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Unread 08-28-2005, 05:02 PM   #1
rsapsford
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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CJ7 Steering Play

I'm new here (as I'm sure you'll be able to tell from my question) and I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

I have an 84 CJ7 that seems to have too much play in the steering. I love my "toy" but to be completely honest, I don't know much about Jeeps. It does not have power steering and there seems to be a lot of play in the steering. It only has 80K miles on it. All suspension (right now) is stock.

My question is this. Can you point me to the most common causes of this (or is it too broad a category)?

It drives and runs pretty well with the exception of a few things I'll be working on over time (front suspension squeaks, slight miss at idle, and the steering play mentioned earlier).

Thanks for your patience with a newbie!


Last edited by rsapsford; 08-29-2005 at 12:44 AM..
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Unread 08-29-2005, 12:43 AM   #2
rsapsford
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I did some investigation tonight and the "slop" seems to be in the steering gear itself. The steering shaft turns quite a bit before the pitman arm moves at all. The steering gear was "supposedly" replaced not that long ago (by a less-than-reputable shop).

The manuals I have list two adjustments for the steering gear: worm bearing preload and pitman shaft overcenter adjustment. I have NO idea if either of these will help, but I'm going to give it a shot and see if it helps.

I still don't know if this amount of free play is normal for an 84 CJ7 or not.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for any input!
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Unread 08-29-2005, 09:16 PM   #3
Military Jeeper
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I just had the same problem with my CJ-5 and ended up replacing the Steering shaft because it had to much play, the lower bearings and a new power steering pump. That tightened up the steering but I still sway all over the road so now I have to figure that one out. Good luck.
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Unread 08-30-2005, 02:42 PM   #4
rsapsford
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For me, adjusting the steering gear fixed the problem. Caution: everything I've read says if it's too "tight" the steering gear will wear out quickly. I couldn't find the correct procedure so I played it by ear. This may mean I trash the steering gear...

I also fixed the "miss". Both manuals I have list the incorrect procedure for adjusting timing. Neither mentions disconnecting the vacuum switch assembly and BOTH say to set the timing at 800 RPM (it should be set at 1600 RPM). I'd set it by ear the night before and it was running good. When I got the right procedure, luckily, I was right on the money. It's idling great and running better than it ever has.

At the same time I FINALLY found my electrical problem with the dashboard lights....it's a lot less weird to drive in the dark.

Just about the last thing (for now) is to find the stupid "squeek". It sounds like front suspension. Upon inspection, the shackle bushings are just about destroyed. I don't know if that will cause it or not, but I'll replace them and see (they need to be replaced anyway).
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Unread 08-30-2005, 06:25 PM   #5
John C
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Welcome to JEEPdom! Most all of us spend countless hours staring at the beast with a beer in one hand and scratching our heads with the other. Seems like you are good with books and manuals. Don't trust them! They are very good at mis-information. Find a manual that is vintage era (I have a 1976-80 Chiltons Master) I have set my timing on EVERY car i have for the past 20years by having someone rev it to 3000 RPM / advancing the timing until i hear spark knock/ and backing off three degrees. So far (knock on wood) this has been a foolproof method that matches your specific distributor curve to your motor. Expect to spend the rest of your relationship with your CJ trying to figure out one problem or another. GEE....sounds like being married. Xcept your new wife wears better perfume, does what you require (as long as you take good care of her) and probably turns more heads. Enjoy
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Unread 08-30-2005, 07:03 PM   #6
ollietonk
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I'm not sure if this will help, but it might if you're running something similar to me. I tried forever to stop the Jeep from wandering all over the road. I couldn't go over 35MPH without needing to change the "old shorts". Very scary
To make a long story short, I added 6degrees shims under the front axle to correct the camber and it is a totally different Jeep. I've got a 4inch ProComp lift with slightly longer HD shackels. The shackels messed up the camber and started the wandering. I took the Jeep to an alignment shop and they were useless. They suggested I add a track bar to the CJ . After a lot of help for our friends on this forum and some book time, I tried the shims. The manuals said I needed about 6 degrees for my 86. I couldn't get any good advice from the alignment shops, they even complained about the size of the tires (33's ) and said their machine wouldn't handle that size. Good luck to the Super Duty guys in the Houston area. I decided to go with the full 6degrees to see if it helped. I would still like to try a 4.5 degree shim just to make sure this is the best it will handle but I could only buy the shims in a box of 6. Gets expensive when I'm just trying different degrees. If any one needs 6 degree shims, I've got some extras. Good Luck and I hope this helped at least a little
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Unread 08-31-2005, 05:52 PM   #7
Fuzz21
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ollitonk,
i would be interested in those 6degree shims if u still have them. u can e mail me @ vaamedic152@comcast.net and we can arrange something. thank you
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Unread 08-31-2005, 09:23 PM   #8
ollietonk
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Vaamedic152, I sent you an email, let me know
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Unread 09-04-2005, 12:54 AM   #9
lord_byron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollietonk
I'm not sure if this will help, but it might if you're running something similar to me. I tried forever to stop the Jeep from wandering all over the road. I couldn't go over 35MPH without needing to change the "old shorts". Very scary
To make a long story short, I added 6degrees shims under the front axle to correct the camber and it is a totally different Jeep. I've got a 4inch ProComp lift with slightly longer HD shackels. The shackels messed up the camber and started the wandering. I took the Jeep to an alignment shop and they were useless. They suggested I add a track bar to the CJ . After a lot of help for our friends on this forum and some book time, I tried the shims. The manuals said I needed about 6 degrees for my 86. I couldn't get any good advice from the alignment shops, they even complained about the size of the tires (33's ) and said their machine wouldn't handle that size. Good luck to the Super Duty guys in the Houston area. I decided to go with the full 6degrees to see if it helped. I would still like to try a 4.5 degree shim just to make sure this is the best it will handle but I could only buy the shims in a box of 6. Gets expensive when I'm just trying different degrees. If any one needs 6 degree shims, I've got some extras. Good Luck and I hope this helped at least a little

