79 CJ7 engine swap complete now on to the steering - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
LHFarm
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79 CJ7 engine swap complete now on to the steering

With aid from this group my 79 CJ7 Golden Eagle is back on the road. Actually it is all over the road. Have a bad case of the wanders. I don't feel real comfortable driving about 45mph.

I was going to take it in for an alignment, but decided from a quick inspection that some of the components may be original. I put a rebuilt steering box in a few years back (I have power steering) but after the issues I had with the engine swap, I'm considering seeing if I can hire the work done at a local tire shop. So first question is does this seem like a reasonable solution?

I would like some recommendations for a kit or individual components you would want to see replaced. If I go to a shop I think I will want to them to just do the labor, not select the parts.

I haven't contacted the shop yet, but they have gotten really good reviews on their alignment work on custom cars. I don't think we have a 4x4 shop in town.

Thanks


Barry
Lawson Hill Farm

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post #2 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 04:12 PM
Fourtrail
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Jack up the front end and check the wheel bearings and ball joints first off. Then contact the shop and get the quote on an alignment cost. Run it in have them check the numbers and figure out what you need to replace, likely all 4 draglink and tierod ends. But having them check camber/caster will tell you if you need balljoints/wheel bearings or caster shims before you start the project. You can do the draglink and tierod at home and set them to the same length as the ones you took off and then let the shop fine tune it on a return trip. 2 alignments and doing the work yourself will be cheaper than having them do the work and they likely won't let you bring in your own parts. You can use moog parts if you can find them or else use napa premium parts. i would avoid anything crown or omix ada for steering linkage parts. Also take a look at the bell coupler at the steering box end of the steering shaft, they can be bad for play and there are a number of hd shafts that have proper slip joints and ujoints at both ends that are a good upgrade.

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post #3 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 04:21 PM
StoneTower
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Some shops here on the LEFT cost will check your alignment and give you a printout for free. They will tell you what needs replaced. Tie rod ends and drag link ends are easy to replace using tools that can usually be rented for free at the local auto parts chain. Use quality parts. Rockauto is a good place to get quality parts if you shop carefully and choose how you ship the parts carefully.

For the tie rod ends, you can measure center pin to center pin to get it back close to what you have now so that it is driveable to the alignment shop. I have seen people use a 2x4 and a couple of blocks screwed to it to act as a kind of caliper so that the length of the newly installed tie rod ends is the same. if you can get the drag link close to what you have now, you can then drive the jeep and make a final adjustment to get the steering wheel straight. Anything you do yourself will save you money. Ball joints are more involved but should be doable with a little YouTube schooling. New shackle bushing will help too and are easy enough to do yourself especially if you replace the shackles at the same time. Many aftermarket shackles use poly bushings which are easier to work with than the original rubber bushings.

Good luck.
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post #4 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 07:57 PM
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Have a look underneath and have a friend waggle the steering wheel. Look for any play and in particular perished rubber covers on ball track rod ends etc.

Wandering can be a number of things, Jeep Death Wobble is far worse but is just an accumulation of play in components. Wandering could just be alignment adjustment but to get the best out of it you should check wheel bearings, ball joints, track rod ends and even the frame around the steering box for flex.

A good steering damper can mask some of the issues but you are better off getting it to drive straight without a steering damper and then put it on.

As to parts, Rock Auto is frustrating at times but they have good prices and a lot of alternatives listed. Getting the best price and lowest shipping can be time consuming as they are a virtual warehouse, those parts are shipped from all over the place.

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post #5 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 09:33 PM
StoneTower
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Maybe I have been lucky, but I have had some really great experiences with Rockauto. You have to be smart about what you buy and you want to buy multiple parts at the same time to save on shipping. Sometimes you can choose which wearhouse something is shipped out of. If you are not careful, you will pay seperate shipping for each location items are shipped out of so that would not be good. I got my H1 steering box and my power steering pump and Gates brand power steering lines from Rockauto and the prices even with shipping were unbeatable. Maybe shipping out of the USA is a different experience when it comes to Rockauto. I always look for the best price and choose the supplier that saves me the most money. Amazon, eBay, Jegs, Summit and Rockauto are among the many good choices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BagusJeep View Post
Have a look underneath and have a friend waggle the steering wheel. Look for any play and in particular perished rubber covers on ball track rod ends etc.

Wandering can be a number of things, Jeep Death Wobble is far worse but is just an accumulation of play in components. Wandering could just be alignment adjustment but to get the best out of it you should check wheel bearings, ball joints, track rod ends and even the frame around the steering box for flex.

A good steering damper can mask some of the issues but you are better off getting it to drive straight without a steering damper and then put it on.

