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#1063918 - 10/28/19 09:16 PM Steering column lower bearing.  
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 4,776
mmc427ss Offline
20+ Year
mmc427ss  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 4,776
Pottstown, Pa
Well the lower bearing in the steering column is actually just a plastic bushing, not a bearing. While looking at another G-body forum for rear coil spring info I ran across a post about replacing a worn steering column bushing with a kit designed to fix the problems with the Jeep sloppy/worn lower bushing. Of course this is related to the swapping in the Jeep intermediate shaft, a common swap for a G-body.

There are several good videos of how simple the job is, can be done with the column in the car. 87 Olds 422 in this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Jz62rV6R_Q


My 86 SS has quite a bit of mileage on it now, the high effort XH steering box, fat tires, all contribute to wear on that bearing. A quick check of it for slop there didn't show excessive play but just thought for 20 some dollars I'd pull the old and replace it with a bearing instead of the bushing. The kits are all over Ebay, ordered this kit last night.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/76-95-JEEP-CJ-SJ-YJ-XJ-STEERING-COLUMN-BEARING-KIT-4487696K-18019-03/172645707109?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D40719%26meid%3Dfa6444952e104a64908f7fe50cc8e317%26pid%3D100667%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D8%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D254238793344%26itm%3D172645707109%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2334524&_trksid=p2334524.c100667.m2042

I've had the top of the column apart several years ago to fix the loose tilt bolts, never gave it much thought about the lower column bushing. Have never seen any info on this forum about that bushing. Anything to tighten up the steering is a good thing.
Installed a Borgeson intermediate shaft a long time ago, before the Jeep shaft swap showed it's face.
Bob

#1063921 - 10/28/19 11:42 PM Re: Steering column lower bearing. [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 797
AkronAero Offline
10+ Year
AkronAero  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 797
Akron OH
Bob - a great reminder. I swapped out my worn bushing two years ago for the bearing kit. Available at about $35 from both Mikes and Dixie.
Swapped the intermediate shaft too, but it is loose where the two pieces come together with the set screw; that for another day.
Now I need to sort out why I have so much play going at the input of my new Lee Performance steering box?
Anyway - a few links...

From Mikes Montes: https://www.mikesmontes.com/Reproduction-Upgraded-Steering-Column-Bearing-Kit_p_1159.html
From Dixie: https://www.dixierestorationdepot.com/Product/Detail.aspx?s=DM90835

Thanks again,
Gordon

#1063922 - 10/29/19 12:08 AM Re: Steering column lower bearing. [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 145
T5montecarlo Offline
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T5montecarlo  Offline
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Joined: May 2019
Posts: 145
Lederach, PA
Manual transmission Malibu steering columns came with ball bearings, just as in the video Bob referenced, while the automatic transmission steering columns came with plastic bushings.

I wonder if the same bearing kit may be less expensive if you look for a cross-reference to a manual transmission Malibu vs. a more trendy Jeep.

Marc

#1063925 - 10/29/19 04:33 AM Re: Steering column lower bearing. [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 4,776
mmc427ss Offline
20+ Year
mmc427ss  Offline
20+ Year
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Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 4,776
Pottstown, Pa
I believe there are many companies that make or resell that kit, Crown, OMIX, even Jeep has a part number for it. Prices are all over the place, who knows who has the best bearing that really is a good bearing. The Crown kit is what's in the mail for Fri, hopefully it's a good bearing.

Sorry to hear about play in the Lee. Could be a couple things. No experience with the 650 box if that's what you have. Rebuilt my XH box several years ago. It's been a very good performer, knock on wood.
If you think you need to tweak on it pull the box and put it on the bench to diagnose it. Making adjustments in car usually doesn't end up well.
Bob




Last edited by mmc427ss; 10/29/19 04:34 AM.
#1064030 - 11/05/19 07:18 AM Re: Steering column lower bearing. [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 4,776
mmc427ss Offline
20+ Year
mmc427ss  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 4,776
Pottstown, Pa
Tonight pulled the Borgesen intermediate shaft, which is collapsible, but was a PITA. Had to make a compressor using #10 insulated solid wire thru the u-joints at each end and twist the wire to shorten it. Worked like a charm. There is very little room in that area. An R&R of the shaft where the upper and lower shafts slide was due, been 10 years since last lubed. Shaft is now as good as new.

