T he steering shaft on any 4-wheel drive takes a tremendous amount of stress off-road. If you abuse your off road vehicle as we abuse our Project CJ, your steering has an excessive amount of play in it. The stock Jeep shaft wears out quickly when used with big tires aired down for serious trail use. The common wear point in the shaft is the small steering coupler in the lower portion of the shaft. The steering coupler is that small joint that looks like a bell. This coupler is designed to slip in and out as the body and frame flex against each other off-road. The two biggest problems with this design are 1) the coupler only allows about 1.5″ inches of movement and 2) The small pin and bushings inside it wear quickly and lead to excessive play in the steering.
The folks at Borgeson Universal Company, Inc have a permanent cure for sloppy steering. Borgeson has been manufacturing universal joints and steering components since the 1920’s and makes a direct replacement steering shaft for almost any make of vehicle and hundreds of custom applications. I made a call the Borgeson Manufacturing to discuss our options, since our Project CJ was getting almost all of it’s other steering components replaced and had a very worn stock steering shaft. They quickly informed me that they manufactured a direct replacement shaft for CJ’s. This shaft assembly uses a double D shaft and needle bearing joints. The shaft also has approximately 4 inches of travel. After receiving the steering shaft assembly, I can tell you this is one strong unit! The joints themselves are machined from solid billet heat- treated alloy steel for strength and longevity. The U15N needle bearing joint does not have any backlash or radial play and requires no maintenance. On average a Borgeson joint will outlast standard joints 10 to 1. All this translates to more precise steering and better feel on or off road. If you want to add strength and permanently fix your sloppy steering then give the folks at Borgeson a call. Although our test vehicle was a Jeep CJ, Borgeson manufactures a replacement shaft for most popular applications.
The toughest part of this installation was removing the stock steering shaft. Our stock steering shaft was frozen at the firewall connection and at the steering box connection. Our second problem came when we tried to compress the coupler to remove the steering box connection. It was frozen solid! A full can of spray lube and a few taps with the trusty hammer and it let go. Once the old shaft is removed, you will need to collapse the slip joint section of the new Borgeson steering shaft to install it. Install the firewall side of the shaft and tighten the retaining bolt. Be sure you line up the set-screw with the notch in the steering column shaft. Extend the slip joint on the shaft to reach the steering box. Line up the splines and install the set-screw in the notch on the Steering box shaft. On some Jeeps the steering box shaft has a small alignment nipple that is used to center the old shaft, this is no longer needed and can be cut off with a hack-saw to ease the installation of the new shaft.
|Borgeson Universal Company, Inc|
|187 Commercial Blvd
Torrington Ct 06790-3098
|Ease of Install||This is a bolt on install, remove the old shaft, install the new one. The old one can be a little stubborn.|
|Ease of Use||N/A||N/A|
|Performance||Cured all of the play in the steering. Hard-core / Long term test have proven its durability.|
|Durability||Extremely durable. The billet joints, needle bearings, long slip and quality materials should assure a long life in our project Jeep.|
|Appearance||Looks great, billet joints and a polished steel shaft.|
|Drivability||Really improved the feel of the steering.|
|Comfort||Steering is now precise and controllable.|
|Price in comparison to related products||Comparable to all other manufactures products.|
|Was it worth it???||To cure a continual problem common to all Jeeps, I would say it was definitely worth it.|
|Tools Required||1/2″ wrench, allen wrench, and what ever tools you will need to pry your old shaft off!|
|Editors Notes||This new shaft not only improved the road manners of the Jeep, it fixed an annoying creak the Jeep had developed from the old steering coupler. This is a permanent cure any vehicle driven off-road …JC|