Now I have found the problem with play in the upper support bearing. Inside the rubber ball is a silly needle roller cage made of plastic but with metal rollers. The cage is split too which will allow some opening and closing off the bearing over the steering shaft. Each time your jeep goes into water the rubber ball and bearing soak up water and the silly metal rollers rust up solid and stop rolling? The surface of the steering shaft is plastic not steel you you end up with seized metal squared off bars instead of needle rollers just grinding away the plastic shaft as the steering is used
Rusted seized needle rollers can just be seen
Plastic covered shaft now worn due to metal to plastic grinding.
The original rusted bearing cage and cover.
I have now searched some bearing suppliers to find a new bearing to no avail but I don't really want to put more metal in to run on the worn plastic shaft so my plan is to find someone to make me a split nylon bush instead to replace the bearing. If made smaller then the 28mm shaft and slightly bigger then the internal rubber ball the bush would hopefully tighten up on the worn shaft and effectively wear in during use.
With regard to the other lower end clamp I have sawn a wider split in the end to enable the clamp to tighten up more on the steering box shaft which on my jeep kept coming loose.
This split is now about 1.5mm wider so it should clamp up tighter stopping any movement.
So my plan is to replacing the bearing with a new non abrasive self lubricating bush to take out the slack a at the top and save me having to buy a new steering shaft just to get the silly needle metal roller bearing which runs inside the rubber ball. Now I have to find someone to make me the split nylon bush?
My guess is that most of you will have the same problem if you have never taken apart and greased the needle bearing which to me is a very poor design running on a plastic shaft!