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Bob, Auto Tech
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 4087
Experience:  Plus 40 years GM, over 30 certified with Chevrolet, ASE certified Master Tech. (Expired, Retired)
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Special: the lower seals in a steering box (1997)Chevy k1500)

Customer Question

How difficult is it to replace the lower seals in a steering box (1997)Chevy k1500). Is this a job only for an experienced mechanic, or can someone with reasonable skills handle it? Are there special tools that are required for this?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Bob replied 10 years ago.

Hello Scuba Pete 1, I am not real sure which of the lower seals that you are referring to. But neither of them is real difficult. You only run into problems if you do something that is going to change the preload on one of the bearings or the worm gear or something else inside the gear box itself. I am sending you instructions from the GM service manual on how to replace the pitman shaft seal, if that is the one you are working on. If it is the O ring behind the round bottom cover that you are doing, it is pretty simple also. For that one, just look for a small round hole in the housing next to the round end plate cover. You are looking for a spot to insert a small pick tool so you can release the internal snap ring that holds the cover in place. If I can find a picture of that procedure, I will forward it later. But once, the snap ring, (more like a metal "O" ring) is removed from the cover, just turn the steering wheel a little and fluid pressure will push the end plate cover off. Then just replace the sealing "O" ring and reassemble. Just be sure to have a big catch pan under the gear box when the cover comes off as fluid will gush out. Instructions for the pitman shaft seal are below. If you have a problem or have another question or concern on the repair, just drop me a note and I will be happy to help you get this fixed. You will need a pitman arm removing tool, they are tight, maybe can rent from a parts store. The J4245 tool is just a regular pair of snap ring pliers and the J6219 is a regular seal installer. Thanks, Bob

Document ID# XXXXX
Chevrolet Chevy K Pickup


Steering Gear Pitman Shaft Seal Replacement (RWD)

Removal Procedure

Tools Required

J 4245 Internal Snap Ring Pliers

  1. Mark the position of the pitman arm to the pitman shaft.
    Object Number: 245002  Size: MH

  2. Remove the pitman arm from the pitman shaft.
  3. Remove the pitman shaft boot (5).
  4. Remove the dust seal (4).
  5. Remove the snap ring (3) using the J 4245 .
    5.1. Loosely install the pitman arm and the nut on the shaft.

    This is required in order to remove the seal.

    5.2. Position a drain pan under the steering gear.
    5.3. Start the engine.
    5.4. Turn the steering wheel from stop to stop, bouncing the wheel off the stops.
    5.5. Stop the engine.
  6. Remove the nut and the pitman arm.
  7. Remove the washer (2) and the seal (1).
  8. Inspect the pitman shaft seal surfaces for roughness or pitting.

    If pitted, replace the shaft.

  9. Inspect the housing for burrs.

    Remove the burrs before installing the new seals.

  10. Clean the pitman shaft and the seal areas using a crocus cloth.

Installation Procedure

Tools Required

J 6219 Seal Installer

    Object Number: 245002  Size: MH

  1. Lubricate the new seals (1) with power steering fluid.
  2. Apply a single layer of tape to the pitman arm shaft in order to avoid damaging the seals.
  3. Install the seal.
  4. Install the washer using the J 6219 in order to seat the seal.

    The seal should be in far enough in order to install the snap ring.

  5. Install the snap ring (3).
  6. Center the steering wheel.
    Turn the wheel until the wheel stops.
    Turn the wheel in the opposite direction until the wheel stops, while counting the number of turns.
    Turn the wheel back 1/2 the number of turns in the previous step.
  7. Install the dust seal (4).
  8. Install the pitman shaft boot (5).
  9. Install the pitman arm.
  10. Bleed the system.

Document ID# XXXXX
Chevrolet Chevy K Pickup


Number 3 is the seal.
Object Number: 322010  Size: SH