With the shaft out simply removing the C clip and pull the old bushing and related parts out was easy. Comparing the old and new parts and you realize the inner seal of the old setup is not included in the kit. I cleaned it up and did a test fit. It doesn't attach to the backside of the new plastic bearing housing. Installing the parts on the column and see that it will be OK for me. Without the seal water could like leak into the column. Although not a snap onto the new plastic housing it has pressure holding it to do a good enough seal on my car. Nothing rotates at that seal, just a contact seal. Like once a year my car would get wet there, maybe. My thinking is there is another seal GM or Jeep uses to mate to the new bearing housing. Will look for a part number for it later.

Installing the new C spring clip was a little bit of a challenge, didn't want to located into the bottom point. The 12" brake booster made seeing that area a problem. After several tries of reinstall success,
After added grease to the new bearing, lubed everything and install was 3 on the 10 scale.

The video showing the guy doing this install on column out of the car neglected to reinstall the original seal. Hmmm.

Was the old plastic bushing worn and loose, not really. Just another mod on the long list of doner'.
Bob

#1064518 - 12/18/19 08:53 PM Re: Steering column lower bearing. [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 161
PETER86SS Offline
15+ Year
PETER86SS  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 161
Cleveland, TN
I too got a Lee Delphi gearbox around late 2010 best I can remember. Got it through Mark at SC&C; 12 to 1, safety wired cap bolts and all - blueprinted etc. etc.. Sat on my bench for months before I got around to installing it. I was running my original gearbox and it was not terrible at all, but I wanted the "rack and pinion performance" of the Delphi box.

I installed it, left it in for about 1,100 miles or so; I was not happy with it at all. I actually spoke to Mr. Lee about it back then, even sent in some videos which he looked at. Pittman shaft adjustment didn't fix it, I became tired of messing with it. So I put the original box back in (with about 150k miles on it), steering immediately improved, and the Delphi went back into it's box on my bench. At this point in time the unit was well over a year old and out of warranty.

In 2013 I sent the box back to Lee, wrote a note with details, and got a call from them. It was a very nice lady, had a Grandma type voice; she told me the box needed oversize recirculating balls due to wear and quoted me a price. I asked (politely) if that condition could come about in only 1,100 miles; she replied (innocently) that that could be the case and sort of laughed good naturedly while she was speaking. So, I said sure, fix it up, and I paid to have it done. Got it back and put it under my desk at work.

Sometime early in 2016 the original box failed, Lower Pittman shaft bearing failed, lots of fluid leaking; a little over 200k miles at this point. So I got the Delphi out and installed it; did not have much confidence that it would be OK. But I was wrong, Gearbox is tight and right with about 30k miles on it now.

Now, is Lee the only game in town? I've gotten two units from Red Head Steering gear in Washington State - one went in my 84 SS. Really nice job on it, no play whatsoever, no leaks, and a bonus red powder coated top cap. They did not have this application on the website back then, but I called in knowing that Jeeps have quick ratio Saginaw boxes that fit our cars and they probably had them. Dude knew exactly what I was referring to, had what I needed. I sent him a core ahead of time so there was no core charge issue.

So AkronAero, get that thing sent back in while the warranty is in effect if you think there's an issue. I've also put that lower steering column bearing kit in, got it from Mike's, it did the job.

#1064625 - 12/31/19 05:00 PM Re: Steering column lower bearing. [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,746
84LS1T56SS Offline
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84LS1T56SS  Offline
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Posts: 2,746
Central, Arkansas
The Jeep lower bearing is the same as most mid 80's gm cars and trucks. The actual columns were made by the same company.



85 MCSS, 02 5.3/4L60E stock daily driver,84 MCSS, Another stock 5.3/60E.

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