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


gmanpaint

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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:
 


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FR-425

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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
 




FR-425

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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
 




FR-425

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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
 








FR-425

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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

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.
 




FR-425

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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.
 




Benjam

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Lower rag joint not look'n real safe!

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
 




FR-425

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

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




Benjam

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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.
 




FR-425

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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.
 




FR-425

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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
 




Benjam

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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
 




FR-425

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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.
 




Backwoods "X"

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








FR-425

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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!
 




FR-425

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BKennedy

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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.
 


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FR-425

Used to be a road here.
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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.


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
 




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