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thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/3/22 7:43 p.m.

In reply to WillG80 :

​​​​​​Prices for my F150:

Bluetop: $255

Redhead: $296

Ford reman: ~$350

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
2/4/22 12:28 p.m.

Bluetop doesn't have an off the shelf option for E-series van, so you have to send it to them. They quoted me $310 plus shipping with a one day turn around. Its probably expensive to ship as these things are like boat anchors. Ain't cheap and your rig is down for at least three days.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/11/22 2:42 p.m.

Just ordered a Bluetop box, based on what I've learned here. I'll keep y'all posted on how it works out. Ended up being $475 with the core charge, shipping, and the core return label. 

Unrelated: why the berkeley do I need to make an account with a password to order from them? I'd better not be buying from them frequently enough to need that, so just let me check out as a guest. 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
2/14/22 9:44 a.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

I was wondering what you decided...thanks for letting us know. I think I'm going to do the same.

Keep us posted on your experience!

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/21/22 11:21 a.m.

Got the box installed over the weekend. It only took a trip to Napa, O'Reilly's, AutoZone, and Harbor Freight to get everything I needed. O'Riley's had the ATF, AutoZone had the pitman arm puller, Napa had the 1 5/16 socket for the pitman arm nut, and Harbor Freight had the big enough torque wrench to reinstall that same nut. Spec is 190-230 ft lbs!

Getting the pitman arm off was the biggest challenge. I fought it for a couple hours until I chose the nuclear option: cutting the end off a wrench and using the handle from my hi lift jack to get enough torque on the puller. I thought I was going to die when it finally let go with a bang. The three bolts holding the box to frame came out with just a ratchet. Not a spot of rust on them. Even the attachment to the steering shaft also just slid right out, once I fully removed the pinch bolt. I didn't realize the input to the steering box has a little scallop that the bolt sits in. 

I haven't driven the truck yet to see how it feels. My wife's car was blocking me in and I was getting pretty cold by the time I finished bleeding the power steering. AKA: I'm a big baby. 

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/21/22 11:24 a.m.

I didn't take too many pictures, as I was in a bit of a rush to get the job done. 

I was pleased to see the box was a Ford core, not aftermarket.

Here's the maximum force cheater bar and custom wrench for turning the pitman arm puller. I'm still impressed the puller didn't explode. 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
2/21/22 7:15 p.m.

Dang, sounds intense. Sounds like most of my jobs... always way more complex than I bargain for. 190 ft lbs of torque! Yikes. That's good to know cause I'll need a bigger torque wrench too.
 

In one video I saw the guy had to take the box to a shop to get the pitman arm off. I might try that as I don't have access to many of my tools right now.
 

Congrats on getting it done! Looking forward to hearing about driving impressions.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/21/22 8:42 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Just got back from the test drive. Results: the new box has eliminated every bit of play in the steering! It's as precise as an old truck on 33x10.5s can reasonably be expected to be.

Problem is now the steering wheel is crooked. It could have been the whole time, and the play in the steering masked it, or I could have gotten the steering shaft off a spline when I put the new box in. Either way, I think it's the alignment shop's problem now. 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
2/22/22 9:56 a.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

That's wonderful to hear!

I was leaning toward Bluetop as well, and your experience confirms it for me. I just need to save my pennies. I'm guessing this will be $500 given the $310 cost plus what I imagine will be a lot of money to ship the box across the country and back. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
2/22/22 11:00 a.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

That's good news. I may need to try this out - I bought a "brand new" steering box and it still wanders more than I'd like by a fair bit on my truck....

Great information in this thread - thank you for sharing.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/22/22 11:53 a.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Shipping was $35 both ways to me in Oregon. I did pre-pay for the shipping label from Bluetop. I'm not sure if it would have been less to get it shipped on my own, but it was sure was nice just dropping the box off at the shipping place and leaving. 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
2/22/22 9:28 p.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

That's really reasonable. Although, I think they are located in WA. I'm currently in NC so I'm expecting it too be a lot, but who knows, maybe it won't be as bad as I expect. 

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