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ideas on stopping Saginaw power steering box leaks? (57 Hawk)

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  • Steering: ideas on stopping Saginaw power steering box leaks? (57 Hawk)

    Hi guys, while trying ONE MORE TIME to stop my 57 GHawk MC brake fittings from weeping (with the 45deg flare washers recommended; are STILL weeping this weekJUST A BIT at MC. Gave one last torque tonight and see tomorrow if it finally is enough; otherwise I guess I'll need a new MC from Jim and be DONE.

    So, while working in that area, I happened to wipe my fingers over the Saginaw unit I bugged you all about so much the past year.

    After initial "more significant weeping" last year, I'd taken the side plate off and made a new gasket and added permatex, and then the bottom plate and doing the same, I thought I'd stopped the weeping of 80W-90! Then there was a small weep (wipe your finger under the bolt head a day after cleaning it off, a smear of oil on your finger) at the bolt on the bottom plate. Figured must be weeping around the THREADS, so drained it again, and made sure to permatex the threads BETTER/MORE. Dry all the way around for a few months, I thought anyway.

    THis week, had "finger wipe" oil under two of the side plate bolt heads, and BOTH of the bottom plate bolt heads. AND a little bit up at the top plate (shim pack, no gasket). I had cleaned each shim carefully, even put some grease on them to help 'seal' them the 2nd time. Probably thinned out with the heat now (100F this week).

    I know Studebakers are "known to leak", but pretty annoying when you take the plates off and put new gaskets WITH permatex #2 all over, and then the threads as well, and still have them weep.
    I was figuring to try ONE MORE TIME, drain it, remove all the bolts on the side plate and permatex them (may not have the first time) , and remove the bottom plate completely and make sure it is completely gooped up AROUND those bolt holes. Just can't be coming out the threads anymore there, had the bolts out twice.

    So, question is simply, should I be using something other than Permatex #2? Or do those threads just always weep, and something everyone just lives with? The permatex completely stopped any leak around the plate, ONLY at the bolt heads now.

    (and was leaking around that shim pack on TOP; is that another 'live with it"? No gasket up there yet always submerged in gear oil)

    It would be nice one of these days with the few hours a weekend I have, to work on something besides my Saginaw and my Master Cylinder leaks, and MOVE ON! :-)
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  • #2
    I do not know what lube you have in your Saginaw power steering box. I had a leak despite a new seal and my best efforts. After some research and help from this forum I changed over to John Deere Corn Head grease. No more leaks!!
    Charlie D.

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    • #3
      thanks Charlie! Would love the 'no more leaks' part. I have the 80W-90 it calls for and had seen recommend to "stay with" on here? I know a lot of people who put grease in their Model-A Ford steering gear box, and ruined them; it all ended up on the sides of the box, not between the worm-gear and teeth. I've heard of (growing up on a farm with a corn head :-)) John Deere Corn Head grease. From the photo, it looks just as viscous as gun-grease or wheel-bearing grease. Is it not? I thought about trying the heavier Model-A Ford transmission and differential oil, called "600W" which everyone confuses as 600 WT . Is not, no-one knows for sure but one post on Fordbarn says 'Bratton's catalog says that what he sells is a SAE 140 wt. gear oil with a sticky additive." (Brattons is a large Model-A Ford only parts supplier). Another poster said '
      Yes, that's what my local lube distributor says it is closest to (250 wt.). 600W not 600 wt., is a part number. 600 wt. would be close to cured concrete..........."
      and modern equivalents are:
      Mobil: Mobilgear 636
      BP: Energol GR-XP 680
      Castrol: Castrol Alpha LS680
      Shell: Omala 680
      Texaco: Meropa 680

      I was going to ask that in original post, anyone tried just going with these really heavy weight lubes instead, vs all the way to true grease? Once squeezed out of that rack and pinion, it obviously needs to flow back in; maybe the JDCH grease does that...


      • #4
        John Deere corn, or cotton picker head lubricant is a semi-fluid lubricant, so yes, it will flow, not cake up like grease will. We recommend it's use in just about all Studebaker steering box applications. You might also want to use a copper, or brass crush/seal washer where the bolt hole penetrates into the housing. Studebaker used them to seal against leaks.



        • #5
          My manual steering Saginaw box seal failed and leaked the 80/90 wt. out( twice ). Being a CASO, I filled with CV Joint grease. It is not affected by heat or pressure and stays on the gears unlike chassis grease. After 3 years it still steers smoothly and does not leak.
          Bill G. '56 Power Hawk