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Unread 10-22-2009, 11:25 PM   #1
EnFuegoUno
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Lower Steering shaft replacement

Hey all...I need some input. I have a 90 YJ with no lift, stock tires and experience death wobble when driving @55-60 mph and going over expansion joints on highways. I figured it might be a bad lower steering shaft, which has some play.
My question is how difficult is it to replace. Its not my DD and I don't have an issue with time. Between my friend and I we have all the tools needed, I believe. If anyone has done this and run into anything unusual I would appreciate any and all helpful hints. I have not decided on a brand of shaft, so that would be helpful too.
Thanks...

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Unread 10-23-2009, 05:09 AM   #2
Alfons
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The intermediate steering shaft isn't hard to replace, you should prepare it with some penetrating oil at both ends where it slides onto the steering box and the steering column. Sometimes it's tough to pull it loose because the slip joint has seized.

Generally the intermediate shaft doesn't have much to do with the "wobble". I'd first look at all the steering joints on the tie rod, drag link, as well as the ball joints. If these look tight, you can check the steering damper - if it's leaking, replace it.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 05:44 AM   #3
Louie4
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It's not too bad. I also recommend this write-up:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/l...t-pics-741968/

I replaced mine last weekend, tightened up the steering a little bit.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 05:50 AM   #4
JeeperDon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnFuegoUno View Post
...I have.. death wobble... figured it might be a bad lower steering shaft, which has some play.
I doubt at all replacing that shaft will fix your problem. Every case I have seen in person or read about here was fixed by addressing things between the pitman and the tires.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 06:09 AM   #5
Louie4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperDon View Post
I doubt at all replacing that shaft will fix your problem. Every case I have seen in person or read about here was fixed by addressing things between the pitman and the tires.
Agreed. I would check tie rod ends and wheel bearing units. Also make sure your tires are balanced and aligned.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 01:27 PM   #6
EnFuegoUno
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Thanks guys for the input. Will check balance and alignment. I notice when driving I have no other issues. It runs true down the road with no pulling at all.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 02:15 PM   #7
trucknut
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i have 2+ inches of play in my steering at the moment due to a badly worn u joint on the steering shaft, makes the YJ a handful in windy or snowy or wet conditions. Any day now one should be arriving at my door from quadratec

I was having a pretty hard shake around 60 mph which i was blaming on the steering shaft too. Last week I beefed up my sagging rear leaf springs with 2 extra leafs per side. Surprisingly the 60 mph shake is almost gone... weird... but nice none the less... Perhaps having the back sitting higher then the front is putting more weight on the nose causing something to come into alignment or tighter, god only knows...
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Unread 10-23-2009, 04:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trucknut View Post
i have 2+ inches of play in my steering at the moment due to a badly worn u joint on the steering shaft...
... which is not the OPs problem. You do need a new shaft then, the OP does not.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 05:05 PM   #9
trucknut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnFuegoUno View Post
I figured it might be a bad lower steering shaft, which has some play.

Thanks...
note OP states his steering shaft has "some play"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeeperDon View Post
... which is not the OPs problem. You do need a new shaft then, the OP does not.

... since the OP's steering shaft is slack by his own admission then one might deduce that indeed the steering shaft is "A" problem... maybe not the cause of the death wobble... but a problem in any case and should be replaced...
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Unread 10-23-2009, 05:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trucknut View Post
... since the OP's steering shaft is slack by his own admission then one might deduce that indeed the steering shaft is "A" problem... maybe not the cause of the death wobble... but a problem in any case and should be replaced...
agreed.

Replacing the steering shaft is a good idea if you have worn u-joints on the shaft, and the steering wheel is loose.

This however isn't any cause for DW, and other steering components are to blame.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 05:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louie4 View Post
It's not too bad. I also recommend this write-up:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/l...t-pics-741968/

I replaced mine last weekend, tightened up the steering a little bit.
IMO I wouldn't do 90% of those steps for a simple steering shaft replacement.

Remove the clamp bolts for each end of the steering shaft, cut it in half and remove the old pieces. Install the new one, making sure the wheel is in the same location.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 09:37 PM   #12
EnFuegoUno
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Ok..just to clear things up...there is no play at all with my steering wheel. Its nice and tight. The only play is with the shaft is when you grab it and move it.. and very minor at that. Insted of tearing into the front end, I simply wanted opinions as to weather replacing the steering shaft would be responsible, in some part, for the wobble occuring at speeds at about 55-60mph when driving over expansion joints on highways. I do not have any other problems with the steering being loose or no performing well, nor any issues with going over said expansions at speeds higher or lower than 55-60mph.
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Unread 10-24-2009, 05:19 AM   #13
JeeperDon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnFuegoUno View Post
Ok..just to clear things up...
Think about what the steering input shaft does for driving stability, nothing. It is in no way a stability device. The only entity that applies any force or resistance to the steering's input side is you holding the wheel. Making a super solid connection between the steering wheel and the gearbox would just make the steering wheel jitter more accurately when you run over a strip. Your problem is that enough force is being applied by the 60 mph tire/steering/suspension problem at the bottom to make the gearbox feed some of that force into it's input shaft, then up to you. You have to stop the wobble at the source (other side of the pitman arm), not get a better handle on it with the steering wheel.
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Unread 10-24-2009, 05:28 AM   #14
EnFuegoUno
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Hey Don..I know u know tons more than me, and was hoping someone w/ur experience would chime in. I never believed my friends explination for the wobble having anything to due w/the steering shaft, mearly I was wondering if it could attribute to the condition. After doing some research and getting replies from those who know more than me, I believe the source of the problem is what you have deduced. And being I do not have a lift and are running "stock" size tires, I tend to agree with your
diagnosis.
I will begin at the tires(out of balance) then work inward. Good idea?
Thanks again!
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Unread 10-24-2009, 07:15 AM   #15
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get under the front and while a helper moves the steering back and forth look for anything that moves before the tires start to turn. while you are at it check the ball joints and toe in.

almost everything in the steering/suspension can be a cause or a contributing factor and the problems add up. A little play here, a little play there next thing you know it's all over the road.


tie rod ends, including the drag link
ball joints
wheel hub bearings
spring shackle bushings
steering shaft
steering box
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