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The Steering Gear Box and Why Your Truck Has It

There are two systems in the vehicle that work together to make the wheels turn and deliver its moving, turning, and stopping functions. These two are inseparable; they are the steering system and the suspension system. The suspension system is responsible for holding the entire weight of the vehicle along with its other loads and keeps the wheels in placed. As for the steering system, it has two main types: the rack and pinion steering that doesn't have a steering gear box and the standard mechanical steering system or the mechanism that uses pitman arms.

The pitman arms system contains a steering gear box where the shaft from the steering wheel comes in and a lever arm or the pitman arm comes out. This pitman arm is attached to the track rod or center link, which is then supported by idler arms. These tie rods are connected to the track rod and to compound linkages where it is connected to the end of the steering system through other rods. The usual mechanism that uses a steering gear box have a dead spot in the center of the steering where the driver just have to turn the steering wheel to a slight amount so the front wheel can start turning.

Steering Gear Box
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Types of Steering Gear Boxes

  • Worm and Sector. This type of steering gear box has a worm gear attached at the end of the shaft from the steering wheel. When the steering wheel is turned, the shaft that turns the worm gear and the sector gear that turns around in its axis are moved along the worm gear. When the sector gear turns, it also turns the cross shaft, which then turns the pitman arm, giving the output motion that is fed into the mechanical linkage on the track rod.
  • Worm and Roller. This is similar to the worm and sector box, but instead of having a sector gear, there is a roller instead that has the same purpose like the sector gear's.
  • Worm and Nut. The steering gear box contains a number of ball bearings tat are forced to press against the channel inside the nut when the steering wheel is turned.
  • Cam and Lever. This steering gear box is like the worm and sector steering gear box. The worm drive is known as a cam wherein its pitch is much shallower and the sector gear is replaced with two studs that sit in the cam channels. When the worm gear is turned, these studs slide along the cam channels that forces the cross shaft to rotate and turn the pitman arm.

How Does a Steering Gear Box Work?

The steering gear box turns the rotation of the steering wheel 90 degrees and uses high-pressure fluid to help execute the steering. The pitman arm connects the steering box to the steering gear, which is also connected to the center link that has to be supported and has to be in its proper position to keep the wheels working together.

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