We’ve seen many people who are interchangeably using red head and blue top steering boxes. But the fact is, you’ll find a noticeable difference between them in terms of their steering control. While the red head provides easy-to-control steering performance, the blue top gear can feel too loose or stiff from time to time.
We did thorough research to present the necessary information you need to know regarding an ideal gear box. So this red head vs blue top steering box comparison will walk you through their specs, features, and downsides so that you know which one to grab!
Red Head Vs Blue Top Steering Box Comparison Chart
|Key Points||Red Head||Blue Top|
|Build Quality||Highly polished surface and effective shaft seal to prevent leakage||OEM specified lip seals to keep contaminants from fluid|
|Steering Control||Reduces steering play||Sometimes can feel stiff or loose|
|Full Refund Core Policy||For 30 days||For 60 days|
To know more about these two gear boxes, you’re only a step away from getting the detailed information on blue top and red head steering boxes. So let’s get started!
Red Head and Blue Top Steering Box: The Origin
Redhead steering box has been in the automobile industry for about 35 years. It’s a family-operated business settled in Washington State since 1981.
Its owner’s previous work experience in the auto repair company is a plus point to RedHead. Because of his knowledge, it is a lot reliable at their end to build and test gears. They have developed and diagnosed problems in over 60,000+ gears.
Speaking of blue top steering boxes, they have been in the industry since 1986. They are established in North Dakota. After an ex-employee of RedHead purchased the company, it started to up its game. It provides services across the United States. However, compared to RedHead, it doesn’t manufacture steering boxes for a wide range of vehicles.
Both the gear boxes have been striving to provide better build quality. The Redhead steering box surface looks highly polished. And its effective sector shaft seals are installed on the Lathe machine. Therefore, the seals have proper edges and prevent oil or fluid leakage. Redhead has upgraded their control valves to improve the steering system.
Blue Top maintains OEM specifications while manufacturing seals. And they use those seals from three different companies. They have configured lip seals so that the fluid does not come in contact with contaminants.
Two of these brands do feature custom rebuilding in their services. But for the custom bearing ball fit, Redhead can manufacture it from oversized to any specific size. Whereas blue top only goes for a 0.001″ increment in the ball screw assembly.
Not going for a specific size during the ball screw rebuilding affects the steering performance. Because the improperly sized and installed balls increase the steering play which can cause engine damage or mishap. So Redhead tops the safety feature in terms of rebuilding.
To be honest, if you consider the high price, it is not a good deal from Redhead. At Least a couple of years would have been better for what they charge.
If you own oversized tires, you are likely to need a hydraulic assist to turn the wheels smoothly. And you need a ported gearbox to be compatible with the hydro. Blue top services include porting a gear box. So they offer really convenient services at an affordable price compared to red head.
Gear boxes from these brands function pretty smoothly. But because of the build quality, Redhead models do not wear out as quickly as blue top. So you can expect more longevity.
Redhead provides more steering control so your arms will not feel much of a pressure while taking frequent turns during heavy towing. Whereas blue top steering sometimes might feel stiff. And it might cause vehicles to pull to the right side. But a flush or bleed might help you address the issue.
Speaking of the bleeding system, it is more time-consuming to drain the fluid and air of the red head boxes than the blue top ones. However, you will not get a hard time understanding the instructions mentioned to remove or adjust any mechanical part of the red head steering gears.
Because of the multiple power steering pump lines, the blue tops’ bleeding system might seem a bit complex.
Installing or getting a rebuild for a gear box does not come at a cheaper rate, especially when it’s from industry-leading RedHead gears. It will cost you $200 or more for the overall process than that of Blue Top.
Gear boxes at Redhead range from $296 to approximately $800. And at Blue Top, the price ranges from $245 to $405.
Blue Top charges a minimum of $150 for the core, whereas Redhead starts at $200. But the good thing is, at Red Head you have 2 months to get a full refund for the core. It gets down to 30 days at Blue Top. And both of them will provide you with a 50% refund if you delay the return.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you bleed a Redhead steering box?
Bleeding a red head gear box is quite the chore. You need to drain the fluid tank fully. Then fill the reservoir with fluid until you see clear fluid on the return port. Now shut the engines, lift the wheels, and turn the steering lock to lock 20-30 times. Repeat these steps again, and there will be no air in the system.
Is steering box same as steering pump?
No, the steering box and pump are not the same. Pump is like a brake system which is driven by engines. But the steering box converts rotational motion to force with the help of hydraulic pressure to turn the steering wheels.
What are the symptoms of a bad steering gear box?
Your steering system will show some symptoms of failure if the gear box turns out to be bad. Such a box will not provide smooth steering control. Rather, it will feel stiff or tight to turn. Also, there will be fluid leakage and annoying noise while steering. And the burning smell of fluid lets you know that the gearbox is going downhill.
Which One Should You Pick?
You can’t finda definite answer when it is to pick one between red head and blue top. Because what is best for others, might not be ideal for you according to your preferences. So we understand that it gets overwhelming to decide between RedHead and Blue Top. But let us help you out a little bit more in this regard –
If you are looking for top-tier customer service, then Blue Top should be your preference. As it is a small company compared to RedHead, it is still trying to increase its brand value through faster customer service. They are much faster in refunding your core charge than RedHead. Also, if you want to save some bucks on the core and gear, this model is the answer.
Also, if your vehicles have hydraulic assist set up, then Blue Top is ideal. Because they will port the gearbox so that it is compatible with the hydro assist, alongside it, tell the company when you plan to set up a hydro assist in the future. After that, they will provide plugs for the ported gear box. And the plugs will allow you to use the ported gearbox even without hydro set up.
Not everyone likes to eliminate the steering play manually. So, if you are one of them, Red Head will be the best steering gearbox for you. Some of its customized models feature oversized bearing balls to reduce the play as much as possible. So, you are less likely to flush and adjust the gearbox to get a comfortable ride.
We hope that you could gather clarity about which one to grab from our thoroughly researched red head vs blue top steering box comparison. Hope you and your new steering box go a long way!
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