Thanksgiving day trip

    I decided to drive the Jeep to my step sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner today instead of trailering her there. The intent was to take my Dad and brother on a trail ride after dinner and some skeet shooting. The trip was a fairly short one – 19 miles of back roads and a 3 mile stretch on the highway. It was an uneventful trip – I kept a fairly steady 35-40mph, and 45-50 on the highway. The steering gear rebuild was a great improvement, but I still have some looseness in the steering system somewhere.

    When it came time for the trail ride, we loaded up – my Dad in the passenger seat and my brother and niece in the back. The trails were fairly smooth logging roads with a few washouts. There were a few mud holes to go through, and when we got to the end of one trail, there was a washed out hill (steep, washed out old road) to climb. We turned around at the top and went back the way we came. When we got to the power line, I turned onto it for a fairly steep, long hill climb. I put her in 4Lo, 1st gear and pulled the hand throttle out a couple of notches – she climbed right up. We crested the top and went down the other side slowly – then back up a not so steep hill where we turned onto another trail headed back to the house. It was just a straight road with some wash outs and a couple of mud holes. We got back to the house and I dropped them off and I had to head home before it started getting cold. I think they enjoyed the ride.

    The ride home was a different route – a little longer. I hit 50mph quite a few times along this route. When I pulled into my driveway, she had a little miss that I noticed when I stopped to talk to my neighbor. I parked her in the shop and went inside for my 2nd Thanksgiving dinner. Overall, I think I put about 50 miles on her today – the most I have ever driven her in that short of a time span – now to figure out that miss!


I think I posted the link to this video from the Durhamtowm rally last month – it only shows the ride from the passenger’s seat, but I just started thinking that I haven’t had any video of the Jeep on here.

Here’s one of the Jeep doing a small hill climb (the first minute) – the rest is of other trucks playing.

Final trail ride shown from the passenger’s seat in the first 15 seconds and the last 2 minutes.

And the final one – my Jeep stopping on top of the camera during the convoy.

20121014 M38A1? @ Durhamtown from Roger Shealy on Vimeo.

Steering gear change – DONE

I got home from work this morning and it warmed up outside pretty quick. So I went out and started changing out my steering gear. I quickly figured out that it would be quicker and easier to remove the driver side fender and pull the gear out through the engine compartment rather than the inside of the Jeep.

The rebuilt one went in with no problems. I also put a rebuild kit in the drag link. When I took the old parts out I noticed that they were installed wrong!

I put it all back together but left the fender off for the test drive. That made it easier to jump out, make a quick adjustment and jump back in – which I did 3 different times before I found the “sweet spot” where there wasn’t too much drag or too loose.

I drove up and down the road a few times – a couple of times at 55 mph – and was actually able to take my hand off the wheel for a second! With the old gear, I had about 3 – 4″ of steering wheel movement before the tires would turn – I have about 1/2 – 1″ now! I think that the last bit of play is contributed to the bellcrank, because it has a little bit of bushing wear. The pitman arm on the old gear was actually loose on the sector shaft, even though the nut was tight. It also had some slop in the sector shaft bushings.

Well, that’s all for today – about 2.5 hrs worth of work! I think I need to adjust the timing too – I adjusted the carb today which helped, but she still seems to be a little sluggish.


Steering gear – DONE!

I went out this afternoon after it warmed up a little – to finish up the steering gear. I read the TM9-8015-2 Organizational Maintenance Manual – the steering gear adjustment section. So, when I went out there, I checked the amount of rotational resistance in the gear. I ended up taking one of the medium shims off of the top cover and that gave me a little resistance when turning the worm shaft. Then I took everything out side to sit in the sun for a few minutes to warm up a little. Then I sprayed a coat of OD on everything. After a couple of hours I went back outside and assembled the tube and clamp on the gear and gave it all a finish coat. When I get the chance I’ll get the old one out and put this one in – and rebuild the drag link before I put it back in. I think I have the drag link assembled wrong – after studying the TM9-8015-2 manual. That could really affect the steering system.

Steering gear is almost done

I decided to rebuild my spare steering gear a couple of months ago, so I started getting the parts that I needed ready so I could do the rebuild when I had the time. I had ordered a worm shaft bearing kit, new sector shaft seal, along with the side cover gasket, shim pack and column bearing a while back. Then I decided to go ahead and replace the sector shaft bushings while I was at it.

When I went out to get my spare steering gear last week to tear it down, I discovered that the column tube was bent up pretty bad too. So I went on a quest to find out what I could use for tubing without having to buy an imported repro. I asked on, and was told that muffler tubing was the wrong outside diameter and too thick (wall thickness), and fence tubing wouldn’t work either. I think the dimensions are 1.5″ x .035″ wall thickness. One of the guys answered back that he had looked around and the only thing he could find was aircraft grade tubing online – and he had a 40″ piece left (he had to order a 6′ piece) that he would sell me (shipped) for $25. The cheapest one I could find online was $27 + shipping (but that was a ready to bolt on tube with the bearing).

On the way home from work today, I stopped by O’reilly Auto Parts and rented a pitman arm puller for $15 – I’ll get it back when I take the puller back.

I received the tube yesterday, so after work today I went ahead and started on the rebuild. I cut the tube to length (34.5″), and cut a notch in the end for the clamp. Then I sprayed some primer inside the tube for rust proofing. I clamped the housing in the vice and used a small diameter pipe to drive the sector shaft bushings out. I put the new ones in the freezer to contract them enough to make them easier to install while I cleaned the worm shaft, sector shaft and other associated parts. I also went ahead and installed the new races and bearings on the worm gear.

So, after about 20 minutes I was ready to put the new bushings in – so I grabbed them out of the freezer (the beerator) and ran over to the housing. I was able to push the outer one in about half way with thumb pressure, then used an appropriately sized socket to tap it in the rest of the way (I installed this one from the inside out). The inner bushing went in fairly easy too.

Here’s a pic of the cleaned parts and the housing with the new bushings installed – ready for assembly (almost)!

I decided to check the fit of the sector shaft with the new bushings next because everybody says you have to ream the bushings to size after you install them. I’m glad I did! The shaft barely even started into the inner bushing! I don’t have a reamer, so I got the emery cloth out and started sanding – test fitting – sanding – test fitting – sanding. I did this for about 20 minutes before I got a tight fit with just a small amount of drag. Then I installed the sector shaft seal and the worm shaft. The races were a tight fit through the housing, but they do fit as long as they are square to the bore. A little tapping and the inner bearing race fit perfectly! Then I put the shim pack and the top housing back on, and the worm shaft was done! I forgot to mention that the worm shaft was bent a little bit, so I had to put it in the press to straighten it out as much as I could.

Here’s a pic with the worm shaft installed now:

Then I cleaned the bushings and worm gear, and spread some gear oil on them and installed the sector shaft:

Next, I put the side cover, adjusting screw and oil fill plug in place. Then I installed the bearing in the column tube (that was a tight fit) and installed the tube (I had to sand down the end of the worm shaft tube so that the bearing would slide over it with a snug fit).

And a pic with a nice heavy coat of red oxide on everything (including the vise!). That is the old column tube standing beside the new steering gear.

I guess I’ll throw on a couple of coats of 24087 when it warms up tomorrow and she’ll be ready to play musical chairs with the old one when I get some time to do it!