As to parts, Rock Auto is frustrating at times but they have good prices and a lot of alternatives listed. Getting the best price and lowest shipping can be time consuming as they are a virtual warehouse, those parts are shipped from all over the place.
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
LHFarm
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll be back with a follow up.

Barry
Lawson Hill Farm

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post #7 of 18 Old 07-09-2020, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Just home from round 1. I had taken the Jeep in for an alignment at a local tire store. I'm in a rural area and don't have a lot of options. I had requested a recommendation from the local Jeep club for front end work. One of the key members owns a repair shop in another town, so no local recommendations. I would need to trailer the Jeep there. So based on Google reviews, gave these guys a shot.

They wouldn't do an alignment until I had a tie rod replaced. They also found the steering box was moving and needed to be tightened. So agreed to have those two items fixed. They seemed confident that the rest of the front end was solid. Waited a day on the tie rod end and another day on their schedule.

The drive home was better - but at 50 or above, it was plan scary. 95% of my driving is under 50, but I'd like to get this corrected. I haven't called the store back. I'm thinking I need to find someplace that knows old Jeeps.

Thoughts?

Barry
Lawson Hill Farm

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post #8 of 18 Old 07-09-2020, 06:13 PM
John Strenk
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What could they do that you couldn’t do with a tape measure and a friend helping.

You can adjust the toe in easily enough.
There is no simple chamber adjustment
Caster is adjusted with shims.

You need to make sure there are no worn or loose parts.


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post #9 of 18 Old 07-09-2020, 07:14 PM
LumpyGrits
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What was the toein? You want a total of 1/8-3/16" total.
What was the Caster set at? You want 6-6 1/2* positive.

Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-10-2020, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
LHFarm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Strenk View Post
What could they do that you couldn’t do with a tape measure and a friend helping.

You can adjust the toe in easily enough.
There is no simple chamber adjustment
Caster is adjusted with shims.

You need to make sure there are no worn or loose parts.
I don't have any friends that enjoy working on cars and those that are willing to help just make two people who don't know what they are doing. That is one reason I took the Jeep to a shop. My son would love to help, but he is too far away and too busy. But I appreciate you words of encouragement.

Anyway, I did the jack up the front and check the bearings step. But I missed the loose gearbox the shop found. That didn't help bolster my confidence. It appeared to me that the bushings on the sway bars need to be replaced, but the shop thought they were OK.

Not sure that the bushings would be a factor in the high speed steering, but it seems like it might be worth doing as part of my slow rehab of the Jeep I'm also wishing I had replaced the tie rods and ends, just, again, as a rehab move and may do that.

Barry
Lawson Hill Farm

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post #11 of 18 Old 07-11-2020, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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OK did another check and test drive. Everything seem tight, except that I can move the steering wheel several inches before anything happens. So although I know the steering box was replaced a few years back, I think it was a cheap re-manufactured job. From some quick research, it appears that is a common issue.

So I'm in the market for a new steering box and will start my research here. I would appreciate any recommendations.
Thanks

Barry
Lawson Hill Farm

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post #12 of 18 Old 07-11-2020, 01:40 PM
LumpyGrits
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There's a large nut on the top of the s'bx.
Mark the threaded shafts position.
Loosen the nut and turn the screw 1/8 turn clockwise.
Retighten the nut, be sure the threaded shaft stays put.
Test drive

Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
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post #13 of 18 Old 07-11-2020, 08:36 PM
MrPeter63
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How are your tires, New or old, have they sat for a long period with lower air pressure? They might just be out of balance. You can do all the front end work you want but if your tires are crap it's gonna handle like crap...
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-12-2020, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPeter63 View Post
How are your tires, New or old, have they sat for a long period with lower air pressure? They might just be out of balance. You can do all the front end work you want but if your tires are crap it's gonna handle like crap...
This is a good point (and 50mph is quite a common point for steering issues in a Jeep). And what tyre pressures are you running?

The play in the steering box, if only a few inches, is normal on a Jeep. When it is a quarter turn, it makes it hard to control. However this is not the root of your problems.

Now it is getting scary at higher speeds, perhaps you can describe it again. Is it vibration, sudden darting, change of direction under power, lack of self centering?

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1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
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post #15 of 18 Old 07-12-2020, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
LHFarm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LumpyGrits View Post
There's a large nut on the top of the s'bx.
Mark the threaded shafts position.
Loosen the nut and turn the screw 1/8 turn clockwise.
Retighten the nut, be sure the threaded shaft stays put.
Test drive
Made a huge improvement! Was only able to do a short low speed test, but an absolute difference.

So, do I do another 1/8 turn and test again? I don't know what to expect if I've gone too far with this adjustment.

Barry
Lawson Hill Farm

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