Steering components - rebuild vs replace

Continuing from an earlier post, I’m looking to redo much of my power steering system while I have easy access to it. Ideally, I would like to get all brand new parts, but since I had to throw out all my counterfeiting equipment to make room for the Cougar, I have to find more affordable options.

Specifically I’m looking at my p.s. cylinder. The cylinder itself looks decent enough, but its so caked in grime and grit that I can’t really tell if it’s leaking. This is also due to the fact that most of the fluid has already been drained, or leaked from the control valve, which I know needs replacing. The bushing for the cylinder is all but nonexistent - and I found two replacement options: one within a boot/bushing kit for around 10 bucks, and one in a rebuild kit for around 45 bucks.

Has anyone rebuilt any of these steering parts before? My brain is telling me to err on the side of caution and just buy a whole new cylinder, but my wallet tells me I already have to shell out for a new or rebuilt control valve, so don’t spend the 140 bucks on the whole new cylinder if the cheaper kit will do the trick. I don’t even know if these kits come with instructions or not. So far I’m looking at and Rockauto for most of these parts…

Here’s a great resource which will address most of your questions; …the cylinder and the control valve are rebuildable if not damaged from wear.
In addition there’s a page with a photo breakdown of the control valve and what to look for when rebuilding.

I rebuilt my cylinder and it was “no big thang”. Did the control valve too back when I was a pup but I would not look down upon anyone who decided to get a rebuilt.

I’m kinda in the same position. Rebuilding my front end with limited money. Would like to replace the the power cylinder and control valve but they do work so decided to re-build them. Found this video for rebuilding the control valve, he also has one for the power cylinder. Heavy accent so sometimes it’s hard to understand what he’s saying but a good reference video.

Can someone who’s rebuilt a control valve confirm that it’s as easy as he makes it look, and that he describes the process correctly? He doesn’t touch on the one aspect that’s most crucial for my rebuild, the removal and replacement of the threaded bits that receive the hoses, but the rest of it doesn’t look bad at all, no specialty tools and only one instance of needing to hit a precise torque spec. Kinda makes me want to rebuild mine myself rather than farm it out.

And yeah that accent is pretty thick, but fortunately I speak French well enough to know what he’s saying pretty much all the time. “Ball stud” ends up sounding like something between “Boston” and “busted”, and sometimes it sounds like he calls bushings “cushions”. But for the most part it wasn’t too tricky to decipher.

Great video, thanks for sharing it!

These are great resources, thank you very much. The video actually makes it look pretty doable, and the website has some very nice part removal tips and exploded diagrams as reference points. I’d love to rebuild the parts myself, since it would be cheaper, and it would be a great learning experience.

Seems like the thing to do when undertaking a project like this is to take a TON of pictures and notes while taking everything apart, and of course having all of this fine internet data goes a long way also. My issue is finding enough time to try to do the whole rebuild in one sitting, which gives me less time to forget how it goes back together/lose critical parts. But the way I see it: worse case scenario is I completely screw up rebuilding it, and I’m back to square one of still having a completely shot part that I have to send in to be rebuilt or replace anyway.

Thanks for the posts everyone!

I’m halfway into the power steering cylinder rebuild, and I’ve hit a wall.

So far I’ve successfully been able to remove the snap ring, star washer, and the plastic bushing with the rubber seal, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to remove the remaining parts (which according to the diagrams and video should be two identical seals separated by a spacer)

I’m going off the video posted in this thread, and the part I’m stuck on starts at 1:11

He says to tap a screwdriver in with a hammer to remove the seal retainer, but unfortunately doesn’t zoom in or provide any other information. In the video, it looks like the part being removed is flush with the end of the cylinder, but my next part is a good half an inch or so recessed into the cylinder. I already put a hairline tear in the rubber piece I’m trying to remove, and I don’t want to risk any more damage trying to get it out, especially if it’s not one that gets replaced.

Anyway, to anyone who has rebuilt this part: any comments or suggestions? I’d really hate to only replace half of the parts, or risk damaging anything to the point where I’m forced to buy a whole new unit.

Update: Actually, I might be up to the first seal, not the seal retainer. What he calls the seal retainer might be the plastic bushing that surrounds the rubber seal. Those two pieces came out as one when I did it, in the video he might have done them separately (tough to tell since he doesn’t show each piece as it comes out).

In removal order…Retainer clip, wiper retainer (metal star looking washer), wiper seal(rubber), seal retainer(plastic), upper seal(rubber), spacer washer(metal), then lower seal. If the seal retainer and the upper seal came out together…stuck to each other, the next part would be the spacer washer.

What I use to remove recessed seals is a stainless steel dental pick…Puncher 2 small holes on opposite sides of the seal(180 degrees apart). Rotate the pick from side to side, in the pre-established holes and slowly wiggle the seal up. Option two would be to reinstall the mounting nut on the end of the rod. With the cylinder in a vise, clamp a pair of vise grips on the nut. Then push the rod back into the cylinder about two to four inches…with moderate jerking motion pull the vise grips like a slide hammer handle to see if you can friction wedge the seals up and out. Try to avoid metal to metal “clacking” of the piston in the cylinder when jerking!
P.S. If neither of these methods are successful, I’ll detail a third method…upon request, but it will be a very precise and a little spooky of a procedure.

I was able to get the first seal out (I still don’t really know how) along with the metal washer that separates it from the second seal. Now I’m back to square one with the second seal, except even lower down. I’ve been using the dentist picks and tiny screwdrivers so far.

I ended up gouging the first seal pretty extensively trying to get it out, to the point where my thought was I’ve got to get this thing out one way or another, since it looks too damaged to keep in place. Now I’m at a crossroads. The second seal doesn’t look too bad (actually the first didn’t either until I did a number on it…) and it would be the last piece to take out, so I’m wondering - do I leave it in place while it’s still in good shape and put all the replacement parts in on top of it, or do I use my same “tear the thing to hell until it’s out” policy and hope I can eventually get it out?

I may just be crazy enough to attempt that third method haha

Hey whatever works…as long as the cylinder wall and most importantly the chromed rod is not getting scratched…give 'er hell and install the full kit. You’re at the 10 yard line…GO!

Well, after a few hours and a lot of swearing, I finally removed all the pieces. Those dentist pick tools really come in handy. Thanks for all of the advice. Now just to reassemble everything. And do the control valve. oh and restore the rest of the car…