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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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      I have no idea;

      The bolts are 8 x 1.25 metric though.

      I just carried the junk to the hardware store with me and figured it out.
       
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    3. FR-425

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

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      Wow!

      Five days 200 miles on it now.

      I can't imagine that this truck ever drove this good brand new with double rag joints.

      Sweet!

      Best drive-ability Mod so far.

      It's a dream on the highway!

      No more long trip fatigue from chasing the truck with the wheel.

      So far the attachments are solid as a rock.
       
      Last edited: February 24, 2014
    4. Benjam

      Benjam Active Member

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      This is how my upper rag joint looks currently..:roll:

      new one is sitting in my toolbox, just waiting on time to put it in..

      This thread has me wondering though, I'm almost positive I only have one rag joint on my steering shaft.. Pretty sure the bottom is a u-joint?

      Benjam :D
       
    5. FR-425

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

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      Some do have one u-joint. 91' -92'

      93' - 94' double rag, unless replaced at some time in the past.
       
    6. Benjam

      Benjam Active Member

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      Well I took a closer look tonight. My 92 does have the double rag joint setup.

      So I either pony up all my dollars for a Flaming river shaft, or go this route..

      I'm concerned with mushing the stub on the steering gear from the different splines.. What are your thoughts, FR? I know the big flats are where it really grabs but I don't want to dicker my steering gear up too bad in case I go back to a stock spline count later on.

      The race is on, now. My top rag joint is not getting any better. Steering is getting substantially more sloppy each day.

      Does anyone remember a thread about using a 95? explorer steering shaft? I vaguely remember that as working in a first gen. I'm searching but to no avail :thumbdwn:

      Benjam :D

      Edit: This is the discussion I was thinking about.. no help for us first gens due to steering gear vs. rack.
       
      Last edited: February 27, 2014
    7. FR-425

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

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      The ZJ clamp material is really soft but the steering box shaft is hardened, so no worries about the shaft.

      I pulled mine back off after running it 7 days, to check it out, and the splines of the steering box shaft cut right into the clamp.

      It's totally permanent; Not going anywhere. I'm love'n it. Drives Sooooo much better.

      I already got a second ZJ shaft and cut to fit for future replacement when the u-joints go bad. The joints on the ZJ shaft are not serviceable. (crimped into the yokes )

      Second gen shafts are not even close; (IFS) you'll see when you hit the bone yard.
       
    8. FR-425

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

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      The slop was worse on mine than I thought,

      It had a clunking sound that I assumed was slop in the steering box itself; but turns out the rag joint safety stops were hitting when you just rocked the wheel.

      Scary
       
    9. Benjam

      Benjam Active Member

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      Any possibility of adding servicable u-joints? Or servicing the current ones? I've replaced a few shafts in late model cars becuase the joints bind. And thats on cars that have been on the road half the amount of time our explorers have been.


      Benjam :D
       
    10. FR-425

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

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      The ZJ I sourced the shaft out of was a 93', the u-joints had zero play, Not really worried about serviceability.

      With power steering these things don't see any real stress.

      I don't think durability is going to be an issue.

      The replacement is just for peace of mind and why not?

      Plus I will carry it to meets in case someone else blows a rag on the trail.
       
    11. Backwoods "X"

      Backwoods "X" Active Member

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      is on the "do while broke down currently" list. thanks for the info FR-425!
       
    12. Wrench Head

      Wrench Head Member

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    13. FR-425

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

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      6,000 miles on it now, all's good.

      I now know how sloppy the steering box has become. Next on the list.

      Guess I'll pop one in when I do the Supper Runner linkage.

      After I wallow it out some more at MOAB.

      Good times in the 4x4 arena!
       
    14. FR-425

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

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      :salute: . . . :D
       
    15. BKennedy

      BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I got questions, as I am the next victim in line for this modification. I like the idea of using lock nuts, but did you leave the original threads and just add the lock nuts? That was what I was planning. You remember what size the through bolt is (diameter)? I should have it in soon and I will double post the results here and on my SAS/build thread.
       
    16. FR-425

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

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      Yes, I left the factory threads alone and just used longer bolts to add the lock nuts.

