Jeep CJ/Scrambler 1971-1986 Repair Guide

Steering Knuckle and Pivot Pins



See Figures 1 and 2

1971 Models
  1. Remove the eight screws that hold the oil seal retainer in place.
  3. Remove the four screws which secure the lower pivot pin bearing cap.
  5. Remove the four screws which hold the upper bearing cap in place.
  7. Remove the bearing cap.
  9. The steering knuckle can now be removed from the axle.
  11. Wash all of the parts in cleaning solvent.
  13. Replace any worn or damaged parts. Inspect the bearings and races for scores, cracks, or chips. Should the bearing cups be damaged, they may be removed and installed with a driver.
  15. To install, reverse the removal procedure. When reinstalling the steering knuckle sufficient shims must be installed under the top bearing cap to obtain the correct preload on the bearing. Shims are available in 0.003 in., 0.005 in., 0.010 in., and 0.030 in. thicknesses. Install only one shim of the above thicknesses at the top only. Install the bearing caps, lockwashers, and screws, and tighten securely.

You can check the preload on the bearings by hooking a spring scale in the hole in the knuckle arm for the tie rod sprocket. Take the scale reading when the knuckle has just started its sweep.

The pivot pin bearing preload should be 12-16 lbs. with the oil seal removed. Remove or add shims to obtain a preload within these limits. If all shims are removed and adequate preload is still not obtained, a washer may be used under the top bearing cap to increase preload. When a washer is used, shims may have to be reinstalled to obtain proper adjustment.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: 1971 model steering knuckle and wheel bearings

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Component view of the steering linkage used on 1971 models