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I have two Jeep 4x4s, a 1942 GPW and a 1967 CJ-5.  As I've worked on them over the years, I've purchased several of your books, which I consistently find to be thorough and fascinating.

 
The Ross steering box on my V6 CJ5 is in need of rebuilding, and I'm currently in the process of collecting the necessary parts (NOS to the greatest extent possible, including the sector shaft).   I watched your excellent video on rebuilding the Ross boxes at http://www.4wdmechanix.com/Rebuilding-the-Ross-TL-Steering-Gear?r=1, and found it extremely thorough.  However, I realized after watching it that I have neither all of the necessary tools nor as strong of a skill set as I would like to have in order to do the work myself and be confident about the results. 

I noted while watching the video that you apparently sometimes do (or perhaps did) the rebuilding of these boxes yourself.  If by chance you're still doing that kind of work in your shop - along with all of your writing and teaching, which I'm sure must occupy most of your time - I would be very interested in discussing sending you mine for rebuilding.   If not, could you possibly recommend someone who could rebuild my Ross box to similar standards?

Let me also take this opportunity to say thank you very much for all of the excellent resources you've provided to jeep owners over the years! 

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snoopy2x…Thanks for your comments on my Bentley Publishers Jeep books, I appreciate the feedback...I have rebuilt many Ross TL gears professionally, and that was the basis for the information in the video.  Glad you are taking a responsible approach to rebuilding your V6 CJ5 gear.  

In the last years that I rebuilt these gears, parts became increasingly scarce.  I did find NOS shorter V-6 style sectors (levers) through vintage Jeep parts sources at the time.  Some may still have NOS, there is a crossover on the short sector to the military M38A1 Jeep Ross TL gear that helps here. 

I believe you can do the build yourself, following my Jeep CJ Rebuilder’s Manual 1946-71 or a factory or military shop service manual.  The main issue is parts quality.  The original worm cam is generally in good condition (mild grade glass beading will restore it), bearing and seal replacement is straightforward. 

The quality of the new sector is at issue.  See what is available and confirm the build and fit standards.  Omix-ADA offers parts for vintage Jeep, so does Willys America and others.

A spring scale is the adjustment tool of choice for both bearing preload and the over-center mesh.  These are not complicated adjustments when done on the bench (gear secure in either a soft jaw vise or something like my Bench Mule). 

The Ross cam-and-lever gear is basic, actually primitive, and easily set up with a shop manual and spring scale.  Follow steps and the results should be predictable.  I’m not performing this work commercially now for the reasons you cite.  My book, factory specifications and the video should suffice, though.

Let me know how this turns out…I can share how to use the spring scale properly when you reach that point in the build.

Moses

 

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Thanks largely to your encouragement, I've decided to bite the D.I.Y. bullet, and have started acquiring the tools I'll need that I don't already have (mainly a dial indicator & magnetic mount, spring scale, bushing driver set, and 3-stone hone).  These are not cheap of course, but even so, I realize that purchasing them will probably result in an overall cost savings relative to what I would spend to have a pro rebuild my Ross box....plus of course I will learn how to use them for future projects (....any excuse to buy new tools, right?)  I'll post photos of my rebuilding effort on this forum once I get around to actually doing the work.  I understand that the hardest parts of the process are removing the steering column and box from the jeep and reinstalling them.  In any case, I will be heavily referring to and leaning on your video, and of course your 1946-71 CJ Rebuilder's Manual throughout.

I've read some not-so-great reviews of the Omix-Ada sector shafts, particularly in regard to the highly questionable quality of the metal (see: http://www.earlycj5.net/xf_cj5/index.php?threads/omix-ada-steering-failure.117583/).  However, I was fortunate enough to find a couple of crossover M38A1 NOS sector shafts online at a jeep parts supply house in England.  According to the proprietor, they are genuine Willys ex-Danish Army supply stock parts.   I bought the last ones they had (I got a second one for my brother in law so I can first help him with his identical Ross box, which is in greater need of rebuilding than mine) and they are on their way across the pond now. 

The best source I've been able to find so far for other Ross steering box parts is Willys Jeep Parts at  https://www.willysjeepparts.com .   Their website is a bit cumbersome to navigate, but the tenacious parts hound will be rewarded by finding a significant number of available NOS Ross and Willys items.  Speaking of which, do you think 40-50 year old NOS sector shaft seals would still be serviceable (as I assume the seals themselves are rubber)?

Maury

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Maury, we’re raising some important issues.  Very glad you found a true M38A1 NOS sector/lever shaft, they are generally better than other sources, even some early AMC/Jeep era “NOS” service parts.  As Ross steering gear use declined, there were poorer quality OEM replacement lever shafts offered through dealerships in genuine Jeep boxes…Seals can be modern replacement type, though the OE/NOS could be okay if stored properly.

You may have concerns about tools, tool application or how to use various pieces.  I would note that an inexpensive Harbor Freight bottle jack press in the 20-ton type would be versatile and useful for future project work of this type.  It’s generally better to press the bushings in and out rather than drive them, as pressing can be much easier on the bushing ends.  The driver tools and adapters can be useful when used in conjunction with the hydraulic press. 

I’ll be watching for your comments and questions at the forums...

Moses

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Thank you, Moses.  I suspect that it may be a month or two before my brother in law gets his box & steering column removed so I can help him rebuild it, but as soon as we reach that point, I will certainly post photos of the process, and of course any questions that come up (and I feel sure I will have some for you!)

I actually have the exact 20-ton HF hydraulic bottle jack press you mentioned, as well as an arbor press.  Is there any reason it would be preferable to use the hydraulic press, rather than an arbor press, to install the sector shaft bushings?  (I'm guessing I could use the bushing drivers & adapters with either one, but I may be wrong about that.)

Thank you again for all your advice and assistance, Moses!  

 

Edited by snoopy2x

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snoopy2x...You can use the arbor press, these are often mentioned in shop manuals.  However, the older parts fit may require more pressure, and the 20-ton bottle jack press would be a suitable backup.

You can play with the arbor press or bottle jack press and drivers.  Over the years, working on these gears under a variety of conditions, I've improvised bushing collars with everything from deep set impact sockets to seal and bushing driver adapters.  Logic applies here, your goal is to press out and in the bushings with as little risk of bushing distortion and binding as possible.  Avoid damaging the gear casting.  

Align the bushings carefully.  On your particular application, there is a short and longer bushing in the rebuild kit.  Note the orientation of the OEM bushings and the way they align.  Be aware that the casting's lubricant passageway must be unobstructed.  When an aftermarket bushing has no notch at the oil hole in the gear case, I've carefully filed the bushing edge with a suitable round file to match the OEM layout.  Just assure adequate lube flow, this is not difficult to address.

Note:  The bushings are often so close in diameter fit that you can lightly 3-stone hone just enough to establish the desired oil clearance.  Vintage bronze kingpin bushings for 2WD trucks, by contrast, are not "fitted" for inside diameter.  They nearly always require reaming with a self-centering (piloted) kingpin reamer.  If your Ross TL bushings are installed straight, however, cutting/reaming should not be necessary.

Caution: The aim is to keep the reamer or hone on center, otherwise one bushing is out of center/alignment with the other, and the end result is too much material being removed from one of the bushings in an effort to center up the bushing bores.  Use an adjustable hand reamer only if light honing is not enough.  The reamer must be centered through the two bushing bores to cut both bushings at the same time.  This keeps the bores aligned.  Trial fit the sector continuously during the honing (or reaming) process.  This will assure minimal material removal from the new bushings, just enough for proper oil clearance and lubrication...Automotive machine shops have power hones for small end connecting rod bushings, and they can ream and hone kingpin bushings as well.  If desired, subletting the Ross TL bushing tasks is an option.  This can include bushing removal/replacement, truing and finish honing.

There's no particular concern beyond worm cam bearing preload, seal alignment and seal lip protection during installation.  Over-center mesh of the lever pins to cam groove is important.  Critical to the entire process is to make sure the steering gear is on precise center with the front wheels/tires of the Jeep CJ-5 pointed straight ahead.  Use the steering tire rod and linkage adjustments to center the pitman arm.  Presumably, this Jeep still has bellcrank type steering linkage and two downward sloping tie-rods?  The pitman arm runs fore-and-aft...

Moses 

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Hi Moses,

It turns out that the anticipated timing of my first CJ5 V6 Ross Steering Box rebuild has accelerated quite a bit.  I should have it removed and be ready to proceed sometime next week. 

I'm happy to report that I succeeded in finding quite a few NOS parts so far, including the sector shaft, shaft bushings and seal, and an original set of Ross caged ball bearings & races (though I understand it was the last set of these that Willys Jeep Parts had in stock).   I'm attaching a scan of the 1965-dated directions that came in the box with this NOS bearing set, in case you or your readers might find it interesting.  

Before I begin rebuilding the box, if you don't mind, I have a few more questions for you:

1)  Exactly how is the horn wire tube retained in the completed assembly? - in other words, what keeps the bottom plate of the tube pressed against the seal so that the assembly doesn't leak oil?  How should this tube be removed during disassembly, in order to ensure that it isn't damaged?

2)  I noted in your video on restoring these boxes that the ball on the end of the Pitman Arm needs to be inspected for wear.  If I measure the diameter of the ball horizontally and vertically, how much wear is too much wear?   In other words, does it have to be perfectly spherical in order to be acceptable, or is some particular not-to-exceed number of thousands of an inch of "out-of-roundness" still okay for re-use?

3) I bought a quality 3-stone reamer as suggested, but do not yet have a Goodson Tool (or similar) King Pin Reamer.  This appears to be a pretty pricey item, and I'm wondering whether or not you think for the V6 box rebuild that I'll definitely need it, and it is therefore worth the cost of purchasing.

I strongly suspect I will have more questions as this unfolds.....thank you again for being so generous with your expertise, Moses!

Maury

 

1.NOS_Bearings.thumb.jpg.be89a54e5cb19fe

 

2.Ross_worm_shaft_bearing_installation_i

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Before I begin rebuilding the box, if you don't mind, I have a few more questions for you:

1)  Exactly how is the horn wire tube retained in the completed assembly? - in other words, what keeps the bottom plate of the tube pressed against the seal so that the assembly doesn't leak oil?  How should this tube be removed during disassembly, in order to ensure that it isn't damaged?

2)  I noted in your video on restoring these boxes that the ball on the end of the Pitman Arm needs to be inspected for wear.  If I measure the diameter of the ball horizontally and vertically, how much wear is too much wear?   In other words, does it have to be perfectly spherical in order to be acceptable, or is some particular not-to-exceed number of thousands of an inch of "out-of-roundness" still okay for re-use?

3) I bought a quality 3-stone reamer as suggested, but do not yet have a Goodson Tool (or similar) King Pin Reamer.  This appears to be a pretty pricey item, and I'm wondering whether or not you think for the V6 box rebuild that I'll definitely need it, and it is therefore worth the cost of purchasing.

I strongly suspect I will have more questions as this unfolds.....thank you again for being so generous with your expertise, Moses!

Maury

Answers to your questions, Maury:

1)  Leave the horn wire tube and the end plug/plate in place...Remove the side cover and lever shaft first; remove the 3-bolt cover cap end and draw the hollow worm shaft and cam out that end of the gear housing; avoid disturbing the horn wire tube and end plug in the process.  I only service this plug and the horn wire tub if already leaking.  

Note:  When the steel plug or horn wire tube do leak, my repair is to braze with oxy-acetylene, using a common low-fuming coated brazing rod like Weld Mold 42-C (http://www.weldmold.com/weld-mold-42-c/).  Braze prudently, using proper technique; avoid excessive heat at the steering gear's iron housing.  If shop air is not too cool, allow to air cool; otherwise, cover with a welding blanket immediately after brazing to slow the cooling process.

2)  There has never been an out-of-round measurement or limit, though your logic is right on.  The cups are spring loaded to compensate for "normal" or slight wear.  I would look for excessive signs of wear like obvious mis-shape, galling, gouges or scarfing that could damage the cups.  A cup rebuild kit is available if needed, though the main wear here is the spring tension.  If a quality drag link rebuild kit (spring and cups) is available at a reasonable cost, consider installing it.  These were inexpensive, common repair parts in the day.  Perhaps you'll stumble onto an NOS kit.

