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Discussion Starter #1
The steering has a lot of play, guessing like 1/8 of a complete turn (which comes out to about 7" on the steering wheel radius).
As seen here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI1WKNlija8

So basically the movement goes into the steering box but it doesn't come out of it (until I turn it more).
I already tried to tighten the play by turning this adjustment screw as shown here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtXQvVNg6vI

but this screw will only move forward or backward a maximum of about a ¾ turn.

Any suggestions?
Should I replace the steering box? Or has the steering box not properly been installed (it was replaced a few days ago because the old one was leaking).
 

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I would pop the top cover off and take a look inside. It is the five bolts on the top of the case. Tap it with a mallet to break the seal. I would inspect the pattern on the three tooth fork and the steering gear its self.

That is a lot of movement!!!

Are the mount bolts tight to the frame?

Is there movement in the main shaft? (where the pitman arm attaches)

I am assuming the U-joint in the steering column have no play in them?

Take a look at BleepnJeeps video, the video you provided who I’m talking about, on how to rebuild a case if you need reference.

However, I would suspect that it will need a rebuild or replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Mike.
The box is mounted tight to the frame. The main shaft will only move if I turn the steering wheel more than the play allows.
The U-joint is fine, no noticeable play.
 

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I would search "Dodge Durango steering box for Jeep TJ", if your going to replace it, might as well spend less and upgrade too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Who installed the box a few days ago?
There should be zero slop, and you should not have to adjust that screw on top, especially after such a short amount of time.

Where did the box come from? Some of the reman boxes from places like auto zone aren't known for quality.
Those are the problems I'm having. I had the steering box replaced by a "recommended auto mechanic" which turned out to be a backyard DIY-er. I'm in the middle of Mexico.
He told me that he got a "new" box but I have no idea if that's true and I actually don't even trust him enough anymore to go back and let him do more work.

We do have Auto Zone here and I'm pretty sure I could order and then replace the box on my own if needed. Never done it before but it can't get worse than it is right now.

http://www.autozone.com/suspension-steering-tire-and-wheel/steering-gear-power-steering/duralast-steering-gear-power-steering-/jeep/wrangler-4wd/1998/4-cylinders-p-2-5l-mfi/858506_0_6207/
 

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Thanks, Mike.
The box is mounted tight to the frame. The main shaft will only move if I turn the steering wheel more than the play allows.
The U-joint is fine, no noticeable play.


I know you don't want to go back to the mentioned mechanic, And neither would I, but did he offer a warranty? If so you could take advantage of that or even make him pay for labor at another shop.

I literally just replaced my steering box about a week ago. I bought one out of a junk yard from a jeep with a 100k on it. If you are mechanically inclined it is easy! If not, you could still figure it out.

The pitman arm and main shaft should have zero play in it. Now when the steering box is out of the jeep you can turn the pitman arm/main shaft, but they should turn equally and not have any play between the two.

IIRC, the screw on top of the box, the one that increases and decreases the resistance, works by moving the main shaft up and down on the main steering teeth inside the box. The higher main shaft sits on the tooth the less resistance and more play you will have. The lower the main shaft sits on the teeth inside the box the more resistance and less play you will have.

So What I would do, Is adjust the nut on top of the steering box to increase the resistance. You can actually watch the main shaft, just above the pitman arm, move as you adjust it. And you want to bring the main shaft farther down.

I would at least give that a shot before you take it back.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So What I would do, Is adjust the nut on top of the steering box to increase the resistance. You can actually watch the main shaft, just above the pitman arm, move as you adjust it. And you want to bring the main shaft farther down. I would at least give that a shot before you take it back.


I tried that already. It didn't seem to have any effect. And this nut/screw will only turn about 270 degrees forward or backward.
 

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Dang. Then I would pop the cover and take a look inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Two more things.
1. Is there oil under pressure to expect when I pop the top of the box?
2. Assuming I get the box replacement properly done on my own, will a front end alignment be needed afterwards?
 

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I would search "Dodge Durango steering box for Jeep TJ", if your going to replace it, might as well spend less and upgrade too.
I just replaced my OEM steering box on my 2000 TJ with the Dodge Durango version this morning, as recommended on the forum. I had no idea just how bad my steering really was until I took it out on a test drive after replacing it. It steers straight and true now with zero wander, especially when in the grooves of the highway.

I bought mine from O'Reillys. It's a MasterPro and also remanufactured. The part number is 502-0124. The case is slightly bigger than OEM and I did have to use a Dremmel to knock down a small lip on the frame bracket in order for it seat flush with the frame. It was really no big deal - super easy swap.

Just FYI, my Jeep is a 2000 TJ with a 4" Skyjacker lift and 33" tires.
 

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^x2 Just finished my Durango box this morning. Super simple bolt up. You can definitely tell the difference by weight. Can't wait to go on the first test drive.
 

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Two more things.
1. Is there oil under pressure to expect when I pop the top of the box?
2. Assuming I get the box replacement properly done on my own, will a front end alignment be needed afterwards?
1. No, not when the jeep is off. If your concerned with it, just pull the cap on the reservoir. That will bleed off all pressure if there is any.

2. No, just make sure you mark the position of the pitman arm on the old box and transfer that over to the new box. It has four possible positions it can go. Unless your new/used box come with a pitman arm on it, then don’t worry about that last part. Additionally, The steering box does not spin 360 degrees, So make sure the tires are straight and the steering box gear is centered.

Also, when you go to fill the reservoir back up with power steering fluid. DO NOT TURN THE JEEP ON. First, turn the steering wheel back and forth from lock to lock with the front wheels on jack stands off the ground. Add the fluid back into the reservoir as it bleeds the system. You will notice the fluid level will decrease as you do this. Do this until the reservoir stops sucking down the fluid. Then after that is complete, you can turn on the jeep.

If you turn the jeep on and it is not bled, it will froth the PS fluid like soap. Ask me how I know lol.
 

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I just replaced my 98 Wrangler gear box with a 99 Durango I got from a pick and pull. Thanks for everyone's help with this information.
 
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