Play in the steering wheel - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Play in the steering wheel

Ok - now that the brakes are worked out and the Jeep passed inspection (thank god) - I'm off to the next project.

There is way to much play in the steering wheel IMHO. There is a 3 inch swing to the wheel before the tires begin to move. This seems excessive yes? It causes the Jeep to wonder down the road sometimes which is a little unsettling.

I've checked the linkage and everything is tight. The play appears to be in the power steering box.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

-John
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:03 PM
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Perhaps redundant, but what
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Power Steering or
  • Manual
  • lifted?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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* Year : '81
* Make: Jeep
* Model: CJ7
* Power Steering : Yes
* lifted: Yes - 4 inches I think - we had some discussion about that a few weeks ago. I believe the lift is via a 4 inch spring lift.

-John
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:23 PM
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.... and the geometry of the lift has been done right?

If you have someone turn the steering wheel, do you see the steering shaft joint move immediately?

If you do, then it may be time to rebuild the steering box, or get a rebuilt ...or new one.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:28 PM
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The box can be adjusted, but it's not recommended that you do it on the vehicle. You need an inch-pound torque wrench to do the job. If you want, send me an e-mail address and I'll send the scans from the FSM. The cost of the tool probably exceeds what a frame shop would charge to adjust it.

I really doubt that the linkage is all tight. Have a buddy rock the wheel back and forth that three inches while you go through the linkage end to end. Put your fingers on each connection. If you feel any clunking or slack, it's too much.

Also watch the steering box. Often the bolts holding it to the bracket, and the bracket to the frame, get a little loose and let the box move around. And the frame can twist, which you can cure with a brace to the opposite side frame rail.

Also watch the axle and front springs. If the spring clips are missing or the bushings worn the axle can shift sideways.

It's not easy to get the steering tight on a CJ, and it can't be done without checking and fixing everything.

EVERYTHING's easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.
B. Dash Fabrication

Last edited by Jim_Lou; 08-06-2008 at 03:30 PM.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 07:38 AM
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I had the same problem on my 94 YJ, I posted a thread and I belive Jim have me the same advise. It was the 2 bottom bolts on the steering box. They weren't very loose at all but that is where the play was. I just torqued them down as tight as I could and it helped a lot. I still have to do it everynow and again but it nothing a little locktite can't take care of.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 08:10 AM
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Yeah, that question comes up so often here that I should just put it in a link somewhere.

EVERYTHING's easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.
B. Dash Fabrication
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Well - I went under the CJ7 today and had someone twist the steering wheel back and forth. There was one nut which was a little loose but had very little effect on the amount of play in the wheel.

Is this normal for CJ's? Am I doomed to having about 3+ inches of play in the steering wheel? Should I look into rebuilding the power steering box?

-John
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 09:53 AM
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The box probably doesn't need rebuilding; just adjusting. In 90K miles I've done mine three or four times.

EVERYTHING's easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.
B. Dash Fabrication
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Adjusting the steering box is not recommended? Can you explain why?

Is it just an issue of getting a inch-pound torque wrench? If so - what's the process on how one goes about adjusting a steering box? Never been down this path before.

-John
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