3)  I have found that the replacement lever shaft bushings are usually very close to proper fit and sizing.  If you do not damage or gall the bushings during installation (a pressing compound like Sunnen B200 or a less costly equivalent helps here: https://www.goodson.com/Sunnen-Press-Fit-Lubricant/), the fit should require very little attention with the hone.  Do not invest in the kingpin reamer unless you find that the new bushings are undersize and designed to be cut or fitted after installation.  In the day, kingpin bushings were often a rough undersize that required custom reaming to fit.  The Ross TL lever shaft bushings are typically made to size or near enough.  (Let us know your findings.)  

Caution:  If you need to hone, be sure to remove only enough material for correct oil clearance; keep trial fitting the lever shaft across the two bushings to make sure you're not honing the bushings off center.  The reamer is designed to align cut the two bushings at the same time.  The hone cannot do this, as the stones are too short to cover both bushing surfaces at the same time.  The hone is good for light sizing of oil clearances.

Your NOS TRW roll neck bearing races are rare.  Roll neck races and hard ball bearings are a traditional Ross worm cam feature.  Most builders reuse the OE bearing races unless badly damaged.  Replacement bearing grade balls are available as chrome steel balls (specifically high quality Grade 25): https://www.mscdirect.com/browse/tn/Raw-Materials/Steel-Balls?searchterm=chrome+steel+balls&navid=4287922280.  See details at catalog page 1699.

Moses 

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Thanks, Moses!

Regarding the horn wire tube, would it be correct to assume that the flat disk at the end is swaged or press-fit into the steering box housing and against the seal, so that the seal stays slightly compressed and keeps oil from leaking out?

After reading your last post I started looking around online for drag link rebuild kits.  Those I've come across so far appear to be imported (as none of the sellers claim them to be US made).  However, Walck's sells a kit that looks like it may be a bit different from the others.....or it may just be a better photo:  http://walcks4wd.com/drag-link-repair-kit-all-model.html

Since I'm going to the trouble and expense of rebuilding the steering box, would you advise "tightening up" everything else in the steering linkage while I'm at it?  Besides a drag link rebuild kit, I'm thinking that maybe I should also install one of these (which is made in USA):  http://walcks4wd.com/bell-crank-repair-kit-1-18-cj5.html

I'll probably go ahead and order the press-fit lube.....it would be worth the cost if it helps keep me from messing up a pair of NOS sector shaft bushings.  I noticed this possible alternative to Sunnen B200, which looks like it may be Goodson's less expensive house brand equivalent:  https://www.goodson.com/GOODSON-Press-Fit-Lube-Aerosol/ 

Thank you again for all your help, Moses! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by snoopy2x

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Maury...The "disk" is a steel cover, and the horn wire tube is crimped to this disk.  This is called the "cover and tube" in the steering gear diagrams.  I have copied this and other factory guidelines into the PDF below.  I included information on the drag link and the steering gear's precision adjustments:

 Jeep Ross Steering Gear Rebuilding Data.pdf

There is no seal behind the cover and tube, this simply presses into the gear housing end.  The factory used sealant around the disk when pressing it into the bore (equivalent to Permatex Super D300 or older pastes).  Note that there is no factory "seal" between the Cover and Tube (#8 in the PDF illustration) and the casting bore.  (Perhaps a crushed O-ring here would offer some sealing value; however, the factory illustrations do not depict a seal or O-ring between the cover-and-tube and the gear housing's bore seat.)  The only replaceable lip seal in the Ross TL gear is at the lever shaft.  The cast side cover uses a cut gasket.  The 3-bolt Upper Cover (#14) relies upon the shims for sealing.  For insurance, I place an even, thin coating of Gasgacinch between these shims.  I also coat each face of the side cover gasket with Gasgacinch.

The issue with the Cover and Tube is that the disk conforms to the casting bore when pressed into place.  If loose or driven out of place, reinstalling the original cover and tube may not restore the snug fit and proper seal.  As I shared earlier, If no leak was present originally, the best approach is to not tamper with the cover and tube.

Note:  If the Cover and Tube is loose or has been removed, and if you have no alternative but to reseal and secure the cover, you can either: 1) use the oxy-acetylene brazing "permanent" method I described or 2) try a modern sealant like Loctite Superflex Blue RTV or the classic Permatex D300 Form-A-Gasket and pastes.  The sealant must be on the inside edge of the disk/cover to assure a permanent seal.  Flatten (spread) the disk/cover to restore its original shape before evenly driving or pressing the Cover and Tube into place.  Seat the Cover and Tube in the bore.

Walck's kits look decent.  The bell crank is a notorious source of play and steering wander on the vintage Jeep vehicles.  Check your bell crank for play/wobble up-and-down.  Rebuild the bell crank if there are signs of wear.  Follow the factory shop manual when adjusting the steering gear, drag link and bell crank.  Instructions and torque or tightening specifications may come with these Walck's kits.  It looks like the Walck's bell crank has modern fastening hardware that requires its own torque specifications.

I use Goodson professional shop products, and this aerosol in 6 oz. should work fine.  Use discretion when pressing the bushings into place, take your time; position them to match the original bushing locations in the housing.  As noted earlier, make sure the lube passages are open.  On your V-6 (M38A1 prototype) Ross gear application, be certain that the shorter bushing goes at the correct location.

Moses

 

Jeep Ross Steering Gear Rebuilding Data.pdf

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Okay, I've finally found time to start disassembling the two Ross steering boxes I'm working on.   Before getting too far into that, though, I thought I'd post some photos and descriptions of the differences between the two.

The box from my 1967 V6 CJ5, casting number TL122995, is shown in the first three photos below.  This box has the date of 1-66 cast into the rear face (my jeep was built in August 1966). 

Note that this box has been modified to raise its oil capacity by the use of a small pipe elbow screwed into the side oil fill port, exactly like the steering box shown here:  http://www.4wdmechanix.com/moses-ludels-4wd-mechanix-magazine-willys-cj-jeepster-tires-suspension-steering-brakes/   Interestingly, I asked a local mechanic friend who was the service manager at a jeep dealership in the 1970's about it, and he told me they routinely made this modification to Ross steering boxes with side oil fill ports.  Given that information, I'm guessing this mod may actually have been recommended by Kaiser and/or AMC.    Also, on this same box, a prior owner apparently modified the horn tube cover, most likely in an effort to get it to stop leaking oil.

The second box is one I recently picked up that came from a 1969 V6 CJ5, and is shown in the last two photos below.   Its casting number (which appears to have been partially milled off, possibly during production), is TL122997.   It's dated 3-68, and has the top oil fill port rather than a side fill port, giving it a higher oil capacity than the earlier box.  For this reason, I plan to use this later box in my 1967. 

I believe this at least partially answers the question Moses asked in the thread linked to above regarding the locations of the Ross steering box oil fill ports. The change from side to top oil fill ports in the V6 steering boxes (and perhaps the M38A1 boxes as well) was evidently made sometime between 1966 and early 1968. 

When I disassembled the box from the '69, the worm / cam shaft came out minus the bottom bearing race, which I had to carefully fish out around the horn wire tube.  This occurred because the unit was previously disassembled and improperly reassembled, as it was missing both of the retainer clips that should have been behind each of the bearing races. 

My next step is to finish disassembly, including removal of the old lever / sector shaft bushings, and take all of the parts to be re-used to get media-blasted.

3.TL122995_-_Front.thumb.jpg.3cf0e330620

4.TL122995_-_Rear.thumb.jpg.935dc7f7d955

5.TL122995_-_Horn_Tube.thumb.jpg.407955f

6.TL122997_-_Front.thumb.jpg.056c89e68be

7.TL122997_-_Rear.thumb.jpg.ddb29f5c857c

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Maury...The horn wire tube and end fittings on your '66 gear are unique, an apparent remedy for a lube leak?  Is the tube fabricated from steel fuel/brake tubing?  Is the outer "nut" for a ferrule fitting that compresses a piece of tubing?  

If the tube runs above the lube level, the only downside would be dust entering the tube end and possibly the gear.  A snug rubber cap on the wire outlet could seal this.  The pipe thread fitting tapped into the cover/plug must not interfere with the worm or bearings...This is an innovative solution to a lube leak at the horn wire tube!  An aftermarket or warranty fix?  Homespun?  An OEM assembly fix?  If others have either seen or own a Kaiser-era CJ with a setup like this, please comment.  It looks somewhat "factory"!

The lube level in the later '68/'69 gear case should be well enough below the 3-bolt cover and steering column tube.  Match up the lengths of the steering wormshaft tubes and other pieces.  Use the better worm cam-and-tube.  These cams usually clean up well and provide long, continued service.  The weak link with these TL gears is the lever pins.

I'm curious how many of these Ross TL gears (potentially Jeep, I-H Scout and other applications) are still out there in need of a new lever shaft?  Can anyone provide numbers on the potential sales of lever shafts?  The quality and fit of off-shore lever shafts are the biggest concern in the rebuilding process.  I have an idea if significant demand exists for these levers.

Thanks for sharing the photos...always welcome!  Waiting for more...

Moses 

Edited by Moses Ludel

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The current horn tube end appears to me to be a small brass plumbing compression fitting which was carefully threaded into the opening of the tube where it penetrates the steel cover.   I'd guess it was probably added by the previous owner, a machinist whose extended family had owned the jeep since it was new.  I'll give him a call soon and ask if he remembers making such a modification.  (I've stayed in touch with him since he sold me the jeep in 2010, as he was very attached to it.  Here's some info on the vehicle's background if you're interested: http://www.earlycj5.com/xf_cj5/index.php?threads/near-original-67-cj5.71624/

If you don't mind, Moses, I have a couple of bearing-related questions for you at this point:

1)  Both of the Ross boxes I disassembled this weekend appear to have been worked on at some point previously, as neither had the circular end clips in place to retain the bearing races.  Also, one of them had what I can only assume were aftermarket bearing races on the worm / cam shaft.  Rather than having a quarter-circle shaped inside track for the ball bearings to ride in, the inside track on these races is a simple right angle instead.  Any thoughts on those?

2)   I also removed the upper steering column roller bearing and cleaned it in solvent.  I think it's probably the original, and it still spins fine, but I'm wondering if it should be lubricated with some particular type of grease prior to being re-installed.  What would be the best lubricant for that bearing (or should it just be left dry)? 

I'm off to the blaster's place tomorrow morning, assuming they're open after the 12" of snow we had here this weekend....

Thanks again, Moses!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by snoopy2x

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Maury...Your Jeep CJ-5 with Dauntless V-6 looks terrific, it brings back a flood of memories!  Thanks for sharing the photos, please post as many as you like at these forums...

I prefer the factory roll-neck type bearing races for better surface contact and true radial plus thrust support.  Your TRW bearings should be roll-neck or true ball bearing design.  I've worked with Ross roll-neck bearing races on gears back to the 1920s (Reo Speed Wagon and Dodge/Graham-Paige trucks).  There is design precision with roll-neck races, though they are more difficult to produce and have become rare as NOS parts.

It should be apparent that the upper column bearing had lube.  Is it a caged ball type bearing?  If caged roller or ball type, the bearing needs a grease with good adhesion or viscosity properties, also tolerant of dust that might accumulate.  Temperature range should be broad.  A stringier ball-type wheel bearing grease (like for older GM vehicles) would work well here.  In today's market, this might come down to a grease recommended for motorcycle steering head bearings.  

Pack the upper column bearing, creating a slight crown or grease "dam" at each side of the cage and bearings.  Grease enough to resist squeaking, wear and premature bearing failure.  Once this bearing is installed, the grease should last for the service life of the bearing—a very long time. 

Trust this is helpful...

Moses

 

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Hi Moses, you're correct that the new races in the NOS Ross / TRW bearing kit are indeed the roll-neck type.  I will certainly use them in the rebuild.  I have to say though that the old roll-neck races appear to be in very good usable condition.

A picture of a (repro) CJ upper steering column bearing is below.  I'm not sure if it's technically a roller bearing or a ball bearing, but I think it may actually be the ball type. 

You're probably familiar with this method of regreasing old sealed or shielded bearings using a vacuum pump.   I'm thinking this could be an excellent way to regrease the steering column bearing as well, using the type of grease you've recommended: 

Any thoughts on this idea?

