Fixing CJ-7 Steering
Driving old vehicles is fun, not just because you stand out among all of the suppository-shaped econoboxes, but also because you get to know all the weird little quirks that are part of a vehicle’s overall personality. What’s not so fun is dealing with an old vehicle that randomly doesn’t want to start or constantly wanders from lane to lane.
Our little CJ-7 is great for running around town, but the steering was vaguer than we wanted it to be despite all new steering linkage and tie-rod ends. The ignition switch was also getting harder and harder to physically turn, and randomly the Jeep just wouldn’t start at all. We suspected more worn steering components and some electrical gremlins, and it turns out we were right.
When talking steering upgrades, most people think of everything from the steering box down to the knuckles, but a tight steering box and fresh tie-rod ends won’t do you any good if there’s a bunch of play between the steering wheel and the box’s input shaft. The steering shafts on many 4x4s are subject to wearing out, and that’s especially the case with several Jeep models.
We decided to tackle our wandering, hard-starting 1984 CJ-7 head-on with a new Borgeson steering shaft and Ididit tilt-steering column. We knocked out the whole procedure in a few hours using simple handtools, and for the most part it was a fairly simple bolt-in operation. We’re pretty sure we found the source of the hard starting, and the Jeep now follows the straight and narrow in traffic. Check out what it takes to fix the other half of the steering system and add the comfort of a tilt column at the same time.