Another Scrambler Purchase/Road Trip - UPDATE- BODY ON FRAME AGAIN

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Wolff Engineering Lower Steering Column Bearing Assembly Upgrade

I replaced my lower steering column bearing assembly with another stock style replacement in March, right before the Hurricane Utah trip. 4,000+ miles later, it is already loose. The bearings fit loose around the steering shaft, fit a bit loose in the plastic bearing retainer, and the thin metal shield/clip isn't the best, either. Original, OEM units hold up well with stock tires; the OEM bearings on my Green Scrambler and Spring Special are fine. On this Scrambler, they tear up fast. That being said, most of these "replacements" are made in China garbage.

Thanks to JeeperDD, he posted this upgrade:

https://www.wolffeng.com/store/p2/M109SS_Lower_Steering_Column_Cartridge_Bearing.html

I bought a few of these a while back, finally decided to install one. So, here we go!!

This is what I am talking about:

IMG_20190603_173522136.jpg

What is included:

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What is included: bearing assembly, retainer collar, Lock-Tite, two Allen wrenches, emery cloth, instructions:

IMG_20190603_173528516.jpg

Stock lower bearing assembly. I have a Borgeson steering shaft, OEM looks a bit different.

IMG_20190603_173857373.jpg

Close up of the thin metal retainer and wire clip:

IMG_20190603_173908164.jpg

Step 1, remove the steering shaft. I pulled mine off less then 3 months ago, and applied anti-seize between the shaft coupler and the splined shaft. It was still a little work to get it off. With a stock shaft, you might have to loosen the entire column from the firewall, to get enough slack to remove the steering shaft. The Borgeson has plenty of "slip shaft", so pretty easy.

IMG_20190603_174559535.jpg

Step 2, remove the OEM style bearing assembly. Remove the wire clip, slide off the thin metal retainer, slide out the plastic bearing assembly.

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The parts that make up the stock lower bearing assembly:

IMG_20190603_174901900_HDR.jpg

Step 3, clean up the inside of the lower steering column housing, and the outside of the steering shaft.

IMG_20190603_175359482.jpg

Step 4, test fit the new bearing assembly. It should have a tight interference fit inside the lower steering column housing.

IMG_20190603_180105566.jpg
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Hard to see in the below picture, but the new bearing assembly fit a hair bit loose in my lower steering column. There is a slight gap between the OD of the bearing and the ID of the column:

IMG_20190603_180120317 (2).jpg

I used a big pair of pliers, gently squeezed the housing together, and then reinserted the bearing. It took a few tries, but I finally got a good, tight fit.

Step 5, remove the set screws from the bearing, apply the included Lock-Tite to them, reinstall them to where theya re flush with the ID of the bearing:

IMG_20190603_180505453.jpg

Step 6, reinstall the bearing assembly into the lower steering column.

IMG_20190603_181622298.jpg

Step 7, back out the set screws from the outer column. DO NOT REMOVE them, jsut back them out till they are flush with the ID of the collar. NOTE the dot I am pointing at:

IMG_20190603_181721961.jpg

Step 8, slide the collar onto the lower steering column housing, aligning the "dot" with the center of the big hole in the steering column housing.

IMG_20190603_181811551 (2).jpg

Hard to see, but I used white chalk to mark the housing where the "three windows" are located. If you put the "dot" in the center of the big window, then the three collar set screws will align properly with the smaller holes in the lower steering column housing.

IMG_20190603_182017436.jpg IMG_20190603_182023104.jpg IMG_20190603_182034343.jpg

Step 8, slide on the outer collar, until the face of it is flush with the black face of the inner bearing assembly:

IMG_20190603_182308293.jpg

Step 9, tighten up the three outer collar set screws. If you aligned the outer collar correctly, the three set screws will pass though the "windows" in the steering column housing, and press down on the machined ridge of the inner bearing assembly. When you get it in your hands and start messing with it, it will make more sense. It's not complicated, just hard to explain.

IMG_20190603_182707775.jpg
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Step 10, tighten down the four bearing assembly set screws, each one a little at a time, to keep the shaft centered.

IMG_20190603_183114489.jpg

There you go, finished. I am really impressed by this kit, very high quality. And now, no play anywhere in the lower steering column. No play between the bearing and the shaft, no play between the bearing and the housing. Everything is super tight now.

I highly recommend this kit!!

A few other notes.

I have a Borgeson steering shaft. It is critical that you drill a slight indentation into the splined steering shaft at the column, and at the steering box. If not, the set screws can back out, and the couplers at either end of the shaft will get loose.

