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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How much play should be in the steering wheel? I had some one turn the steering wheel back and forth while I looked for play.. I have a quarter turn in the steering box before it moves my wheels... What's the normal and what would be the fix?
 

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Check all the tie rod ends, and track bar connections by wrapping your hand around them while someone jiggles the wheel back and forth. Even loose or worn spring eye bushings can affect this.
 

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On top of the steering box you should find an Allen bolt sticking out with a nut around it. Put your Allen wrench in the Allen bolt and hold it still while you loosen the nut, then hold the nut still while you adjust your steering wheel play by screwing in the Allen bolt until the slop is gone. Don't forget to test drive it because you may find you have gone a bit too far and the steering wheel may feel like it is binding a bit. If it's binding, back the Allen bolt back out just a hair and try again. Continue to adjust to your desired play. When you are satisfied, hold the Allen bolt still and tighten up the nut around it to lock your adjustment Allen bolt in place. This is hands down the cheapest fix I've done that fixed a big issue. Hope this helps! You can also YouTube this to see what exactly is happening inside the box as you turn that adjustment Allen bolt and understand how your steering works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
On top of the steering box you should find an Allen bolt sticking out with a nut around it. Put your Allen wrench in the Allen bolt and hold it still while you loosen the nut, then hold the nut still while you adjust your steering wheel play by screwing in the Allen bolt until the slop is gone. Don't forget to test drive it because you may find you have gone a bit too far and the steering wheel may feel like it is binding a bit. If it's binding, back the Allen bolt back out just a hair and try again. Continue to adjust to your desired play. When you are satisfied, hold the Allen bolt still and tighten up the nut around it to lock your adjustment Allen bolt in place. This is hands down the cheapest fix I've done that fixed a big issue. Hope this helps! You can also YouTube this to see what exactly is happening inside the box as you turn that adjustment Allen bolt and understand how your steering works.
Ok.. Thanks a lot for the detailed response, I really appreciate it..
 

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Actually, that's not correct.

That adjuster is actually the pitman shaft overcenter torque adjustment screw. Its not there to adjust out the slop of worn steering components. Tightening it till it "fixes" your loose steering will accelerate wear and give you improper steering feel/feedback.

Its such a popular myth, though, that I cant convince the masses that believe in it.
Its main attractiveness is that its right there in front of you and you don't even have to lay on your back with a helper and get all greasy.


Just wanted to let you guys know. Carry on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Actually, that's not correct. That adjuster is actually the pitman shaft overcenter torque adjustment screw. Its not there to adjust out the slop of worn steering components. Tightening it till it "fixes" your loose steering will accelerate wear and give you improper steering feel/feedback. Its such a popular myth, though, that I cant convince the masses that believe in it. Its main attractiveness is that its right there in front of you and you don't even have to lay on your back with a helper and get all greasy. Just wanted to let you guys know. Carry on.
So what would you recommend ??
 

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I have to agree with DREDnot. My son-in-law tried to help me by tightening my steering box and the result was crazy scary. My steering has gone from way too tight to wandering all over the road. I've had two shops try to adjust it correctly and it's still not right, I suspect because there is something else going on. I'm now going to have a third place inspect the front end. This has been a very expensive "cheap fix" for me. Ritchie, you can try doing a dry steer test (Google it) to see if you have worn parts, but I'm too old to get under my Jeep, so I'm going to take it to a shop that specializes in suspensions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Did you do what I recommended in the second post above?
My pitman arm bolt had worked itself loose.. Couldn't tell it by looking at it but I was checking everything and realized it was loose. Works like a new one now! Thanks for all the replies!
 

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So what would you recommend ??
Adjusting the steering box is a hit or miss short time fix for steering box play.
Replacement with a new or quality rebuilt box is the only permanent cure.
Used steering boxes are not an option unless you know the history of the part because the odds are with a 20 year old vehicle its worn out too.
The Dodge Durango upgrade is an excellent option because of its advantages and can be done for less than $150. Your safety is worth that.
I did it to mine and don't regret it.
 

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My pitman arm bolt had worked itself loose.. Couldn't tell it by looking at it but I was checking everything and realized it was loose. Works like a new one now! Thanks for all the replies!
Good find.
Cheers, brother.
 

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Adjusting the steering box is a hit or miss short time fix for steering box play.
Replacement with a new or quality rebuilt box is the only permanent cure.
Used steering boxes are not an option unless you know the history of the part because the odds are with a 20 year old vehicle its worn out too.
The Dodge Durango upgrade is an excellent option because of its advantages and can be done for less than $150. Your safety is worth that.
I did it to mine and don't regret it.
I've seen some other threads on the Durango box swap - What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of the Durango box over the stock YJ box?
 

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I noticed a quicker turn ratio and less effort with my 32x12.50x15 tires.
If you want to call it a disadvantage you loose one mounting bolt on the steering box but it is still mounted very solid , if its good for a 5000# Durango it should be OK for a 3800# Jeep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I noticed a quicker turn ratio and less effort with my 32x12.50x15 tires. If you want to call it a disadvantage you loose one mounting bolt on the steering box but it is still mounted very solid , if its good for a 5000# Durango it should be OK for a 3800# Jeep.
I guessing you did the swap? Is it a pretty straight forward swap!
 

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I guessing you did the swap? Is it a pretty straight forward swap!
It is as simple as a straight steering box replacement. The only thing I didn't have to deal with is removing the pitman arm because I installed a new one.
 
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