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Steering And New Dana 30 Upgrade

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by RedWing, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Jul 28, 2021
    RedWing

    RedWing Member

    Sutton Bay
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
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    514
    Good Morning all, finally working on my Jeep project. I will be posting pictures of the entire build and progress soon.

    I just finished installing a rebuilt Dana 30 front axle, NT from a 1978 CJ. When I purchased this axle it came with the beefy tie rods, and I’m going to use them since the taper was drilled out of the knuckles.

    I’m also adding Saginaw steering at this point and would like your opinions on my set up. Both the tie rod and drag link are level, but not to each other. My question/concern is that the drag link and tie rod are not parallel to each other. (Got the Saginaw box as close to the x member as I can get it.

    Do you guys think this distance between the tie rod and drag link at the pitman arm will pose any problems? I appreciate your opinions. Would like to check this out before I weld on the plate for the steering box.

    Thanks Tie Rod.jpg Draglink.jpg Level to each other.jpg Distance Apart.jpg
     
  2. Jul 28, 2021
    ITLKSEZ

    ITLKSEZ Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

    Post Falls, ID
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    Aug 13, 2015
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    Not a huge problem with that, but you might want to bring the steering box up just a hair if you can so the pitman arm joint is just a little (1/2”?) higher than the knuckle joint. This prevents bump steer under hard braking and impacts. If you can’t, no biggie, parallel is much better than wildly mismatched.

    You should check your local laws on using heim joints (rod ends) as tie rod ends before you go too much further. Some states’ safety inspections won’t let them pass. I’m not sure where Sutton Bay is.

    If you ever want to switch back to standard TREs, Goferit ( Goferit Products! ) offers inserts that you can use in your drilled-out holes.
     
    RedWing likes this.
  3. Jul 28, 2021
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    My thought too.
    Michigan, IIRC.
     
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  4. Jul 28, 2021
    Norcal69

    Norcal69 Out of the box thinker 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Northern California
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    What ITLKSEZ said above is pretty spot on.
    Personally I would go back to tie rod ends. Heim joints never last unless you get the really good ones and use misalignment spacers. The Goferit inserts are an excellent product. You can get them in standard jeep taper or 1 ton GM if you feel the need for beef.
    I would get the steering box mounted in the appropriate place first, then work on the steering linkage.
    Have you considered flipping the tie rod and drag link to the top of the knuckle? You may not need that monster drop pitman arm if you do so.
     
    RedWing likes this.
  5. Jul 28, 2021
    RedWing

    RedWing Member

    Sutton Bay
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    Oct 30, 2005
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    You guys are awesome! I would love to get rid of these Heimrich joints and oversized tie rods. I believe the P.O. Drilled out the knuckles to 5/8, so I thought I was stuck.

    I’m going to order 4 of those inserts straight away and get the stock Tie rods and tie rod ends back in play!

    Happy day, thank you guys so much! Sounds like the gap between the to tie rods shouldn’t be a big issue. I’ll raise the box a bit so that they a parallel.
     
  6. Jul 28, 2021
    Norcal69

    Norcal69 Out of the box thinker 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Northern California
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    Sometimes a picture helps with motivation.
    Here is how mine is. I used Goferit inserts and stock jeep tie rod ends with tie rod flipped to the top. A small amount of angle between the tie rod and drag link is a necessity! Too much angle between them would limit turning angle, but that's not going to be a problem for you. Under spring compression the front axle moves forward. If the tie rod and drag link were perfectly parallel they would collide at the pitman arm connection.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Jul 28, 2021
    RedWing

    RedWing Member

    Sutton Bay
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    Very Helpful! Thanks for taking the time to upload these shots! I just got an email, the 4 inserts are on there way. I now need a drill bit and reamer.
     
  8. Jul 28, 2021
    Norcal69

    Norcal69 Out of the box thinker 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Northern California
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    What do you need the reamer for?
     
  9. Jul 28, 2021
    Peter Dorey

    Peter Dorey Member

    Vista, CA
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2020
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    If you ream the knuckles and pitman arm then you don't need to remove as much material as is required with the sleeves.
    I bought my steering flip kit and reamer from Parts Mike. My tie rod and drag link are made from solid 1-1/4" aluminum hex bar that I happened to have in the garage.
    I would highly recommend removing the pitman arm and reaming on a drill press, or drilling if you are going that route. The knuckles are a bit tough to mount on a mill or drill press unless you have the whole axle apart.
    I would recommend a steering brace of some sort with the Saginaw conversion. Mine really should have tied into the engine cross-member, but triangulating with the bumper worked out okay for me. The bumper holes are all match drilled, so nothing up there moves much.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    RedWing and Fireball like this.
  10. Jul 28, 2021
    44bz

    44bz Member

    Oregon City OR
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    Jul 30, 2018
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    Lots of good photos in this thread, thanks for sharing all.
     
