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Still figuring out the Jeep. I've had the Jeep awhile now but just got to drive it for first time today. While driving Jeep was wanting to move left and right steering wheel has a lot of slack. Im riding on 33's. Is this normal for CJs? Again, I had a 70 and 76 Bronco. So I'm trying to figure how the Jeeps like to drive. From what I remember from my Bronco I would need to have the steering stabilizer and or other steering components. Sorry. I may have left something out. I'm learning. Any ideas? Thanks.
 

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1981 Jeep CJ5
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Check the steering gear adjustment and see if you can get some of the slop out, and if not, you might need to rebuild/replace. At least I would start there, as it helped my '81 enough, I did not need to go any further.
Not sure if you have a lift, or how much if you do, so here is more info from another JF member.

STEERING ADJUSTMENT
From jeepdaddy2000 9-29-20
Power steering boxes rarely wear out and should be the last repair made.
Many times the installation of a lift will pull the box off center, causing internal slop that can't be adjusted out. If this is the case, then the adjustment of the drag link or reorienting the pitman arm to recenter the box is the first order.
If you have done the wiggle test, everything is tight, and you are sure it is the box, you can begin tightening the adjustment bolt while wiggling the wheel back and forth. It should tighten up the slop without having any hard spots throughout the rotation. If you rotate the bolt more than a 1/2 turn without any improvement, turn it back and reassess the issue.
 

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The 74 Saginaw box will have a slotted screw instead of the hex head screw. You'll need to hold it in place after you get it snug and while tightening the 5/8" nut. Check and fill the box while you are working on it. It might be smart to have the suspension professionally checked too. Too much air pressure will cause erratic driving too. I run 26 PSI in 31X10.5 tires and sometimes that seems like it's too much.
 

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The steering box adjustment should be the last thing to touch. It's there to set preload on a new box, not to remove slop from one that's worn out.

Inspect every component in the steering system from the column to the knuckles first. You could have worn out bell coupler parts or worn out tie rod ends/drag link ends, etc. and no amount of steering box adjustment is going to fix those items.
 

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Check every component for play and then the frame itself. Once you have nailed down the areas of play, you can start replacing stuff. On our old rigs the rubbers die of old age and let in dirt and water that wear out track rod ends etc very quickly, any failed rubber boot is an indication that you need a new joint.
 

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Perhaps a true statement, as the PO on mine had already replaced any/all steering joints, and still had trouble keeping it between the ditches. When I got it, adjusted the steering gear about 2-1/2 turns, and took care the steering issues. Yes it was the last step.
But, I find it hard to understand this adjustment is only to set preload on a new box? With very hard use say.....only used in agricultural areas and never see's a paved road, the steering gear takes a lot of abuse. If this gear can not be simply adjusted for wear, my dad would have been replacing steering gear boxes every 6 months, on some of the farm pickups/trucks/tractors.

As this is only another suggestion, inspect/test/look yours over 2-3 times (steering linkage/tires/bearings/etc) just to be sure nothing out of place/worn. If everything else is good, then can't hurt to give it a try. If the adjustment does not help, put it back the way you found it, and keep looking.

Good luck :)

The steering box adjustment should be the last thing to touch. It's there to set preload on a new box, not to remove slop from one that's worn out.
 

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The manufacturer’s procedure will typically center the stub shaft before adjusting the sector shaft. To do this you loosen the lock nut and turn the adjustment screw in to decrease the lash and remove any looseness in the assembly. The problem comes when the stub shaft and sector shaft are worn, the lash can be decreased to a point on the worn section but then bind elsewhere.

But adjusting the preload rarely makes up completely for plain old wear.

The last time I took apart a steering box, it was on my CJ3A, which uses a Ross cam and lever steering box (an input shaft with a worm cam at the bottom, which engages with a levershaft with two pins on the end). There is an adjustment screw that gives the preload, just pushes on the back of the levershaft, pushing the parts together. Tried adjusting preload, much like everyone else had for 70 years, still lots of play.

There are two pins on the levershaft which engage into the worm. No amount of preload can make up for worn pins, those suckers had gone from round to oval with 70 years of wear. A new levershaft was available (as were just new pins, but difficult to fit) and bearings and gaskets, so a rebuild took away the slack, the preload was not by itself the solution.
 
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