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Rebuilding steering box but cannot get steering input UJ off the shaft...!


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2010
It absolutely will not budge at all!

I actually had two spare steering boxes sat on the shelf. First one I attempted to get the UJ off the steering shaft broke. Yep, actually snapped clean off. Seeing as it is a non-replaceable part that put paid to that.

Now on the second gearbox. Pitman is off, every bolt loosened but the bloody UJ will not come of the steering shaft. Have been soaking it in penetrant for weeks (as also did the pitman) but it isn’t budging at all. After the previous box I’m guessing the whack it with a hammer approach probably isn’t best. I’ve tried levering the UJ slip joint apart, various pry/crow bar approaches and ball joint separators but no joy. It appears to have effectively rusted itself together.

Only thing I haven’t tried is heat. I’m slightly concerned at the prospect as there are Teflon seals in the box that are non-replaceable and the u joint is pretty close the electronic part. I also don’t own any means to apply heat so I’d be buying one just for this.

Anyone done this before and got any tips...?

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It looks like you've already tried to knock a screwdriver or chisel between the gap that tightens by the bolt.

I've had luck before with this method...

If you put a piece of steel that fits in the gap and then find a good quality 12mm bolt in backwards then it will tension spread the sucker! Possibly?

Also have used a cold chisel to go between the box and the uj.. to add some tension to get it to move..
How about a nut splitter in the split, then it is supported from the other side
Really hard to say unless you're there, hands on. If it was on my drive, I'd be tempted to put a circlip in the groove and try knocking the UJ toward the box. I'd put the circlip in so that I didn't put pressure on the internals.

You could put a bolt in the thread but then slip something into the gap (paint scraper?) and screw the bolt against it to push the top half up. You could do that incrementally, a bit at a time accompanied with a few taps and of course the heat that you don't have yet. You could maybe put a bolt in the bottom hole too and do the same so that they pushed each other apart.
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I would hit that VERY gently
I was going to add use a small hammer at speed for a short sharp shock .
We're all presuming of course Lorin, that the small flat in there (on the shaft) which the locking bolt passes through is clear. if that has anything stuck in it you'll never get the thing apart.
Also if you have a spare uj, you could weaken it with an angle grinder with a thin disk.. As a last resort.
if your not in a rush, leave it submerged in diesel for a week or two..

gently heat, people have a misconception this means a full on acetylene set up. i can free most stuff with propane. plumbers torches are good.

last resort. cut the end of the UJ off and extend the slit, prise open. had to do a few like this.

I'm itching to try this stuff
I'd also go down the heat route, possibly used in conjunction with a targeted application of freezer spray.
Slip a plate in the collar split so the bolt can't go through , freeze the shaft and tighten the bolt spreading the collar off the spline .
Guys, that is superb thank you. A whole set of next stages I can try. The whole prising it apart using bolts and bits of metal has been done without success.

Reckon I’ll try the freezing spray first and then ramp things up with heat or an angle grinder.

I’ll report back in due course....
Use a solid metal spacer in a vice on one side of uj and squeeze a short taper into the crack on the other.
I'd alternately use a smallish flame on the collar and the freezer spray to cool the exposed part of the shaft to prevent heat soak damaging the seals inside.
I’m wondering if your going to have the same issue when you go to remove the steering box that’s on your truck, I’m assuming you are doing a swap?
If you are just rebuilding the steering box is it worth just sacrificing the UJ and slitting it up the back side

the timing of this thread is great as I need to do mine, and I’m glad of the heads up on any potential hold ups I may encounter. Maybe it’s a sign to just buy a reconditioned one!
Well, it’s off. A combination of that cold spray and prising the UJ clamp apart eventually did the trick. Unfortunately it is not the win I had hoped for. The input shaft splines are so rusty that to reuse the shaft doesn’t seem sensible. I’ve cleaned it with a wire brush and the whole exposed end of the shaft is deeply pitted with corrosion.


Annoyingly, it doesn’t appear to be a replaceable part. So the saga continues....
Can you post a picture of your broken shaft Lorin. I would be interested to see if the break was caused by inadequate manufacture or metal fatigue. I can tell by looking.

I thought the shaft was replaceable as it was listed separately on Toyodiy.