Maury

PS - Also, thanks very much for the kind words about my jeep!  Though it's a bit off-subject (and please feel free to relocate this to a new thread if that would be more appropriate), here's a video I made a few weeks ago showing its newly rebuilt Dauntless V6. 

Externally, the rebuilt engine appears stock.  Internally, it has been line bored, balanced (both rotating assembly and weight-matched), and ported.  Block was decked, heads were shaved, and cylinders were bored to accommodate 231 pistons, yielding a compression ratio of 9.18:1.   A custom Comp cam (based on modified 260H design specs) was installed, along with new oversized valves, springs, seats, guides, pushrods, hydraulic lifters, and new bearings throughout.   TA Performance adjustable oil pump and Cloyes double roller timing chain & gears were also installed during the rebuild.   Original alternator was rebuilt by TAE, original starter was rebuilt by CAS. and original distributor was rebuilt and recurved by Advanced Distributors.

Engine was rebuilt by Thomas Lassman Custom Engines & Performance of Black Mountain, NC.

The newly rebuilt engine idles remarkably smoothly (particularly for a Dauntless!)  After rebuild there is no noticeable change in low end torque, and mid and upper ranges have significantly increased power.

 

8.Upper_Steering_Column_bearing.thumb.jp

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Maury, the Jeep engine is a masterpiece...This is really a nice Jeep CJ-5 V-6 model!  I haven't seen a Kaiser era CJ in virtually "stock" form for many years, and your engine mods are each internal...Nice work, excellent taste, the engine's smoothness is really an accomplishment for the paired rod per crank journal Buick 225 V-6.  Hats off to the balancing and match weighting!

An inexpensive bearing packer will work fine, any type that will disperse air pockets and provide an air-free column of grease between each ball or roller.

I really like your Jeep, it is so representative of the era!  Right down to molded radiator hoses...and the oil bath air cleaner!

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Thank you again for the kind words, Moses.  I very much appreciate your thoughts.  Coming from someone who is as authoritative and deeply knowledgeable about jeeps as you are, they really mean something. 

My goal has been and continues to be to keep my jeep stock, visually speaking, while improving and updating it technologically where the changes aren't visible.   I've taken the same approach with my GPW, though the changes to it have not been as extensive as those I've made to the CJ5. 

Now if only someone would produce a kit to internally convert an original Ross steering box to a recirculating ball type..... just kidding, but wouldn't it be great if that were possible!?

I picked up the steering parts from the blaster yesterday, and hope to complete the reassembly of the Ross box over the weekend. 

Edited by snoopy2x

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I asked the prior owner if he had made the modification to the horn tube, and he said he couldn't remember ever doing so.  However, he did remember having the steering gear serviced by someone else when it began to wear out many years ago. 

This information dovetails with what I found when disassembling the box, and may offer a clue to the origin of the horn wire tube mod:

First, the lever / sector shaft I removed from this steering box did not appear to be the original, as it didn't have the Ross part number (TL124999) cast on the flat end. In fact, it didn't have any numbers on it at all, which probably indicates it's an aftermarket replacement part.

Also, the horn wire tube had suffered a good deal of bending, though it appeared someone had hand-straightened it enough to get it to fit back into the core of the worm shaft.   This bent-up condition, as your video pointed out, is a clear indication that whoever took it apart failed to follow the proper sequence of removing the sector shaft prior to removing the worm shaft.

There's no way to know for sure, but based on the evidence, my guess is that in an attempt to replace a worn sector shaft, someone improperly disassembled the box, bending and stressing the horn wire tube in the process.  This easily could have in turn caused a crack where the end of the tube was braised to the cover, creating an oil leak there.  I believe the compression plumbing fitting screwed into the open end of the tube was probably an impromptu "fix" made in order to slightly expand the diameter of the tube where it passes through the hole in the cover, which succeeded in stopping the leak.

Edited by snoopy2x

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Interesting, Maury...The threaded pipe fitting required drilling a hole that was bigger in diameter than the original tube's end at the cover.  A fix that did work, apparently.

You have serviceable OE and quality NOS parts for the project.  This will produce very good results.  A recirculating ball-and-nut internal conversion (which unfortunately would never fit within the small TL gear cavity) would be great for those wanting reliability and an OE look and fit for the Ross gear.  The traditional alternative is a full conversion to a Saginaw manual or power gear.  Advance Adapters has marketed such a conversion package for many years.  When a stock "look" is desired, the approach involves shortening the OE steering column and coupling to a spud shaft.  I share this conversion in the Jeep CJ Rebuilder's Manual: 1946-71.  The gear mounts forward of the front crossmember much like 1972-up Jeep CJs, which alters the stock appearance and requires frame modifications.  The bellcrank linkage goes away, replaced with a one-piece draglink/tie-rod.

I understand your interest in keeping the pristine Jeep CJ-5 V-6 model as close to stock as possible.  The carefully rebuilt Ross TL gear should be good for a minimum of 60K-80K miles with the improved modern manual steering gear lubricants.  Minor pin/cone-to-cam adjustment is possible at least once during the service life.

The biggest issue with the Ross TL is the friction between the cone/pins and the cam groove.  For the record, Ross knew this.  The heavier duty Ross steering gears in medium duty and larger truck applications use lever pins mounted in paired tapered roller bearings.  The pins rotate to help overcome the chronic TL (fixed pin) friction issue that wears flats at the same points on every TL gear!  Eventually, each TL gear fails with characteristic "flats" worn on the two lever pins.

 Ross Gear Comparison.pdf

Comparison of Traditional Ross Steering Gear Types:  Note the Roller Bearing Pin Designs (Single and Twin-Roller Pin).  TL is the most primitive and wear prone design.  This is the cam and twin stud shown at top in the illustration.  Zoom in for detail. 

As you note, the Ross TL's ball bearings hold up very well.  So does the hard cam, which usually cleans up with careful blasting.  The TL lever shaft itself seldom wears to excess, though the bronze shaft bushings do wear out.  The shaft seal needs replacement.  This is normal wear addressed during the rebuild process.

Moses

Ross Gear Comparison.pdf

Edited by Moses Ludel

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As always, thank you for the feedback and advice, Moses!

 

Is there a particular modern manual steering gear lubricant you would recommend using in these Ross boxes? 

One I've read about, but have no direct experience with is made by Penrite.  Though it's referred to as a grease in the description, from online user reviews I understand that it's actually more like a very thick oil.  It is "semi-fluid", and comes in a 500 ml bottle (see photo below).

Penrite Steering Box Lube is suitable for veteran/vintage and some classic car steering boxes.  This high viscosity (1200w) self-levelling grease features non-corrosive extreme pressure (EP) additives to provide film strength.  Penrite Steering Box Lube is an extreme pressure, NLGI 00, lithium based grease, blended with effective anti-wear, rust and oxidation inhibitors. Lithium soap base. Normal operating temperature is from -20C to 130C.  

Here's a link to Penrite's website page with more product info:  Herehttp://www.penriteoil.com.au/products.php?id_categ=14&id_products=90

This thread on the Old WIllys Forum discusses the use of several different manual steering gear lubes in Ross boxes, including Penrite:  http://www.oldwillysforum.com/forum/showthread.php?1769-Steering-box-lube-what-to-use/page2&s=2cbd7346e49b4e348e7ac7891c74143a

I believe Penrite is an Australian product, but it's available in the US through Restoration Supply Company:  http://www.restorationstuff.com/products.html   If you open their .pdf catalog you'll find it at the bottom of Page 24, where it's referred to as "Our Best Seller - Steering Box Lube, 1200w, EP non-leaking, manual box specialty gear oil"

Other modern lubes used in vintage steering boxes I've seen referenced in various automotive forums include:

- Royal Purple Thermax semi-fluid grease

- Amsoil Semi-Fluid 00 Synthetic EP Grease (GSF)

- John Deere Special-purpose Corn Head Gun Grease AN 102562

- Shell Alvania 00 grease

- Mobil SHC634.

- Millers Oils Classic Worm Steering Box Oil

- Redline Synthetic Light Weight Shock Proof Gear Oil High-Performance Gear Lubricant

I'm not sure which, if any would be appropriate for the early jeep Ross steering boxes.   Do you have opinions about the use of any of these, or any other specific modern lubes in this application?

 

 

 

 

Penrite.jpg

Edited by snoopy2x

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On a separate note...... you may be aware that Walck's sells a kit to fit the Ross manual steering boxes called a TightSteer,  http://walcks4wd.com/tightsteer , which replaces the old preload adjustment screw with a spring-loaded adjustment screw.  The theory behind it is that on Ross steering boxes with worn lever shaft pins and/or cam, there is no way to maintain the correct preload with the stock screw, because due to the uneven wear on the internal moving parts, the screw is either too tight or too loose in given spots.  The TightSteer is supposed to maintain a preload even with uneven cam or lever shaft pin wear. 

What are your thoughts on the use of a TightSteer unit on the Ross TL boxes?

 

Edited by snoopy2x

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Maury...For years, semi-fluid grease has been recommended by Studebaker restorers for the Ross TL type gear.  Like closed steering knuckle grease, there is controversy.  Simply put, make sure that the lube is clearly intended for manual steering gears and that the viscosity enables the lube to reach and flow into all lubricated areas of the gear.  I view a manual steering gear as an EP (extreme pressure) gearbox and avoid non-EP rated lubes.  Willys/Jeep recommends EP gear type lubricant.

I've never used the TightSteer preload adjuster, though the concept is clear.  Constant tension applies...Without a rigid adjuster screw, the cone-shaped lever studs would move outward from the cam groove when the gear "kicks back" under harsh road or trail feedback.  Is this a problem?  That depends upon how far outward the cones move; the cone depth in the groove determines the amount of cone-to-groove surface contact.

This system relies upon spring force to keep the two stud cones in the groove.  The TightSteer's spring rate and plunger travel would be important factors here.  

Spring tension, rather than a rigid adjuster screw, might serve as a "cushion".  Since the big issue with the Ross TL gear is stud/cone to groove friction, such a cushioning effect could have benefit.  I'd look for product reviews and discussions between owners who have used the TightSteer device.  I've not tested it and therefore suspend judgment.

Moses

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Thanks, Moses....given the fact that it was specifically designed for vintage steering boxes, is an EP lube, and has been successfully used in Ross TL boxes (by both Jeep and Studebaker owners), I'm going to go with the Penrite. 

Since it sounds like it could potentially extend the life of the lever shaft pins, I may install a TIghtSteer unit on the rebuilt box and see how it performs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by snoopy2x

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This past weekend I started the reassembly of the Ross TL box I'm in the process of rebuilding.  At that point, I had already removed the old bushings using a bushing driver and a rubber mallet, after which all parts were glass bead blasted.

- As shown in the instructional video, I used a Dremel to carefully grind out a small divot in the wall of the outer shaft bushing in order to clear the oil passageway in the gearbox housing:

9.LSoutsidebushing_edited-1_zpschuiq7ze.

- The bushings were then installed in the housing, using the press-fit lube and a hydraulic press. I found that the most difficult part was getting the bushings "started", i.e. pushed partway into the housing, before pressing them all the way in.  I was finally able to accomplish this using the appropriately sized bushing driver, and very carefully, lightly tapping them in with a rubber mallet.  Both bushings were pressed into the housing from the outside, the smaller inner bushing first, followed by the outer:

10.LSbushinginstall_edited-1_zps1kvxl8ij

- I then checked the fit of the lever shaft in the newly installed bushings, using some light oil on the shaft.  I immediately found I could not get the shaft started through the inner bushing (going from the inside toward the outside of the housing).  The shaft would easily go in from the opposite direction, but I still could not push the end of it past the last 1/8" or so of the innermost portion of the inner bushing.  By measuring back from the end of the spline to the housing, I was able to determine exactly where the obstruction in the inner bushing was:

11.LSshaftfitting_zpsfrrr9sx5.jpg

- I suspected that the cause of the obstruction may have been that I had very slightly "tweaked" the bushing as I was trying to get it started into the hole in the housing.  In any case, the use of the 3-stone (brake cylinder) hone quickly and easily resolved the issue.  I stopped and inserted the lever shaft at least 10 times during the honing, just to make sure I didn't remove any more material from the inner bushing than necessary in order to get the shaft to fit through both bushings (and I did not hone the outer bushing at all).  The 3-stone hone is shown here turning fairly slowly in a variable-speed drill:

12.LSinsidebushinghone2_zps9bofxvdg.jpg

- As soon as the inside diameter of the inner bushing was large enough, I installed the lever shaft, which then fit and rotated smoothly.  I checked the runout measurement at the spline end, and was pleased to find that it was right at .001".  

