inside the cover, be sure to remember which way the bearing is facing!


clean out the bearing, work some grease into it with your fingers, rub some grease on the replacement seal, and drive everything back into place from the opposite side (where it came out from), and replace the 2 small o-rings and the 1 large o-ring


now comes the REALLY fun part ::sarcasm::

take a look at the stub shaft (with the teflon seal rings) sticking out of the end of the box...remove the retaining clip with a flathead screwdriver, keep this off to the side as you will use it again...


now, find your biggest pair of snap ring pliers, chug the rest of your beer, and go to town on that BEAST of a snap ring you see going around the inside of the cylinder....it will take a while, you will curse, you will pinch your fingers, it sucks....


once you get the snap ring out, twist the stub shaft to where it wants to pull itself out of the box...its ok, let it pull itself out....after a turn or two you will hear tiny balls falling to the bottom of the box...its ok, just pull the rest of the shaft out and put
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
HOW TO: Rebuild P/S Gearbox PART II

now back to the stub shaft:
pull off the old yellow/green teflon rings via a small pair of needlenose pliers and a small flathead screwdriver...they might be a pain in the ass to get off, and make sure you dont nick the metal surfaces around them....


now install the corresponding teflon seal rings included in the kit (should be green)....try not to bend or stretch the rings more than you have to


***TRICK***
once the teflon rings are in place, go inside and put a pot of water on the stove to boil...once the water is boiling, grab your stub shaft with the newly installed teflon rings and submerge the new rings in the water and hold them under for at least 3 minutes...then, take the shaft out of the water and set it aside to cool....once cooled, the teflon rings will shrink slightly and seat themselves better in the channels

now, back to the steering gear housing itself:

clean out the inside of the housing well with some degreaser and get all the old fluid and any debris out....rub clean with a rag, and pour in some power steering fluid...rub it around the walls of the cylinder (the section you pulled the rack piston from)...set up your cylinder hone to make light contact with the inside of the housing cylinder


run the hone up and down 10-15 times (just enought to break the glaze that has formed on the wall), then wipe out the housing and clean it again


this would also be a good time to paint the box itself if you want to protect it or make it look new, i didnt really care that much :)

crack another beer, you deserve it for getting this far!

now, with the stub shaft cooled form the boiling water, insert it all the way into the rack piston (you should just be able to slide it in without threading it)....MAKE SURE IT IS INSERTED ALL THE WAY TO THE END....now go play with your balls:


these balls!


pour a little steering fluid into the two holes where the ball guide was attached to, just to lube the inner runners for the balls...now, drop a ball into each of the holes and wiggle the entire shaft around inside the piston to get the balls to seat properly...do two more, wiggle the shaft, reapeat...


when no more balls can go into the holes, we focus on the guide itself...


grab both sides of the guide, clean them off, and grab a big finger full of grese...line the inner side of the guides well....now, grab the balls and lay them into the inner channel of one half of the guide....make sure all the remaining balls fit into the guide (if you have extra, they NEED to go into the rack piston!)....press the other half of the guide onto the balls, line the ends of the guide up to the holes, and reinstall the guide with both bolts.....the purpose of the grease is to keep the balls in place so they dont fall out before you can get it back together


now that all the seals on the piston and stub shaft are replaced, slather some steering fluid onto the outside surfaces of the entire assembly and slide the whole thing back into the box....you will be able to tell if everything is in right if you can see the ring where the big ass snap ring sat in...replace the snap ring and the retaining clip....finish your beer and grab one more, youre almost done!

look into the box at the piston....you should be able to see the teeth on the side of the piston completely....if the piston is rotated and you can only see the teeth partially, just rotate the stub shaft back and forth and turn the piston into place by hand (it should go easily)


now, turn the stub shaft all the way in or out (doesnt matter)...count the number of rotations it takes to get the piston to the other end, then divide by two....turn the stub shaft back out that number of times, and the piston is centered in its travel....

grab the output shaft, clean it up and pour some p/s fluid on it, and insert it back into the box, MAKE SURE THE GEARS MESH PROPERLY!!!!
you might need to tap on the cover with your mallet to drive it all the way in, go for it...




tighten the cover bolts back up, slowly fill the box with fluid(works well when forced in with a syringe) and boom, your DONE




adjustment of the off-center adjuster is best to do after it is installed on the truck, just leave the lock nut in place for now! go install a fresh steering box on your X!


here is the link to the photobucket album where all the pics are, there are some more detailed pictures for reference, etc.
http://s330.photobucket.com/albums/l408/cait_brian/steering box/

***EDIT***

the steering box will likely need adjusting after you install it. if the steering is sluggish when the wheels are straight and a few degrees off to either side, it needs to be adjusted ASAP. to adjust:

grab a 17MM box wrench and a set of allen keys

find an allen key to fit in the allen head adjuster, hold the allen key
loosen the lock nut on the top of the box, it is opposite threaded so to loosen it you turn it right
turn the allen key to the right (tighten) until tight
back off (loosen) 1/2 turn
tighten lock nut (turn to left)

get in the truck and drive it around thew block a few times and get a feel for the steering....if its still a bit sluggish, tighten the adjuster a little more (turn to the right), but dont tighten all the way....

also, the seals are still tight and the conditioner in the p/s fluid (as long as you got the right fluid) needs some time to work in....also, keep an eye on your fluid level to make sure there isnt a leak that you cant see

please let me know if you have any input or suggestions!

EDIT 6/14/11

WHEN DROPPING THE BALLS BACK IN, ALTERNATE BETWEEN SIZES....THE BALLS ARE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT SIZES, AND NEED TO GO BACK IN ALTERNATED...THIS IS WHAT CAUSED MINE TO BLOW UP, AND LEARNED THIS ON POWERBLOCK A FEW MONTHS AGO :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
always cup the balls

hopefully this saves people some money by rebuilding their own boxes vs. spending ~$250 for a reman'd unit....it might not last as long as a reman'd box, but $20 for a seal kit is worth it (at least to me) if it lasts me another 25K...hell even if you have to buy a spare box to rebuild like i did, your still guaranteed to come out saving some coin
 

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Brian - VERY nice write up.

Its too bad some of the pics look like they're taken through beer goggles though.

:p
 

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Well Done........ Keep us posted on how well it's working sence the rebuild.
 

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great job

Nice write up. Rep points.
 

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Are parts I and II combined? If so we should change the title.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
thanks for the rep guys, i appreciate it

its a pain in the ass to take a step, grab a picture, drink a beer, do another step, take a few pictures, another step, 2 more beers :)

as long as it helps people out, im happy
 

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Discussion Starter #17
UPDATE

box is still holding up great, about 700(1.5 months) miles on it with no issues....not leaking a bit

i was doing very minor adjustments to the off-center adjuster for a few weeks as i drove it, but eventually got it to the point where the the adjuster was turned completely in, and this is where it feels the best in the steering....anything past that and it gets very sluggish in the middle of the wheel travel...i still recommend turning it all the way in and then backing it out about 1/2 to 3/4 of a revolution to allow for plenty of adjustment room down the road...

also, make SURE you fill yours with p/s fluid that has the SEAL CONDITIONER in it...either that or regular fluid WITH stop-leak or similar....if you put straight fluid in, it will greatly reduce the life of the seals since they wont break in properly...

so, anyone else rebuild theirs yet?
 

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Its too bad some of the pics look like they're taken through beer goggles though.

:p
never give the photographer beer when he's takin pics!
 

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Hey - sorry to be a moron, but WHY did/would you do this?

What it b/c it was leaking? ???
 
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