Frozen power steering on my '91

Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
556
Location
Provo, Utah
First some background. I have had a power steering gear box leak on my '91 3FE for quite a while. It got bad enough that I finally decided to rebuild the steering gear box to fix the leak. After I finished the rebuild and filled the system with new ATF (Dex3) I started to have a weird issue. It's not leaking anymore, although the steering feels no tighter or better than before the re-seal. However, on cold days when it has sat for more than a few hours, the steering is REALLY hard for a few minutes. It's like I have NO power steering at all until the system has warmed up. Once it's warm, it feels like it breaks free. It just suddenly starts steering normally. Now for the embarrassing admission of an error I made when I rebuilt the box. I didn't notice at the time because they got away from me, but I ended up with 4 left over ball bearings. I was sick and tired of working on it and had just painted it and didn't want to bugger up any of the new seals, so I just left it. It doesn't seem to act any differently than before except when it's really cold out. I doubt it makes a difference with the problem that I'm having, but I figured I would include that data point just in case. Before the reseal I had been using power steering fluid. While the system was totally dismantled I figured I would change it back to Toyota OEM spec. Does anyone have any recommendations to resolve this issue? Is it because the ATF is too viscous? Could those missing ball bearings cause this problem? I just can't figure it out. Thanks in advance for any insights.
 
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First some background. I have had a power steering gear box leak on my '91 3FE for quite a while. It got bad enough that I finally decided to rebuild the steering gear box to fix the leak. After I finished the rebuild and filled the system with new ATF (Dex3) I started to have a weird issue. It's not leaking anymore, although the steering feels no tighter or better than before the re-seal. However, on cold days when it has sat for more than a few hours, the steering is REALLY hard for a few minutes. It's like I have NO power steering at all until the system has warmed up. Once it's warm, it feels like it breaks free. It just suddenly starts steering normally. Now for the embarrassing admission of an error I made when I rebuilt the box. I didn't notice at the time because they got away from me, but I ended up with 4 left over ball bearings. I was sick and tired of working on it and had just painted it and didn't want to bugger up any of the new seals, so I just left it. It doesn't seem to act any differently than before except when it's really cold out. I doubt it makes a difference with the problem that I'm having, but I figured I would include that data point just in case. Before the reseal I had been using power steering fluid. While the system was totally dismantled I figured I would change it back to Toyota OEM spec. Does anyone have any recommendations to resolve this issue? Is it because the ATF is too viscous? Could those missing ball bearings cause this problem? I just can't figure it out. Thanks in advance for any insights.
This is NOT caused by the ATF. Put all your balls back in. The balls are what moves the sector shaft. It's called "recirculating ball steering".
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
556
Location
Provo, Utah
I figured I'd eventually need to put those back in. I just really wasn't looking forward to buying new seals and doing the job again. I was just thrown by the fact that it ONLY happens when it's below freezing outside. Once the truck is warm, there are no issues at all with the steering. Well, maybe I will save some pennies and put a 105 sector shaft and pitman arm on there. I already drilled and tapped for hydro assist (although the holes are currently plugged).
 

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