13.LSrunoutmeasurement3_zpsgnwhjrmg.jpg

- Since I had honed the inner bushing a bit, I thought it might be a good idea to check the runout measurement at that end of the lever shaft as well.  I got the same results as at the spline end, with almost exactly .001" of total vertical movement:

14.LSrunoutmeasurementrear_zpscny3w1yr.j

(Note: By comparison, both lever shaft bushing end clearances in the worn steering gear when removed from my jeep measured more than six times this figure, at over .006"!)

I hope to be able to find time to proceed with the next step of the TL box rebuild later this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maury...The oil clearance or shaft run-out should read normal when you install the lever shaft just far enough to pass through one bushing.  (Approach each bushing from opposite sides of the gear housing.)  If so, the two bushing are in alignment with each other as well.  When the clearance or run-out is correct for each bushing and also for the lever shaft installed in its normal direction through both bushings, you're good to go!

Note: Run-out should be read with the shaft held parallel to the bushing face.  Try not to rock the shaft, this would exaggerate the reading.

With bushing bores aligned, 0.001" shaft run-out at the end of the shaft is optimal, as this would be even less movement at the bushing-to-shaft point.  This clearance should lube well and also meets OEM specifications.  The shaft should rotate freely, and quality bushings will last a very long time!

Nice work and wonderful photos, very helpful to others!  Keep us posted.

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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I just checked the lever shaft to bushing clearances, measuring it separately at each bushing as you described above.  Using that method, the longer outer bushing to shaft clearance measured .002", and the clearance measured at the (slightly honed) shorter inner bushing was between .002" and .0025".   I also checked the fully installed lever shaft to bushing clearances again, and still measured .001" at each end.  I'm happy to say that the fully inserted (lightly oiled) lever shaft rotates extremely smoothly, with no binding whatsoever.

15.LSOuterBushingClearancecheck_zpsee2up

16.LSInnerBushingClearancecheck_zps18erk

Also, I have a couple of questions re. the cam shaft shim installation / rotational resistance testing:

- If I use the "spring fishing scale" method of testing shaft rotational smoothness vs. (desired zero) end play, at the point that the correct number of shims seem to be installed for my particular unit, about how many lbs. of spring tension should I need to apply before the shaft spins? 

- Given that the original horn tube and cover are still in place on the box I'm using, I can't measure the longitudinal shaft movement, or lack thereof, with a dial indicator at that end of the shaft.  However, it occurred to me that I might be able to securely clamp the box to one end of my table saw's heavy steel table, set up the magnetic base of the dial indicator on the table at the other end of the shaft, and measure it there.   Do you see any reason this variation wouldn't work?

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This should work, Maury.  The shaft clearance test that you just performed accounts for the ever so slight distortion/misalignment or misshape between the two bushings.  Your measurements are well within tolerance and limits.

Note: If the bushings were ream-to-fit type (they're obviously not), the bushings would be installed with undersized bores then reamed once in place, running the reamer through both bushings at the same time to simultaneously create precise alignment and correct sizing of their bores.  This would have been overkill in Ross' view.  The Ross cam-and-lever gear design dates at least to the 1930s; service of the gear with a precision reamer (costly as you have noted) was not in the plan.  Production, out-of-the-box sized bushings were acceptable for a vehicle that began as a 1940/41 military prototype!

As for worm/cam bearing adjustment, the Ross TL with roll-neck ball bearing races will account for both end-play and the slight ball bearing preload during the adjustment.  This is a very simple gear, as clearly suggested in the factory guidelines for adjusting the cam end bearings.  Adding or removing cover shims to make the adjustment, here is the factory method, which does not use a spring scale like TRW suggests in your bearing instruction sheet:

Ross_TL_Steering_Gear_Adjustment.thumb.j

Here is a PDF of this page for zooming-in to get details and an easier read:  

 Ross TL Steering Gear Adjustment.pdf

Note that this adjustment method uses the steering wheel as a reference point and nothing more than your "thumb and forefinger" at the steering wheel rim to establish the correct bearing feel or adjustment.  With the steering gear's frame mounting flange secured in a soft-jaw bench vise, install the steering wheel at the end of the worm tube to perform these adjustments.

On a set of ball bearings, you want: 1) no end play, 2) no side or radial play and 3) smooth rotation without a notchy feel.  If you tighten the load too much, by reducing the shim stack too much, you will feel a distinct roughness when rotating the steering wheel.  If too loose, there will not be the "slight drag" described in these instructions from the Kaiser/Jeep era.

I know you want to do this correctly, and here is where the spring scale at the steering wheel rim can help.  Begin by making note of the factory shim thickness, measure shims with a dial caliper or micrometer if necessary.  Clean the original shims with alcohol if the surfaces have gasket cement or scale on them.  (Use new shims if old shims cannot be cleaned or show too much corrosion.) Try to establish the original thickness as a baseline.  This is useful unless the gear was readjusted improperly during previous service.  Clean the cover's base and make sure there is no debris on the gear housing surface or cover.

When you test or make adjustments to the cover's height, torque the three bolts in place evenly to get an accurate compressed shim reading.  Use the factory torque specification for the cover bolts.  Make a trial fit and "feel" test with the original shims.  If adjustment feels "on", remove a thin shim and test again.  There should be a noticeable drag or maybe even the notchy roughness I describe.

Now reinstall the thin shim and add an additional thin shim.  Do the "thumb and forefinger" rotational feel test once more.  You should find no drag at all.  This may also be accompanied by end-play at the cam.  If not, add another thin shim and note that the cam now has visible or hand felt end-play.  There will also be a slight sideways movement to the cam if the bearings are set too loose.

Since the bearing races are roll-neck, adjusting end play and drag is one and the same step.  Eliminating end play also creates zero clearance or a slight preload on the balls.  That preload is the "slight drag" described.  For clarity here, use your spring scale to feel 1) the loose or no drag resistance, 2) the too tight or notchy feel resistance, and 3) the "slight drag" resistance.  

Note: There is no steering wheel spring scale figure offered by Willys or Kaiser/Jeep for these Ross TL gears.  However, you will clearly discover the difference if you rotate the steering wheel with a spring scale instead of just your thumb and forefinger.

Gemmer, Saginaw and others use a spring scale at the steering wheel rim to adjust worm bearings.  Gemmer manual gears are typically tapered roller bearings while GM did use ball bearings on worm ends.  If you have an old Motors or Chilton professional/trade grade manual, note the adjustment of worm bearings on a GM Saginaw gear with ball-type worm end bearings.  (GM used ball bearings in the day to avoid use of patented Timken tapered roller bearings.)  GM calls for a spring scale at the steering wheel rim to adjust the worm and sector.  I can provide an example if useful.  

Note: My question with your TRW settings is where the "rolling torque" measurement is taken.  There's no reference to the steering wheel rim.  Rolling torque suggests the use of an inch-pound torque wrench and rotating the worm tube from the steering wheel end.  Turning just the nut?  Steering wheel removed or on?  Do you have any insight or further details on where TRW takes this bearing preload/drag measurement?  You might compare the "thumb and forefinger" setting to the rotational torque needed to turn the worm shaft with an inch-pound torque wrench from the steering wheel end.  Be aware that start-up torque is not rotational or "rolling" torque.  Rotational/rolling torque is the force needed to keep the shaft rotating, not the initial start torque.

Take the Ross TL adjustments at face value.  Know that new bearings and races will wear very slightly over time, and adjust the "slight drag" with new bearings accordingly.  You don't want to be readjusting/re-shimming loose worm bearings later—you also do not want overly tight bearings that self-destruct.  Foresight and balance here.

Moses

Ross TL Steering Gear Adjustment.pdf

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Moses, the level of thoroughness in your responses continues to impress me.  You are a true technician indeed!

I've ordered what I hope is a decent spring scale (http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IHF6GC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00), and will undertake the next part of the rebuild process asap.

Re. the cam bearing adjustment, I keep thinking back to something you said in the video.  You were comparing figuring out the correct number & thickness of cam bearing shims to the process of finding the correct amount of drag vs. smoothness when adjusting the bearings on a bicycle's handlebars.  Having performed that task many times over the years, that criteria will be my initial starting point!

 

 

 

 

Edited by snoopy2x

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Maury...For comparison, consider TRW's rotational torque wrench test.  (Check rotational torque at the steering wheel end of the worm shaft.)  This could provide insight.

For rotational torque tests, I use a traditional inch-pound flex bar (beam) torque wrench that is accurate in the lower in-lb increments.  (My torque wrench reads 0-120 in-lb range.)  I use this 1/4-inch drive torque wrench for automatic transmission band adjustments and steering gear work.

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Having picked up a 1/4" torque wrench, when I get the boxes reassembled, I look forward to trying out the torque specs noted on the TRW / Ross instruction sheet as you suggest, and see how those work out.

Relative to reassembly, I have a bit of a problem I'm hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction on.  I had hoped it would be solved by being able to reference my brother in law's Ross box, which I now have in hand for rebuilding.  Unfortunately, however, it did not answer the question at hand.

The issue is that the Pitman arms on the three V6 boxes I've now disassembled (the one from my jeep, my brother in law's, and the one from the '68) were each in somewhat different positions relative to the levers on the sector shafts.  It turns out that each box had already been rebuilt at least once, as evidenced by the shafts and in at least one case, the Pitman arm having been previously replaced with aftermarket (as opposed to genuine Ross) parts.  Two of these lever / sector shafts are pictured below as found, showing their significantly different Pitman arm alignments.

Though the three pairs of Pitman arms and lever shaft ends do have alignment marks, all three are in different places relative to each other on the "old" boxes - and on none of the three are the Pitman arm and sector shaft marks aligned with each other.   Since all three boxes are different in terms of their Pitman arm alignments, I don't have a reliable original example to base the Pitman arm positioning on for the rebuilt boxes. 

Any ideas as to how I might go about determining the proper spline alignment position of the Pitman arm?  The only thing I've been able to come up with so far is to install the box on the jeep without the Pitman arm attached, then determine the center of the steering wheel travel vs. the front wheels being straight ahead, and attach the Pitman arm accordingly (an approach which seems imprecise at best).

 

17.Sector_shafts_with_varying_Pitman_arm

 

 

 

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Maury...This is an important concern.  The goal is to make sure that the steering gear is on its precise center point (the middle of the "slight drag" point) with the front wheels pointed straight ahead.

The tie-rods each have adjuster sleeves that can lengthen or shorten side to side.  This is for setting toe-in but also for centering up the steering gear.  Importantly, the tie-rod ends must be threaded evenly into the adjuster sleeves at each end of the sleeve.  This assures that there is enough thread penetration and uniform adjustment in and out.  The draglink length is fixed, which pre-determines the position of the steering bellcrank

A V-6 with the M38A1 sector may have a different gear centering point than an F-head four.  Regardless, what must occur in either case is that the Ross twin lever studs must be centered on the worm in the straight ahead position with a slight drag felt in this over-center position.  

The Ross TL gear, by design, has play or backlash in both left and right directions once the gear steers off-center.  If the gear is not on its center with the front wheels/tires straight ahead, there will be backlash and wander when driving straight ahead.  

Suggestion: Steer the lever back and forth on the bench with the worm cam in place to see how this gear operates.  Notice that there is a natural "looseness" or backlash in the left and right or off-center steering positions.  Worse yet, only one stud/pin is engaged in the worm cam's groove if the gear is way off center.  This is the gear's design and why slight drag should only be felt in the over-center or straight ahead position of the worm and lever!  The worm groove is cut shallower where the twin pins pass through the centered position...Take some pictures for others to grasp this...

Note: The front axle and steering knuckle caster angle is what keeps the steering gear backlash from being noticeable in the left or right steering positions.  Correct caster angle pulls the front wheels toward a straight ahead steer.  This force removes noticeable backlash.  Make sure the caster angle is correct. 

So, my approach would be to first align or center up the gear's worm-and-lever with the steering wheel's position. Yes, the steering wheel should be positioned with the gear on its precise center:  That way, when the steering wheel spokes are centered, the worm-and-lever studs will also be on their center point... 