I believe the CJ calls for 5 degrees total. Unless your caster was really tweaked, adding 6 degree shims probably gave you more like 8 to 10 degrees total caster. Anyone interested in playing with this should get an angle finder and check the caster at the lower ball joint knuckle -- don't just guess.
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Unread 09-04-2005, 09:55 AM   #10
ollietonk
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There is no doubt I may have a little more than 6 degrees of caster with those shims. Page 8-12 of the Chiltons manual (Suspension and Steering) calls for 5.5 to 6.5 degrees of Positive caster for 84-86 CJ's, with 6 degrees prefered. Unless I'm reading this wrong, I don't think my CJ is too far off those numbers. It handles better than it ever has. The Jeep drives straight, tires are wearing evenly and it doesn't wander. I would like to try some 4.5's and see if that makes things even better but I haven't found anyone locally that has the knowledge to not just guess at what needs to be done.

I've never used an angle finder. Is it possible to get an accurate reading with one in the garage? Is it accurate enough to tell 4.5 from 5.5 degrees?
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Unread 08-06-2013, 12:36 PM   #11
JeepingGirlCJ7
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1986 CJ7 
 
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Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
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Hello. I'm new to this forum but not knew to Jeeps. My 86 CJ7 rides straight but there is a lot of play in the steering wheel. I've replaced everything from the steering box all the way up to the firewall. Any ideas what to do next?
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Unread 08-06-2013, 12:43 PM   #12
walkerhoundvm
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1981 CJ8 
 
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Everything from the steering box to the wheels?

Welcome to the forum, there've been a number of threads on this recently, you can probably use the search button and find them easy enough.

Tie rod ends, ball joints, wheel bearings, and making sure your steering box is adequately braced are the things that come to mind.
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Unread 08-06-2013, 09:05 PM   #13
boojeep
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1979 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Semi related on my 5 my steering had a butt load of play in it.Like a quarter turn before the wheels would start to go where I wanted.After some reading I loosened the nut on the steering box on the top and eventually ended up giving it close to 3 full turns before things got good.
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Unread 08-10-2013, 08:22 PM   #14
JeepingGirlCJ7
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A few of the bolts on the steering box brackret was loose and one was missing! Replaced the missing one and tightened the others and the problem is now fixed.
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Unread 08-10-2013, 10:40 PM   #15
LumpyGrits
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To all those asking-- A copy of the REAL Factory Service Manual(FSM)would do you well now.
LG
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