steering - repair, improvements, what I learned (2 Viewers)

Joined
Jul 12, 2003
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OK,

A lot of this might be redundant for most of you. But, I've put this together for guys like me who are novice mechanics, and wonder what to do about the steering of their cruiser. Said another way, I wish I'd read something like this when I'd just purchased my 60 a few years ago.

Context - I purchased my 60 with no rust, but 240,000 miles on it, a new/used engine, and (in hindsight) lots of wear/tear on mechanicals. I loved it the first time I drove it, so hindsight wouldn't have changed my decision to buy it. Nevertheless, it steered like crap...I didn't take it over 55 mph for quite a while just because it didn't seem safe.

Please note that most of the stuff I've done is the result of reading and learning from all of the guys on this board. So, while I might have added a few insights along the way, for the most part I am just a consolidator. I'm not the brains, just the guy typing...

It now steers pretty well (for a truck) and here's what I've done along the way...

Item: Tie-Rod ends & Drag links.
Repair: Replace them. Ordered from Man-A-Fre.
Difficulty: Once I purchased a puller that was big enough, the repair was easy.
Effect: Huge improvement. Maybe the biggest overall of all the steering mods I've made. I think mine were really worn though....

Item: Springs/Shocks
Repair: Ordered a 2.5" Safari lift from MAF.
Difficulty: Replacing the steering damper was really hard. Trashed two pullers. The rest of the mod was physically hard, but mechanically straightfoward.
Effect: The truck cornered flatter, the poly bushings reduced suspension slop, and the handling improved significantly. If the TRE's hadn't been so worn, this would have been the biggest improvement by far.

Item: shim
Repair: Added a 4 degree shim to the front springs
Difficulty: easy (once you've done the suspension mod). There was some complication due to the spring pin not being long enough. However, I forget just how I solved that problem. Sorry.
Effect: Very beneficial. MAF claims that you don't need a shim with their Safari supension. However, I had lots of wandering on the freeway, and after reading lots of posts, and consulting with a few folks, I popped for the 4 degree shims. Steering is much improved. It easily tracks straight.


Item: Knuckle and wheel bearings
Repair: Front axle rebuild
Difficulty: Hardest repair I've done. (Did it on my 80 afterwords, and it's much easier the second time.) Suggest having somebody with experience help out if you can.
Effect: I had some wierd noises in the front suspension. They were reduced somewhat. Probably the bearings were worn. This is a typical service that needs to be done, and if done on schedule, you won't notice anything different. Key is that doing it is hard, but gratefying. Once you've done it, you know you are really "one with your cruiser."

Item: Power steering pump leakage
Repair: Rebuild
Difficulty: I purchased a Toyota rebuild kit, but after reading the FSM, I chickened out. There were a bunch of steps that required measuring to the thousand's...so I sent my pump to a place in Florida and $150 later, I got it back.
Effect: My pump had been spewing fluid all over the place. I refilled the resevoir at least once per week. I'd had the air pump sieze once too as a result. No leaks after the rebuild. It still groans a bit, but it was cheaper than a new one. Not sure how long this one will last. If it starts to fail, I'll pop the big bills for a new one.

Item: Alignment
Repair: Did it myself and also took it to a shop.
Difficulty: Easy to do yourself.
Effect: There are lots of posts by guys who do their own alignment. Since I want to be one of those guys too, I did it that way for a year or two. However, I broke down a month ago and took it to a good alignment shop. Way better. Steers better, tracks better. Could be that I'm just not very skilled. Could be that the guy who did the work is a 4X guy (he has a Taco w/front and rear lockers).

Item: Drag Links
Repair: Adjusted them to Factory specs and to a "spec" on the web.
Difficulty: Really easy.
Effect:Factory spec is 1.5 turns back off of tight. I read a tech report on the web that suggested 0.5 turns was the right amount. I did this in stages. Went to .75 turns first. Nice improvement. Steering was more centered, less play/slop. Felt less like an old truck. Then went to 0.5 turns. Didn't really notice a difference. Strongly suggest doing this mod. Once all the worn parts are fixed, this one is free and easy, and makes a difference.

Item: Spring Noise - especially irriating while turning. Could be called a severe "clunk."
Repair: Spread top leaves apart and put grease in between the leaves.
Difficulty: Messy, but easy.
Effect: No noise anymore. Might return after lots of wet weather driving.


Hope this is usefull to somebody.

Best Regards,
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2004
Messages
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Location
Portland, OR
if you're still having some issues with slop after all of the above repairs, try replacing your P/S gear box....doing so on our rig pretty much took care of all of the noise and slop issues after doing all of the above mentioned repairs :)

and yes, it's true, I'M BAAAAACK!!! MUUU HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

-dogboy- '87 FJ60
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2003
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Good post. I agree 100% about the pro alingment. It really is better.

Knuckles suck, no matter how many you do they still suck.