Do the rebuild of your bellcrank with the kit you bought.  Then roughly center up the two tie-rods, front wheels pointed straight ahead and the front wheel toe-set (toe-in) adjusted correctly—or at least adjusted very closely to specification.

With front wheels pointed straight ahead and toe-in set closely to specification, and the tie-rods threaded evenly into their sleeves, see where the pitman arm aligns on the sector with the steering gear on its center.  If the pitman is close enough to align the arm and sector marks, use the pitman and sector marks as a reference.  Install the pitman arm in this position.  To precisely center up the steering gear and steering wheel spokes, make the final adjustment using the two tie-rod sleeves.  Maintain the correct toe-set by shortening one tie-rod and lengthening the other.  Make sure the tie-rod thread penetration into the sleeves is sufficient.

A mistake made often by unaware techs and DIY'ers is to have the steering gear off-center when the front wheels point straight ahead.  This is compounded by removing the steering wheel and re-positioning it to "straight".  The steering wheel may be straight, and maybe the front wheels point straight ahead with proper toe-set, but the steering gear is off its center point with backlash and poor stud pin engagement!  

Always begin the process by aligning the steering wheel with the steering gear's center point.  This is approximately 1/2 the total gear turns from lock-to-lock; more accurately, it is the gear's over-center high point where slight drag should occur.

If the Jeep is steering straight ahead with the steering gear off its center point, a device like the TightSteer might mask the symptom—but if the gear is far enough off-center, there could be only one stud in the worm groove!  This comment is not intended to slight TightSteer but rather one more clarification about the importance of centering the Ross TL steering gear with the front wheels in the straight ahead position—even with the TightSteer adjuster installed.

That's why the Ross twin-stud gear with a stock adjuster screw calls for backlash adjustment only at the over-center or shallower point on the worm groove.  Adjusting drag with the gear off-center can create severe binding of the worm-and-lever when the gear steers through its true center point. 

Make sense?  Sounds like three Jeep CJ 4x4s with Ross TL gears that may have been adjusted incorrectly—or at the very least differently.  

Moses

 

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I think I understand all you've written above, and that it makes good sense.  However, rest assured that if any questions come up during reassembly, I will certainly ask!

I'm considering priming and painting the two boxes I'm working on a bit differently than you did the one in your video, which was primed and painted after assembly.  I noticed when my brother-in-law sent me photos of his original box (below) that the housing parts had evidently originally been painted with Glyptal before being assembled, as it doesn't appear that the bolt heads were painted. 

Thinking about this, it occurred to me that if I primed & painted the boxes before putting them together, that would in turn allow me to determine visually and/or via measurements at exactly what point the lever is in the center of the worm / cam.  I could then mark that point with a Sharpie in several places on the end of the (red painted) cylindrical shaft housing and the exposed spline end of the lever shaft, prior to installing the gasket and side cover plate.  

That way, when the box is bolted onto the frame and I'm installing the Pitman Arm, I could ensure that the lever is centered on the cam by simply aligning the marks on the housing and the exposed end of the shaft.  This should also help in getting the steering wheel properly "centered" (i.e. with one spoke either straight up or straight down when the lever is centered on the cam).   

Do you see any issues with taking this approach?

Thanks, Moses!!

 

18.Ross_Box_2-2-120b.thumb.jpg.03287e3fd

19.Ross_Box_2-1-120.thumb.jpg.0e0e36faac

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Moses, here are a couple of issues I've run into while working on my brother-in-law's Ross box (which has been blasted and is ready for lever shaft bushings to be installed):

1) The bottom bearing race is stuck in the housing (first photo below).  It is not an original roll-neck race, but one of the later replacement "right angle" type that I would really rather not re-use.  I've tried everything I can think of to get it out....except removing the horn wire tube and using a bushing driver or socket to tap it out from behind.  I'm really hesitant to remove the horn wire tube, which appears to be in good shape, as I'm not sure how to remove it without damaging the tube or cover - or for that matter, exactly how to reinstall it properly (beyond knowing that I would need to use the proper type of Permatex). 

All of that said, do you think removing the horn tube is likely my best / only option?

2) Also, the threads at the end of his cam tube are stripped (see second photo below) to the point that I don't want to use it in the rebuild, as it's very questionable how well the steering wheel would be secured.   I'm also less than thrilled with the prospect of using an imported reproduction of this critical part, and to my knowledge there are no US-made replacements available.

I do have a spare original cam tube that came with the '69 box, but it is very slightly bent at the point where the tube and cam meet (though otherwise it's in great shape).  By very slightly bent, I mean that when rotated in the housing with the bearings properly installed, there was maybe 1/16" to 3/32" of off-center "movement" visible at the steering wheel end.....but definitely enough that it would cause the column tube to flex and the steering wheel to bind if it were used in that condition.  

Is it realistic to think that a machine shop might be able to straighten the cam tube sufficiently to make it usable?

UPDATE RE. ISSUE #2:  I took both cam tubes to a local machine shop today, and the owner said that straightening the slightly bent one should be relatively simple (particularly in comparison to machining and then welding a bushing onto the end of the stripped tube, and re-threading it).  He's going to try to get the straightening done for me in the next few days, so hopefully that problem will soon be resolved.  

 

20.56bbd6f98dba1_Freds_box_2.thumb.jpg.2

21.Stripped_threads.thumb.jpg.28e21ebf54

 

 

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Hi, Maury...First off, the use of Glyptal is purposeful.  This is an anti-corrosion protection.  On my rebuilds where Glyptal is still intact and in good shape on the inside of a gear housing, I leave it in place.  Otherwise, it would be sensible to restore this coating.  Corrosion occurs most frequently in a gear that sets with lube not circulating; rust or oxidation forms at the "dry" area above the lubrication line if there is bare casting.  Glyptal adheres very well to cast iron and tolerates most lubricants.  I've seen Glyptal intact after more than a half-century in place.  Tough stuff!  It was commonly used in the automotive industry and is still available today.  Though not cheap, it is insurance.

Your reasoning about marking the case and lever shaft at its precise on-center position makes very good sense.  Any method that assures an accurate alignment of the worm center position with the lever on center is practical.  If you can see this alignment and mark the index points, that's great...Again, the lever shaft must ultimately be in its on-center position with the front wheels pointed straight ahead, as I described in my reply above.

The machine shop should be able to straighten the tube to a centered position.  The process should be a simple cold bending, as this tubing is ductile enough to readily bend the very slight amount you describe.  This is not an elaborate step to take, the shop can do it cold, using a lathe (no cutting, please!) or a similar alignment fixture to find center.  The aim is to have the steering wheel rotating on center without binding the upper column bearing or the worm cam bearings.  You are better off with a genuine Ross cam and tube!

As for the lower bearing race surrounding the wire tube, I have removed races in blind holes by carefully running short weld beads (MIG or stick) at 3 or 4 points on the race's face and not near the outer edge of the race.  (If you attempt this, avoid damaging or overheating the gear housing!)  Run one 1/2" bead at a time, and let the race and gear housing cool completely between beads.  The result should be a shrinking of the race's O.D. as the race cools.  Sometimes, the first bead will do it, sometimes two beads at opposite points, four short beads at most.  

Note:  Bearing races are hard steel and will shrink from this heat and cooling/contraction.  In my experience, the race is quite loose when the bead(s) cool.  You need a steady hand and good aim with the MIG gun or stick electrode to avoid arc damage to the cast iron housing.  If the square edged bearing race's installation did not distort the housing bore, the heat from shrinking the race should not impact the seating or fit of the new race.  Do not attempt to cool down the bearing race or gear housing with water, compressed air or other means; allow the housing to cool naturally...Should you attempt this procedure, let us know the outcome and catch a few photos in the process.

If weld beads on the bearing race face sound daunting, the cover/tube can be removed and reinstalled if not too far out of shape.  Mark its position before removal and attempt to reinstall the cover in that same position.  Before installation, flatten the cover's edge to expand it slightly for a snug fit.  You can use an industrial quality, oil resistant epoxy to set the cover at the bore ledge, also applying epoxy around the outer cover lip and its joint with the gear housing bore.  There is no pressure on the cover if the tube is straight, and the cover should stay in place and seal well.  Your gear housing casting is bead blasted and clean, providing an optimal, porous surface for epoxy adhesion.

Moses

 

 

 

 

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Unfortunately, the original Glyptal coatings on the internal surfaces of neither my nor my brother in law's steering boxes were in great shape, probably as a result of 50 years of use in humid eastern-US climates.  Some corrosion was present inside of both boxes, which is why I had both housings blasted internally as well as externally.  

When I started these two Ross box rebuilds, I was planning to use red spray paint over epoxy primer as shown in your video.  However, after thinking about it more, and in particular after reading your last post, I've decided to instead use Glyptal 1201 Red Enamel on both the internal and external surfaces of the two boxes I'm working on.   This was of course how the Ross steering boxes were originally finished, and as you pointed out, there was good reason for that - so going back with Glyptal would seem to be a wise choice in several respects.  The fact that I will be able to split the high cost of the Glyptal (about $50 for one 12-ounce spray can - first photo below) with my brother-in-law, as I'll be painting my box and his at the same time, makes this option more financially feasible.      

A lot of good information about Glyptal 1201 can be obtained here: http://www.glyptal.com/1201tech001.pdf   However, this document didn't include any info about application temperature, which is a concern as I need to paint these outside, and live in the mountains of North Carolina (and as it is now February).   Accordingly, I called Glyptal, and learned that the recommended application temperature range is between 55 and 80 degrees F.   The Glyptal rep I spoke with said that no separate primer is required, as it is self-priming, but two coats of Glyptal are recommended, applied 2 hours apart.  The paint must be fully dried / cured before being exposed to grease or oil.  Note that full drying time for 2 coats (which equates to about 3 mils of total thickness) is at least one week at room temperature.  Alternatively, this time frame can be greatly accelerated by baking the painted parts at 150 degrees for two hours, which he said would yield the same level of cure.  He also stressed that it's extremely important that the surfaces to be painted are completely free of grease and oil.   In order to ensure this is the case, I plan to have the housings glass-beaded again just before painting.  (During the re-blasting, I could put the old lever / sector shafts in place in the new bronze bushings to protect the bushings' inside surfaces from any potential damage from the blasting.)  

I can certainly appreciate the efficiency of the welding bead approach for removing a stuck bearing race.  Thank you for the thorough description of that process!  However, not being an experienced welder, and out of fear of possibly damaging the housing, I decided I better not to try to remove it that way.  Instead, using a long screwdriver and a rubber mallet, with the screwdriver routed through the box from the top cam shaft bearing opening to the inside face of the horn wire tube cover, I carefully tapped the cover out of the housing (second photo below).  Tapping in a gradual, circular fashion around the inside face of the cover, it and the attached horn wire tube came out fairly easily with no damage.  Once this was removed, I was able to tap out the stuck bearing race using an appropriately sized (backwards) socket and extension bar with the rubber mallet (third photo below).  

I also pressed the new lever shaft bushings into this second housing (fourth photo below).  The next step will be to install the new lever shaft in this box to the proper clearances, as well as the horn wire tube.  At that point I'll be ready to re-glass bead blast and paint both housings as soon as weather permits.

When you made your video several years ago, you recommended that either Permatex #1 or epoxy be used to reinstall and secure the horn wire tube cover in the housing.   Is it still your opinion that either of these is fine, or do you think epoxy would be the better one to use? 

 

22.Glyptal_Aerosol_Red_Enamel_Paint.thum

23.Horn_Wire_Tube_removal.thumb.jpg.b43f

24.Stuck_bearing_race_removal.thumb.jpg.

25.Bearing_race_out_-_bushings_in.thumb.

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Maury...For installing the cover, I would use epoxy, industrial quality and resistant to lube oil and grease.  On the inside, wipe off any visible epoxy excess after seating the cover on its ledge.  On the outside, a beveled bead at the joining surface between the cover and casting bore would "lock" the cover in place and provide additional sealing.  This takes into account that the cover fits snugly in position.  The epoxy is just a backup and for sealing.

Glad you provided details on the Glyptal, thanks!  This will help others use the material properly.  Your approach is sensible and provides an OEM restoration "look".  Should be attractive.

