1980 Jeep CJ5 sloppy steering

  • 7 POSTS
  • 1980 JEEP CJ5

Smells problem
1980 Jeep CJ5 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Manual

I have upgraded my CJ5 to include power steering as I have lifted it 4" and put 33" tires. The steering box has lots of slop in it. Can this be adjusted any and if so what is the proceedure? And how can I make my speedometer read correctly with the larger tires.

Do you
have the same problem?
Monday, October 25th, 2010 AT 8:15 AM

2 Replies

  • 21,081 POSTS

No, it cannot be adjusted and needs to be replaced.

It has an adjuster built in but that is for initial setup purposes only. When they develop wear like that, it's generally only in the straight ahead position due to a flat spot worn into the worm gear. If that adjuster is used to remove the play, it will be way too tight when turned off center and that can be a very big problem with safety.

Was this
Monday, October 25th, 2010 AT 8:31 AM
  • 10,370 POSTS

Looks like you are on your way towards replacement.......You will most certainly get the slop of the steering gear (Internally)

BUT...there are other factors that put slop into your system other than the gear itself.

You may also be experiencing "FRAME TWISTAGE" where the Steering Gear bolts on.

If you will have someone move the steering wheel back and forth (in the slop zone, or just a little more than the slop zone) You will be able to watch what is happening with all of your steering, WATCH:

1) Pitman arm shaft, for up and down and side to side "lost motion"............even a loose nut retaining the pitman arm, is slop and dangerous!

2) tie rod ends for movement (that should not be there)

3) Slack in the "U" joint in your Intermediate Shaft (toward firewall) and the "Coupler" on the steering gear end, may be worn out

4) Ball joint slop, a little harder to detect (alignment shop is a good place to find out if they are OK.

5) Frame twistage can be eliminated with a "Store Bought".....OR..... Homemade brace, Like mine pictured below (you will see the entire gear move left and right when you start turning your steering wheel hard either way, the frame is twisting!)

This is my new gear, "Zeroed Up" (centered) and ready to install....It is a "SAGINAW" like the original gear, the after-market one (Omix-Ada) I bought, did not last but 5 years....Yes, you must insure it is full of oil, when you install it, factory sends it with some "Builders Grease" inside, but you must top it off with gear oil!


This is 1-1/4 angle iron, tabbed up and bolted onto the gear, on this end


This is the other end, welded onto my "Front Towing Receiver" (you can do similar with attaching this end elsewhere)


You really must be on your toes looking for these problems,

Have a pal assist, or take it to an alignment shop

Steering is nothing to play around with, you or someone else could die, I SHORE 'NUFF WOULDN'T WANT IT TO BE ME!!!

Your turn

The Medic

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Monday, October 25th, 2010 AT 9:17 AM

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