Stop buying from MAF.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2003
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Sean,

Re MAF...I agree with David Dearborn. I buy from them when they have a unique item or it's really a lot cheaper. But, I've learned from experience that their attitude does not seem to be customer oriented. I still buy from them, but have my eyes wide open.

On to more important topics - how do you like your cable lockers? These seem like the "must have" 60 add-on. I'm really curious as to how you like them.

Best Regards,
 

60wag

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My current steering pump will groan if its not overfilled. Its not leaking. I've purged the system with the front axle up on jack stands and the only way I can get rid of the groan is to fill the res above the hot full level. I'm using Dexron II.
 
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60wag said:
My current steering pump will groan if its not overfilled. Its not leaking. I've purged the system with the front axle up on jack stands and the only way I can get rid of the groan is to fill the res above the hot full level. I'm using Dexron II.

Interesting ... same experience.

FWIW,
Cahil
 

60wag

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You two? What's weird is I've had numerous (well, 3 or 4 at least) other FJ60 pumps that were perfectly happy at the hot/cold levels shown on the dipstick. I'm wondering if this pump has a higher flow rate than the others. I did notice that the guts of the flow control valve are slightly different than the section view shown in my '81 FSM. The old pump was the same as the manual. This pump came out of the box (Cardone - Yea I know I shouldn't have) missing the brass seat for the high pressure hose. The seat from the old pump wouldn't fit so I dug into the valve to see what was swapable. Nothing, they were quite different, I ended up makingf my own hose flare seat. How do any of you live without a lathe?
 

zcruiser

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lovetoski said:
Item: Springs/Shocks
Repair: Ordered a 2.5" Safari lift from MAF.
Difficulty: Replacing the steering damper was really hard. Trashed two pullers. The rest of the mod was physically hard, but mechanically straightfoward.
Effect: The truck cornered flatter, the poly bushings reduced suspension slop, and the handling improved significantly. If the TRE's hadn't been so worn, this would have been the biggest improvement by far.

OK, :princess: is complaining about loose steering. Turned down the adjustment screw on steering box 1/2 turn, "no improvement" she says. Put the front end up on jacks, moved the front wheels side-to-side, direct translation into movement of steering wheel, no loose tie rod ends, nuthin'. PO put in OME all except steering damper, so thought maybe that would "help" if I put it on.

I put a gear puller on the frame end of the steering damper as shown below, but wanted to check with you guys to make sure this will do the trick if I just keep cranking on the bolt. I left the nut on the damper so the tip of the puller bolt would have a "cup" to sit in, so there's a gap behind the nut for if/when it breaks loose.

Does this look right?

damper_removal.JPG
 
Joined
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Steering damper will help reduce vibration through the front suspension, but I don't think it'll help with loose steering. The drag-link ends are adjustable, and this will likely make a big difference. Yank the cotter pin, turn the slotted disc down until it bottoms out. Then back off 3/4 turn and reinsert cotter pin. (Use a new cotter pin) Factory spec is way looser, but probably thats for rough roads where some wiggle is good.

Also, the method you used to look for loose tie-rod ends might not show slop. It's important to turn the wheel far enough so that the wheel bumps up against the steering stop. Then you have the "helper" (who's turning the steering wheel) gently move the steering wheel so that it loads/unloads the drag link/tie rod. Watch carefully as this is done and if there is wear you'll be able to see it.

Hope this helps. I can still say that my steering is tight, and it goes straight.
 
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zcruiser

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Thanks, Doug, I'll check the drag link ends next, sounds pretty easy to adjust.

I've been wanting to put the OME damper on, partly because it's been lying around the garage for 6 months and partly because if I do "something" to the steering, the :princess: might convince herself that it's OK to drive. Right now she doesn't like to drive it and has convinced my 15-yo daughter that SHE doesn't want to drive it, which leads to ANOTHER car for her once she gets her license if I can't convince either of them that it's OK.

I got one side of the damper off, but the other side was a a little too tough for me and my gear puller... Couldn't keep everything lined up AND turn the puller bolt, so am taking it to the local shop tomorrow to have them remove it.
 
Joined
May 19, 2005
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Power Steering addition:
I've heard that a P/S filter is really important whan you do a P/S pump R&R.

I just got one from Gary at Mudrak for under $25.00.

It sounds like cheap insurance.

Apparently the P/S pumps are really suceptable to dirt.
Toad
 
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36473.JPG


They'll probably end up using a separator. Helps to soak the bolts in penetrating oil too.

BTW, you could have a bad steering ujoint or assembly clamp.

.
 
Joined
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Tie rod removal tools work better than gear pullers for this kind of stuff. Also try a BFH and wail the bejesus out of the nut after heating the mount with a propane torch.

The air-hammer pickle fork works, too, but stands to scar the mount. (The air hammer/chisel is my favorite precision tool.)
 

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