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-   -   How to fix a loose/wobbly steering column. (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f218/how-to-fix-a-loose-wobbly-steering-column-57706.html)

Just-Jimmy 08-10-2010 09:15 AM

How to fix a loose/wobbly steering column.
 
Hello All!
Sunday I repaired my extremely loose steering column with some very inexpensive tools and only about 1.5hr of my time! Here is what I bought, where, how much, and a little insight as well. I went to Autozone and purchased a Steering Wheel Puller $19, Lockplate remover $14, E8 External Torx Socket $9, Locktite Threadlocker $6, and Needle Now Pliers $9. I also used but did not need to buy a Phillips Head screwdriver and Socket Set. My steering column was ultra loose. It would move up and down and side to side but now it is solid!!

Here is a link to a great write up that shows pics and step by step on how to repair this while the column is out of the vehicle. I did mine inside the vehicle so I will add instructions for it. I did not take pics unfortunately since I was low on time but I will describe it the best I can. Tilt Column Repair

First step was to remove the horn pad. It should easily pop off if you grab it and wiggle it a little. Actually, my first step was to disconnect the battery so that I would not accidentally short out any electrical components. It should easily pop off if you grab it and wiggle it a little. Then you will see 3 phillips head screws holding the horn button assembly in place. Remove all three. Then make sure the steering wheel is in the locked position and remove the center nut holding it to the steering shaft. Next, attach the steering wheel removal tool. The tool will pay for itself as it keeps you from damaging your wheel when you bang on it to try to pop it loose. The tool makes it effortless. As you remove the wheel there will be a horn contact pin at the upper left that has a spring beneath it. Be prepared for this as you do not want it to launch. I kept track of every part and at the end could not find this little spring so now my horn is inop! I had the spring during reassembly and somehow it disappeared. Next, I removed the dash panels that surround the steering column. You will then see two bots that hold a bracket which secures the column in place. Remove both of these so that you can lower the column. Mine were kind of tough to get to so I also removed the assembly which contains the warning lights and turn signal lights. There is a wiring harness which rests on the top of the column under the dash. Unplug it so that you can slide it up through the column a little. There is also a wiring harness which comes out of the column and goes to a switch just below the headlight switch underneath the dash. I unplugged this one as well. Now you can follow the instructions in the link. Pay close attention as to how everything looks before you take it apart so that reassembly will not be a pain. You will remove a screw that holds a metal piece connected to the turn signal switch. Look at how this metal piece is attached. It took me awhile to remember what that piece hooked up to when I was reassembling the column. Overall, I would say this is an easy repair for any shade tree mechanic. When removing the retaining ring under the lockplate, I used a very thin flat head used for sunglass repair to help pry it off. Then I grabbed it with the needle nose pliers. Also, just like the instruction say, only 2 torx head bolts are visible and one of the 2 is very difficult to get to. I fully removed the one on the bottom right and applied a generous amount of red locktite to it. I then tightened it down. I could not find a way to remove the one on the bottom left so I simply tightened it as tight as I could. For now the column is as good as new! It does not move at all! Now I just need to find a spring for that horn button!! Here I come ebaymotors! I do not believe that I will need the steering wheel removal tool, lockplate removal tool, or the e8 socket so if anyone wants them we can work out a deal!! Maybe just pay me what I paid and I will ship them for free!

I also replaced the ignition lock cylinder since you could just remove the key while Jeep was running and you could somtimes start it without the key. The cylinder is very easy to remove and I found a new one on ebaymotors for $23 which included 2 keys. There is one philips head screw holding the cylider in place. Once you remove this, the cylinder simply slides out and you slide the new one in during reassembly of the column!

2000vikings 08-11-2010 07:16 AM

Steering wheel wobble
 
Did your replace the old retaining ring with a new one? Just curious, because I a have the same issue. Thanks.

FNjeep 08-12-2010 12:49 AM

The Pitman Arm needs a good looking over and may need tightening or replacing to take out some steering wheel "slop" back and forth. To get your steering wheel back to center, you'll need to adjust your drag link (and a friend to spot you).

Lot's of U-tube videos describing both procedures.

Just-Jimmy 08-12-2010 07:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2000vikings (Post 719948)
Did your replace the old retaining ring with a new one? Just curious, because I a have the same issue. Thanks.

I used the old retaining ring. These only need to be replaced if you damage it during removal which would be hard to do. I was careful while removing it.

FNjeep The Pitman Arm needs a good looking over and may need tightening or replacing to take out some steering wheel "slop" back and forth. To get your steering wheel back to center, you'll need to adjust your drag link (and a friend to spot you).

Lot's of U-tube videos describing both procedures.

FN- I fully agree. My steering wheel is off center so I do need to adjust the drag link. It is a very simple procedure and you are correct that there are many videos showing the procedures.

JDWranglerGuy 08-31-2012 01:45 PM

ok first off the piece of crap 14.99 lockplate remover tool sucks big time at least the one I got from Auto Zone did. Mine would not tighten enough to compress the spring enough to fully exspose the lock plate retainer. Needless to say when I finally got it tight enough to almost exspose the retainer if bent the lock plate slightly and then the lockplate tool broke. I am new at working on cars in this much detail but to me this is not an easy job and I failed miserably. I am currnetly looking for a shop to fix mine. Sorry to rain on everyones parade but this is by no means easy and depending on how old your jeep is you may not get past the lock plate. Oh and the link to the other web sight with picks sucks becuase he doesnt even describe how to get the retaining ring out.

90DesertTanYJ 08-31-2012 06:35 PM

Jimmy you didnt mention a pivot pin puller so I am assuming you have a standard column?

A great link to tilt column rebuilding
www.diyfiero.com/dropspot/Jazzman_Steering_Rack_Rebuild.pdf

And most of those things that were bought can be "borrowed" from AutoZone for free. Rebuilding a column is not for the faint of heart and you have to be careful when pulling the snap ring out. A couple of small flat screwdrivers and/or a small pick will help facilitate the job. It damn sure dont give ya a millimeter extra to make the job easy. JD, I can see why you got frustrated. My tilt column took an inordinate amount of drugs and alcohol to rebuild and is now tight, everything functions properly and I am happy.......or is that the drugs and acohol?

JDWranglerGuy 08-31-2012 11:58 PM

Thanks Desert Tan. Unfortuneatly I dont drink or do drugs but if I had kept going today I probably would be back to it. I have a Mechanic buddy I need to enlist to help me with the hard stuff. I really think I just need a new column though mine if all kinds of jacked up on the inside so the little bolts inside may not remedey all the wobble.


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