When I went to Paragon for Big Dogs’ OHV Extravaganza, I cracked my power steering box end cap descending into Spare Tire Creek. Anybody who tries to tell you that the box can’t be reached by trail hazards has not been in my jeep or done any serious off road driving.

To replace the power steering box end cap, you have to turn the steering box shaft counter clockwise until it pushes the cap out. You have to be careful not to go to far or you will loose the recirculation bearings and have to rebuild the whole box. I took off the bumper and the snap ring. I then went for the pitman arm. I had a small problem. I needed a LARGE socket to remove the nut holding on the pitman arm. The problem was that nobody knew the size of the nut. I bought some sockets (1 1/16”, 1 1/8”, 1 3/16”, 1 1/4”, 1 5/16”, 32mm and 36mm (Sears doesn’t sell a 34mm socket and Pep Boys was out of them)). Only the 1 5/16” socket was close, but not close enough for liking, so I quit for the day. The next weekend I decided to try it with the 1 5/16’ socket. I put my entire a$$ behind a 2 1/2’ craftsman breaker bar with no luck. I then tried the other end of the pitman arm, again, no luck. Eventually it was a mistake that that got the cap off.

You have to take off the front bumper to expose the top of the steering box. That is where the snap ring extraction hole is located.

I had a serious problem trying to get the snap ring dislodged until I cut a nail and stuck it in the snap ring extraction hole.
(Click on picture for a clearer shot.)

I put the nail in the hole and used the handle of my socket driver to unseat the snap ring. I used a screwdriver to work the ring out enough to grab with pliers.

I used the pliers to leverage out the snap ring.

Hooray. No more snap ring. I then spent the next 2 hours trying to disconnect the pitman arm. Eventually I gave up.

The mistake I made was to trying to drive the Jeep from one parking space to another with out putting the snap ring back in.

I didn’t get far. The end cap popped right out. The power steering pump made a hell of a racket after the power steering fluid hemorrhaged out of the end cap.

The end cap came off fairly easily after it was loose. There’s the piston.

Here is the internal damage to the old power steering box cap (On the left). Doesn’t look like much, but it leaked about a Quart a week.
(Click on picture for a clearer shot.)

I put the O-Ring on the cap and gently pushed the new cap into place. I then replaced the snap ring being sure to position it so I can use the snap extraction hole next time. Finally! All done.

Here is the source for the End Cap, Snap Ring and O-Ring. The whole repair kit cost $15.00 with shipping and handling. There are two caps for the TJ. Mine had a number on the outside of the cap and had the short knobs around the inside. It is part number 5693463 and can be ordered from Harry’s Steering Gear Rebuilders. They also carry the other cap and many other components. They were extremely helpful and sent me my order the same day.

I’m not sure the dealer would recommend my method to remove the cap, but because of my mistake/discovery, I can change the cap in 20 minutes. Incidentally, the dealer wanted about $900.00 to replace the box. They would sell me a replacement box for $600.00 and the AGR Super Box 2, which is a heavy duty replacement for the stock box, is $350.00 but you also need their heavy duty pump. I figure I have an extra $885.00 for other improvements because I fixed it myself. On the trail I would remove the snap ring, attach a plastic bag to the front of the steering box, start the engine and have someone monitor it while I turn the steering wheel quickly counterclockwise. That should pop it off and I won’t have to worry about the re-circulating bearings dropping out. The system holds about 3/4 of a quart of power steering fluid. I bought a Tomken Steering Box Skid Plate, which will eliminate the need to ever repair the box again.