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2004 xterra 6cyl 3.3L (160k miles) & 2003 xterra 6cyl 3.3L (dead engine)
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Discussion Starter · #221 ·
Nitrile or other formulations of rubber gloves are well advised when using solvents and cleaners. That tingle you feel when those solvents get on your skin is your body reacting to the toxic chemicals that are being absorbed in to your body. No good will come it. Soap box issue! You can say....thanks Dad or whatever suits you. OBTW...appears you are doing a great job!
Appreciate it but that's not my issue, i have exczyma, my skin is naturally dry no matter what. Hell I cant even use lotions or soaps that have any kind of alcohol in the ingredients. (Not very easy to find)
 

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Discussion Starter · #223 ·
Engine gasket job done! ... Now to tackle the power steering leak
 

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Discussion Starter · #225 ·
Bravo. You have that looking ultra spiffy! Absolutely a great looking job! Top shelf! Time for some Crown Royal Black!
the way I see it, if you have to dig in that deep to swap out parts... might as well go all in and give it a real good cleaning while your already in there!
 
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Engine gasket job done! ... Now to tackle the power steering leak
Bravo. You have that looking ultra spiffy! Absolutely a great looking job! Top shelf! Time for some Crown Royal Black!
the way I see it, if you have to dig in that deep to swap out parts... might as well go all in and give it a real good cleaning while your already in there!
Absolutely fantastic job! You make-a me wanna cry, I so happy!

I know what's on MY list this summer. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #227 ·
Absolutely fantastic job! You make-a me wanna cry, I so happy!

I know what's on MY list this summer. :cool:
well if you use carb cleaner to clean like I do, start looking now... I had a hell of a time finding it, almost everyone was sold out here
 

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Discussion Starter · #228 · (Edited)
76947

well Im thinking I was sold the wrong seal kit for the pitman leak :unsure: @Satito ?
The one on the left?
 

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Discussion Starter · #230 ·
FYI...lot's of carb cleaner available on Amazon. Different brands and prices.
Yes but when you need it that day amazon is not an option
 

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There are a few tutorials online that show how to replace the pitman seal while the steering gear is still on the truck. They aren't for the Xterra or Frontier, but the system is pretty much identical for all steering gears.

Be very careful that you don't scratch or mar the shaft when removing or installing the seal.

I do mine without the vehicle jacked up. This comes into play later with how I actually get the seal out.

Once you get the nut off of the bottom of the pitman you will use a pitman puller to slide the arm off of the shaft. Make sure that you mark the shaft and the arm so that it is easy to line things up again later. Also be aware that the shaft can be stubborn if there's corrosion. If you meet with a lot of resistance be careful and don't have your face anywhere in the line of fire as it can pop free with a fair bit of force.

Once the arm is off you may or may not have a metal dust shield on top of the snap ring. Remove it and then remove the snap ring with a pair of snap ring pliers (it's a big one and can be a pain).

At this point I like to do things the easy way....

Place the nut back on the end of the shaft, but just so that it's threaded part way. Then place a catch pan under the gear (I also recommend a ground cover of some sort (I like to get cardboard palate sheets for free from costco)). Now comes the fun part. Get in the vehicle and start it up. Turn the steering wheel back and forth from lock to lock. Be sure to keep track of the turns so that the steering wheel and gear are centered again. The pressure will have popped the seal out (having the tires ont he ground makes the pump pressurize the system more, but it may work with the vehicle jacked as well). Turn your vehicle off (don't run it again until there is steering fluid back in the pump). Clean up the splines on the pitman shaft. cover then with a quick wrap of electrical tape to protect the new seal as it slides over them. Push in your new seal (It may just slip in or you may have to give it a little love). Take the tape off of your splines and replace everything else. Be sure to line the marks on the arm and the shaft up. Tighten up the nut (it's got a high torque spec if I remember correctly).

If you find that the steering turns the wheels all the way in one direction, but not the other then you didn't count the turns of the wheel correctly when you were removing the seal. You'll have to pop off the pitman arm and turn the wheel one turn back and then line the marks up again.

DON'T forget to refill the steering fluid. Use ATF and not power steering fluid.

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #234 ·
There are a few tutorials online that show how to replace the pitman seal while the steering gear is still on the truck. They aren't for the Xterra or Frontier, but the system is pretty much identical for all steering gears.

Be very careful that you don't scratch or mar the shaft when removing or installing the seal.

I do mine without the vehicle jacked up. This comes into play later with how I actually get the seal out.

Once you get the nut off of the bottom of the pitman you will use a pitman puller to slide the arm off of the shaft. Make sure that you mark the shaft and the arm so that it is easy to line things up again later. Also be aware that the shaft can be stubborn if there's corrosion. If you meet with a lot of resistance be careful and don't have your face anywhere in the line of fire as it can pop free with a fair bit of force.