      8mm x 1.25 pitch

      For the upper safety pin I just used 1/4 20
       
    17. BKennedy

      BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      :thumbsup:
       
    18. Benjam

      Benjam Active Member

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      So are these shafts coming out of cherokees or Grand cherokees? The thread title and some of your posts have me confused. Aside from that, do you know if 89-95 are the only years to find these? Reason I ask is in the rust belt even a 95 can be a rare bird to find sometimes.

      Also, is the jeep shaft comparable in size to the ford? As far as distance to the exhaust?

      Thanks for taking the time to do a write-up on this, also. I will probably be going hunting at the scrapyard Saturday. Got a big trip planned this summer and I don't plan on taking any rag joints with me!

      Benjam :D
       
      Last edited: June 1, 2014
    19. FR-425

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

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      Yea, the thread started as a "potential" solution and evolved into a "final" mod.

      I asked Rick to change the title to read ZJ not XJ, but he forgot.

      So the shaft is indeed from a ZJ which is the Grand Cherokee.

      I sourced mine from a 93'.

      I have sourced two others for EF members..

      Looking at different model years I learned that starting in 95' some actually have a metal shaft with PLASTIC ends! WTH? They do still have u-joints and the plastic clamps are sleeved with steel. But I'm not like'n that option.

      So it looks like 92' - 94' are the target years for this shaft. Although I have seen the all steel shaft in later years up to 2000, Not sure what the difference is, probably 2wd vs. 4wd. 6cyl vs. 8cyl. whatever

      The ZJ shaft's u-joints are much smaller than the rag joints, as you can see in the comparison pics. So if you need extra room for headers or what-not, this would be a good way to get it.
       
    20. Benjam

      Benjam Active Member

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      So I went to the boneyard and pulled two steering shafts today. One from a 95 Grand cherokee with the straight six in it, and the next from a 94 with the 5.2 V8.

      I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it is to pull the steering shafts on these rigs. a 13mm Socket and ratchet was all it took to get these shafts out.

      The first shaft I pulled had a very slight amount of play in one of the U-joints, so I held on to it and kept looking until I stumbled upon the V8 grand cherokee. This model had a heat shield over the U-joint due to how close the exhaust manifold is to the steering gear. I figured the heat shield was a good sign that this shaft was in better shape, and it was. It was a bit tighter getting this shaft out because of the V8 versus straight 6, but no extra tools were needed. This shaft, though greasy, looks to be exactly the same as the shaft from the 95 with the straight 6. The u-joints feel good, so I took this shaft home with me.

      Now to do some modifying.

      Benjam :D
       
    21. gmanpaint

      gmanpaint Torsion Bar Free Elite Explorer

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      I'm going thru the pick n pull website looking for the steering shaft. I found a yard that has two 93 Grand Cherokee's. Going thru the price listing they have, it breaks down the steering as:

      238-3 Steering coupler - $8.49
      238-4 Steering sector shaft - $9.99

      I'm assuming the sector shaft is the part I'm after here, but what is the coupler? Is it part of it, or something else? Just curious is all. :scratch:
       
    22. FR-425

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

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      I haven't seen anything under the hood of those that I would call a coupler... ...

      Dunno? :dunno: Junk yard cashier?
       
    23. RangerX

      RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Thread title changed to read "ZJ". :D
       
    24. FR-425

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

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      :thumbsup:
       
    25. BKennedy

      BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      425, thanks for sending me that shaft. I put it on the back burner after purchasing new bolts, lock nuts, etc. I am going to use the stock Ford through bolt sizing at the top joint, just with a longer bolt to get a lock nut on it. I figure it will not allow as much wiggle as a SAE bolt if it gets loose. Was also thinking about cutting off the shaft ends and welding on the stock Ford mounts, but that might be more trouble than its worth.

      I am quite frankly tired of looking at the underside of the Explorer and just want to drive it for a while before doing anything else on the dirty side.

      Anyone who does this mod, please post pics on this thread and any problems you encountered.
       
    26. Got Trq

      Got Trq Member

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      Hmm.. I think I need this. My steering has a clunk sound when I hit some bumps, but I thought it was my worn out shocks (replacing those this weekend).
       

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