Get a set of tie rod ends, re build the ctr arm, new steering stabilizer and adj the pittman joint. Make sure the box has fluid in it. Try the ctr arm adj and pittman adj first if the joints look OK. Usually it is not one big thing; it is a series of small things that add up
I had a similar issue with a Dodge Cummins which I have since sold. The guy who was wanting to buy it did not like the loose steering either. The problem was the "wanna-be" U-joint in the steering shaft before the steering box. The joint had obviously been open and rusting for some time. I got a new joint, installed it and, voila, tight steering. The old arms had worn a good 1/16 - 1/8". In retrospect, it was probably unsafe as it was.
I agree it is probably normal for a vehicle this old, but I know it can be better. The steering in my old 73 stock FJ40 was tight.
Thanks for the inputs. It's not something I have to fix or a burning priority. I was just thinking about what would make it more fun to ride and having tighter (not power) steering would make the ride more enjoyable.
The play is more like 3- 3.5 inches than the 1-2 I originally qouted. Drove it and it is about the width of my hand. Stll not a problem, but annoying.
People that think 3-3.5" of slop in the steering is OK scare me. I have done it for years and I still hate it. Replace the worn parts, go mini truck PS or just stop driving. Steering is nothing to fool around with.
I had a lot of slop in my '72 FJ40's steering. I had replaced all tie rod ends, rebuilt the center arm and adjusted everything else I could. What I found out you need to do is rebuild the sector shaft in the steering box. Toyota sells a "sector shaft rebuild kit" that is that roller on the sector shaft. The ball bearings get worn out and the sector roller needs replaced.
You can do this without removing the steering box. All you need to do is pull the pitman arm, pull off the side plate on the steering box and slide out the sector shaft. I would recommend new gaskets and an oil seal for the box too. Take the sector shaft to a vice, grind off what you need to on the nut to get it to let go, then put on the new roller. I would either re-stake the new nut very well or pop a spot weld on it. That is a critical steering piece
Once I knew what all was in there and what needed to happen it didn't take me an hour to do the whole thing. Hardest part is getting the pitman arm off
Good luck, and give C-Dan a call for that sector roller kit.
Lets not throw stones. CrusinGa was commenting on my 1-2" of slop. I listed that without measuring it. I later went and drove it and thought to measure it. It should be people like me who put up bad information without checking it first who should get the stones.
i'm new to the forum, just bought my first jeep - 81 fj40, it's been lifted and is a bit loose on the steering and real hard suspension - looking for ways to create a better and safer ride. above 55mph it's real hard work keeping it in a straight line. any ideas?