uh-oh. Wrong lube in manual steering box - what now? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:03 PM
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uh-oh. Wrong lube in manual steering box - what now?

Guys,

I just put power steering fluid into the manual steering box on my 68 camaro. I had adjusted the play in the box, and decided to check the lube through the hole when you remove one of the top plate screws.

I got a recommendation from (I thought) a credible source to use PS fluid. Now I've read and heard that I should have used a flexible chassis grease (not wheel bearing grease).

The box didn't appear to be "dry" before I added the PS fluid but it's tough to see in there also.

So, the question is, will it hurt the box to leave the PS fluid in there for a couple weeks? Should I remove the box from the framerail and just dump out the PS fluid through the same hole it went in, or do I have to take it all apart?

Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 07-16-2007, 02:42 PM
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uh-oh

I would get it off and drained asap so the ps fluid dosn't break down the grease in the box. Depending on the color of what comes out you should be able to tell if their was much breakdown of the grease. You might not have to remove the box off if you get a small vacumm pump and pump it out. Eddie
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:27 PM
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power steering fluid is ATF wich in turn comes with a extreme pressure additive, so it will lube rigth your box, I don't see why it could hurt it, actually power steering units are very similar internally to your manual box.
I would leave it in there, don't worry.

BTW, manual steering boxes are lubed with 90 weight oil, not grease, although grease can be used it's not it's natural lubricant, I would use grease only if the seals could not keep the oil in ( whatevere oil you decide to use )

Augusto.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:01 AM
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Hmm.

I will have to check and see if anything is leaking out of the box.

On the one hand, it makes sense to me that PS fluid would work, based on the assumption that it's what lubes a power steering box. It seems funny to have a "check hole" on top of the box if you are supposed to put a grease in there. I wouldn't think a thick grease would require a person to check the "level" every now and then.

On the other hand however, I've also heard that a thinner lube will not coat the upper section inside the box as a thicker grease would. Gravity would tend to keep the lube in the lower sections of the box, unless it is filled completely to the top, which may prove difficult to do. Again, some people have suggested that a gear oil would eventually leak out of the box - is this because people are assuming that an old steering box leaks due to old seals etc? Or was a steering box never intended to seal well enough to hold gear oil?

I need to keep digging it seems. Any other opinions out there?

Thanks to all for the info . . .
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:30 AM
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The clearances between moving parts in a mechanism have alot to do with what lubricates it. Big spaces between moving parts require heavy grease or thick oil, while small spaces between parts need thinner oil. You can't make any assumption of the required lubrication based on "well it works in something similar"...(sorry Augusto)

In 1968 pretty much everything manual had big sloppy clearances, and was lubed with grease or gear lube.



Same goes for transmissions. Although the manual transmissions and rear axles that use ATF look the same as the ones that run gear oil, the clearances between parts are way smaller in the setups that run ATF.. Put ATF in a mechanism designed to use grease and watch it fail in a short time.

The seals designed to hold grease in are different as well. The manual box has one seal and a bushing, while the power box has 2 seals and a needle bearing.A power box has a constant supply of pressurized oil fed to it as well. The manual box will not have that.


If the atf hasn't drained out already, drain it out, lightly flush the box with solvent or kerosene, (you don't want to flush out the ball guides too much, it is a pain to get the grease back in there.), and put regular old wheel bearing grease,(not the hairy stuff for ball bearings though), in it or "chassis grease", whichever you like. Pack it as full as you can get it, working the box back and forth while you pack it in.

Gear oil is not the reccomended lube for a gm manual box.

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Last edited by powerrodsmike; 07-17-2007 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:59 PM
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If I was to pack grease in a steering box, I'll drill and tap one of the cover bolts to accept a grease fitting, then remove the oposite side bolt to relieve the pressure, then pump the grease inside with a regular grease gun, presto!!!

Augusto.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:01 PM
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Might see if you can still get this at a Ford place, pn C3AZ-19578-A steering gear lubricant.
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