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Old 03-15-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Ft. Bragg, NC
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71 CJ steering issue

hello to all

i have a coworker that has a 71CJ, he is complaining that while driving his front tires drift from left to right without moving the steering wheel. i haven't looked at it yet, but i'm wondering if anyone can diagnose this.

i'm thinking his tierod and tierod ends might be worn, but idk.

could it be something else? steering box, linkage?

thanks in advance, any and all help would be much appreciated.

"You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong." Abraham Lincon
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:08 AM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Is there slack in the steering wheel? Ya know, when ya turn the wheel from side to side does the wheels turn or not. You can take some of the slack out of the steering box by tightening up the nut(set screw) on the steering box. There was a thread about this. Read up because you can mess it up by tightening up too much.

My $.02

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Old 03-15-2011, 10:11 AM   #3
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How long has he owned it? The reason I ask is that CJ's dont normally drive worth a crap. They have narrow axles and a saginaw steering pump that is way overbuilt for the rig its on. That being said, I'm betting its the sector shaft between the steering column and the steering box...they are really bad about going out on those.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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You may look at the tie rod ends or the ball joints. They can cause some sloppy steering. I agree that the issue is most likely not in the steering box itself, but you may look to see if it is still solidly mounted to the frame. Strong box, but weak attachment to frame.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:58 PM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Ft. Bragg, NC
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thanks for the advice. as soon as i get a chance to check it out i'll post on the culprit and fix.
"You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong." Abraham Lincon
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2010
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71 CJ steering issue

the above posts were pretty much dead on. also, has the steering gear been swapped out for the saginaw/GM gear, eliminating the bellcrank system? If not, now is the time. One other thing to think about, is when new, the '71 most likely came with 700x15 bias ply suburbanites. Place a decent set of tires and wheels on it, and it starts chasing cracks in the road, swapping lanes without steering input. As mentioned earlier, bearings, tie rod ends, along with the trunnion bearings on the closed knuckle front end will effect the way it drives. Also, if it is lifted, with different springs, you might have lost your caster. That one's easy, just install some caster wedges between the axle and springs. You might have to go a couple of degrees at a time, but it will pay off. I have to run 6 degree caster wedges in my D30. Also, if not mentioned prior, have your alignment shop check toe in. Hope some of these ideas help. Good thing they're free. Good Luck

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