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Unread 08-25-2006, 07:12 PM   #1
ZJ Limited
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Durango steering box or stock ZJ replacement?

I was searching for more information about steering boxes for my 94 ZJ and I noticed people on the Cherokee/Wrangler board are using boxes for a Dodge Durango. My question is, what advantages do the Durango box bring?
  • Stiffer steering?
  • Shorter lock to lock steering?
  • They last longer?
  • They're stronger?

Basically, my ZJ is pretty stock but how has 191k miles and I can feel the steering is getting a little numb. Would I be better off with a stock replacement or will I benefit from the Durango box?

Thanks!

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Unread 08-28-2006, 08:01 AM   #2
ZJ Limited
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I guess only the TJ/XJ crowd does this mod???
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Unread 08-28-2006, 08:03 AM   #3
EMTimZJ
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ZJ's tend to swap the waggy or J20 steering box. Extra mounting hole = stronger and the larger bore allow for easier turning of larger tires.

HTH
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Unread 08-28-2006, 09:10 AM   #4
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I've seen two Durango boxes up here. It's a decent upgrade as the Durango is a heavier vehicle. They do have the extra mounting hole as well.

As soon as I find one, I'll be doing it as well.
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Unread 08-28-2006, 07:47 PM   #5
ZJ Limited
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Thanks for the info guys! So for someone with stock sized tires, will I really benefit from the Durango box?
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Unread 08-28-2006, 11:45 PM   #6
EMTimZJ
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I'm pretty sure the Durango box's only have 3 holes. I'll see if I can dig up a pic to be sure.

HTH
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Unread 08-29-2006, 09:46 AM   #7
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Tim's right.

Here's a writeup though.
Steering box conversion.
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Unread 08-29-2006, 10:12 AM   #8
EMTimZJ
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Ooo that shows some good pics Woody.

ZJ Limited, if you are stock and need a better box, go for the Durango if you can get it cheaper.

The 4th mounting hole increases the strength of the mounting. Many ZJ's (once modified and running some tough trails with big tires) have had the box loosen up and snap the mounting ears off. The uni-body mounting can flex a little bit allowing for this play between the box and the rail. With the fourth mounting hole, it allows for more stability, and most throw some thicker plate on there when bolting it up, which stiffens the whole area. This more secure mounting prevents the box from loosening and snapping the ear off. Easier steering is another bonus.

HTH
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Unread 08-29-2006, 12:01 PM   #9
Zoso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZJ Limited
I was searching for more information about steering boxes for my 94 ZJ and I noticed people on the Cherokee/Wrangler board are using boxes for a Dodge Durango. My question is, what advantages do the Durango box bring?
  • Stiffer steering?
  • Shorter lock to lock steering?
  • They last longer?
  • They're stronger?

Basically, my ZJ is pretty stock but how has 191k miles and I can feel the steering is getting a little numb. Would I be better off with a stock replacement or will I benefit from the Durango box?

Thanks!

I'd start by looking at the front end rather than simply replacing the steering box. Start by replacing the tie rods, tie rod ends, sway bar mount bushings, sway bar link ends, track bar, steering stabilizer, upper and lower control arms, and the pitman arm.

Chances are, at 191K miles, the rubber bushings and ball joints are causing your numb steering and not the steering box.
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Unread 08-29-2006, 12:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoso
I'd start by looking at the front end rather than simply replacing the steering box. Start by replacing the tie rods, tie rod ends, sway bar mount bushings, sway bar link ends, track bar, steering stabilizer, upper and lower control arms, and the pitman arm.

Chances are, at 191K miles, the rubber bushings and ball joints are causing your numb steering and not the steering box.
You certainly would need ball joints, and possibly wheel bearings as well. Add to that list upper and lower control arms bushings....those rubber bushings are probably shot too. With that milage, every rubber bushing in your Jeep is shot. Probably motor mounts too.

BTW, if you don't plan on adding a lift, I'll have a set of used upper and lower stock front arms for sale in about 10 days or so; (less than 1000 miles on them) for less than 1/2 the price of a new set. You will still need to get new upper axle bracket control arm bushings to have a complete control arm bushing change; (I'm keep my new ones...they will be used with my new JKS arms.) Send me a PM if interested.
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Unread 08-29-2006, 02:31 PM   #11
ZJ Limited
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^ Actually over the past 3 years; I've replaced the front springs/shocks, steering stablizer, sway bar bushings/end-links, trackbar, and the draglink/tie-rod end. I also had the engine mounts replaced almost 7 years ago.

I'm a little confused about your post. You're saying the upper ones only have bushings on one end? Do you have a picture of all 4 arms?

Thanks.
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Unread 08-29-2006, 03:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZJ Limited
^ Actually over the past 3 years; I've replaced the front springs/shocks, steering stablizer, sway bar bushings/end-links, trackbar, and the draglink/tie-rod end. I also had the engine mounts replaced almost 7 years ago.

I'm a little confused about your post. You're saying the upper ones only have bushings on one end? Do you have a picture of all 4 arms?

Thanks.
The lower arms have bushings pressed in both ends. The upper arms have bushings pressed into only one end. On the other end, the bushing is pressed into the bracket on the axle; not the arm. Crawl under your Jeep to see what I mean. As far as a photo of the arms I will sell, not until I take them off in about 10 days.

So you've never done axles/CV joints????
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Unread 08-29-2006, 04:20 PM   #13
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^ The front axle itself has never been touched. Around 60k miles, I had the 2 CV boots replaced after they teared. Around 125k miles, the driver's side teared again so I had that replaced. Around 130k miles, the passenger's side boot teared but I never bothered to replace it. And after 60k miles, it's still not clicking!

For the rear axle, the passenger's side bearing went out and pitted the shaft so I had them both replaced. Not sure if it was a coincidence but it happened not long after being rear ended where most of the damage was on the passenger side. Unforunately, the rear hasn't held up as well as the front. I get some whine right at 70mph but it's still bearable, been like that since about 130k miles.

And also, I'm still using the original viscous coupling. Been using Mobile 1 ATF since about 70k miles although I don't think I'll change it again. I'll probably swap a 242 case when the 249 goes. Transmission has been untouched except for filter changes every 30k miles, started off with the 7176 fluid. I just had it changed with ATF 3+ and it will probably be the last time I'll be able to find it, next time will most likely be with ATF 4+.

Whew... All in all, the Jeep has been pretty reliable and I expect to get atleast another 60k miles out of her!
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