You can see the indentation I drilled into the shaft:

IMG_20190603_183123839.jpg

Lining up the Borgeson steering shafts upper coupler's hole with the indentation:

IMG_20190603_183357882.jpg

And correctly installed, before inserting the set screw/lock nut:

IMG_20190603_183752498.jpg

And the finished assembly:

IMG_20190603_184414753.jpg

IMG_20190603_184355316.jpg
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Since I am not 100% happy with my Green Scrambler, I have decided to take "old reliable" back up to Michigan for Sand Blast. It performed 95% great on the Utah trip earlier this year, and has been running fine since then around town/in the yard.

My good buddy JeepAddict purchased some wheels off of eBay Friday, I told him I would pick them up. They were in Daphne, Alabama, so a nice 150 mile interstate shake down run. Jeep ran great, wheels look great, '81 only 8" with center cap holes. I need to replace some of mine, they are bent a little, I wonder if JeepAddict would mind??

IMG_20190727_110739646_HDR.jpg

One thing I forgot about, until Saturday night, is how bad my headlights are sucking. On the way to Utah they were OK, on the way back, with one burnt out, they were terrible. I replaced the burnt out light, they still suck, they are aimed way too high?? I have not messed with the adjustment, but I guess when I added the extra leafs up front, and leveled the Scrambler, the adjustment got out of wack.

Anyway, found a nice abandoned wall under the interstate, marked out my adjustment target.

IMG_20190728_130849905.jpg

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It is important to get the Jeep perfectly parallel to the wall, and centered up. I used the existing parking stripes as aids, since they were parallel and perpendicular to the wall. Basically, 25' from the wall, center line of Jeep lined up with center line mark on the wall. Horizontal stripe is equal to the center height of the headlights. The two other vertical stripes are the distance from center of headlight to headlight, divided by two, then that measurement pulled off the center line mark.

You want to adjust one light at a time, with the other light disconnected or covered up. My first cover sucked:

IMG_20190728_131120258_HDR.jpg

Better cover:

IMG_20190728_131255571_HDR.jpg

Started with the driver side, it is way out:

IMG_20190728_131125212.jpg

Driver side adjusted:

IMG_20190728_131439594.jpg

Passenger side way out:

IMG_20190728_131620046.jpg

Passenger side adjusted:

IMG_20190728_131839421.jpg
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
This all comes from the Factory Service Manual:

IMG_20190728_131853828.jpg

And both lights adjusted:

IMG_20190728_131931161.jpg

Make sure that the lights are still aimed right when you reinstall the bezels. The aftermarket ones, like mine, the tabs are too long, and you have to trim them. If not, they will force the headlights up and out of aim.

It was actually a good idea to do this in the daylight. With the outside light, the headlight you see on the wall is the most focused/brightest part. A test drive last night, a world of difference, like night and day. It took me about 30 minutes to "build" my adjuster screen, 2 minutes to adjust the headlights, well worth it. I would recommend doing this anytime you change tires/suspension.

After the headlight adjustment, took it home for an oil change, transmission/transfer case/axle oil level/condition check, and a full grease job, steering linkage, driveshafts, suspension, clutch linkage. Everything is good to go.

I run a CV on the rear driveshaft. I love it, no vibration, but it is about impossible to grease without removing it.

IMG_20190728_172606257.jpg

I removed and greased it before the Utah trip, and it only had 3,000 miles on it. Glad I dropped it, the grease coming out of it was kind of dark. 3,000 miles of normal driving probably would not necessitate in a re-greasing, but 3,000 miles of high speed interstate driving apparently does. Only takes about an hour, so no big deal, and piece of mind. By removing and greasing it, I can also wipe off about 90% of the excess grease that comes out of it, and prevent it from slinging into the muffler, making a nice sizzling grease smell.

A few more odds and ends, then Michigan on Saturday :fingerscrossed::wave:
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Nice. Do you like any particular type / brand of grease? And do you use the same grease for everything?
This is what I use in my grease gun for u-joints, steering linkages, and suspension grease fittings (shackles and main eyes). I never really researched, I just use it because it is colored green, shows up well on black chassis part, and they sell it at most parts stores:

https://lucasoil.com/products/grease/lucas-x-tra-heavy-duty-grease


I use this for wheel bearings. It is available at all the major parts stores, seems to work fine:

https://www.valvoline.com/our-products/grease-gear-oil/full-synthetic-grease
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Two more minor "fixes".

#1 - I installed an LED light as a check engine light in this one right before the National in Utah earlier this year. I t comes on full bright when you turn the key on for the first 3 seconds like it should, and it comes on when there is a code. The problem is, there must be a slight ground signal coming through the PCM wire all the time, causing the LED to be dimly lit all of the time. Not the end of the world, but it has been bugging me.

