I called around for reman. boxes.. you're right, about 200 bucks and I KNEW it wouldnt be my best bet.. the seal kit alone is $40 but its a special order peice, and I need it today if Im going to think about rebuilding it.. Luckily I know a few guys that have been into these trucks since before I was born (literally) and they had a few steering boxes laying around.. I got em both and Im going to install one of them today...( I even took the day off :/ )
As for the possibility of it not being the steering box, dont say that!!
Im praying thats what it is.. Im out of ideas.. I KNOW its not the pump/lines.. Ive removed the steering stabilizer in the past, thinking maybe, just maybe it seized up or something.. no go.. Im pretty darn sure about it being the box... As for the pitman arm being upside down, a possibility, but Ive had the steering work "good" before.. and its just gone way way downhill.. its also obvious that someone has messed with the box in the truck, with all the chisel/hammer marks and RTV silicone... Kind of surprising too, because its an all original '77 with about 110K on the clock.. everything has worked like a charm even the AC.. its a camper special and i know most of its life was spent wearing a camper, but I dont think it saw any abuse.. The original sb400 still runs real strong... I'll post more later, after I get a new box in.. wish me luck!
thanks again for your advice chuck..