Installing Sinister Diesel’s Cummins Steering Box Support
Play-Free Cummins Steering
Eight-lug trucks are built tough to perform under extreme situations and, in most circumstances, they offer many years of reliable use. However, age, modifications, and off-road use can cause what was once fresh and new to become tired and worn out, usually first noticed in the steering, necessitating some additional front end support. Since the Dodge Ram line of trucks can develop steering wear that can create a feeling of nervousness (becoming downright dangerous if the result is a dreaded “death wobble” phenomenon, meaning the front end shakes uncontrollably), it is important to address this sooner than later. Sinister Diesel has developed a Steering Box Support kit to protect the steering system of Ram trucks, while potentially preventing one cause of death wobble from occurring. At only $169.00, it’s a bargain for the peace of mind and safety gained through stout steering.
We installed the Sinister support on an ’09 Dodge Ram 2500 with only a little more than 40,000 miles on the ticker. To most, this vehicle would still be considered new and not likely to have any worn suspension or steering components. We were interested in the preventative capabilities of this support and wanted to put an end to any unnecessary steering wear from starting, especially since the truck has larger-than-stock 35-inch tires (with the possibility of going even bigger) and spends time on slow, technical, rocky, off-road trails that greatly tax the steering. It’s important to note that this late-year ’09 has the updated, larger sector shaft in the four-bolt steering box, which necessitated the use of the ’10 to ’12 kit (SD-DODGE-SBS-10-12) even though the truck doesn’t have the updated six-bolt steering box. Installation is very straightforward, requires only a few tools, and can be completed in your driveway on a Sunday afternoon.
The kit from Sinister Diesel includes the steering brace support crossmember with bearing mount and all needed hardware. One important point to note about this kit is the diameter of the sector shaft. Our ’09 Ram came from the factory with the older style four-bolt steering box, but with the updated larger-diameter sector shaft. Be sure to check out your configuration so you get the right parts.
Before installation on the truck can begin, the pillow block must be installed on the crossmember. It’s important, however, to leave it loose for the time being.
Moving to the truck, the first step is to remove the factory sway bar bolts from the frame, while leaving the axle side attached.
Next, carefully let the sway bar fall away from the mounts and rest on the ground.
The factory nut attaching the pitman arm to the sector shaft is a gigantic 46mm piece and requires the use of a larger-than-normal wrench to remove. Not having this wrench on hand, we used our trusty crescent wrench and made quick work removing the nut and lock washer.
With the factory nut removed, the Sinister Diesel sector shaft adapter can be threaded onto the sector shaft and torqued to the factory specifications.
Thankfully, the provided sector shaft adapter uses a more common 1¾-inch socket to tighten.
The new support brace crossmember sits between the factory sway bar mounts and chassis using the original mounting holes and the new hardware supplied with the kit.
The support bearing, which was left loose when originally installed, can now be guided onto the adapter without binding.
Once the bearing is installed on the sector shaft adapter and tightened to the crossmember, apply thread locker and tighten the setscrews from the bearing to the sector shaft adapter.
The final step is to grease the bearing with the provided zerk fitting. Doing this will ensure years of smooth operation, although the bearing should be regreased each year or after particularly dirty off-road trips.
Once complete, your truck will be ready for years of hardworking steering that is play-free.