RANT - Since we no longer have Radio Shacks, and no automotive parts places seem to carry things like resistors, diodes, or even non LED 12 volt bulbs, and I didn't feel like buying something "online", I purchased this $2.50 toggle switch from NAPA. It is back lit with a regular bulb, works perfectly.

IMG_20190730_191103753.jpg

I run power to the + connector, the PCM wire to the - connector, nothing off of the accessory connector. And it works. The other funny thing, if the CEL does light up, I can flick the switch to the OFF position and the light goes out LOL!!!!!!!!!!

In my green Scrambler, I installed a small non LED bulb on this circuit, it works perfect. I can't believe how hard it is to find such as simple device.

So, if you use an LED bulb for your CEL be aware that you might have to use a resistor on the ground side of the circuit to keep the light from being dimly lit all of the time.

What do people do these days when they need things like resistors, diodes, bulbs, solder,etc? Order "online" and wait for it to show up? That sucks. RANT over.

#2 - Installed my flag "holder". Simple 10" piece of light angle bolted to the front bumper through the stock license plate "slots". If you just drill the 1/2" hole in the bumper the flag pole "can/maybe" hit the hood/fender. This spaces it out enough to avoid contact. I left my last one on the Tan Scrambler when I sold it.

IMG_20190730_191117251.jpg

It also serves to make the bumper wider, so useful as a "step" to look under the hood.

I have been packing it up, hope to leave here Saturday morning, get to the camp ground Sunday. It is "only" a 16.5 hour drive, 1,100 miles :crazy::fingerscrossed::wave:
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Richmond
State
TX
RANT - Since we no longer have Radio Shacks, and no automotive parts places seem to carry things like resistors, diodes, or even non LED 12 volt bulbs, and I didn't feel like buying something "online", I purchased this $2.50 toggle switch from NAPA. It is back lit with a regular bulb, works perfectly.

What do people do these days when they need things like resistors, diodes, bulbs, solder,etc? Order "online" and wait for it to show up? That sucks. RANT over.
I am "lucky" in that we have Fry's Electronics in Houston (3 as I recall). They carry an assortment of "stuff" you would have gotten at RadioShack. We also have some other parts stores that specialize in electronics. But, when I need specialty electronics I typically buy from Mouser or Digikey. But that is due to the fact that I want very specific items and the generic parts that even RadioShack carried would not fit the bill. For the everyday common stuff like resistors and diodes, I just keep a bunch on hand for "in case I need it" occurrences. There are other places like sparkfun that cater more towards the hobbyist, but digikey and mouser are usually cheaper and let you place small orders.

Unfortunately, RadioShack has not truly been RadioShack for the last 20 years. They wanted to become a small corner store version of BestBuy, and that has worked out wonderfully for them.
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Made it to Michigan safe and sound, no problems :thumbsup:

Played up there for a week, no problems :thumbsup:

Made it back safe and sound :thumbsup:

A few minor issues:

1) Passenger front fender to grill bolts loose, one fell out
2) Two minor heat related fuel "hiccups" on the way home Monday, in Mississippi, outside temp over 100, backed down from 75 to 70 MPH, no more problem
3) Passenger rear upper shock mount nut loose
4) Need to replace the rack and tooth thing in the steering column, it is about wore out

Close to 3,000 miles all together, good trip, no complaints :thumbsup:

The adjusted head lights worked perfect.
The upgraded lower steering column bearing is awesome, thanks for the tip Dustin :cheers:

Driving up there, and back, stayed around 70-75 MPH, averaged 15 MPG, not too bad :twocents:

Time for an oil change, grease job, rotate the tires, should be ready for it's next adventure :fingerscrossed:
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
A few pictures, I did not take too many.

Somewhere in MS Saturday afternoon, love my hood decals LOL:

20190803_182528.jpg

Crossing into Jake White territory:

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Sunset over Lake Michigan:

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Freighter/ore carrier in the distance:

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A line up of Scramblers at the beach:

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Jake White:

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Back to the mother land:

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1,100 miles home, still have sand in the bed:

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Unpacked, cleaned up, ready to go again:

20190812_180539.jpg
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
Got caught up with all my "post trip maintenance".

1) Oil change
2) Cleaned and oiled the K&N air filter (really want to get a junkyard 4.0 air box to install)
3) Re-greased all the steering linkages/suspension mounts/clutch linkage/front driveshaft
4) Dropped the rear drive shaft out to re-grease the CV portion
5) Rotated the tires (6,000 miles on them now)

After a few other people I know were having wheel bearing issues, and since it was on jack stands already to rotate the tires, I decided to inspect all four corners of this Scrambler.