  11. Jul 28, 2021
    Norcal69

    Norcal69 Out of the box thinker 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Northern California
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    His knuckles are already drilled out for Heim joints. That’s why I’m wondering about a reamer. There’s plenty of meat on the knuckles to drill them out to 3/4” and drop a sleeve in there. Drilling out the knuckle and installing the sleeve is the stronger method. Reverse reaming the knuckle does not fully seat the taper of the tie rod end. If you do run the tapered reamer in deep enough to fully engage the taper, you sacrifice the amount of rotation that the tie rod can achieve….. causing premature wear and possible failure if pushed to extremes. Your right hand tie rod end is exactly the situation that I’m talking about.
    Unless you reverse ream the knuckles out to fit the larger 1 ton tie rod ends you are loosing taper surface for contact with the tie rod end.

    that’s a sweet looking steering box brace btw
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
    ITLKSEZ likes this.
  12. Jul 28, 2021
    Peter Dorey

    Peter Dorey Member

    Vista, CA
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    Norcal69,
    I did go with the 1 ton tie rod ends, so the reverse taper engages the entirety of the new tie rods. If I were to have used the OEM sized tie rods then I agree that the sleeves are the best way to go. Reaming too deep is also bad because it will make the tie rod seat in too deep, which causes a few different issues. Go slow and check often is probably the best advice for those reaming their knuckles/pitman arms.
    Thanks for the compliment on the steering brace. It was way too much work for what it is!
     
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  13. Jul 29, 2021
    Norcal69

    Norcal69 Out of the box thinker 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Northern California
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    1 ton tie rod ends are an interesting upgrade on a D25 knuckle. Standard jeep tie rod ends are usually just fine until you get into 35's, power steering, ram assist and other hardcore/abusive stuff. Unless you have the beefy military D25 knuckles, there's not much meat there compared to the later D27 and D30 knuckle arms. It doesn't appear that you your intention is to install big tires or wheel it hard with power steering so it should be fine.
    Its a great looking jeep and a cool story with family history, glad to see it on the road!
     
  14. Jul 29, 2021
    RedWing

    RedWing Member

    Sutton Bay
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    Thanks for all the tips. My knuckles are currently have the taper drilled out, which leaves me with a 5/8” hole. (Bolt for the Heimrich Joints. I need to enlarge that hole to 3/4” for the new inserts that I ordered from Goferitoffroad.

    I was planning on getting a reamer to enlarge the hole, but could try a drill as well. Which do you guys feel is the best choice?
     
  15. Jul 29, 2021
    ITLKSEZ

    ITLKSEZ Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

    Post Falls, ID
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    A 3/4” bit works just fine.
     
  16. Jul 29, 2021
    Peter Dorey

    Peter Dorey Member

    Vista, CA
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    Drilling from 3/4" to 7/8" by hand is going to be a bit tough, the edges of the drill bit will want to catch and dig in.
    If you own adjustable reamers, that is probably the way to go although hand reamers aren't exactly fool-proof either.

    If you use chucking reamers you will need to increase the hole size in a few steps.
    What might actually work quite well is a step drill like this one:
    https://www.amazon.com/Irwin-Industrial-Tools-10234CB-Unibit/dp/B00126J1PG
    If you could make a little guide for it, that would be ideal since you can get step drills pretty far out of alignment with the pilot hole and they will happily remove material.

    Thanks Norcal69 :)
    I wanted to do a tie rod flip and Parts Mike convinced me that was the way to go. It might be overkill, but I think it turned out nice. The knuckles were definitely a but thin after reaming since the holes were so far off center from the factory, but like you said: manual steering and bias ply tires won't put a huge amount of load on the steering system.
     
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  17. Jul 29, 2021
    Peter Dorey

    Peter Dorey Member

    Vista, CA
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    Oops. My bad. I had 7/8" on my mind. There are 3/4" step drills at Harbor Freight, so even better :)
     
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  18. Aug 2, 2021
    RedWing

    RedWing Member

    Sutton Bay
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  19. Aug 2, 2021
    RedWing

    RedWing Member

    Sutton Bay
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    I received the Goferit inserts today and got one hole drilled. I used a 3/4 bit and it moved though swiftly, but left me with a hole that is just a tad bigger than the inserts. Just a little wiggle. The directions say should fit firm, but not a press fit. Also, three spot welds to hold it in, so I’m guessing this size hole will be ok?

    The kit also comes with flange nuts and says these must be used in place of the castle nuts. Is there a locking feature to flange nuts? I think I’d like to have that cotter pin? Or are the nuts ok?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2021
  20. Aug 2, 2021
    45es

    45es Member 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Naches, WA
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    Yes. From their instructions. "Has the correct taper to accept stock tie rod ends. Includes special spiral lock flanged nut that must be used."
     
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