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How to: Steering mod: Rag Joint to U-joint ZJ Shaft

Discussion in 'Modified 1991-1994 Explorers' started by FR-425, February 2, 2014.

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    1. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Here's a potential solution,

      I have not done this yet but I need a solution soon as well.

      I will post up my results when done, but anyone is welcome to have a go.


      Here it is:

      1989-95 Jeep XJ, ZJ shaft...modified (XJ's, ZJ's are the cherokee's btw)

      Double "D" one end; spline-"D" other end. check

      U-joints: check

      Shaft a little to long: cut to fit at the slider.

      1.jpg
       
      Last edited by a moderator: January 13, 2018
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    3. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Elite Explorer

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    4. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Update:

      The victim: (Donor)

      1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee 6 cyl. (ZJ)

      Here's a pic of the two shafts for comparison Ford(top) ZJ(bottom)

      2.jpg

      The Plan:

      The 93' ZJ shaft is just about 2" to long.
      I will remove the rubber damper sleeve covering the slider and cut to length. Replace with shock boot.

      Note: The older XJ shafts are about 3' long; can't be cut enough to get the right length ( the slider tube is not deep enough )

      On the splined end the spline count is different; but only provides alignment and a "measure" of safety; not the primary holding mechanism. The "D" cut and clamp force is the primary.

      However; I intend to machine the splines for a "better" fit.

      Caution: Please do not except this as a go ahead to do this:

      I will have to stress test this for a extended period of time to feel safe with it.

      And for as long as I run it I will have to commit myself to daily safety inspection of this modification for as long as I own this truck.

      If I feel this is in any way not holding dead fast I will scrap the whole thing or sacrifice the steering box by welding the spline joint to the input shaft.

      OK, That's the Disclaimer.

      Updates should come fast now.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: January 13, 2018
    5. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Elite Explorer

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      Do you have a body lift?

      I have been looking for a cheaper way of replacing mine. I am running a 3" BL and using the extension with it. The angle from the BL has caused the upper "D" to round out and it has slop as a result.

      So if that XJ shaft is 2" longer, it just might work as is. Well, as long as the "D" ends are the same as the EX. :scratch:

      Edit: I just read it again. The spline count is different. :(
       
    6. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      I do not have a body lift,

      But this would probably work for a 3" body lift without cutting (Bonus!)

      The upper "D" is a perfect match and is in fact much beefier. (as you can see)
       
      Last edited: February 15, 2014
    7. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Elite Explorer

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      I will watch your progress as it happens. :thumbsup:

      Can you do me a favor? Will you take pics of the before, during, and after comparison shots of the xj spline work? That will help a bunch.
      Thanks! :)
       
    8. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Funny thing is my rag joints look good!

      But it is 20 years old.

      With the over-sized tires it's just feels mushy and the added stress will probably tear em out soon.

      NO! the original will NOT be for sale! sorry, keep'n for spare.
       
    9. jd4242

      jd4242 Elite Explorer

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      Why not just find one with ujoints top and bottom..91 had them and some others..
       
    10. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Picked through 27 91's at 4 different bone yards.

      All had rag on the bottom. Available? not in this town,

      What others? you got a secret?
       
    11. jd4242

      jd4242 Elite Explorer

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      Let me find the thread.maybe it was 90, know they made them.
       
    12. jd4242

      jd4242 Elite Explorer

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    13. jd4242

      jd4242 Elite Explorer

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      There is also a way of doing it using the explorer upper half that uses a ujoint and a aerostar lower half that uses a ujoint.let me find the thread...
       
    14. jd4242

      jd4242 Elite Explorer

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    15. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      I see,,, didn't catch the part about an actual double u-joint mystery 91' Ex
       
      Last edited: February 3, 2014
    16. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Well, anywhoo,,

      now there's gonna be another option.

      I do appreciate all the feedback and other options though. Good stuff!

      Paid $9.95 for the dime a dozen ZJ shaft and it's nice and beefy.

      I also like the "zero fail" damper yoke on it.

      If you look at the upper (left) in the pic of the ZJ shaft you can see that the yoke is "floated" on the shaft with a rubber bushing, The shaft itself protrudes through and has the fail safe tabs in the open end of the u-joint yoke.

      It will still have vibration damping like the rag joint style. A little stiffer, but that's what I'm looking for.
       
      Last edited: February 5, 2014
    17. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      I did, I did,, see a puddy tat! :D The shaft I picked out has u-joints both ends..

      Besides the ratio of Jeep's to Explorer's in the JY is like 100:1 :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
       
    18. Backwoods "X"

      Backwoods "X" Active Member

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      Are you doing this using parts from an XJ (regular, square Cherokee) or a ZJ (Grand Cherokee) is a <BIG> difference here.
       
    19. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      OOOoops! yep major typo;

      good catch, I'll go back and edit.
       
