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Old 05-31-2011, 01:04 PM   #1
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Post How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150

I suddenly started having steering problems on my 2004 F150 4x4 Quad Cab. At first I assumed it was the steering pump but after reading through the forums I noticed that many people having this symptom found out it was the u joints on the steering shaft instead. I lubed the heck out of the 2 u joints on the steering shaft but it made very little improvement. The part that goes most commonly is the lower steering shaft. I believe it is a dealer only item. Ford part number 8L3Z3B676B. The part cost me $244.48 plus tax at my dealer, they had it on the shelf.

Despite how many people have had this problem fixed, I could not find a writeup or video anywhere of how to do it. Even my alldatadiy online truck manual does not describe how to change it. The only reference I could find was by the user "Scholar" on this site. Thanks Scholar. The thread is here:

http://www.f150forum.com/f4/hard-steer-92232/

Scholar's notes are accurate (and helpful) but I thought some pictures and some more information might be helpful to some as well.


I did not lift the front wheels off of the ground.
I did not do anything to keep the steering wheel from moving. In retrospect that would have been good, but I could not think of a good way to do it simply. Not having it secured meant that the wheel turned once the two shafts were separated and I had top turn the steering wheel back in order to get the new shaft in.
As Scholar suggested I made sure that the 13MM bolt head was facing the brake reservoir so that the bolt on the bottom would be accessible.



I removed the bolt holding the top of the shaft using a 13MM socket. I reached the bolt going down through the engine compartment.
I used a pipe to give me more leverage, the bolt was frozen solid and it was hard to get leverage in that awkward angle.




NOTE: Make sure that you REMOVE the bolt before sliding the lower steering shaft off of the top shaft. I tried removing it once I had the bolt very loose and then realized the bbolts must come out all of the way. The shaft is keyed(ish) in such a way that the bolt fits in a recessed groove in the shaft, so even when loose the shafts will not come apart. The bolt must be removed.

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_095624.jpg

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_095632.jpg

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_101013.jpg

I had to coax the 2 shafts apart. I completely drenched the spot with liquid wrench, tried to pry the top shaft coupling apart using a screwdriver some and tapped it LIGHTLY with an 8OZ hammer. I wanted to make sure I did not bend the upper steering shaft or break something. The two shafts separated.

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_101344.jpg

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_102337.jpg

Next I moved on to the lower. I have a lift so this was much easier than doing it on the ground I suspect. I was able to find the 10MM bolt holding the shaft hidden behind the lower hose in the picture below. Difficult to see.

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_100045.jpg

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Old 05-31-2011, 01:11 PM   #2
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Once I found it I was able to reach it with extensions, a universal joint and a 10MM socket.

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_102530.jpg

Once I removed the lower bolt I drenched the area in liquid wrench, like I did on the top. I tried reaching the lower U-Joint with a long pry bar and tapping them apart. I was getting quite frustrated. After some time and trying a few different angles I finally was able to tap them apart using the long pry bar and my 8OZ hammer. I suspect giving the liquid wrench some time to work helped too.

NOTE: The new shaft did not include the bolts. I found that surprising. I re-used the old bolts. The lower bolt was in good condition. The upper bolt was not but I cleaned it up with a wire wheel before re-installing. The lower bolt appeared to have Loctite on it so I applied Loctite on the lower bolt before installing it.

Old Shaft versus new shaft:


How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_111738.jpg

I sprayed each end of the new shaft with liquid wrench. Then I inserted the new shaft down through the engine compartment, pushed it over the lower stem (had to turn it to be at the right spot) and then "spread" the new shaft with my hands and slid it over the upper shaft, being careful not to have the bottom pop off. This was where I had to turn the steering wheel a bit because I had not locked it into place.

Once the new shaft was in place. I put the bolt through on the top (finger tight). Then I went under the truck and put the lower bolt in. I tightened the lower bolt as tight as I could with the ratchet and socket and universal and extension. Then I went back to the top and tightened the top as tight as I could using the ratchet and socket.

How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_112644.jpg
How-To ..Replace Lower Steering Shaft 04-08 F150-img_20110531_114155.jpg

I cleaned everything up and took it for a spin. I could tell the moment I turned the wheel that my problem was gone. Sure am glad I did not replace the power steering pump.

Thanks again Scholar, hope this guide helps someone. Let me know if I can answer any questions.

Cheers!

Jim
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:46 AM   #3
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Nice write up man!!
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:17 PM   #4
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Excellent! I have this same issue and your post helped greatly!
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for taking the time to do a write up!
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:42 PM   #6
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Excellent! I have this same issue and your post helped greatly!
I love hearing that the write up helps others. Thanks!

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Old 08-22-2012, 08:11 PM   #7
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not to unberry this old thread but has any one tried getting the lower bolt out from the underside of the truck? i was looking at it today and that seams easier to me.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:27 PM   #8
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I have been thinking about replacing the lower steering shaft on my 2004. I have had some vibration in the steering and found that with the shaft still attached I can remove the top bolt and remove the top part of the shaft from the steering and then exercise it by moving it up and down. This would temporarily reduce the vibration. I feel that if I were able to grease the extension mechanism it might eliminate the problem. Do you know if the new unit can be greased? Can that rubber seal with the blue collar be remove so that you could add grease?
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeanGene View Post
I have been thinking about replacing the lower steering shaft on my 2004. I have had some vibration in the steering and found that with the shaft still attached I can remove the top bolt and remove the top part of the shaft from the steering and then exercise it by moving it up and down. This would temporarily reduce the vibration. I feel that if I were able to grease the extension mechanism it might eliminate the problem. Do you know if the new unit can be greased? Can that rubber seal with the blue collar be remove so that you could add grease?
Yes can be removed there is a metal ring holding it on. The shafts do not come apart. But the shafts only touch each other in the corners
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:31 AM   #10
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Moved to how to section
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