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Unread 08-26-2010, 01:30 PM   #1
SuperSportCJ
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1982 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 159
Issue w/ Steering box/shaft/steering wheel alignment.

Last fall I replaced my steering box with a reman unit because my steering was getting pretty loose. The instructions that came with the steering box said do not adjust anything because it was adjusted at the factory. So I threw on a new pitman arm and bolted it up. The problem is, now my steering wheel is not straight and my turn signal doesnt cancel correctly, I have to do a full turn to the left then back straight to cancel it that way but only a smidge to the right and back to cancel it that way. I can adjust the tie-rod from the pitman arm to straighten it out I think but I thought I read that the pitman arm must face straight back and be centered (not turned one way or the other), so that steering stability isnt affected.

I think everything is keyed so that it can only go on one way, (pitman arm to steering box, steering shaft to steering box, and steering shaft to steering column as well as steering wheen to column)

If I turn my steering wheel so it is straight, the pitman arm is facing the rear of the jeep at the same angle as the gear box, so it is pointing to where the driver would sit. Is this right or does it technically need to face the rear center of the jeep? The alightment guys at the local shop had no idea about the turn signal cancelling incorrectly or the pitman arm being centered etc.

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Unread 08-26-2010, 02:04 PM   #2
CSP
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When it said not to adjust anything that meant don't mess with the adjustment screw on the top of the box.

With the tires pointed straight ahead, remove the drag link from the pitman arm. Turn the steering wheel all the way right and then all the way left, counting the number of turns to the left stop. Go back to the right half the number of turns. Now the box is centered.

Attach the draglink to the pitman arm and don't move the pitman. Adjust the draglink if necessary.

Next, remove the bell coupler from the steering box input shaft. Do not turn the input. Rotate the steering wheel so that it' centered and slide the bell coupler back on the splines of the input shaft.

Now the box and steering wheel are centered and you should be good to go.
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Unread 08-26-2010, 05:55 PM   #3
SuperSportCJ
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1982 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Omaha, NE
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I thought the bell coupler and the splined input shaft were both keyed to eachother too which would not allow me to just slide it back on in any position. I recalled that the input shaft had a flat spot or something on one side. Correct me if I'm wrong. The engine is out of the jeep being rebuilt anyways so I'll probably give it a try regardless.
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Unread 08-26-2010, 06:13 PM   #4
keith460
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Well CSP is somewhat correct in finding center point of the steering box by turn it completely left and right while counting the turns and then bring it back half way so the gear box is now centered. But, to adjust the steering wheel center as you drive, one must adjust the drag link by trial and error until the steering wheel is straight as you drive down the road. The bell coupler only goes on one way due to the the clamping bolt that fits onto the splines of the input shaft of the steering gearbox. The clamping bolt will only fit in one position every 360°.

When suspension lift kits are added to a Jeep to raise its height, then most of the time the steering drag link must be adjusted also to bring the steering wheel back to center as you drive. As you raise the Jeep, the drag link pivot points become longer and pull the steering gearbox drag link out of position causing your steering wheel to become misaligned. So, you must adjust the drag link to compensate for the added length between the "new" pivot point locations because of the lift.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 08:04 AM   #5
SuperSportCJ
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When you adjust the drag link to correct the steering wheel, it throws the pitman arm off-center though doesn't it? Is this even a big issue to have it "off-center" like that?

When my steering wheel is straight my pitman arm is facing the rear of the jeep at the same angle as the steering shaft... so it basically points to where the driver sits. When I did the procedure where you disconnect the drag link and turn all the way to left then right, then halfway back the pitman arm is more of a straight back angle. I'm worried that the drag link wont be long enough to reach the pitman arm at that angle and keep the wheels straight.
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Unread 08-27-2010, 08:08 AM   #6
Shasta69
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1978 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Washington
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fwiw, i replaced the oem sterring box with a reman from napa. just had some new 31"s put on and while it was in the pit, the alignment tech said the sector shaft was shot.

running to napa today (receipt in hand) and see any recourse with the purchase being from jan 2010.
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