As for returning to the bead blaster, don't bother.  The risk of embedding bead between the bushings ends and the gear case bore is not worth it.  That glass can work itself out later and be unwanted abrasive within the gear.  Some general ways to remove oil residue:  1) a heated parts washing cabinet that uses a soluble (water based) soap not harmful to bronze bushings, 2) wiping the case out with a paint reducer known to evaporate completely, 3) white gas/napthalene (Coleman stove gas equivalent) that tends to draw out oil and then evaporate (great for wiping up driveway oil drips, beware of the high flammability!) or 4) wipe out with denatured alcohol (wear proper gloves, this is toxic and deadly if drawn into skin nicks and cuts).  Ivory Liquid and similar dish detergents work well, they have slight alcohol content and will rinse thoroughly with warm water.

     Point of interest:  My Ammco 1450 Brake Parts Washer uses a water soluble alcohol based solvent:  Ammco_1350-1450_Brake_Washer_Operation_Manual.pdf.  An alternative is denatured alcohol (available at Home Depot or Lowes), which does not have a petroleum/mineral base; denatured alcohol will clean and draw out oil residue before evaporating.  Years ago, I used denatured alcohol for critical brake parts cleaning, first soaking parts and brushing, then washing parts with Ivory Liquid dish detergent solution and rinsing thoroughly with water before blowing off the parts with clean compressed air until completely dry.  Today, after safely instructing young adults at automotive/diesel mechanics in a modern shop setting, I have my own 1450 machine.  This brake parts washer is OSHA-approved to trap and contain asbestos found in older brake friction materials and clutch linings...

You can ask Glyptal what they recommend that will not leave a residue or be incompatible with the Glyptal.  Please share your findings...

Moses

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As always, thank you for your post, Moses!  This evening I've been researching different high-strength industrial epoxies.  Unless you would disagree, it looks to me like J-B Weld's steel-reinforced epoxy rated for automotive use, might fit the bill nicely. From their website's FAQs: "When fully cured, J-B Weld is completely resistant to water, gasoline, and about every other petroleum product or automotive chemical."   http://www.jbweld.com/collections/epoxy-adhesives/products/j-b-weld-twin-tube

Point well taken re. not glass-beading the housings again now that the bronze bushings are installed.  In search of a "Glyptal-approved" surface prep, I paged through their online documents covering recommended methods, and found the following:

26.Glyptalsurfaceprep2_zpskzy1lpfc-Copy.

Is it safe to assume that "Remove grease and oil by washing surface with mineral spirits" refers to just wiping the housings down well with clean rags soaked in mineral spirits, or would you suggest additional steps to remove any residue that might remain? 

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snoopy2x...I'd like to think this is Glyptal's "chemical compatibility choice", mineral spirits seems as dated as Glyptal.  I would think your idea of wiping down with clean rags would work.  See how the mineral spirits dry and be sure there is no residue left, including mineral spirits!  Be sure the surface is completely dry before applying Glyptal.

JB Weld is useful for many light repairs.  However, what often gets thoroughly overlooked with JB Weld is its relatively low tensile strength.  Not much there compared to brazing, silver solder braze, welding and other "permanent" bonds where metal parts join.  Despite this caveat, we're talking about a fitted piece that should go back in place with some resistance.  No real pressure applies to this cover, it simply supports the wire tube and the lubricant.  The cover does need to seal well in a hostile environment of gear lube, engine heat and debris.

Sealing ability and resistance to vibration, plus resistance to reasonable temperature fluctuations, would make the JB Weld attractive.  Gear lube or semi-fluid grease like you have considered can each cause chemical reactions.  On a bright note, JB Weld may have more to offer here.  

Again, start by carefully shaping the cover to its full diameter before installing it.  That will make it fit snugly, and the primary role of the epoxy will be sealing.  If the cover is flat at the ledge, the actual joining area will be very slight.  On the outside of the gear, you may need to scuff the cured JB Weld with Scotchbrite pad or even sanding paper to assure that the Glyptal adheres. 

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Thanks for your thoughts, Moses, and I'll gather the needed materials.  The weather here is supposed to warm up considerably toward the end of next week, so hopefully I'll have the Glyptal in hand and be able to paint the housings then.  

I've done the necessary honing of the lever shaft bushings in the second housing, and I'm happy to say that all of the spec'ed shaft to bushing clearances are within tolerance.  As is the case with most tasks, It was easier the second time!

Edited by snoopy2x

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Good work, Maury...We've worked through the alignment/fit of the bushings, you're pro grade now!  You'll be very happy with the results on these gears and a popular guy in the Willys/Kaiser Jeep community.  Considering the MB, M38, M38A1, Jeep Universal, Pickup, Station Wagon and FC models with the Ross cam-and-lever gears, that's a lot of folks!

Thanks for posting the outstanding and detailed photos...These are very helpful to others.  During assembly, some photos of the lever studs in relationship to the worm groove during left to right turns, and through dead center, will be enlightening to many...inspiring them to stop re-positioning the steering wheel to correct for a steering gear that is off center!

For those following us, remember that the cam-and-lever studs should have slight drag (zero backlash) over the center or high point of the worm groove.  Expect backlash as the gear steers away from center, left and right.  For details, refer back to my February 2nd and 6th replies at this topic.

Keep us posted...

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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My last task before the final cleaning and painting of the housings is to re-install the horn wire tube and cover in the second box, which were removed in order to in turn remove the stuck bearing race.  I used JB Weld epoxy to secure and seal the cover as discussed above.   The photos below show the sequence of steps:

 

1) The horn wire tube cover ready for installation, with a bead of epoxy around the ledge of the opening, and around the outer edge of the circular cover:  

27.HornWireTubeepoxy1_zpsxwmvtleo-Copy.j

 

2) An appropriately sized socket & extension being used to tap the cover into place:

28.HornWireTubeinstall1_zpsn6p2p76r.jpg

 

3)  I found it very helpful while installing the cover to keep an eye on the centering of the tube in the upper bearing race hole, as viewed from the other end of the tube.   From that vantage point, it's easy to visually judge whether or not the tube is in the center of this hole, and adjust the angle at which the cover is being tapped into the housing so that the tube is well centered when the cover is fully in place:

29.HornWireTubeinstall2_edited-4_zpsyb6u

 

4) The epoxy being applied and beveled around the outside joint between the casting and cover, using a small razor knife:

30.HornWireTubeepoxy2_zpsz5chfytq.jpg

 

5)  The beveled epoxy bead ready to dry.  Once dry, it will be sanded prior to cleaning & painting:  

31.HornWireTubeepoxy3_zpsd3mrp7vt.jpg

 

6)  The inside of the horn wire tube cover (just after installation and before cleaning), showing the compressed epoxy bead around the inside edge of the ledge:

32.HornWireTubeepoxy4_edited-2_zpst3z9z1

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These photos are great, snoopy2x!  Glad you cleaned off excess or "bead" on the inside after the photo op; the outside bevel will work fine, sanding should provide Glyptal adhesion.  

Glad the tube is brazed to the cover for a quality seal.  Nicely centered wire tube, should clear the worm tube.  The J-B Weld, in this role, will reinforce and seal well.

This should do it!

Moses

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Well, the weather was fortunately cooperative today, and I was able to get the housings painted with Glyptal inside & out.  After cleaning them thoroughly with mineral spirits as recommended, using rubber gloves to ensure that they didn't pick up any residue from my hands, I blocked both ends of the 15/16" lever shaft bushings with 1" tapered rubber plugs (see photo below), and started painting, two coats on the inside surfaces first, followed by two on the outside.   I applied each coat two hours apart as Glyptal recommends.

I found this paint very easy to work with.  It doesn't require a primer, goes on smoothly, and dries to the touch quickly. 

Now I either need to wait an entire week until the paint cures fully at room temperature.....or wait until my wife is out of the house for awhile, and put the parts in our oven for a couple of hours at 150 degrees.  (I will do the latter if I get the chance, though I strongly suspect it would not be wise to attempt this when she's home ;-)!  

 

33.Glyptal_on_housings.thumb.jpg.58c9077

 

 

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Beautiful, snoopy2x!  This is a great touch, understandably more expensive compared to "paint", even pro-grade epoxy base primer and a top coat.  The finish, though, is true restoration quality, and the manufacturer still takes pride in the adhesion factor if prepped properly, which you obviously did.  The rubber stoppers were a smart and functional approach!

I've worked with many older/vintage gear and engine castings that had Glyptal coatings.  The stuff is durable and doesn't slough over time.  If the modern product meets that traditional standard, you've done your steering gears a real service!

I'm still smiling about the oven cure and need for your wife to not find out!  I have a friend who was a VW air-cooled buggy fanatic in the day.  After tearing down an opposed four and putting the engine cases and other reusable engine parts in his home dishwasher, as you would well expect, he wound up buying a new dishwasher!...Make sure the fumes are completely exhausted and gone before baking that next dinner—certainly before your wife gets home!

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Thanks very much for the compliment, Moses.....I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your help with this project!

While I'm waiting for the paint to cure fully via air drying (or alternatively, for the opportunity to arise to sneak the housing parts into our oven without my wife knowing), there are a couple of other tasks I can complete in the meantime.  

One item left on my to-do list is to polish the worm, spline, and threads of the previously glass-beaded cam tube.  I did this today using the wire wheel on my grinder, which is a great tool for performing this job, as noted in your video.   Here are a couple of photos of the polishing underway: 

 

34.Cam_shaft_polishing_1.thumb.jpg.b6dc6

35.Cam_shaft_polishing_2.thumb.jpg.2465a

 

 

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Here's some more info I just came across re. the TightSteer unit that may be of interest.  This 2012 post by the inventor, Roger Simonoff, is from http://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/steering-damper-for-ross-steering-boxes_topic22883.html:

Just wanted to do an update and share some findings relative to Ross steering boxes. We've prepared a cutaway of a Ross box, attached a small steering wheel, and mounted it on a wood stand so that we can take it to rally's and shows and demo how TightSteer works with a Ross box and exactly what it does. This way, people can look inside the box while they turn the wheel to better understand how a Ross box works.

 
36.Tightsteerdemo.jpg
 
In doing this, we learned a few things that might be of interest to some of you: 
 
1) By attaching a dial indicator to the spring-loaded plunger in the TightSteer we could measure the runout through the entire steering rotation of the box. (This photo simulates the test - in the real test everything was clamped down to the workbench.) I was surprised to learn that the runout was as much as .035" and it wasn't in any one place, but instead up and down from zero to .035" play from lock to lock (and this box has new sector shaft and bushings). (With TightSteer in place, the sector shaft stayed engaged with the cam and compensated for the runout, but without it, there would be places where the sector shaft's teeth were engaged in the cam and places where there was .035" play. As well as I could tell, and with the equipment I have, the .035" play equates to about 15° rotation at the wheel.) 
 
2) As one would assume, the sector shaft's two pins are in the cam in the straight-ahead position, but when the steering wheel is turned either left or right of center to about 94° or 95° the outbound pin is leaving the cam - that is, it is no longer in contact with the cam. This means that in turns sharper than 95° on the steering wheel (1/4 turn), all the load is on the pin that is in the cam!
 
I'll share more data as I learn it...
Roger
 
Also, this later Youtube video about the TightSteer unit is on the manufacturer's website, http://www.siminoffjeeparts.com/:
 
 

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Thanks for sharing, snoopy2x...This kind of lever end-play is on par for the design of a Ross TL gear.  The play would be off-center backlash that reflects the depth/machining of the worm groove.  Actual worm run-out would be an out of round condition measured at the worm's surface and not at the lever adjuster pad.

By comparison, a Saginaw recirculating ball-and-nut gear has the ball nut traveling up and down the worm on ball-bearings, precisely and with no play.  On the Saginaw gear, as with other steering gears that use toothed sectors, the ball nut and sector teeth do have play/backlash in the off-center positions.  The Saginaw gears, like a Ross cam-and-lever or Gemmer (worm and roller) gear, does have backlash (more precisely controlled with the Saginaw gear) in the left/right (away from center) turning positions.  Each of these gears has a "high point" over center that is measurable as a slight drag (zero backlash plus slight preload) during the adjustment of the gear.

