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steering clunk....updated info...../Questions


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Hey All,

I finally had my mechanic buddy over to take a look at my steering "clunk" He looked at the steering linkage from the firewall to the steering box, and said the U-joints feel like they have play in them. We checked the collar bolts on the linkage, and they were tight. He also said, there was no viable "play" in the track bar, but the ball joint end of the track bar could be dry. He also said, they can be a royal pain to remove/replace. He said Everything else looked/felt great (ball joints/tie rod ends, etc).

I have 2 questions....

Are the U-joints on the steering linkage replaceable, or is there a direct linkage swap from another model (ie, XJ)???

 

How hard is it really to get the track bar out? (I have a ball joint seperator) But I cannot see how one gets any sort of tool on the nut?!? (he mentioned I could inject grease into the fitting with a syringe, and if there was a noticeable change....bingo)

 

Thoughts on this would be great, as well as answers to my 2 questions.

 

-Erin

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The track bar isn't too bad to take off, you just have to use a wrench on the nut and getting the cotter pin out can be a pain. Worse case you could unbolt the trackbar bracket from the frame and take the whole thing off. It could also be that your bracket is loose, I've had that happen before and it creates a clunk when turning.

 

I'm curious about the ujoints, I have a clunk I can't track down as well, maybe those are the culprit on mine.

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The trackbar is a piece of cake, but which part are you referring to? I know it's confused me in the past, but there is the pitman-arm to (passenger) wheel part, and passenger wheel to driver wheel part. You can remove the wheel-to-wheel bar with noting special but a wrench and hammer (remove cotter pins, bolts, then whack the top of the bolts). You'll get plenty of clearance by jacking up the front and removing the wheels. If you use the pickle fork to separate, just be prepared to tear the boots and force replacement.

 

I wouldn't trust the grease method to finding play. There's a huge difference between having the vehicle unloaded and searching by hand (even with tools) vs actually driving on the road. If you suspect a component is bad, replacing it is the only way. There's no way to actually simulate the on-road forces that are occurring when you drive.

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The trackbar is a piece of cake, but which part are you referring to? I know it's confused me in the past, but there is the pitman-arm to (passenger) wheel part, and passenger wheel to driver wheel part. You can remove the wheel-to-wheel bar with noting special but a wrench and hammer (remove cotter pins, bolts, then whack the top of the bolts). You'll get plenty of clearance by jacking up the front and removing the wheels. If you use the pickle fork to separate, just be prepared to tear the boots and force replacement.

 

I wouldn't trust the grease method to finding play. There's a huge difference between having the vehicle unloaded and searching by hand (even with tools) vs actually driving on the road. If you suspect a component is bad, replacing it is the only way. There's no way to actually simulate the on-road forces that are occurring when you drive.

 

The track bar is the one that goes from the drivers side unibody to the passenger side of the axle. NOT the steering linkage.

 

 

On mine, the TRE (tie rod end) on the end of the track bar wasn't so easy to remove. But getting the nut/ cotter pin out is the easy part. I always ended up using a 7 foot breaker bar to get the TRE out of the bracket. It's not that hard, you just gotta work at it.

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what I did not notice is a fresh looking wet spot near the steering gear box. I was just out there and stuck my hand under the gear box and it is wet. GRR. Could this actually be the cause of the play in the linkage? (the leak seems like a dead give away) I did not notice any noise coming from the gear box, but....One thing at a time I guess. Any thoughts on this would be great. My "mechanic" buddy is not so reliable these days.....

-Erin

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