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Old 11-12-2020, 12:35 PM   #21
Orv
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Another odd data point: I've had two 1990 vans over the years. One had about two inches of slop at the steering wheel rim, the other has virtually none. Both had about 120,000 miles. I don't know for certain if the box in either van was ever replaced, but I'm pretty sure they were both original OEM. The sloppy one was an E-150 with a ball joint front end and the tight one is an E-250 with kingpins. Neither had been lifted.



Which reminds me...I assume everyone is checking rod ends, ball joints, etc for play before blaming the box? The nature of pitman-arm steering is it amplifies any play. Having someone wiggle the wheel back and forth while you look underneath sometimes helps track it down.


Mercedes-Benz used to consider an inch of play at the wheel rim acceptable on *new* cars...it's never going to feel like rack and pinion no matter what you do.
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Old 11-12-2020, 12:45 PM   #22
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Do the OEM boxes normally fail only when folks are running oversized tires and/or lifts that overly stress their design parameters, or are they a known failure point on vans with stock suspensions and tires, too?

As an aside, Cardone Industries is five miles from my house. I went to high school with the owner’s daughter, and my neighbor is an engineer of some sort with them.

No .. Mine is 25 years old now.. And Still Over Strong. ... Its always been 4x4 lifted with Larger Tires.. I think it depends on how the Van is driven over its life time. I would only replace with OEM Ford Box.
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Old 11-12-2020, 12:57 PM   #23
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Which reminds me...I assume everyone is checking rod ends, ball joints, etc for play before blaming the box?
I can only speak for my self, but in an effort to improve the steering in my van, I first replaced the steering box that had some play in it. From the beginning it didn't want to return to center, and I was told to loosen the adjustment. That helped, but the steering was never optimal, but I lived with it. Within the last month I've replaced every moving part in the front end, including new tires, wheels, ball joints, tie rod ends, drag link, rotors, calipers, bearings, ....everything. That brought me back to the steering box, which I never totally liked. Fast forward to today. In less than 24 hours, my new warrantied box was delivered to my front door. That's what I call great customer service. Now to see if I can get it installed before I leave on my next road trip.
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Old 11-12-2020, 01:06 PM   #24
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With our big rigs, I’ve heard turning the wheels especially on pavement while sitting still can prematurely wear a steering box out.
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Old 11-12-2020, 01:10 PM   #25
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Don't know about current Redhead boxes, but I have theirs in two vans over the last 10 years and no issues. They have been great. Second one 5 years ago was a little tight and I brought it in to their facility (local) and they adjusted it. They do a lot of boxes for different vehicles and seemed then to be very busy, and organized....First one had over 100k, and second about 50k.

FWIW
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:34 PM   #26
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Don't know about current Redhead boxes, b.First one had over 100k, and second about 50k.

FWIW
50 + 100 k is not really much the factory unit should be getting 300,000+ plus? How many miles were on those vans before you replaced them? My new 7.3 diesel currently has 250,000 I can drive that thing with two fingers was 30 tires... I hear all this talk about how the Fords are terrible and I've had a few company Fords that were terrible F-250 pickups .. in particular No doubt !!
But the vans steer just fine?
I suppose it's just one of those things like... It's a crapshoot
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Old 11-12-2020, 07:00 PM   #27
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50 + 100 k is not really much the factory unit should be getting 300,000+ plus? How many miles were on those vans before you replaced them? My new 7.3 diesel currently has 250,000 I can drive that thing with two fingers was 30 tires... I hear all this talk about how the Fords are terrible and I've had a few company Fords that were terrible F-250 pickups .. in particular No doubt !!
But the vans steer just fine?
I suppose it's just one of those things like... It's a crapshoot

Both vans had near 100K originally. The 95 steering box was very sloppy, and the 06 was slightly sloppy. Both were significantly tightened, additionally both needed sway bar work (loose bushings at swaybar ends), and shocks. The newer one had kingpin bushings that were corroded and sloppy, even after adding zerks and greasing as an interim step.The first also needed steering ball joints, second all ball joints were fine....So the longevity depends on a lot of things including environmental, road history, maintenance, etc...The first van was sold at 270K and was still tight. The need for accurate steering, given the primitive suspension, is really driven by a lot of skinny Mexican roads with big trucks, dirt tracks, and occasional exciting surprises. Hard to extrapolate in general...so many variables.
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Old 11-12-2020, 10:12 PM   #28
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Just a thought - can you go to a box for a bigger rig? Perhaps for a F450 pickup or so? May take some finagling, perhaps a custom adaptor, but I would assume it would be a stronger unit.
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Old 11-13-2020, 04:09 PM   #29
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No .. Mine is 25 years old now.. And Still Over Strong. ... Its always been 4x4 lifted with Larger Tires.. I think it depends on how the Van is driven over its life time. I would only replace with OEM Ford Box.
Gotta chime in... 19 years with mine 135k miles and it has been lifted 8 inches for 17 of those years. First 4 years was I Beam then I did the conversion and switched to D 60 with coils. I still have not noticed any issues. With all the trouble mentioned here I will be a little more attentive but if I ever do replace it I have a local reman company right here near Riverside Calif. that I had a Jeep Cherokee box rebuilt and I tapped for a hydro assist set up. They do big rig boxes as well. This is how I will go when I need to!
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:12 PM   #30
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Just a thought - can you go to a box for a bigger rig? Perhaps for a F450 pickup or so? May take some finagling, perhaps a custom adaptor, but I would assume it would be a stronger unit.

IIRC the problem is the truck boxes have a different number of output splines, but the truck pitman arm is not suitable for a van. Probably fixable with some fabrication, though.
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