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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2002, 04:53 PM
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steering \"slack\"

The steering wheel on my CJ7 needs to be turned about 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn before the tires even move. Is this normal? If not, how can I fix, or at least lessen, it?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2002, 05:15 PM
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Re: steering \"slack\"

Of COURSE it's normal. It's a Jeep - they all do it.

But it's not right. And 3/4 turn is WAY to much. It would help if you'd fill in your profile so we know what you have. But, in general, find what's loose and fix it. Have a buddy rock the wheel back and forth to the limits of its free movement, and you go through the entire steering system a piece at a time and identify every joint that's moving more on the steering wheel side than the road wheel side. And then fix them. You probably have a bunch of problem spots.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2002, 06:18 PM
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Re: steering \"slack\"

If you have that much slack I'm going to guess that it is a combination of the Steering gear box (which can be adjusted) and the U-Joint at the top of your steering shaft. Put a set of vise grips on the steering shaft and move it holding above the u-joint. If there is ANY movement replace the joint. Then do it again and see if there is any movement before your pitman arm moves. This will tell you about your box. You will have to go through each piece one at a time, but I'm betting that you don't have to go past your box.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2002, 07:16 PM
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Re: steering \"slack\"

WEll...since your sig says you're running 36's....

I'm going to say its one or more of the following:
1. lack of track bar with too much lift, frame goes one way, axle goes the other.
2. Play in the steering shaft
3. Play in the steering box
4. loose/worn pitman arm
5. loose/worn tie rod/drag link ends
6. bad ball joints
7. Very common-loose steering box, or it has pulled away from the frame
8. flex on frame from steering box....running 36's...tou should have a steering brace.

Thats all I can think of for now..

post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2002, 11:43 PM
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Re: steering \"slack\"

One thing nobody's mentioned is the shaft-to-box coupling. It's a bell-shaped coupling that sits on the shaft of the box and connects to the steering shaft. Frequently, the square bearings inside wear down against the shell and create a lot of slack. When I replaced mine, it removed 1/4"-1/2" of slack at the wheel. Just turn the shaft with your hand while you watch the coupling, I guarantee there's some slack there.
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