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Thread: CJ Steering shaft coupling

  1. #1
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    CJ Steering shaft coupling

    Hi everyone.......
    There is a lot of play in the steering on my 1980 CJ, due to wear in the coupling. I purchased a new coupling kit and I am wondering if anyone has replaced this part. I did not go the Borgeson route due to cost.
    From what I have researched, it appears that the steering column needs to be unbolted so that it can be pulled back. This would give enough clearance to allow the lower shaft to be removed and then I can install the new coupler kit.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    -Jeepdad

  2. #2
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    Yes You will either have to pull the column or lower the steering box as the CJ steering shaft does not colapse like a New YJ does...
    While you have the shaft out you should change the Bearing and bushing at the end of the column as they tend to crap out by now...

    If you can not get the column bearing kit locally please let me know As I have them here in Hamilton....
    1989 Jeep MJ: 4.7L Stroker, 4WD Swap, 97+Conversion, RC Long Arm Upgrade Kit, 35x12.5x18 Mickey Thompson MTZ's, WJ D30, WK SRT8 Rear D44 w/approx. 8" Lift
    1983 Jeep CJ7: SOLD

  3. #3
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    Take a propane torch and melt the plastic rivet at the slip joint then it will slide freely to change it out without moving the column or the steering box. After the platic rivet that holds it together is melted you can grease it and it will slide like a YJ. The top half of my shaft is YJ and the bottom is CJ. Come to think about it the steering column is out of an 88 S-10 and the steering box is an 83 full size Waggy.
    83 CJ9 LS5.3/4L60E/231/B4R/D300, 8274,D60/14b,ARBs,15"airbags susp, 18"stretch 39"PITBULLS
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  4. #4
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    Chrisbuilt,
    I had heard of melting the plastic out, but I wasn't sure if it was really safe to do this.
    Any idea why the factory did this instead of having a telescoping (sliding) shaft?
    If you haven't had any problems with this method, I will probably give it a try. Seems a lot easier method.
    Thanks,
    -Jeepdad

  5. #5
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    I have melted out the Plastic before but only for Guys that add a body lift and need the shaft to be lengthened, worst case is a sloppy steering shaft between the upper and lower but not likely and yes it is going to be far easiler to melt out the plastic then removing the column or box so be sure you have no oil or grease around the shaft or be sure to clean it up so you do not light your truck on fire...

  6. #6
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    No issues with mine. But like Alex said the guys with a body lift of 2-3"may have some minor slop because if less shaft engagment. But at stock length there is no noticable slop. Just don't burn it all out completely, the left over melted stuff keeps the slop down. But it is still safe and will colaps if need be in a head-on.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Jeepman and Chrisbuilt:
    This CJ is bone stock with no body lift. I'll give it a try when this heat wave passes - no A/C in my garage.

    -Jeepdad

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the info gents, I'm about to do a body lift and you just saved me a from a large headache.

  9. #9
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    Well, between heat waves and thunderstorms, I did go ahead and melt out the plastic (my wife insisted on standing by with the garden hose!).
    With a little persuasion I was able to collapse the shaft and remove it.
    Cleaned and greased it up (slides nice now) and installed the new coupling, bearings and boot.
    In order to re-use the steering gear spline clamp, I had to do some grinding on the old coupling (the bell section) since some unknown person apparently beat on it in a previous attempt to remove it from the spline and mushroomed it. (I assume)

    Unfortunately, the new bell section supplied in the kit was not identical to the old. The spline part was a smaller outside diameter and shorter. When I tightened down the clamp, it allowed the bolt to contact the steering gear mount and jammed the steering!
    So I was forced to re-use the old coupling. Most of the wear was on the square bearings anyway, so I installed all the new parts into the old coupling. After installing the shaft, I noticed that there was still very little clearance between the clamp bolt and the steering box mount.
    This is a little scary! Can anyone confirm this on other CJ's?

    I'm happy to report that the steering "feel" is much better now and she don't have that wander lust.

    As a bonus, I even got the fender flares installed, finally. No easy task, since it's a replacement body and I had to drill all the mounting holes!

    Again, thanks to Jeepman and Chrisbuilt for their advice!

    -Jeepdad

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