      Last edited: February 15, 2014
    20. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Ok, all the z's are in the right place now.
       
    21. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Update;

      NEXT WEEK; INSTALL!
      034.jpg

      Cut measurements worked out to:

      6-1/4" off the stub.

      2-3/4 off the tube.


      3.jpg 4.jpg


      035.jpg
      I reexamined the spline situation; the clamp material is quite soft and filing on the splines only knocked the points off.

      So, Plan "B": I will open the cuff enough to allow me to "tap" it onto the box shaft and clamp it down.

      Turns out the "flat" is the primary stay, the splines insure the flats are 90* to the pinch bolt, so that when tightened down they pull together flat.

      For an extra measure I am going to use different hardware; the original bolts thread into the cuff but do not pass all the way through, so I will use longer grade 8 bolts so I can use a castellated nut and cotter pin to secure it. Same on the upper double "D"

      5.jpg
       
      Last edited by a moderator: January 28, 2018
    22. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Elite Explorer

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      Looking forward to see how this works out. :thumbsup:

      I really hope it clamps hard enough so it wont round it out. As you said, it is soft metal, and any slop will wear it down, and cause play in the steering wheel. My "Flat" spot has lost its edges, and rounded off some in mine from the slop, and is continually growing to this day.

      Fingers & Toes crossed for you on success!! :bounce:
       
    23. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Complete, DONE, Sweet!
      First things first;
      Off to the hardware store for some hardware engineering;
      The Jeep bolts are not long enough for a lock nut: Unacceptable!
      050.jpg

      051.jpg

      Recessed for flange bolts:

      052.jpg

      I'll fix that!
      053.jpg 054.jpg
      The upper double "D" needs a 1/4" longer bolt than the lower:
      055.jpg
      Nylock with Loctite sounds good!
      056.jpg 057.jpg
      Ready to install!
      Out with the old:
      NOTE: PARK THE TRUCK, WHEELS STRAIGHT AND LOCK THE COLUMN:
      DO NOT TURN THE WHEEL UNTIL I TELL YOU TO!
      058.jpg
       
      Last edited by a moderator: January 28, 2018
    24. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Some comparison shots:
      61.jpg 62.jpg 63.jpg
      Lower rag joint not look'n real safe!
      64.jpg
      The remains of the stub that was cut off the ZJ shaft is a perfect fit to "inside" sleeve the steering column tube. Nice! This one's for member "gmanpaint" in particular. (strengthen up the column)
      65.jpg
      The Ford shaft uses a through bolt, both as the "pinch" and as the safety; so next we have to address that:
      We need to drill a "center" hole in the ZJ shaft to accommodate:
      66.jpg
      This leftover piece of the ZJ shaft is coming in handy!
      It makes for a perfect gauge to scribe the center line to drill the hole.
      67.jpg
      We now have a pinch bolt, And a safety pin.
      Drilling took 3 minutes; this stuff is really soft.. ... ..
      68.jpg
      Get both ends opened up so you don't have to fight with it:
      69.jpg
      Install the lower half first:
      Line up the "flats" and tap it onto the gear box shaft: (Gently)
      don't want to bust the u-joint. If your bang'n,, open the end up more.
      Tap it down until the bolt "groove" is lined up:
      Wait to install this bolt last; you will need to turn the wheel to get it in.
      70.jpg
       
      Last edited by a moderator: January 28, 2018
    25. FR-425

      FR-425 Used to be a road here. Elite Explorer

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      Grease the shaft:

      Slide the upper onto the lower, then up onto the column.
      Install the safety pin; loctite and nylock
      081.jpg
      Now the pinch bolt; Torque it home. Also loctite and nylock
      This ain't going anywhere!
      082.jpg
      The whole enchilada in place:
      83.jpg
      Now to get the lower pinch bolt in:
      Start the engine and turn the wheel so you can get at it through the wheel well.
      No, it's not going to slip on the gear box shaft, I drove the truck 2 miles with NO pinch bolt as part of the safety testing.
      Torque it home with loctite.
      084.jpg
      Now we need to turn the wheel again to get the lock nut on. (you guessed it! loctite and nylock)
      And that ain't go'n anywhere either!
      085.jpg
      And that's that! DONE!
      Some curb shots for testing;
      Power steering gives out before you get any real force going on the steering wheel.
      086.jpg
      I'm feeling good about the durability and safety of this mod.
      Now for a couple weeks of commuting to work for further testing.
      Drives real NICE! no more mushy feel, steering response is way quicker.
      Shaft $9.95
      Grade 8 Bolts $2.75
       
      Last edited by a moderator: January 28, 2018
    26. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Elite Explorer

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      Woot! :bounce:

      Now that's a nice cheap mod for a tighter steering response! :thumbsup:

      Can you add the bolt, nut, & washer size's you used to the parts list?

      Great write up sir! :biggthump
       

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