Below is an illustration of the Saginaw manual recirculating ball-and-nut steering gear introduced on 1972 AMC/Jeep models, including the new 84" and 104" wheelbase CJs with inline sixes or the 304 V-8 option.  (There were rare F-head four-cylinder carryovers on the older 81" wheelbase frame that still use the Ross cam-and-lever gear, the last Jeep models to do so.)  Note the distinct differences between the Ross TL and this design:

Jeep_Saginaw_Steering_1972.thumb.jpg.130

This Saginaw gear replaced both the Gemmer (worm and roller) and Ross cam-and-lever gears in the Jeep models.  Saginaw had the recirculating ball-and-nut gear in production on high end G.M. cars in 1940, and it would have been useful if Willys had outsourced this gear for the WWII MB and later Jeep models!  G.M. trucks, however, did not get the recirculating ball-and-nut gear until well after WWII.

At the back cover of the 1972 Jeep Technical Service Manual (photo above), there is the comment:  "Jeep...The toughest 4-letter word on wheels."  That certainly spoke for the new Saginaw steering gears!

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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SUCCESS.....in two ways......first, I was able to get the Glyptal-painted parts "cooked"......and second, my wife didn't catch on to the fact that I used our oven for industrial baking!  :-)

37.Painted_housings_cooked.thumb.jpg.48a

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Air that oven out well, I doubt that the Glyptal's chemistry would do the body good!  

Great looking castings...This will be an "as new" Ross TL gear when done, snoopy2x—and nearly done it is!  There's an end in sight...

Moses

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To your point earlier in this thread that the Ross cam & lever steering gear is really quite primitive, check out this ad from 1929.  Evidently Ross patented their steering gear design sometime before then, which is why they were able to claim that it was "exclusive with Ross", and that "There is only one Cam & Lever Steering Gear":

 

Ross Cam & Lever Steering Ad - 1929.jpg

Ross Cam & Lever Steering Ad - 1929 - inset.jpg

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Yes, snoopy2x, fortunately there was only one cam-and-lever gear!  I restored an early '30s Reo Speed Wagon gear years ago that looked like the lower illustration:  single cog/stud, wear-prone and primitive would describe it.  NOS parts were non-existent, the stud had to be fabricated, the one-piece lever had to be machined to accept the new stud with modern metallurgy and proper heat treating, then TIG welded in place without impacting the heat treatment; the back-plate required bronze repair/restoration.  I managed to find roll-neck bearing races.  The parts unique to Ross made this an arduous project, and the cost soared.

You have been far more fortunate with the later Ross twin-stud TL gear.  I'm delighted!

Moses 

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You were definitely correct when you indicated in your 29 January post on this thread that Ross was well aware that their cam & lever steering gear designs with stationary / fixed pins, like the ones used on jeeps from 1941 through 1971, created uneven wear points on those pins.  Ross also had to have known that such wear would in turn cause this type of steering gear to become progressively more "out of adjustment" over time, just from normal use. 

As proof positive that they knew all of this long before they designed the fixed-pin type TL steering gear used in jeeps, below is another Ross ad from 1930 claiming that "....in this new type of Cam & Lever Steering Gear, wear has been reduced to a negligible factor".  As shown in the illustration, the key to this improvement was that the single lever pin, rather than being fixed in place, was designed to rotate inside a set of paired, tapered roller bearings - which, as you also pointed out in your 29 Jan. post, served to greatly reduce wear on the pin.  Steering gear incorporating this feature would indeed, as the ad also claims, tend to "Stay in Adjustment" - at least to a far greater degree than the fixed-pin type of gear used in the early jeeps.

My guess is that the rather unfortunate decision to use the fixed-pin type of cam & lever steering gear design in the original pre-war jeeps (which later propagated into the post-war jeeps) probably doesn't rest entirely on Ross' shoulders.  Ross would almost certainly have offered several different steering gear price and design options to automobile manufacturers at that time, including both the fixed- and rotating-pin types. 

In 1940, Willys developed their prototype Quad for the US Army's four wheel drive general-purpose utility vehicle design competition.  One of the many factors assessed was the per-vehicle cost to the Army.  As the submission ultimately selected, the Quad prototype design evolved to become the 1941 MA and subsequent MB model jeeps.  Though Ross clearly had better steering gear technology available by then, it's quite possible that in order to help minimize overall vehicle cost, Willys specifically requested that Ross provide a simple and relatively inexpensive fixed-pin type cam & lever steering gear for these early jeeps. 

Given that the fixed-pin Ross steering gear held up and performed well in combat conditions during WWII, after the war there was likely little perceived need to upgrade to a better type of steering gear for the post-war civilian jeeps.  The longer-term lifespan of the fixed-pin type design may not have been seriously evaluated or considered by Willys at that point (or alternatively, it could have been an example of planned obsolescence.....just think of how many replacement lever shafts must've later been sold!)

In any case, it stands to reason that Ross would have preferred to provide a higher-end - and higher-priced - paired tapered roller bearing lever pin type steering gear for the jeep, as the company would likely have realized a greater profit as a result.  One thing is certain: Many owners of classic jeeps today sure wish they had!  

 

 

Ross Steering Ad 1930.jpg

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I finally found the time to assemble the steering gear over the past several days, as shown in the photos below.

The lower bearing race was very tight where it fit into the housing, and had to be firmly tapped into place to seat properly.  (Note that I was unable to use the lower circular end clip due to the fact that the lower race had to be installed separately from the cam tube.)  I did this using a short piece of PVC drain pipe that was soft enough to ensure that the race wouldn't be damaged.:

40.GearAssembly-1_zpsb9hjehpz.jpg

 

The sector shaft seal installation.  I had originally intended to use a new Omix-Ada sector shaft seal, but that part didn't fit very well in the recess in the housing, and I was afraid it wouldn't seal well.  Instead, I was able to locate an NOS 15/16" sector shaft seal that proved to be in great shape, which must mean it was stored properly.  It can just be pressed in by hand using an appropriately sized socket.  The internal lip of the seal should be greased beforehand. 

41.GearAssembly-12_zpsrx15xl2i.jpg

 

The cam tube and bearings and upper race ready for installation.  Note the Penrite Steering Gear Lube, which I'll fill the finished gear with after it's installed in the jeep.  I also used Penrite to lubricate the parts as I assembled them in the housing:

42.GearAssembly-3_zpsks4tw8ai.jpg

 

I took a 4' long 2" x 2" x 3/16" steel angle and drill two 3/8" holes near the end matching the positions of the two lower mounting holes in the steering gear housing.  The lower end of the angle rested on the concrete floor, and the perpendicular leg was clamped into a bench vise, keeping it vertical.  Using this angle iron arrangement also allowed me to easily position the housing in a number of different ways during the process of assembling it, which proved to be really helpful. 

Here the housing is bolted to the angle, and the cam tube and associated parts are just loosely fit together inside it:

43.Gearassemblysetup-4_zpsqcqg49vo.jpg

The cam tube and bearings waiting for shims:

44.GearAssembly-4_zpsazn51lhy.jpg

 

Selecting the proper number of shims around the top bearing takes awhile.  After initially guesstimating the appropriate amount of shims, the upper bearing retainer must be tightened down in order to assess how smoothly the cam tube turns, as well to check for shaft end play (which should be zero).  It must then be taken apart again, and shims added or subtracted.....and then the trial and error process is repeated as necessary: 

45.GearAssembly-7_zpsrjbfyim4.jpg

 

I measured the end play by using a magnetic-base dial indicator attached to the "top" of the angle iron.  Once the shim count was correct, and the upper bearing retainer was installed with the bolts properly torqued to 18 ft-lbs, end play was at zero - but at the same time, the bearing action was completely smooth. 

46.GearAssembly-6_zpsucuzkkcl.jpg

 

The TRW / Ross instructions shown on Page 1 of this thread indicate that a shaft torque reading of 2 to 6 in-lbs is appropriate for the TL gear.  I measured below this reading using a 1/4 drive torque wrench with a 13/16 12-point socket which locked onto the spline.  

47.GearAssembly-7_zpstdbpzyl7.jpg

 

Another good way to check that the number of shims is correct is to use a spring scale like Moses did in his video.  The goal is to use the spring scale to pull a string that's wound around the cam tube, and not feel any "notchiness" in the bearings as the string unwinds and turns it.   Be sure not to wind the part of the string that will be unwound from the tube around the string's loose end, except for once at the top to hold it in place - because if you do, it will create exactly the notch-y feel you're hoping to avoid (don't ask me how I know this.) 

48.GearAssembly-8_zpspcaa0bvf.jpg

 

Once the correct shim count was determined, the next step was to coat the shims with Gasgacinch on each side and install.  Though the old shims could be re-used if in good shape, on this box I found that I had to use all new shims, as the old ones were significantly corroded.  

49.GearAssembly-8_zpsmuofouat.jpg

 

As I waited for the Gasgacinch to dry before installing the shims and upper bearing retainer, I found myself wondering what the significance of the (apparently falling) girl on the artwork on the front of the can could be.  I also found that I have no idea.....unless maybe it's supposed to indicate that Gasgacinch helps to keep gaskets (and, evidently, girls) from slipping......?

50.Gasgacinch_zpsmbwbw9oh.jpg

 

More to come!

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snoopy2x...Your gear build looks terrific, and the photos are fantastic.  Nice trick with the angle iron support, fun to see you use a Duro torque wrench and spring scale like mine!  Did the cord and spring scale readings reflect TRW's specifications for rotating torque?  The semi-fluid Penrite EP lube is really interesting and highly viscous, you should benefit from its use.  Is this lube still in production and readily available?

Did you use sealant (Gasgacinch) around the outer jacket of the sector seal?  That's insurance although the Glyptal would likely suffice if the seal required any kind of installation force.  Also, I install the Gasgacinch coated shims and cut gaskets while the Gasgacinch is still tacky and pliant.  That assures flat compression.  In any case, the torque is sufficient enough to flatten these shims and assure a seal.  I use Gasgacinch on the bolt threads, too.  Re-torque all bolts to specification before installing the gear.  There may be minor thread take-up.

In reference to your post on the early twin-bearing, rotating stud gear, that was the "missing link" breakthrough for Ross.  I rebuilt a medium-duty I-H fire truck gear that had these opposed bearings (a two stud roller mounted design) and was able to reuse most of the hard parts!  New bearings and precise adjustments restored the gear.  No sign of "flats" on these rotating studs!

The fixed twin-stud lever was for light duty cars and pickups, and war machines like the MB were not expected to accrue a lot of miles.  Why the twin-stud gear without rollers followed into the postwar era is another story.  The early-'sixties Wagoneer/J-truck ushered in Gemmer worm-and-roller boxes (no great gain here, Ford and others had their share of grief with these wear-prone gears) before Kaiser finally outsourced the Saginaw integral (rotary valve) power steering gears as an option.  

I-H and Jeep followed similar histories with their fascination for Ross over other manufacturers.  Ross eventually offered its own worm-and-roller gear as TRW took over manufacturing and design...Willys, as your earlier ad denoted, was a Ross cam-and-lever user for a very long time.

Thanks much for sharing all these details and taking the time to photograph...Really solid documentation of a "blueprint" rebuild on the Ross TL gear!

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Thanks for the positive feedback, Moses! 

To answer your questions, I don't know how to derive the torque from the spring tension per se, but in any case, it only took a very slight amount of spring tension to rotate the shaft.   Using the 1/4" torque wrench in attempting to compare my gear's setup to TRW / Ross's torque specs of 2 to 6 in-lbs, the torque wrench did not reach even one in-lb before the shaft turned in either direction.  However, any more pressure on the bearings (i.e. fewer or thinner shims) caused a bit of the "notchiness" in the shaft rotation that I was specifically trying to avoid - so I decided the lesser of the evils was to leave everything as-is, especially given that there is zero measurable shaft end play at present.

I didn't put Gasgacinch around the sector shaft seal before seating it, though in hindsight if I were doing it again I would add this step, since as you say it would provide a bit of extra insurance against leaks.  This seal did take some pressure to insert into the recess in the housing, so hopefully the Glyptal coating will help keep this joint leakproof.

Based on user reviews, one of the benefits of the Penrite Steering Gear Lube is that its thick viscosity compared to the originally spec'ed oil evidently causes leaks to occur much less frequently than when the typical (lighter weight) oils are used.  This factor may help keep the sector shaft seal leak-free as well. 

Penrite is an Australian product that's still in production, and is available in the US through Restoration Supply Company:  http://www.restorationstuff.com/products.html   If you open their .pdf catalog, you'll find it under Penrite Products at the bottom of Page 24:

 

51.Penrite_source.thumb.jpg.f7e0d5ec3c19

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Moving along now through the rest of the gear assembly.....

