Steering box failure 2500HD appears to have a serious problem.

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by Hummer, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Hummer

    Hummer Rockstar

    I started getting clunking noises hitting bumps etc and we found the pivot pin assembly had vertical movement about 1/2" so we replaced that.

    Then multiple clunks (different than before) started. Two or three on start up and stopping.

    Took it to front end place yesterday and they said steering box was shot and that they are notorious for going out and the bad part is they are under constant pressure lubrication so the failure is directly not attributable to poor lube maintenance.

    This is a 979.00 repair and apparently the failure rate is so high that all the parts places offer rebuilt steering boxes about $250.00 cheaper than the dealership.

    It would appear either the design is bad, the power steering lube folks make poor lube or the materials the box uses internally is designed for a early falure.

    the entire rest of the front end is fine.

    This is very disturbing in that the rig only has 117K on it and I don't understand why GM engineering has not addressed the problem.

    I am also told there is so many metal particles generated into the lube and circulated through the system that the lifetime warranty suppliers require a new power steering pump be installed with new steering pump and the rest of the system flushed well.

    This is very disconcerting as I love my 2007 2500HD and until I know the problem has been cured I won't even consider a new one.

    Does anyone have any information on the failures, a fix or a better power steering lube? This seems like it would be a simple problem to fix if anyone was interested in a long system life. After all so far as I know the engines are good, trannies are good and rear ends or good but this has got me stumped.
  2. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    In my experience many front end and alignment shops have no idea about the known bad intermediate shafts on these trucks. Many times they diagnose a bad gearbox or other front end parts and replace them only to have the same issue. Before I found this forum I had the intermediate shaft clunk. Three shops guessed that it was a bad rack on my 2wd truck. I did not have the money to replaces it, so I dealt with it. Then I found this site, lubed the shaft and the noise went away. Unless the box is leaking or has a lot of slop in the gears then I say that it is fine. I will try to find the thread about lubing your intermediate shaft. It will cost you around $12 to do your self. If it works then great! You just saved yourself a crap load of money, if it does not work then you only wasted $12 and 30 minutes of your time.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here it is: shaft Look at post #20
  3. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    no vehicle is perfect. a lot are made cheaply to enhance profit. your issue of the steering box being a defect design is a new one on me. my 2000 silverado has no issues with wear .

    now on the early 1990 vehicles still moving they are finding worn boxes after 20 plus years or well over 200,000miles. This is another GM failure to warn owners that this fluid needs flushing/replacing [ I.M.O. ] every 7 years.

    I would go to another place to have this checked. start / stop clunk sounds like a drive shaft .

    with the steering gear being worn/broken this would be felt when turning . you would have to turn the wheel more to go straight. then it would get so bad it would be impossible to continue to drive it.

    with lubing of the front end only use litium based grease. never use a power grease gun . slowly fill the grease seals till they swell slightly no more.

    could be if you have repair shops working your vehicle they are using the wrong ,grease ,fluids , methods

    never use a re-built steering gear they are reported to be a very poor quality which is why you get no warranty.

    better to get a srcap yard one since the re-built ones are the returned worn out gears.
  4. Hummer

    Hummer Rockstar

    The shop that told me this normally has a excellent rep. The rebuilt assembly we are getting is from Advance which has a lifetime warranty as long as I own the truck which I can assure all will be a long time Lord willing. I have 275,000 on my Honda, 232, 000 on the Durango and 117,000 on this one but I did not get it new. It had 90,500 on it when I got it. It was a road truck and it had 90,500 on it and 2006 hours when I got it and it was a road truck. I am 66 and I plan on driving it as long as I am physically able to drive as I love the truck. It stays parked under a shed and I only run it about every three weeks as I got it primarily to pull a 31' Airstream trailer which it does very nicely. This is the only vehicle I have ever owned that has had steering problems. I previously owned a F250 w/ 246,000 on it when it left.

    I grease all my stuff myself as I don't trust others. I use Grease, Aircraft Wide temp range which is the finest grease that can be had as it is good for 55F below zero to 450F. I also have a Deere 410C backhoe/loader with plenty of grease fittings on it.

    I have also been made aware that some of the lifetime replacement boxes require the replacement of the power steering pump and flushing of the system to remove metal particles that have been generated in driving. The box is also leaking a bit.

    I have made note of the extra grease fitting modification which certainly makes sense.

    Since these are self lubricating it would seem there is either a fluid failure problem or a design problem. I have another idea of something I want to try before the change out.

    You guys please keep the ideas/opinions coming. I knew I was likely to get a good response on this here.
  5. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    since this is a used truck the frequency of proper maintenance is probably why this box is worn if it is worn. then you have how it was driven and worked. a lot can happen in 90,000 miles.

    you did not comment on operating the vehicle being able to steer easy in a straight line. if you can do this I doubt the box is the problem. clunk sounds when starting to move or stop would be other items . one which I did not mention before would be the ball joints. these are easy to check using a large pry bar and the lower control arm supported by a jack.

