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  #1  
Old 04-05-2017, 06:25 AM
wagoneergirl's Avatar
wagoneergirl wagoneergirl is offline
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Steering questions

We have both a 78 J10 and a 78 Wagoneer. The steering on both feel, and drive, the same.

Driving down the road, which we haven't done much of for many reasons, the steering feels like it's all over the road. The power steering feels good, you can turn the wheel and there's no hesitation, and the wheels move so it's not like there's play in the steering. However, it feels like you don't have any idea where the wheels are, there's no tactile "grab" or whatever it's called. It's not a comfortable feeling at all.

To compare, I had an 82 Wagoneer and the steering on that felt just about the same as the 05 Ford I drive now. I never felt like I wasn't sure where I was driving.

Is this normal, and something we would get used to in time, or should we be looking at something in the power steering or somewhere else? What can we check?
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:06 AM
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CutterN55 CutterN55 is offline
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I'd check ball joints, rod ends on all the steering links, bushings, leaf spring bushings, leaf spring hangers and frame mounts for cracks, and make sure the steering box mounting surface isn't cracked between the bolt holes.

Jack up the front of the Jeep, lock the steering wheel, grab the tires at 9 & 3 o'clock and try to turn them, have a partner look for play in all the steering joints. Do the same thing at 12 & 6 o'clock for the ball joints. If the jeep is all over the road any play here should be evident. You can also check all the joints with a prybar or fork with the jeep on the ground.

While the jeep is on the ground, cycle the steering lock to lock and look for play in all the links, hangers, shackles, and steering box. I like to do this with power on and full weight on the ground and power off with a floor jack taking up enough weight to be able to turn the wheel but still a decent amount of ground scrub resistance to work against.

let us know what you find.
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2017, 07:30 AM
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wagoneergirl wagoneergirl is offline
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Thank you. Looks like lots of things to check. It's on blocks now having some u joints and gaskets replaced. Since it's already up he should be able to check some of these things soon. I'll let you know what we find.
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  #4  
Old 04-05-2017, 07:44 AM
440sixpack 440sixpack is offline
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Good advice from Cutter, it could be any of those things or a combination of all.

The steering box itself is often the cause, at some point it will need rebuilt . also check the slack adjustment on the steering box, sometimes that can help a lot.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2017, 09:07 AM
yossarian19 yossarian19 is offline
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There could be something wrong of course but from your description, it sounds like standard-for-the-era power steering.
When power steering was being introduced it was usually way over boosted, requiring no effort at all to turn the wheel and providing no feedback at all.
I put power steering on a '57 chevy truck and had the same complaints. I did a few things that really seemed to help. I reduced the steering wheel diameter and added a steering shock. Increasing caster would help, too, though it may not be desireable on the Wag. On my truck, the smaller steering wheel made a big difference.

You could also look into a faster or variable ratio steering box. A slow steering ratio isn't going to help road feel any.
Might as well check if anything is broke first, though.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2017, 06:34 PM
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wagoneergirl wagoneergirl is offline
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Thanks, everyone. It'll be a few days, maybe longer, before he can check any of these things out.

I surely do hope it's not going to be normal and something we'll just have to get used to. I'm not sure we'll drive either enough to do that if it is.

I'll let ya'll know how it turns out.
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  #7  
Old 04-07-2017, 01:06 PM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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I agree with what everyone said (especially Cutter).

When I bought my Chero, there was a solid 15-20 degrees of slop in my steering wheel. I started by reaching up from under my bumper while the truck was parked, not running, and steering wheel was not locked. I could turn my rag joint about 10-12 degrees without any feeling at the pitman arm which told me it was my steering gear being out of adjustment. I used this tech article to help me (basically the same thing 440sixpack just said).
http://www.ifsja.org/tech/steering/boxadj.html
Now I still have about 3 degrees of slop but at least it does not float back and forth in the lane.

I would take care of this ASAP. Many of the failures mentioned (ball joints, rag joint, hangers) could be catastrophic!
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  #8  
Old 04-08-2017, 08:50 AM
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Frank Ziebert Frank Ziebert is offline
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When checking all those steering component connects like the tie rod ends don't just look at then. With a helper moving the steering wheel back and forth from resistance to resistance put you fingers on the part being checked. I can feel movement where I can't see or hear it.

Also might check the toe in setting. It should be slightly toe in. 1/8th on my LJ but don't know about you rig.

Good luck.
Please tell us what you find.
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  #9  
Old 04-08-2017, 01:49 PM
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wagoneergirl wagoneergirl is offline
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We checked the play and ball joint and visually looked at the other parts on the Wagoneer today because it's on blocks anyway, The J10 is not on blocks as it's being used for some work today.

On the Wagoneer, at 12 and 6 there's some give on the drivers side, nothing any direction on the passenger side. After looking it appears the ball joint on the drivers side is bad, and the seal is cracked.

Checking the play within the steering box, on the Wagoneer, there's something like 4-6" of turn of the steering wheel before the tires start to move. We looked at the J10 and it's even worse, probably a min of 6". We couldn't check the ball joints on that one today.

So it appears that the first thing might be to replace the steering boxes on both and the ball joint(s) on mine.

I commented that the ball joint looked like it would be simple to replace since it's right there by the wheel and he looked at me kinda funny. Are they a real pain to replace?

Also, is there really any difference in the $125 boxes and the $225 boxes? Other than the higher cost and core charge? It also looks like the same part fits both our Jeeps. I'm also thinking we won't be driving either of these cross country any time soon and the $125 box will be fine for what we want. Any thoughts on that?

