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I Think I Fixed (or At Least Improved) My Cj2a's Steering

Discussion in 'Flat Fender Tech' started by 46ODDFIRE, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Nov 24, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
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    My father and his friends put power steering in his '46 CJ2A in 1970-71 or so. These days, the steering had a LOT of play. Most of this seemed to come from the universal joint that attached to the steering box. Replacement seemed doable, even for me.

    The U-joint was super difficult to remove from both the steering shaft and the steering box staff. Five decades, I guess.) I had to remove the steering box to get some room to work at removing the U-joint, and the Pitman arm, for that matter. When I finally had everything apart, I'd discovered more of my Dad's mysterious home-made, hodge-podge engineering (of which there is so much on this Jeep):

    -- A quarter-inch of one end of the U-joint had been sawn off, for no obvious reason. (Photo 8030)
    _DSC8030.jpg

    -- On the upper end of the U-joint, the 3/4-inch round sleeve fit over a 3/4-inch round shaft (No splines, no welds, just a slight flat spot for the set screw. Seems wrong, but it lasted five decades). (Photo 8009)
    _DSC8009.jpg

    -- The splines on the steering box input shaft had all been intentionally ground down to accept the 3/4-inch round U-joint. Also, the very end of the shaft was sawn off, for no apparent reason. (Photo 8000) _DSC8000.jpg

    I went ahead and bought a rebuilt steering box (Saginaw 5691676, $139). The shaft is 13/16-inch diameter, with 36 splines.

    I could find U-joints with 3/4-inch round sleeves for the upper connection, but not with set screws. They are supposed to be welded. I don't weld, so I ordered a U-joint with a 3/4-inch DD sleeve, then ground down two sides of my steering shaft. (Photo 8029)
    _DSC8029.jpg

    I kinda like the silver-gray powder-coat (I assume) finish on the new steering box, so left it. (Photo 8026) Note Dad's fabricated mounting plate.
    _DSC8026.jpg

    Bottom line: It works. My Jeep will never steer like a sports car, but all that sloppy play is gone.
     
    Beach66Bum, Twin2, duffer and 4 others like this.
  2. Nov 24, 2019
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power 2019 Sponsor

    Bozeman, MT
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    Unless one is a professional welder (and maybe even then) a double D with set screws is probably the safest design there is. Most aftermarket joints have two set screws and I run one long set screw all the way in so it pinches the far side of the DD into the U-joint bore.

    Nice job!
     
  3. Nov 24, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2017
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    Duffer:

    Thanks. Yes, when I saw the DD option, I figured that's the way to go. My grinding job wasn't perfect, but even without the set screws, the U-joint can't slip off (Though I am keeping the set screws tight anyway!).

    Also, I took the Jeep for another, longer drive with some curvy turns. What a difference! I think this goes in the you-don't-realize-how-bad-it-was-until-it's-fixed category.
     
    FinoCJ and Twin2 like this.
  4. Dec 1, 2019
    05rider

    05rider New Member

    Northeast Ohio
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  5. Dec 1, 2019
    05rider

    05rider New Member

    Northeast Ohio
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    Do you have any specs on that Saginaw power steering box. What I really want to know is if there is any reason that would not work on 1962 CJ5. Gathering parts for my Power Steering project. Also do you know what steering column your dad used? Thanks.
     
  6. Dec 3, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
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    Aug 7, 2017
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    05rider: Sorry, I know nothing about the specs. I ordered it from CarSteering.com, if that helps. I remember overhearing that the steering column from a Mustang, but honestly, they could have been talking about another Jeep, or I may have misunderstood completely. I could post photos if you think it would be helpful.
     
  7. Dec 3, 2019
    05rider

    05rider New Member

    Northeast Ohio
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    Thanks for the response. Photos would be appreciated. If that box works on your CJ2 I don't see why it would not work on my CJ5. If I am wrong somebody should let me know. That box is at a good price.
     
  8. Dec 4, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
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  9. Dec 4, 2019
    05rider

    05rider New Member

    Northeast Ohio
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    Thank you for the pictures, nice looking interior, but I should have been more specific. I should have asked for pictures of the under hood steering column linkage to the steering box, (not tie rods), that is where I am going to have to be creative I think. Thanks again.
     
  10. Dec 21, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
    Joined:
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    AND THEN THIS HAPPENED:

    I just broke the welds on the mount attaching my new steering box to the frame. These welds held for 49 or 50 years, and I broke them parallel parking on nice pavement. I think I know what's up, though: I think the geometry of the new steering box's mounting surface is slightly off, compared to the old one. When I installed it, one corner didn't want to go flush to the mounting plates. I'll bet I ended up with some extra stress on the mounting plate and, therefore, on the weld.

