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.