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hi guys, had my power steering pump rebuilt and re-installed, everything worked fine. this was the 65 maiden voyage. she went about 5min before the power steering quit. pump seems fine, could this new problem be the steering gear box? what are the simptoms of gear box failure. can or should they be re-built or new? help

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hi guys, had my power steering pump rebuilt and re-installed, everything worked fine. this was the 65 maiden voyage. she went about 5min before the power steering quit. pump seems fine, could this new problem be the steering gear box? what are the simptoms of gear box failure. can or should they be re-built or new? help

It could be either the pump or the gearbox....best way to tell is put

your hand tightly around the high pressure p/s hose while someone turns

the steering wheel. If the pump is generating pressure you will feel the hose

swelling a little in your hands. If you don't feel anything it is the gearbox. It is best to rebuild your original box so you know that you will still have your factory turning radius.

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It could be either the pump or the gearbox....best way to tell is put

your hand tightly around the high pressure p/s hose while someone turns

the steering wheel. If the pump is generating pressure you will feel the hose

swelling a little in your hands. If you don't feel anything it is the gearbox. It is best to rebuild your original box so you know that you will still have your factory turning radius.

thanks, i'll give that a try,

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So, you were just driving along and the assist stopped assisting, or greatly-lessened assist? I'd say that if it "just went away", it'd be more on the pump side of things. I'd first remove the return line at the back of the pump, catching any fluid as this will probably drain the reservoir also, and make sure the rear "fitting" hole is open and not clogged. There are several "fittings" in GM and the size of the fitting's orifice determine how much boost the pump will make and how easily the wheel will turn, compared to other fittings . . . the other part of "steering ease" is inside of the steering gearbox itself (takes a complete disassembly to change THAT part). Although there might be a magnet on the inside of the reservoir, this will also give you an opportunity to check the fluid for anything "floating" in it.

The p/s pump is the easiest thing to check and change. The GM800-style power steering gears might have a few leaks and such over the years, but I've not heard of one "failing" as you describe, not to say it can't happen. Be sure to use genuine GM power steering fluid, for good measure.

You CAN hold the pressure hose, but you might also watch it "tense up" as the steering wheel's held against either one of the "stops" at full lock, momentarily. Plus listen for "the hiss" as the pump bypasses pressure when that is done. In many cases, just quickly turning the wheel from center can put enough extra pressure into the system to make the pressure hose flex, too, with the vehicle parked, plus also dropping the engine rpm a little from the added load of the p/s pump on the engine.

Please advise of what you find.

NTX5467

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hi guys, had my power steering pump rebuilt and re-installed, everything worked fine. this was the 65 maiden voyage. she went about 5min before the power steering quit. pump seems fine, could this new problem be the steering gear box? what are the simptoms of gear box failure. can or should they be re-built or new? help

First things first, check your fluid level. The reservoir should be full enough to cover the pump inside but not up to the brim of the reservoir.

Also, be sure the power steering pump belt is reasonably tight.

Next, put the front end in the air and turn the wheels lock to lock several times to be sure there is not air in the system.

I would crimp off the pressure line in small increments (not completely closed off because causing the line to burst due to excessive pressure is dangerous!!) and listen for the power steering pump to "work hard" and load the motor. If the pump is building pressure your problem is probably in the box.

I would anticipate, because the pump was just "rebuilt" and because these boxes rarely go bad that your problem is in the pump.

Tom Mooney

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The cap on my pump says to use transmission fluid. Is there any difference in viscosity between that and modern power steering fluid?

Edited by dwhiteside64 (see edit history)

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hi guys, the mechanic says the pump tests ok after the rebuild, so were thinking the gear box. this box sat for 25yrs so who knows, we can't see any leaks, i guess we rebuild the box. cars sells them for 85.00 bucks. anyone know of a cheaper full rebuild kit, also does the riv have the Saginaw 800 in it. thanks again for your help.

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As already mentioned these boxes are historically bullet proof from a functional standpoint so while the box could be the problem, its not as likely unless there was a catastrophic failure of pump where debris was passed into the box. Whoever rebuilds the box should either have experience doing them or be on their A-game as a mechanic as well as having a shop manual for guidance. If you do not have a capable mechanic, you are better off sending the box to a pro who does them everyday such as http://www.larescorp.com/

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As already mentioned these boxes are historically bullet proof from a functional standpoint so while the box could be the problem, its not as likely unless there was a catastrophic failure of pump where debris was passed into the box. Whoever rebuilds the box should either have experience doing them or be on their A-game as a mechanic as well as having a shop manual for guidance. If you do not have a capable mechanic, you are better off sending the box to a pro who does them everyday such as http://www.larescorp.com/

In my shop it is not uncommon for GM gearboxes to completely quit working......As a matter of fact I had one on a Chevrolet Suburban completely

quit working just a few weeks ago. It is more common for the problem to be the pump, but gearboxes that have no assist whatsoever are not all that rare.

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The GM "rebuild kit" (which might still be available from GM dealers!) is a large bag of all rubber seals and such for the gearbox. What usually made the gearboxes unique was how it mounted to the frame rather than the replaceable "guts". "Gut" items which would be specific to the application would be the stiffness of the "torsion bar" and also the gearset (normal/straight ratio, variable ratio, fast ratio, and fluid line fittings on the later models). There IS some valaving in the gearbox, though, which might be where it failed . . . if it shows the same lack of boost when turned either way from center.

A more "high tech" method of getting the "air" out of the system, other than to turn the steering wheel lock to lock several times (as service manuals have mentioned for decades), is to pull a vacuum on the system with a hand vacuum pump and a suitable fixture on the top of the fluid reservoir.

My gut suspicion on the psfluid would be to use the GM Power Steering Fluid if the TypeA-designation atf was not available, as the "default mode". I know that on the several cars I've bought, model year 1967 and newer, which had "red" in the power steering reservoir, ALL had fluid line seeps. When that fluid was replaced with GM PSF, those seeps went away and didn't come back. I also found reference to "Genuine GM" power steering fluid in a 1961 Chevrolet owner's manual.

Of course, if Lares rebuilds your box, then ask them for their recommendations on psf as they know the compatibilities of the seals and other rubber items they use in the rebuilding of their products.

NTX5467

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hi guys, the mechanic says the pump tests ok after the rebuild, so were thinking the gear box. this box sat for 25yrs so who knows, we can't see any leaks, i guess we rebuild the box. cars sells them for 85.00 bucks. anyone know of a cheaper full rebuild kit, also does the riv have the Saginaw 800 in it. thanks again for your help.

Have you taken it back to him after failure and had it re-checked?

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If you lost pressure that is a pump problem. Odds are there was some air in your system, and it went past the flow control valve causing it to hang up. When the pump was rebuilt the valve would have been removed which would have freed up the jam. Once it is free you will have pressure again. 

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