Yet another CJ steering thread -
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 09-29-2011, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
1983 CJ7 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Grand Rapids
Posts: 6
Yet another CJ steering thread

I have spent a lot of time on this forum lately and very much appreciate all the wisdom that I have been able to find. I am, being a n00b, left with quite a few other questions as to where to start on my wondering steering.

It's a '83 CJ7 with a 4" lift . Every now and then it pulls abruptly to the right or left and without quick correction would end up in another lane very fast. There is some slop in the steering but being new to this I am not sure how much is to be expected with the lift.

I had a friend work the wheel while I watched the front end. There seems to be a lot of play at the U bolts joining the spring and the axle, and also the shackles where they meet the springs and hangers.

I am planning on the following:
  • HD U bolts
  • steering gearbox brace
  • HD gearbock bracket
  • caster correction (shims?)
  • new shackle bushings

What I need guidance on:
  • What info do I need to fit the HD U bolts to my CJ?
  • Thoughts on gearbox braces? Worthwhile?
  • I do not see any sway bar or linkage. Is this common for lifted CJs?
  • Is a shim between the axle and springs the best bet? I have heard there are "better options".
  • How would I go about fitting bushings to the shackles I have. They do not appear to be stock.

Pardon my ignorance. Thank you for all your knowledge so far and in advance for your help.

SeeJ is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 09-29-2011, 12:47 PM
Web Wheeler
Jim1611's Avatar
1985 CJ7 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 7,360
Welcome to the forum.

What you describe in your steering could be many things. If the u-bolts are loose that could get bad in a hurry so it's a good idea you're fixing that. Loose ball joints can also be a problem as well as tie rod and drag link ends. The ball joints are a pretty big job to replace unless you've got equipment and experience with doing that. Rod ends are not bad at all though. Steering box itself could have wear too.

Depending on what diameter your new u-bolts are you may need to drill the u-bolt plates out bigger. 1/2" is standard size for the u-bolts but upgrading to 5/8" is a worthwhile upgrade.

The steering box brace is a good idea if you run over a 32" tire.

The sway bar is good for driving on curvy roads, helps control body roll. It may have bee taken off when the lift was installed. It's good to have for highway driving.

The shim between the axle and springs is called a degree shim. It's for correcting pinion angle. They're okay but a better way to correct that problem is to cut the spring perch loose, rotate the axle and reweld. BUT that brings another imporatant point up. You'll change the caster angle and if that's not close to stock, about 6 degrees positive, your steering won't be too good. Check that out pretty quick.

You shackle bushings are most likely 1" diameter. That's the stock size for a CJ. There are other sizes available though but measure what you have first. If those are worn out that can affect steering too.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
(Crabtree Shackle Hangers)

My build thread

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Jim1611 is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 09-29-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
1983 CJ7 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Grand Rapids
Posts: 6
Thanks so much Jim for your help.

Given my skill level (or lack there of) I think I would want to stick to a more reversible means of correcting caster than rotating the spring perch.

I have heard there are sleeves at the upper ball joints that may have the same effect? How effective would that be in correcting caster? I have not measured but the way it drives I would no be surprised to find it around 0.

Would I be better off getting new plates with the HD U bolts? I am not sure what condition the plates are in or what effect sizing the holes would have.
SeeJ is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 09-29-2011, 01:28 PM
Web Wheeler
GlennLever's Avatar
1984 CJ7 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rochester
Posts: 2,302
Loose bolts are never good, fix that and than proceed.

I am also new to Jeeps, been spending a "LOT" of time reading.

I believe that anything above a 2" lift will require a caster change.

Two good methods are the shims and cutting and rewelding the spring perches.

Not much attention has been spent in the reweld option talking about warpping the axle housing due to heat and checking with an axle fixture. I believe, unless you have all the tools, that rewelding is a profession shop fix.

I will be looking into the shims when I do my 2 " lift (go to an alignment shop to determine how much is needed) Oh yes that is one more point for the shims, it is adjustable where cutting and rewelding again is a major job.

Glenn R. Lever
Rochester, New York 14617-2012
My Web Site
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

My restoration thread here on the Jeep forum

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
GlennLever is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Jeep Forums Replies Last Post
steering catches on turn then lots of slop, then power steering only turns right scott78cj5 Jeep CJ Forum 0 09-09-2010 10:57 PM
New steering box and power steering pump=very tight steering? SuB8HaVeN Jeep CJ Forum 15 04-12-2010 11:13 AM
Another "play in steering/ps conversion" thread Forumpete58 Jeep CJ Forum 2 02-28-2010 10:41 PM
I hate to start a loose steering thread, but caster is spot on? SpencerC Jeep CJ Forum 25 08-05-2009 04:46 PM
TBI Troubleshooting thread (split from Truck Avenger Thread) YJ_Aaron Jeep CJ Forum 34 10-11-2006 12:19 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome