Stiff power steering with no return to center - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-12-2021, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
JeepdaddyRC
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1983 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Stiff power steering with no return to center

Working thru TSM, trouble shooting and looking for advice.
- no lift, 30 inch tires, castor 6 degrees, no play in steering linkage, axle u-joints good, upper U-joint on intermediate shaft good, tires inflated correctly, steering damper disconnected.
- With engine off and front tires off the ground - hard to turn tires/wheels from left to right using steering wheel or grabbing tires.
- With pitman arm disconnected, significantly easier to turn linkage at tires.
- This eliminated steering linkage, ball joint or TRE binding.
- However, still hard to turn steering wheel (with tires off the ground).
This seems to leave (from steering wheel down) bad steering column (I don't think so), lower coupling, or bad (or incorrectly adjusted) Saginaw steering box.
Ideas and suggestions appreciated.

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post #2 of 12 Old 06-12-2021, 01:51 PM
jeep_boy02
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1934 CJ7 
 
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Sounds like either a bound ujoint in steering shaft or the box is adjusted too tight.

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80 CJ7-304/T176/D300 HEI hdrs-WT D30/D44 4.56s, lockright/spool-SOA YJs W/RE AAL-35 MTRs beadlocks
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-13-2021, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
JeepdaddyRC
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Continuing to search for the part causing our hard steering/no return to center. I think we have it narrowed down to:
1. Bad bearings or misaligned steering column
2. Intermediate shaft binding (either at U-joint or lower coupling)
3. Bad steering box
If you separate the splined joint at the upper intermediate shaft from the steering column, will the intermediate shaft pull free from the coupler at the steering box?
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-13-2021, 06:11 PM
jeep_boy02
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Should be. I've done it before but I've also had some that were seized and wouldn't collapse. There's a plastic pin around the middle of shaft, just drill that out after soaking in PB or kroil or your preferred penetrant.

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Video link with good views of how the coupler pieces all fit together. There may be enough slip in there to pull the spring clip and leave the bell on the box.


80 CJ7-304/T176/D300 HEI hdrs-WT D30/D44 4.56s, lockright/spool-SOA YJs W/RE AAL-35 MTRs beadlocks
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-14-2021, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
JeepdaddyRC
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Thank you.
Yes, hoping to leave the bell (steering coupler) on the box. Then disconnect pitman arm to see how difficult it is to turn the steering gear by hand. I'm told that stub shaft on steering box should turn freely by hand.
Is that correct?
If not, we've found the problem.
At the same time, I can check the steering column and intermediate shafts for problems.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-14-2021, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
JeepdaddyRC
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Update, mystery continues.
With tie rod end (TRE) at pitman arm removed, there is easy rotation thru the steering wheel, intermediate shaft and steering box. You can turn the steering wheel with one finger.
With TREs removed at steering knuckle, the disconnected knuckle turns freely (ball joints not frozen).
All that is left is the linkage itself. Beginning to think the problem lies in the Rugged Ridge heavy duty tie rods and TREs the previous owner installed.
Rugged Ridge is an off shore Omix brand. I have never had good luck with Omix parts.
I put a small pick thru the hole in the top of the disconnected TRE. They are extremely hard to rotate and bent the pick! Don't TREs need to rotate freely? Could this be the source of the hard steering and no return to center?
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-14-2021, 04:28 PM
Fourtrail
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Not really rotate freely, but those may be too stiff. Are they greasable joints? May pump fresh grease into them and see if they free up. Pull the dust covers and grease them until you get good fresh grease out. Hook the linkage back up and cycle the steering while pumping in new grease to help them free up.

80 CJ-5, 74 CJ-6, 56 CJ-5
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-15-2021, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
JeepdaddyRC
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Anyone else have trouble with the Rugged Ridge (Omix) heavy duty tie rod ends?
Mine are fully greased, but remain very stiff to rotate.
They are not a standard thread size (7/8 diameter), and only replaceable with the same Rugged Ridge heavy duty tie rod ends - at $60 each TRE.
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-22-2021, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
JeepdaddyRC
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Update and conclusion:
Removed Rugged Ridge heavy duty tie rods and ends
Confirmed no binding in steering column or intermediate shaft
Confirmed steering box was centered
Confirmed ball joints good, steering knuckles free to rotate
Replaced Rugged Ridge parts with Moog tie rods and tie rod ends
Cycled steering by hand without tie rod hooked to pitman arm, movement is now free
Jeep drives straight and true with good return to center
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-22-2021, 08:12 AM
orange150
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1982 CJ8 
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Fairfax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepdaddyRC View Post
Replaced Rugged Ridge parts with Moog tie rods and tie rod ends
Cycled steering by hand without tie rod hooked to pitman arm, movement is now free
Jeep drives straight and true with good return to center
So you think the TREs were the issue? I have that exact same rugged ridge steering link kit and can't ever seem to keep my Jeep aligned anymore. What part number were the MOOG joints you replaced them with?

'82 CJ-8
258/AX15/D300
OME YJ 2.5"/31s
D30/D44/3.73s/Truetracs
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post #11 of 12 Old 06-22-2021, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
JeepdaddyRC
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Correct. The problem was the Rugged Ridge heavy duty TREs.
Even fully greased, they would not rotate. With front end jacked up and steering unlocked, you could not turn the tires with your hands from left to right. The 7/8 inch diameter threads on Rugged Ridge TREs are unique to their heavy tie rods. Replacement Rugged Ridge TREs are $60 each.
So I went back to the stock CJ tie rods and used the following Moog TREs:
MOOG DS911
MOOG ES62L
MOOG ES140R (need two)
Purchased from RockAuto. If you need the stock CJ tie rods and adjuster linkage, they are also available at RockAuto.
What a difference! The steering tracks straight, turns easily and returns to center now.
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-22-2021, 10:47 AM
orange150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepdaddyRC View Post
Correct. The problem was the Rugged Ridge heavy duty TREs.
Even fully greased, they would not rotate. With front end jacked up and steering unlocked, you could not turn the tires with your hands from left to right. The 7/8 inch diameter threads on Rugged Ridge TREs are unique to their heavy tie rods. Replacement Rugged Ridge TREs are $60 each.
So I went back to the stock CJ tie rods and used the following Moog TREs:
MOOG DS911
MOOG ES62L
MOOG ES140R (need two)
Purchased from RockAuto. If you need the stock CJ tie rods and adjuster linkage, they are also available at RockAuto.
What a difference! The steering tracks straight, turns easily and returns to center now.
Oh you went back to OE everything. I thought you found some TREs to fit the RR links.

Thanks for the info! I'm going to do the same. Gotta love Omix....

'82 CJ-8
258/AX15/D300
OME YJ 2.5"/31s
D30/D44/3.73s/Truetracs
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