Write-up: 97 XJ Steering Column replacement - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-11-2011, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
theducksguts
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Write-up: 97 XJ Steering Column replacement

Wanted to post a write-up because I haven't done one in a long time. This time I'm replacing the steering column on a friends 97 XJ. It had been stolen last December and was recovered but with damage to the column.
The thieves had broken the lock cylinder off of the column and used a flat head screwdriver to start it. My friend had been using that same screwdriver ever since. It became time to go back to having keys though.
DISCONNECT THE NEGATIVE BATTERY CABLE
The first step is to remove the kick plate. It is held on by 2-3 Phillips head screws. Next two more Phillips head screws hold on the metal backing plate. It lowers down and just pull it out of the slots with a gentle tug. Now you have access to the wiring harness. At this time it would also be good to remove the plastic cover from the steering wheel. This will give you access to everything you need to perform this swap.




Here you can see where the lock cylinder was broken. Since the bottom half was damaged there was no way to secure a new key/lock cylinder.



This is the doner unit I picked up from a local bone yard. Same year 97 XJ. The yard man had pulled it already and the vehicle was long gone. He said that all Jeeps are hard wired and didn't have connectors so I would have to re-wire it.
That is not true as you will see...



The first step in breaking down the new column is to remove the lock cylinder. Turn the key to the ON position and insert a screw driver in the hole as shown above. The cylinder should just pull right out of the housing.




At this point unscrew the plastic cover from your donor part and inspect the wiring harness. It has connectors that make this swap really easy. Take care not to break any of the connectors as you remove them. Knowing just how to undo all the connectors will help you when you are doing the same thing to the damaged steering column while it is still bolted in the Jeep.






Now you can clip the zip tie and throw the harness on the floor.



There is also a cable included in some donor steering columns. Mine had one. It is for the transmission shifter. To remove it, insert the key/lock cylinder and turn in the on position. Then push in the yellow or white tab and pull out. Should come out easy, don't force it. If it isn't coming out, then you are doing something wrong.



Now we are going to turn our attention to the broken unit inside the Jeep. Again, check to make sure the battery is disconnected. Then unbolt the airbag. It is held on by two bolts on the back of the steering wheel.

IMG]http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt279/gilbertson-fam/Steering%20Column/DSCF4020.jpg[/IMG]

Lay it down gently and unhook the two connectors. The yellow/white one pulls straight out, the other wire connector pulls apart easily. Put the airbag somewhere safe until reinstalling it.
Now unhook all the wiring harness connectors from the broken unit. Then you can start unbolting the half inch nuts that hold the tilt function in place and the steering wheel to the dash.



Once unbolted you can do one of two things. There is a small 1/2 inch bolt that holds the steering column to the steering shaft. Undo that bolt and slide the column out. Or you can do what I did and slide the whole steering column plus the steering shaft out. That way it is a lot easier to line up the splines on the donor unit.
At this point it should look like this.



Line up the splines on the steering shaft to the new steering column and insert the retaining bolt.



Insert the entire unit back into the XJ. Feed the steering shaft through the firewall. This is where it helps to have another person. Keep the wheel straight so you can line up the two halves of the steering shaft. Then bolt the steering column back into place using the same hardware. Plug in all the wiring harness connectors. Install the airbag. Reinstall all the plastic trim pieces.



Lastly, you can install the new key/lock cylinder. Turn the key in the cylinder (while still uninstalled) to the ON position. The push the lock into the Jeep, and turn the key to the off position.
Then reconnect your battery and test your lights, wipers, horn, etc. To make sure you didn't forget anything.
Test out your creation. Make sure it tracks right, all the stuff works and marvel at all you have done.



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post #2 of 9 Old 06-12-2011, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Just a side note. I took the variable wiper control off the damaged XJ steering column and put it on my 98 TJ that just had a HI-LO control.

I know have variable speed wipers on my TJ. Very cool.


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post #3 of 9 Old 07-12-2011, 12:42 PM
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Great article, and thanks for the pics.
You mentioned the variable speed wiper control...I have variable speed wipers but they only work on High. The variable speed and the Low speed do not work. Also, the wipers do not return to the "at rest" position when I turn them off. They just stop wherever they are in the cycle. Any ideas? Could it be the control switch or is there a circut or relay somewhere that conrols that?
Oh, and neither washer pump is working. Could that be related?
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-19-2011, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RStanger View Post
Great article, and thanks for the pics.
You mentioned the variable speed wiper control...I have variable speed wipers but they only work on High. The variable speed and the Low speed do not work. Also, the wipers do not return to the "at rest" position when I turn them off. They just stop wherever they are in the cycle. Any ideas? Could it be the control switch or is there a circut or relay somewhere that conrols that?
Oh, and neither washer pump is working. Could that be related?
Sounds like the wiper switch. It is a pretty cheap junkyard part. I would try swapping in a new one. I don't think it would be the relay since your high wipers work.

Give it a shot. Sorry for the late reply.


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post #5 of 9 Old 01-16-2012, 10:58 AM
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Perfect just what I needed. Thanks
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-17-2012, 11:32 AM
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Oh I know it was a while ago, but a eta on how long it took. Like...could I do it in my hour lunch break?
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-17-2012, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefSpoonS View Post
Oh I know it was a while ago, but a eta on how long it took. Like...could I do it in my hour lunch break?
It took me about 1.5 hours in my garage with all of my tools near by. I had never done one before so decided to document it so that added to the time too.

I can't speak to your wrenching skills but I don't think I could do the swap on a lunch break. Well, maybe now that I have done one, you never know.


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post #8 of 9 Old 01-18-2012, 10:46 AM
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:-p Hour lunch break. DONE!
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-18-2012, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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:-p Hour lunch break. DONE!
Nice work


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