The steering system (either manual or power) used on these vehicles is of the rack and pinion design.
The manual steering gear assembly consists of a tube which contains a toothed rack and a housing containing a straddle mounted, helical-cut pinion gear. Tie rods are connected to each end of the rack and an adjustable end (on each side) connects to the steering knuckles. A double universal joint attaches the pinion to the steering column shaft. Steering wheel movement is transmitted by the column shaft and the rack and pinion converts the rotational movement of the pinion to transverse movement of the rack. The manual steering gear is permanently lubricated at the factory and periodic lubrication is not necessary. The manual steering gear cannot be adjusted or serviced. If a malfunction occurs, the entire assembly must be replaced.
The power steering gear is similar to appearance, except for a rotary valve assembly and two fluid hose assemblies. The rotary valve assembly directs fluid from the power steering pump, through hoses, to either side of an internal rack piston. As steering wheel effort is applied, an internal torsion bar twists causing the rotary valve to direct the fluid behind an internal rack piston, which in turn builds up hydraulic pressure and assists in the turning effort.
Rubber boots seal the tie rods and rack assembly. Inspect the boots periodically for cuts, tears or leakage. Replace the boots as necessary.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
Front Wheel Drive Models
See Figures 1 and 2
- Loosen the wheel lugs slightly. Raise and support the front of the vehicle at the frame point below the front doors, not on the front crossmember. Use jackstands for supporting.
- Remove the front wheels and tire assemblies.
- Remove the tie rod ends from the steering knuckles.
- Lower and disconnect the steering column from the steering gear pinion shaft.
- If equipped, remove the anti-rotation link from the crossmember and the air diverter valve from the left side of the crossmember.
- Place a transmission jack, or floor jack with a wide lifting flange, under the front suspension K-crossmember. Support the crossmember and remove the four crossmember to frame attaching bolts. Slowly lower the crossmember until enough room is gained to remove the steering gear assembly. Place stands under the crossmember, if available.
- Remove the splash and boot shields. If equipped with power steering, disconnect the power steering hoses.
- Remove the bolts that attach the steering gear assembly to the crossmember. Remove the assembly from the left side of the vehicle.
- Align the gear pinion with the column. Installation is in the reverse order of removal. On models with manual steering, be sure the master serration of the steering gear aligns with the steering column connector. The right rear crossmember bolt is the alignment pilot for reinstallation. Install first, then tighten.
- Attach the gear to the K-frame and secure the K-frame. Secure the anti-rotation link. Secure the K-frame. Tighten all crossmember attaching bolts to 90 ft. lbs. (122 Nm). Steering gear mounting bolts are tightened to 21 ft. lbs. (28 Nm).
- Connect the tie rod ends. Fill power steering reservoir (if equipped), start engine, turn the steering wheel from lock-to-lock and check for fluid leaks.
- Check toe adjustment.
See Figures 3, 4, 5 and 6
Before removing the steering gear on AWD models, the steering column must be removed to provide clearance for steering rack removal.
- Raise and support the vehicle. Remove the wheel and tire assemblies.
- Remove the steering column assembly from the vehicle.
- Remove the tie rod ends from the steering knuckle using a suitable puller.
- Remove the 2 bolts and the 2 nuts that attach the bridge assembly to the crossmember. The bolts and nuts can be reached through the access holes in the top of the bridge assembly.
- Remove the crossmember-to-frame rail attaching bolts. Use a jack to lower the crossmember so that it is suspended from the lower control arms. It is necessary to remove the crossmember completely from the vehicle.
- Disconnect and plug the power steering lines from the steering gear. Remove the hose retaining bracket from the crossmember.
- Remove the 4 bolts that retain the steering gear to the bridge assembly.
Note the position of each bolt as it is removed, there are different bolts for the left and right sides.
- Remove the lower steering column coupler from the steering gear. Drive the roll pin from the coupler using a punch. If this is not done, there will not be enough clearance for rack removal.
- Remove the steering gear from the vehicle by pulling it out through the drivers side wheel well. Rotate the gear to clear the frame rail.
- Install the steering gear into the vehicle. Work it in through the left wheel opening, rotating it as needed.
- Install the steering column coupler, make sure to fully seat the roll pin.
- Install the steering gear mounting bolts. Do not tighten them at this time, be sure to install them in the proper locations.
- Install the steering hose bracket in position, tighten to 70 inch lbs. (8 Nm). Install the hoses on the steering rack, then tighten them to 23 ft. lbs. (31 Nm).
Raise the crossmember into position and install the bolts to the following torques:
- Crossmember-to-frame rail screw and washer-90 ft. lbs. (122 Nm)
- Crossmember-to-frame rail stud nut-90 ft. lbs. (122 Nm)
- Install the bridge assembly onto the crossmember, then tighten the mounting nuts to 50 ft. lbs. (68 Nm).
- Install the outer tie rod ends on the steering knuckle, then tighten the nuts, tighten to 38 ft. lbs. (52 Nm). Be sure to install a new cotter pin.
- Install the wheel and tire assemblies. Lower the vehicle.
- Install the steering wheel assembly.
- Connect the negative battery cable. Start the vehicle and check the power steering lines for leaks. Check the fluid level.