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Old 09-09-2018, 10:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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TJ steering wheel alignment

Hey all,

Finished relocating my steering box for a front stretch, and while I was checking clearances around all my new steering joints, I accidentally rotated the wheel by 90 degrees relative to the box. I guessed and put it back where I think it should go, but now I'm pretty sure it is installed 180deg off.

I have read that this is a problem for the clock spring in the wheel.

Is there a way to tell how far it does go and then get it back centered?
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Old 09-09-2018, 03:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I had to do this for a Pontiac Montana van. Follow procedure for removing and reinstalling the steering wheel. Wasn't too hard. I understand a short in the clock spring could deploy the airbag.
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It has nothing to do with the clock spring.

You need to adjust the clamp on your draglink. You either turn it up or down, depending on which way your wheel is off.

Basic Jeep Front End Alignment

Check out the second part of the article.
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Old 09-10-2018, 07:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You're supposed to tape or strap the steering wheel in place so it doesn't rotate before you disconnect the steering shaft
If your only 180* off I cant imagine that would hurt the clock spring at all.


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Last edited by TANKOMA; 09-10-2018 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 09-10-2018, 10:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Are you not using the factory coupling joint at the box and a factory box? If so (at least on the early TJs) the joint and shaft are keyed with a flat spot on one side, so you couldn't get it 180 out - assuming the box was in mid-position (wheels straight) when you removed the shaft.

How can you think that it is 180 out? If so, that means the steering wheel is upside down down with the wheels straight ahead. Seems like you are either correct, or the wheel is rotated an extra 360 degrees - assuming the steering wheel is straight and the wheels are straight. I'm not sure how many extra turns you can get in a clock spring before it is wound too tight and it sounds like there is no real way to know - so you can either disconnect from the box and rotate the steering wheel 360 degrees in the direction you think will "unwind" it, or run it and see if the horn quits working and the ABS light come on

I understand your frustration. I did a front stretch on my TJ, swapped in a different box and a different shaft from box to the joint at the firewall and none of it was keyed. It was quite as big a deal to me as my clock spring was already busted, so the steering wheel could just spin circles all day along and nothing broke.

However, I was able to use the phasing of the new joint at the box and the existing one at the firewall to give me some clues on proper orientation. That would help you if you were 90 or 180 out, but won't help if you are 360 out.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey all, thanks for the help so far.

Yes, I did lock the steering wheel in place while I had everything disconnected, but while I was checking for clearances, I had to rotate the wheel, then when I found that one of the bolts was binding, I had to do some grinding, etc... Anyway, I neglected to re-lock the wheel and got it off.

No, I am not using the stock joints.

I am using a flaming river spline to 3/4 DD joint at the box, running up to around the motor mount area, where I've got a regular DD-DD joint, then using the factory slip shaft going to the factory univeral on the steering column.

What happened was I disconnected the 2nd DD-DD joint, and the wheel spun 90 degrees. I think I guessed wrong, because now the wheel is upside down when the pitman arm is centered.

So the debate is how to fix it. I have no clue which way it spun, so potentially I could flip the wheel over and be either correct or 360 degrees off.

Or I lock the wheel, and rotate the joint on the steering box by 1/2 turn, since the flaming river joint does not have a master spline it can be installed in any orientation.



Edit:

Can I just disconnect the joints and carefully spin the wheel until it stops in both directions and then relocate the center? Or is the clock spring so fragile that you wouldn't be able to feel it reach the end of travel?

Last edited by Gordon-B; 09-11-2018 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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steering should hit stops prior to reaching the end of clockspring travel. if you think it might be off, dont risk it. it's not hard to do.

only spent a couple min google searching. here is a vid. bet you can find a better one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxYHC6oX6eQ
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