Durango Steering Box Swap In A ZJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 1 Old 08-26-2008, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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1997 ZJ 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Pembroke, MA
Posts: 1,914
Durango Steering Box Swap In A ZJ

Finally got around to swapping in my durango steering box today. Overall I'm impressed but it could be because my other one was junk. It bolts up without a hitch. Same bolt pattern just a wider box. 3 full turns lock to lock. To do this you will need...

A steering gear box from a 99 Durango 5.2L

Pitman arm puller

5/8 socket

1 and 5/16" socket

13mm socket

17mm wrench

ft/lbs torque wrench

power steering fluid

Pickle fork

Drain pan

Jack and stands


Torque settings

Steering gear to frame: 65 ft/lbs

Pitman arms to shaft: 185 ft/lbs

Stabilizer bar to frame: 55 ft/lbs

Stabilizer bar to link: 27 ft/lbs

Center link to pitman arms: 55 ft lbs


Start by Jacking up the front axle and getting the wheels off of the ground. Then secure jackstands under the vehicle.

Then remove the cotter pin on the castle nut holding the draglink to the pitman arm, followed by removing the castle nut.

Then drop the draglink from the pitman arm by using a pickle fork.

If you have sway bar disconnects, disco them and pull them down to swing the antisway bar out of the way of the pitman arm nut. If not then you must drop the swaybar by removing the mounting bolts and swinging it out of the way.

Remove the nut and washer from the pitman arm. Impact gun works really well for this.

Remove the pitman arm using a pitman arm puller. Make sure the puller is large enough. Just slide it on there and crank it down. Takes a little bit of time but it slowly will work its way off.

Position a drain pan under the steering box then remove the power steering lines going into the steering box. If your changing the fluid then disconnect the hose on the bottom of the pump and then allow it to drain.

Remove the sheild going over the steering shaft behind the steering box by removing the 13mm bolt holding it on. Then rotate the steering shaft by putting the key in the on position and turn the wheel until you can see the other 13mm bolt at the joint on the input shaft on the box. *Dont spin the wheel once the shaft is removed. You could screw up your clockspring. Remove the 13mm bolt and slide the steering shaft back and out of the way of the box.

Remove the 3 mounting bolts for the steering box from the uniframe rail. Make sure you have a hold on the box as you remove the last bolt. Lower the box and pull it out. Heavy isn't it.

Now you have the two next to eachother. You can really see the difference in these boxes when your up close to them.

Reinstall everything in reverse. When reattaching the steering shafts collar to the input shaft of the box it was a tight fit for me. I jammed a flathead in the crack in the collar to open the gap up a bit so I could slide it on. Not sure why it didnt line up for me. Maybe a different spline count? Make sure you bottom out the steering shaft and drop in the 13mm bolt.

Once everything is installed and torqued down you then add fluid to the steering box and pump. Turn the wheels from lock to lock with the front end still off the ground. Do this for a few times and check the fluid level. I had to do this for about 10mins to get out all of the air. Dont overfill the reservoir. If you do, pull out the excess with a turkey baster. After you burp the system for a bit and dont see the fluid burping up in the reservoir then start the vehicle. Turn lock to lock for a bit more just to make sure no air is left in the lines. Drop the vehicle off the jackstands and check the fluid level once more. Re align your draglink to center your steering wheel. Pretty easy, loosen the collar bolts on the draglink adjustment and spin it till your wheel centers with the key in the on position. Take her for a drive and see how it goes. Ive been running the box for a few months now. Very happy with it. Turns my tires locked great. No more steering box slop and plenty of power. Some people have had trouble with their steering turning from lock to lock and stopping short of the actual steering stops on the knuckle. I dont think this is a problem with the zj but it is something to look at. There are writeups on mods for the durango box to eliminate this problem. Another helpful thing would be to reinforce the area where the box mounts a bit better. A piece of 1/4" plate with the bolt pattern drawn on it and longer grade 8 bolts would work great to spread out the load on that area. I plan on doing this soon. Good luck.

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