    - - - Updated - - -

    forgot to say on the grease to be used, the lithium based grease is what should be in there from OEM factory . I am sure you know that mixing different types can cause problems.
  6. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I would use caution getting a box from Advance. I had one installed in my truck (under aftermarket extended warranty) It leaked immediately and had to be replaced. The next one made a growling noise when turning left. So, that one was also replaced. All was replaced under warranty, But since the shop that I was sent to by the warranty company does not do alignments I was on the hood for the cost of those each time.
  7. Hummer

    Hummer Rockstar

    It steers just fine and steering feels "tight" and by this no lost motion or play. Ball joints were checked and they are fine.

    I talked with my friend today and we are going to try to replace the medium shaft first and install a grease fitting on it.

    From you guys talking I was under the impression the intermediate shaft was never greased from the factory. Yes I understand about mixing grease and will do the lithium thing first. I might just do the one installed as a training exercise and if it works fine, if not we go for a new one. A tube of lithium won't be bad at all and I have multiple grease guns.

    Does anyone know the GM part number of the intermediate shaft? Before we go for the box we are going to get a jug of Lucas power steering fluid with stop leak in it and give that a try.

    Except for the clunks/clinks the steering feels superb.

    Again, thanks for the input folks.
  8. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    you may need a new ISS . many like myself just lubed this shaft end to eliminated this pop feel in the steering wheel. some however did require the shaft to be replaced. it was reported that because of poor quality control the fit varied . too loose and then you may require replacing to fix this.

    make sure the power steering fluid is correct for the vehicle. I have been using prestone power steering fluid with seal conditioner for many years with no problems.

    I did once have a input shaft seal of the steering gear box leak. I found that the seal was not installed correctly. the fix was 12.00 USD.

    I just remembered another forum member having this issue with the 2008 model this is the fix for him : "There is a bushing between the frame & the torsion bar crossmember that is shot. Had a friend stop by to rock the truck, found the bushing was worn & causing the clunking."

    post the results of you fix.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  9. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

  10. Hummer

    Hummer Rockstar

    From the pics I am looking at there seems to be a screw in the shaft which I am assuming keeps it from coming off? Am I right if this screw is removed the shaft will come apart?

    If that is the case my first course (coarse haha) of action will be to separate and take a 4 oz ball peen hammer to the splines and peen them slightly. This will "tighten" the assembly and remove lots of side play.

    On M1 Garand rifles the gas cylinder slides on the muzzle and it is a splined fit. Then tend to get loose after several thousand rounds and the vibration of the front sight causes the groups to open up. The fix is to peen the slines to where the gas cylinder has to be driven back on and it tightens up and rifle starts shooting smaller groups again. Thusly it might just work for us "good ole boys". haha and accomplish the same thing.

    OK guys that is your gunsmithing lession for today ! ! ! haha.

    Still the question is whether it will come apart easily. It it does then I will give it a shot.

    I just had another splendid plan hit me. There is a marvelous dry film lubricant made by Sandstrom Inc Port Byron, Illinois

    I became aware of it in 1985 time frame when I attended a course entitled Corrosion Control and Prevention of Material Deterioration at Rock Island Arsenal and during the course they told us about the above firm and the work with Dept of Defense is specialty applications.

    I have been testing dry film lubricants in the worst condition I can think of. I have a bush hog type mower behind my tractor and the tail wheel has a 1" diameter grade 8 bolt as the axle. The factory axle even though I greased it before every run went down with massive wear in the first year. I had some Sandstrom dry film lubricant so when I rebuilt the tail wheel assembly I turned new bearings for the wheel and pressed them in

    I then literally painted the Sandstrom dry film lube on the internal surfaces of the wheel bearings and the new Grade 8 axle shaft and off we went. My mower continually bombards the tail wheel assembly with grass/weed residue, sand/dust etc and the lube is dry. On the first variation I ran the mower four hours and pulled the axle out and not a mark on it. I applied another application and ran it another four hours and still not a mark on it. On the third time I ran it 8 hours before pulling the axle and again not a mark on it. During the time the mower is parked the axle area is subject to rain on the tail wheel section as it is not all the way under the shed.

    Next I decided to run it till something happened. At an estimated 12 hours of running a dry axle it siezed. I got it home and got the axle out and only one little strrip had failed. 98% of the axle was unharmed. I chucked axle in the lathe and took off the galled spot and recoated it and back to work.

    A year ago I found out they had a upgrade called 28A and got a quart of it. Far as I am concerned this is the "bees knees" I ran it 12 hours first thing out and when I went to clean it with wire wheel on a grinder the lube would not all come off ! ! ! ! Left a burnished appearance ! ! ! !

    When you read the above spec sheets I think you guys will be impressed.

    I am thinking what I will do is take the intermediate shaft apart (assuming it will do so ) and clean the male splines till they are totally degreased and then dip the splines in the 28a and let it air cure for 24 hours or so. If there is a lot of play in the shaft I may dip it twice.

    This stuff has been used on rifle sight elevation and windage screws to take the play out of the screws and it worked just fine.

    At any rate read the above https and see what you guys think.[​IMG]

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