    Rather than get a ride home to fetch my tow bar and borrow a car with a tow hitch, I did this fine hillbilly field repair:

    IMG_0437.jpg

    It drove home fine, for what it's worth. Now I need to find a welder.

    P.S. 05rider: Sorry I didn't see your last response. I guess I should wait before taking those photos....
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
    Twin2 and 05rider like this.
  11. Dec 21, 2019
    05rider

    05rider New Member

    Northeast Ohio
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    Ouch!
     
  12. Dec 21, 2019
    45es

    45es Member 2019 Sponsor

    Naches, WA
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    Were there any bungee cords left in town? Looks like you have them all.
     
  13. Dec 22, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
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    I know! I bought one of those multi-packs when he helped move our daughter a couple of years ago. The blue bungee in the photo must be 30 feet long.
     
  14. Dec 22, 2019
    Oldriginal86

    Oldriginal86 Member

    Pasadena, Md.
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    Including the dogs collar.
     
  15. Dec 22, 2019
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! 2020 Sponsor

    Washington DC.
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    Looks like perfect application for duct tape... If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy....
     
  16. Dec 24, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
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    An update: It's another "I-don't-get-what-my-dad-was-doing" moments. The homemade top and bottom mounting plates for the steering box were welded to the frame edge-to-edge (I hope that's a good description). In one spot, weld fills a significant gap between a plate and the frame. It just doesn't look strong enough. But as is becoming common for me, it lasted nearly five decades of use and abuse, only to break on nice flat pavement.

    My welder friend and I decided we'd better slow down and sketch out some options for reinforcing the connections.

    Before we move ahead: Does anyone know if there was a standardized way to mount a Saginaw box to a CJ2A frame back in the day?
     
  17. Dec 24, 2019
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! 2020 Sponsor

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    Every conversion is a bit different. What I will say is that the CJ2A frame has some things to look out for. The tubular front cross member lends itself to rusting out at the bottom of the tube part of the frame. They are often repaired poorly with ancient cold welds that don't actually fix the problem. Look there first to see how bad it is. The next step is to box the left hand frame horn to make a nice strong surface to mount your box. You may also want to strengthen the other side as well to allow a brace to go from one side to the other. On my present jeep, the original frame was so messed up that I elected to make a whole new one to eliminate all the problems of dealing with the old one.
     
  18. Dec 24, 2019
    46ODDFIRE

    46ODDFIRE Member

    Newport News, VA
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    Thanks. Fortunately, the frame was boxed back in the day. It's the way they created the mounting surface that has me scratching my head. Seems like they made it harder than necessary!
     
  19. Dec 24, 2019
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! 2020 Sponsor

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    Most of those truck saginaw boxes have 4 bolts. The cast in bosses for the bolts are different lengths and require some measuring to make it how you want. Some companies offer a ready made mount, 716838 : Saginaw Power Steering Box Mounting Plate for Jeep | Advance Adapters

    I made my own, but there was an issue. The pitman arm and the box shaft were keyed together. I could not get full travel one way so i had to file in another spline in the pitman arm to do so. It may be one of the reasons some of the boxes are mounted at an angle.

    You may want to just cut off the old boxing if you find it suspect and re do it. I do suggest you fully examine the area where the tube cross support is welded to the frame rails. They all seem to have real problems.
     
    46ODDFIRE likes this.
  20. Dec 24, 2019
    CJMark

    CJMark Jeeper

    Spearfish, SD
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    Wise decision to slow down and see what options you have for mounting the box, you only want to rebuild it once. Here's some reference photos from when I rebuilt mine last year. Like you, I had a cobbled up mess, which I ground off and basically started from scratch.

    Once the basic frame horns are formed correctly, I started the re-reinforcements, 1/8" plate strap on bottom inside, plug and skip welded. Then 3/16" fish plate on outside, plug and skip welded. I rebuilt right side too, but only used 1/8" plate.

    My Saginaw box is Chevy II size, small with 3 mount holes. You want to sleeve 2 of the mounting holes through the frame horn. What you don't see in my pics is 3/16" angle iron welded underneath for one of the Saginaw mounts. There's 1/4" plate that box mounts to, then I used washers between plate and frame horn for alignment, these are then tack welded together. Of course all grade 8 hardware.

    I'm very happy with results, seems very solid. A couple guys from the 2Apage saw it in person and thought it looked factory. Good steering makes the 2A a good experience driving at speed (I have OD), it's tight and responsive.

    Good luck with your mounting, take your time and do it right.
    Mark

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    46ODDFIRE likes this.

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