20190818_135320.jpg

All four corners use similar Warn wheel hubs, which use two bearings, similar to the stock front wheel hubs. I am running Warn full float rear axles, so the rear is almost identical to the front. I packed all eight of these wheel bearings 39,000 miles/9 years ago with Valvoline full synthetic grease. Lots of miles and wheeling.

Anyway, I removed the calipers, left the pads in place, but gently pried them off the rotors. This allows me to hear any strange noises by eliminating the pads rubbing on the rotors. If you leave the calipers in place, they can mask loose bearing problems because the caliper/pads/rotor will hold the wheel hub in place. I have discs on the rear, so again, all four corners on this rig are similar.

20190818_135700.jpg

This is the first time I have pulled the front lock in hubs off since I rebuilt this Scrambler. I was pleased with what I saw.

20190818_140853.jpg

No water or sand/dirt contamination. Bearings still spin smooth, grease still smells new. Spindle nuts still tight. The Warn front hub conversion/rear full float conversion use the same Ford/Dana 44 style "four slot" spindle nuts and locking washer, "tits and hole style". I much prefer this set up compared to the stock CJ "bend the washer over the big hex nut" style spindle nut system. The one water drop in the picture came from the heads of the allen bolts that hold the external part of the hub to the internal part of the hub. I love this style of hub, no bolts to loosen/break.

The only tools required to remove this style of hub, internal and external portion:

20190818_140858.jpg

Both front wheel hubs/bearings/spindle nuts looked good, no problems. Ball joints and tie rod ends are still good and tight, too. I removed the upper nuts from both front shocks, the shocks are still good.

On the front passenger side, the grill to fender bolts were loose, AND the center cap to wheel screws were loose. Not sure from what, I can't find anything loose, and no vibrations or shimmy's. Maybe the tire guy did not tighten the center cap screws?

On the rear, I removed the calipers, turned the wheel hubs. They are good and tight, turn nice and smooth. I did NOT remove the drive flange covers to inspect the wheel bearing grease because there is no grease left. The rear axle/hub seals leak gear oil into the rear wheel hubs, so all the grease has been washed out of the hubs. These bearings now run in gear oil. No problem with this at all. I discovered this two years ago around the time of the National ride. I had to remove the rear lock in hubs and install the drive flanges to keep gear oil from leaking out the hub dials and slinging all over the rear wheels. I had the same issue with the tan Scrambler that I had. Same Warn full float kit, same issue with gear oil getting inside the wheel hubs.

When I installed the rear drive flanges two years ago, I could not get the stock center caps to clear the flanges. I spent some time and cleaned all the gunk out of the inside of the rear center caps, and now they clear the drive flanges, but it is super tight clearance!!

20190819_193214.jpg

The drive flange sits a little further back in the center cap then the front Warn lock in hubs.

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I might go back and install the stock "rear" center caps on the rear wheels, no need for the open center caps on the rear since it now has drive flanges.

Two other minor issues found.

1) On the driver side inner axle, the outer metal dust shield is loose on the axle shaft.

20190820_072318.jpg

I seem to remember these shields not fitting tight on the Warn axles when I installed them 9 years ago. Maybe the shoulder on the Warn shaft had a slightly smaller OD then a stock axle shaft here? Not worried about it, I'll fix it/remove it IF I have to pull this axle out for some reason. The passenger side's metal dust shield is still good and tight.

2) The nut that holds the Dana 300 shifter on to the cross shaft keeps coming loose.

20190819_193249.jpg

I replaced the stock nut with a self locking nut, problem solved.


Seems like a lot of work, but pulling all four wheels/caliper off to inspect the wheel bearings, and putting it all back together, only took about 3 hours. Better to check it out in the garage then to have a problem on the side of the road/on the trail, miles from home :twocents:

Besides blowing up three T5's, and the #6 piston skirt cracking in the 258, I have been pretty happy with the reliability of this Scrambler. Nine years and 39,000 miles of wheeling and cross country trips without leaving me stranded. BUT, I do spend quite a bit of time inspecting/performing preventive maintenance, and have hopefully made some wise choices in regards to the modifications I have performed to the Scrambler: AX15, Mopar MPI, Warn front hub conversion, Warn Full Float rear axles, CV rear driveshaft, JB Conversions 4:1 Dana 300 conversion, Rubicon Express suspension, Bilstein Shocks and countless other smaller things. Seems to be paying off, so far :fingerscrossed:

But, still have other things I want/need to fix: windshield wipers, leaking windshield, maybe an internal fuel pump (external is working perfect on this one), rust repair on driver side front fender, stock 4.0 air box, etc.

A few more minor repairs on this one, then I will start back on trying to figure out the "hot fuel" issues on the Green Scrambler, or maybe work on the Spring Special.
 
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