If you own a Dodge truck, you know that you’re in need of steering upgrades from virtually the beginning of its life. It’s known these trucks are weak on the nose and wear out quick. With Project DeadSpool in for some deep upgrades over this past winter, and with the ease of access to all components, there was no better time to upgrade. Everything from the brakes all the way to the steering wheel, we have started fresh.
Why replace it all though? Well, if you have a Dodge truck and haven’t run into any front end issues, you’re either not paying attention to the symptoms your truck is having, or you have found a needle in a haystack. Many of the symptoms you could experience are gearbox failures that lead to loose steering, ball joint failure, and with the mixture of these two, you can experience the dreaded death wobble. It is important to us that all of our steering components are in good shape for the speeds we will be traveling.
Most of the parts have been taken care of, but the main piece of the puzzle that has been through 170,000-miles of abuse is the gearbox. We were experiencing some loose steering and while the engine is out, we had better get with the best in the business when it comes to Ram gearboxes, Borgeson Universal Company. Borgeson has been around for over 100-years involved in much more than Ram steering, but they strive to provide the best for us truck guys.
So, we reached out to Jeff Grantmeyer at Borgeson and let him know what was going on. We’ve heard all about the features of their “DODGE BOX” and knew we needed one. The Dodge Box is fitted for the 2003-2008 Dodge trucks. The boxes offer the largest piston diameter for the most available power assist and a modern variable valve that allows for stable highway driving and effortless parking and maneuvering. Although this is going on a racing application, with the tires aired down for optimal traction, we need as much assistance as we can get.
Our new Dodge Box, Part Number #800123, holds many great features that will allow us to steer in any scenario including the larger piston diameter, the modern variable valve, and quicker ratio for easier lock-to-lock turns. Not only are you upgrading from the worn out piece, but these boxes are also direct bolt-on units that are compatible with your pitman arm, hoses, and the power steering pump. These units are a must-have for your Ram truck.
We have modified the steering shaft to be solid with our new removable steering wheel so we opted out on the new steering shaft and modified it to work. After removing the steering shaft from the old box, we removed the mounting bolts to get the old one out of the way. After cleaning up the area where it will mount, it was time to mount. With the engine out, its an extremely easy install. You’re obviously not going to pull the engine out to replace this piece, but there is certainly a ton of room for us at this point.
With the new box in place, it was time to fit the steering shaft to the box. As mentioned earlier, we had to modify our shaft to work and by that I mean shorten it. After some cutting and grinding, our new shaft slid over the gearbox and we were ready to go. We tightened everything up and we’re ready to rip. So, we mentioned Jeff Grantmeyer earlier, and we spoke with him to talk about the features of these boxes and why it’s important to upgrade.
“Our products were brought to market by customer demand. Dodge has always left a lot to be desired in the steering department. Our box has a larger 85MM piston which allows for an output torque of 1,807ft. pounds to help handle both the heavier front end weight of the diesel trucks and customers installing larger tires,” Grantmeyer explained. “Additionally, they have a 14:1 ratio for only 3.5 turns from lock to lock. Mechanically the box has a larger diameter pitman shaft and bearing as well as much more casting supporting it which addresses the weak spot in the factory boxes.”
Something to note here is that the factory castings are prone to stretching and distorting which allow the pitman shaft to have a side to side play. With that, you will inevitably encounter free play at the steering wheel. Also, to compare, the OEM boxes come with a 14:1 ratio and use only an 80-MM piston. As you can see, there is a marginal difference in going to a Borgeson Dodge Box.
We almost have the truck ready to go to hit the dragstrip and we can’t wait to put this box to the test. We can’t thank Jeff and the crew at Borgeson Universal enough to be apart of this build and look forward to working with them in the future on more projects. For more information about Borgeson Universal Company and to get your own, check out their website. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for the post-install piece on this sweet new upgrade.