Once the arm is off you may or may not have a metal dust shield on top of the snap ring. Remove it and then remove the snap ring with a pair of snap ring pliers (it's a big one and can be a pain).

At this point I like to do things the easy way....

Place the nut back on the end of the shaft, but just so that it's threaded part way. Then place a catch pan under the gear (I also recommend a ground cover of some sort (I like to get cardboard palate sheets for free from costco)). Now comes the fun part. Get in the vehicle and start it up. Turn the steering wheel back and forth from lock to lock. Be sure to keep track of the turns so that the steering wheel and gear are centered again. The pressure will have popped the seal out (having the tires ont he ground makes the pump pressurize the system more, but it may work with the vehicle jacked as well). Turn your vehicle off (don't run it again until there is steering fluid back in the pump). Clean up the splines on the pitman shaft. cover then with a quick wrap of electrical tape to protect the new seal as it slides over them. Push in your new seal (It may just slip in or you may have to give it a little love). Take the tape off of your splines and replace everything else. Be sure to line the marks on the arm and the shaft up. Tighten up the nut (it's got a high torque spec if I remember correctly).

If you find that the steering turns the wheels all the way in one direction, but not the other then you didn't count the turns of the wheel correctly when you were removing the seal. You'll have to pop off the pitman arm and turn the wheel one turn back and then line the marks up again.

DON'T forget to refill the steering fluid. Use ATF and not power steering fluid.

I hope this helps.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The steering fluid leak is on your pitman arm. It is most likely the pitman seal at the bottom of the steering gear. Very easy to replace and you don't have to remove the gear from the vehicle to do it. You rent a pitman puller from Autozone, Pepboys etc. You buy a pitman seal kit from Rock Auto (they're cheap).

You undo the bolt on the pitman arm, but leave it on slightly. Attach the puller and start to crank it down. It may start to move freely or it may be a stubborn sonofagun, in which case you amy hear a loud bang all of a sudden as it breaks free. This is why you leave the nut partially on. Then you remove the nut and mark the pitman arm and the spline on the the stearing gear so you can get the orientation correct when you put it back.

Then, there should be a snap ring and a washer before the seal. Remove them. After that I've used two different methods to remove the seal. One is to drill a small hole in the seal and then use a screw to pull the seal. Works great. The other is to put the but back on the end of the shaft, start the vehicle, and turn the steering wheel all the way to lock in one direction and all the way to lock in the other direction. If you have a helper they can watch and tell you when the seal is free. Make sure there is a pan under the steering gear because the hydraulic pressure will force the seal out and PSF will go everywhere. Keep track of how many turns you do so that you get the wheel back in it's original position. if it's off by a turn you will not be able to do tight turns in one direction and will need to pop the pitman arm off again to make the adjustment. Once the seal is out you simply pop the new seal in, drive it home gently being careful not to damage the seal or the mating surfaces. I like to rub a little clean power steering fluid on the sea to make sure it slides over the shaft easily. After it's in, put the new snap ring in, replace the pitman arm and tighten the bolt to spec. It is a fairly high torque.

Our vehicles are high enough that you shouldn't have to jack it up or put it on jack stands to do this. Do make sure it's in park and the parking brake is on though.

@Satito ... so you've given me 2 slightly different sets of directions, which way is the better route?
 

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I'm guessing you mean leaving the nut on when using the puller. That's a safety precaution. I'd do it if the arm has never been off as it's probably on there pretty good.

Othere than that I guess there is the tape. I like to use tape on the splines when moving the seal over them as the splines can be sharp and or have rough edges that may cut the sealing lip of the seal. THe tape gives a smooth and safe surface for it to slide over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #236 ·
I'm guessing you mean leaving the nut on when using the puller. That's a safety precaution. I'd do it if the arm has never been off as it's probably on there pretty good.
well in one you said use a drill, the other you said to turn the steering wheel
 

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Ahh, in the first one I gave both methods. In the second I only gave the steering wheel. If the vehicle can be started I prefer the steering wheel mehtod as there is no chance of scratching the shaft or housing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #238 ·
Ahh, in the first one I gave both methods. In the second I only gave the steering wheel. If the vehicle can be started I prefer the steering wheel mehtod as there is no chance of scratching the shaft or housing.
(y) ok, guess I should go ahead and get new fluids to refill the truck then. I was going to save that for last but... I have to go hunt down a 1 5/8 socket for the pitman arm nut anyway so. thanks for the clarification 🦸‍♂️
 

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If you have everything else buttoned up and the last thing is the pitman seal then Id go ahead and fill things up. It has to be done some time. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #240 ·
If you have everything else buttoned up and the last thing is the pitman seal then Id go ahead and fill things up. It has to be done some time. Best of luck!
this is very true, so just to make sure... by ATF you mean trans fluid?
 
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