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2011 Ford E-350 Steering Problems

September 2022

The Problem

I have some front end wandering and within the last time or two of driving it, there is some hydraulic fluid smell noticeable. Also, the last time it was driven, I noticed it started pulling to the left when braking and to the right otherwise.

The belt tensioner, idler pulley and belt were just replaced for the second time in quick succession about a week ago. That is a whole story. I don’t know how this could be related other than the engine bay also got a solid cleaning when I did that work.

Tire pressure was checked and I left it be while I did some research and a bunch of other stuff.

Front end wander and now hydraulic fluid smell and hard steering.

Inspection & Diagnostics

Looking for a hydraulic leak and any front end suspension play.

If it is the steering box, are the gears bad or could it be just a seal. The steering has had a lot of play for a year or so and that would lead me to be more concerned about the gears being loose.


I ordered the OTC 6299 Separator Set – 5 Piece and the OTC 6295 Front End Service Set for Pitman Arms, Ball Joints, and Tie Rods from Amazon.

After quite a bit of looking around, I’m considering the OTC (8031) Ball Joint Set for Jeep/Truck, CHROME and the OTC 6731 Ball Joint Adapter Update Kit for Ford. It looks like the best set up for trucks and SUVs and the like and it is expandable through OTC if I need some car stuff or something. The reviews all over the internet are pretty positive for use in a professional setting.

That should be all I could need for tools to repair the entire front end suspension.


As always, I intend to put the best parts I can find that aren’t crazy expensive.

Steering boxes are pretty expensive. I’ve learned my lesson lately about buying off brand stuff, but I will look into whether or not I should get a MotorCraft steering box or if there are better aftermarket ones out there. I remember looking into putting a F-550 box in my ’02 Powerstroke. I’m all for upgrades while I’m in there, if the performance is worth the money.

How Does The Power Steering Box Work?

Obviously, I found this while I was researching. It explains a lot about the steering box that I really wanted to know.