I do appreciate all ya'lls help. It's nice to just give him a list of things to look for when he's got some free time.

wg
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  #10  
Old 04-08-2017, 02:45 PM
yossarian19 yossarian19 is offline
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My experience with parts like steering boxes, steering pumps, alternators - anything with moving parts, really - is that a lot of parts are junk. I will now usually buy them from a local parts store simply for the ease of returning things.
$125 vs $225... you usually get what you pay for in auto parts but if the $225 box is a small "specialty" shop it's anyone's guess. I've heard that PSC, Red Head etc are great but I've got no experience and I'm not a big believer just because I read it on the net.

Check the rag joint at the input of the steering box and make sure the nut holding the pitman arm onto the box is tight, too. Both of those will make for a lot of travel at the steering wheel before tires move, but don't require a new box.

Somebody will chime in about taking the slack out of the steering box with an adjustment. Note that to do this "right" requires box removal & reinstallation. It's also not too hard to make the box work right for a while & quickly chew itself to pieces by adjusting it too tight.
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  #11  
Old 04-08-2017, 03:33 PM
zyzx zyzx is offline
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I would check the rag joint. It's most likely the problem. The steering box is often blamed for excessive play but it is seldom the problem, unless its seal is visibly weeping. Most steering box adjustments are not done properly and will not fix your problem. Change the rag joint first then move on to other areas. Don't start by changing the steering box.

This is what you need:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Power-Steeri...Mx9 x&vxp=mtr


Edit: I think you need a 13/16-36 Spline for a 78 o this is what you actually need, the above link is for 81-91:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-POWER-ST...S0d 2&vxp=mtr

Last edited by zyzx : 04-08-2017 at 03:52 PM.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2017, 04:12 PM
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wagoneergirl wagoneergirl is offline
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We checked the nut on the pitman arm and the rag joints on both. The nuts were tight and the rag joints appear to be ok.

I don't know for sure but I think he may take the steering box off the J10 and try to rebuild it to put on the Wagoneer. The J10 has other issues that will keep it off the road for a lot longer than the Wagoneer and he is interested in looking at the inside of the box itself.

Thanks ya'll.

wg
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2017, 10:49 PM
SJTD SJTD is offline
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The ball joints on the knuckles are fairly involved to get to. Once you remove everything down to the knuckles you'll have to get the joints loose from the axle ends. They are a taper and can be difficult. Then the joints are press fit in the knuckles.

If you mean the ball joints on the tie rods they aren't so bad other than the tapers.

The boxes have two adjustments that must be done in the correct order. Can't remember which it is but there's a set screw above the output shaft and a big plug with a lock nut on the input.

I THINK you adjust the input shaft first for end play on the shaft then set the output shaft preload while measuring turning torque of the input shaft. This is done with the output shaft in the center or straight ahead position.

As was mentioned, do it wrong and the box won't last.
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Old 04-09-2017, 06:56 AM
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I would check caster. Having no caster or very low caster will make the steering feel "wandery" and you will lose the self centering.
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  #15  
Old 04-11-2017, 06:18 AM
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CutterN55 CutterN55 is offline
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Replace the bad ball joints and then drive it. Check everything again; rinse and repeat.

*** you'll need a 6 pack of beer muscles and a BFH for the ball joints.***
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Ford 4spd swap Np435/205
Lifted/stretched on 36's/4.10 thick gears/spooled rear

'86 CJ-7 Renegade, Restored, original steel.
new Built TBI 258/Np435/D300 twin-sticks/Waggy D44's
37" Super Swampers and lots of goodies!
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  #16  
Old 04-13-2017, 02:37 PM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikel
I would check caster. Having no caster or very low caster will make the steering feel "wandery" and you will lose the self centering.

IMO having the alignment checked will help a lot with assessment of this issue. Tell the shop you realize they can only set the toe-in and center the steering, but you want a copy of the print-out from the alignment machine. Setting the toe could help, but Jeeps often have too little caster when lifted or when the springs are really saggy. As Mikel points out, too little caster makes the car wander and not come back to center on its own.
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  #17  
Old 04-19-2017, 05:32 AM
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Check the alignment as was mentioned. Then you know where you are in terms of alignment. The shop will check all the steering components and tell u what needs to be replaced. Go to YouTube for videos on adjusting the Saginaw box. There are some really good videos that will show you how to adjust and to rebuild. Steering slop is common on these, but you have too much. You might want to look into the S10 steering box modification. It's a bolt on mod that makes a lot of difference in steering feel, as it uses the more modern variable rate steering box from a 99-2004 S10/blazer 4x4. Makes it feel more like a modern car. Slightly less assist, fewer turns at the steering wheel lock to lock. I like it. Do a search on here, you will find a lot about it.
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  #18  
Old 04-23-2017, 11:14 AM
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asudchiman asudchiman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagoneergirl
We have both a 78 J10 and a 78 Wagoneer. The steering on both feel, and drive, the same.

Driving down the road, which we haven't done much of for many reasons, the steering feels like it's all over the road. The power steering feels good, you can turn the wheel and there's no hesitation, and the wheels move so it's not like there's play in the steering. However, it feels like you don't have any idea where the wheels are, there's no tactile "grab" or whatever it's called. It's not a comfortable feeling at all.

To compare, I had an 82 Wagoneer and the steering on that felt just about the same as the 05 Ford I drive now. I never felt like I wasn't sure where I was driving.

Is this normal, and something we would get used to in time, or should we be looking at something in the power steering or somewhere else? What can we check?


This is by far the best overview that I found. It has really helped me understand what to check. Link is a YouTube video.
https://youtu.be/69idxXfXJv4?list=PL...NiIuvFuYScVf_X
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