The next step was to thoroughly grease the surface of the cam (having already done so with the bearings), using the Penrite Steering Gear Lube.  It is thick enough, at least at 60 degrees F, that it stayed on the cam and didn't flow too much during this initial greasing of the parts being installed:

52.GearAssembly-11_zps6ycyppd3.jpg

 

The lever / sector shaft was then inserted at the center (wheels straight ahead) position:

53.GearAssembly-13_zpshmrqe8og.jpg

 

I thought it might be helpful to also include a composite photo showing the lever shaft in five different positions.   The first photo shows the lever shaft in the full right turn position; second, its position at half-right turn; third at the center position; fourth, at its position at half-left turn; and fifth, in its position at full left turn:

54.Levershaftrighttoleftturn_zpssxxgd1kk

 

When I was confident that the lever shaft was in the correct center position on the cam, I used a Sharpie to make three asymmetrical marks along the bottom of the housing at the lever shaft seal (as this is the portion that will be visible from below when it is bolted onto the jeep's frame), and also on the lever shaft itself.  This will allow me to visually align the lever shaft to the center position after the housing is installed.  (If you'll recall from one of my initial posts in this thread, the end markings on the aftermarket lever shaft that was installed in my box prior to rebuilding were different from those on the end of the NOS lever shaft installed during the rebuild.  For this reason, I'm going to have to align the sector shaft and install the pitman arm after the box is installed, with the wheels held in the straight-ahead position).

55.GearAssembly-14a_zps4m3dg7r2.jpg

 

The cover was then installed after thoroughly Gasgacinch'ing the gasket and gasket surfaces on the housing and cover, as well as the bolt threads:

56.GearAssembly-15_zpsl730gsmi.jpg

 

The fully assembled housing, with the 5/16" bolts torqued to 18 ft-lbs per the TRW specs, ready for the installation of the steering column tube:

57.GearAssembly-16_zpsohntjxbt.jpg

 

Also, Moses, I have a question for you that I meant to ask earlier.  Do you happen to know why the spiral groove in the cam is a progressive, rather than a constant, uniform spiral?   I would think the progressive spiral would cause the rate of rotation of the lever shaft to be different when turning from the center to left than when turning from center to right.   

58.Camshaftprogressivescrew_zpsvvwmygkl.

Thank you, Moses, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Maury (snoopy2X)...This is really textbook level work, you'll have a precisely functioning piece of art when done!  Let's trust that the Penrite lube will tip the scale toward longevity for this gearbox.  You've given the unit every possible chance to survive...Use our earlier exchange as a guideline for aligning the front wheels straight ahead with the tie-rod adjuster sleeves uniform and to specification with the steering gear on-center.  Here for any follow-up questions in that regard.

The only possible explanation for the spiral groove being progressive in the left turn direction would be leverage and "feel" with the normal crown of a left-hand-drive American road!  If this is the case, the road crown would create a need for more leverage/ratio advantage in the left turn range than the right turn, which requires only minimal effort.  Again, remember my comments on caster angle creating a self-centering effect.  This applies to both steering return after corners and also to holding a straight line. 

Note:  Today, we control road crown pull to the right with a cross caster change at the ball-joints (off-set aftermarket ball joints like I talk about at this link to my January 10th post on off-set ball-joints for an open knuckle beam axle).  For the closed knuckle, beam axle Jeep, caster and camber are uniform, and the only way to change caster or camber would be a knuckle bearing cap with offset pin if available.  I recall aftermarket offset pin bearing caps in the day; they saved an axle housing replacement when minor correction was necessary.  This was not intended as an alternative to replacing a damaged casting or weakened axle housing tube.  In addition to modern offset aftermarket ball-joints, there are also eccentric thread-in ball stud seats for re-positioning the center line of an open-knuckle ball-joint.  This works on axle C-ends that have threaded ball-stud seats.

Astute observation on your part, what other explanation could there be?  We should compare this worm design with a right-hand-drive Ross cam-and lever gear's spiral—if such a gear can be found.

Moses

 

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You're probably exactly correct re. the crown of American roads being the reason for the progressive spiral cam.  That idea had never even occurred to me, but now that you've brought it up, I can't think of any other possible reason either. 

Thanks so much for the kind words!  Though I'm not a technician or an engineer, I am an architect....so I particularly appreciate your "precisely functioning piece of art" comment! 

The only additional thing I can see that could possibly give this steering gear a greater lifespan might be - if it turns out to work as advertised - a TightSteer unit.  Toward the end of finding the eventual answer to that question:

Below are a series of photos taken during assembly, with the gear box held in the horizontal position.  The dial indicator was placed on the center of the lever shaft pivot, and the cam was rotated to move the lever shaft through its full range of motion, starting at the center point.

 

Lever shaft at center position - d/i measuring .0515  +/- :

59a.Levershaftatcenter.jpg

 

Lever shaft at half left turn - d/i measuring .026 +/- :

59b.Levershaftathalfleftturn.jpg

 

Lever shaft at full left turn - d/i measuring .014 +/- :

59c.Levershaftatfullleftturn.jpg

 

Lever shaft at half right turn - d/i measuring .023 +/- :

59d.Levershaftathalfrightturn.jpg

 

Lever shaft at full right turn - d/- measuring .043 +/- :

59e.Levershaftatfullrightturn.jpg

 

The lever shaft set screw is able only to limit the end play just past the lever shaft's greatest axial movement, which occurs at the point where it travels through the center position over the cam.  As can be inferred from the photos above, starting at the center point and moving across the lever shaft's full range of motion from full left to full right turn, there are over 30 thousands of an inch of "free" end play present at various points between the lever shaft pivot and the set screw.   

When the steering gear is installed, this end play of the lever shaft - which in turn allows the cone-shaped lever shaft pins to move or "rattle" slightly from side to side, since they are not fully engaged in the cam's groove - will translate into free play at the steering wheel.  That said, there are of course several other wear or adjustment factors in the steering system that can also cause or contribute to this same symptom. 

To illustrate the clearance between the lever shaft pins and the cam another way, here are two photos taken after the gear box was fully assembled, and the set screw installed properly so that just a very slight bit of drag is present when the cam travels through its center position.  In these photos, the box is held horizontally, with the lever shaft end pointing up.  The lever shaft is in the half-right turn position, with the dial indicator set to measure the shaft end play. 

 

The dial indicator measurement when the pivot of the lever shaft is touching the set screw:

60.LSassembledaxialmovementwithsetscrew1

 

The dial indicator measurement when I push the lever shaft upward as far as possible, to where the lever shaft pins are fully engaged in the cam.  Note that the dial indicator is showing over 30 thousandths of an inch of movement at the end of the lever shaft from the previous measurement:

61.LSassembledaxialmovementwithsetscrew2

 

As I hope to be able to eliminate the lever shaft end play issue in my jeep's steering gear as much as possible, I decided to purchase a TightSteer unit and try it out.  As discussed in this thread previously, it is designed to replace the standard stationary lever shaft set screw.  I'm hoping that with its spring-loaded plunger, it will serve to keep the lever shaft pins fully engaged in the cam across its entire range of motion, and to a large extent, eliminate the current free end play present in the lever shaft.  (In addition, as you brought up earlier, Moses, the TightSteer's spring could potentially act as a kind of "shock absorber" for the internal steering gear parts, which would also be advantageous.) 

 

Here's a photo of the TightSteer before installation.  It appears to be a well made, susbstantial part.  Its spring-loaded plunger is visible at the right end of the unit:

62.TightSteer_zpspez8strx.jpg

 

I installed the TightSteer per the instructions (attached below), and as might be expected given that has a moving spring-loaded plunger rather than a fixed-position set screw, there is a bit more drag present when the cam moves through the center position than there is with the stationary set screw.  However, the unit does appear to function as intended, in that there is now no measurable end play in the lever shaft at any position throughout its range of motion.  Of course, I've not been able to try it "on the road" yet - but I soon will. 

The following two photos were also taken with the TightSteer unit installed, and the lever shaft at the half-right turn position.  Note that the dial indicator is at the same position in both of these photos.  This is because when I tried to move the end of the lever shaft upward in the second photo, the indicator did not move, as the TightSteer's spring plunger is keeping the lever shaft pins fully engaged in the cam.  

63.LSassembledaxialmovementwithTightStee

64.LSassembledaxialmovementwithTightStee

 

I plan to install the rebuilt steering gear with the set screw installed first, then install the TightSteer later in order to allow a good comparison of the two from a driving standpoint. 

It'll be interesting to see the results!

 

TightSteer Instructions.pdf

 

 

 

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Thanks for sharing your findings, snoopy2x!  As I noted earlier, cam-and-lever or worm-and-roller gears have inherent play or backlash when you move away from the over-center (zero lash, slight drag point) position.  

While it would seem alarming that there is this much lever movement end-wise or radially at the lever, that is not actually the case.  As the worm cam turns, the nature of a cone under pressure would cause the studs and lever to press outward from the worm groove.  This would reflect as continued, flush engagement between the stud cone surface and the groove's face while under pressure.  The lever's fixed adjuster acts as the stop—as would the TightSteer's contact button when retracted completely.

Note: If the cone remains the same depth in the worm cam with the lever against the OE adjuster or the retracted TightSteer button, the play you measure is simply the depth and width of the cam groove in its various positions.  The actual face contact between the cone and worm groove would remain the same.  (The concern would be the cone's depth or reach into the worm's groove, which likely does not vary much when the pitman/lever or steering/worm pressure is applied, and the lever's head is against the adjuster button.)  This, after all, is the design intent of the Ross cam-and-lever gear; recall that the factory manual promises this kind of backlash, as such play, when the gear is off-center in either direction.  The design calls for a shallower groove at the center point, which means a deeper (i.e., backlash) groove in the left-and-right turning directions.

The combination of taper and pressure keeps the lever's head flush against the adjuster with any kind of steering wheel or pitman arm pressure at the worm cam.  That stated, you still would have an advantage with the TightSteer (if it works as advertised) in that the adjuster button is not fixed but rather spring loaded and pushing the lever shaft inward.  What's actually going on is that the stud/pin cone is being pushed into the deeper cuts in the worm.  When the spring pressure of the TightSteer is capable of holding the lever inward, the lever pins will set deeper in the worm (groove) at the areas where you measured shaft "end play".  

Note: The spring tension in the TightSteer adjuster will determine how deep the pins remain in the groove when applying pitman/lever force or steering/worm loads.  If load is sufficient, the tapered stud/pin will move outward from the worm, and the stop point will be the fully retracted TightSteer button.  In any case, the spring tension should reduce the sensation of "backlash/play".  You'll be the judge of how this actually works, snoopy2x!

It's possible that some of the "flats" wear that plagues all of the Ross TL lever stud/pins over time is attributable to the clucking or ratcheting of the lever studs/pins against the worm groove faces.  Regardless, it would at least seem likely that the TightSteer has the advantage by making the stud cone "follow" the groove over the full range of worm cam-and-lever pin travel.  If there is any downside, it would be the constant, asserted pressure and spring tension where the stud/pins contact the groove's faces.  Also, the lever shaft, according to your end play measurements, would be sliding back and forth at the sector seal.  Not sure if this would have any impact; on a positive note, there would be less likelihood of wearing a groove in the lever shaft over time.

If contact friction is minimal, and if the Penrite lube can serve well with this kind of pressure applied, it's conceivable that you could substantially reduce the clash and shock loads between the stud/pins and the worm groove.  Backlash rattling normally would be more prevalent when the Jeep 4x4 operates on rough, irregular road or trail surfaces, as there is considerable feedback through the steering linkage.

Moses

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As always, your expertise and insight are greatly appreciated, Moses.  I can completely see your point re. how the cone-shaped lever shaft pins enable them to stay in contact with the cam as the lever shaft is "pushed" away from the cam and into the set screw.  By the same token, at the point where the greatest possible movement of the lever shaft occurs along the axis of the shaft is the same point where the steering wheel would have maximum play, as the cone-shaped pins then have the most side-to-side clearance between the opposing faces of the cam groove. 

If the TightSteer's spring-loaded plunger design which replaces the set screw can largely prevent this by keeping the lever shaft pins fully engaged in the groove, essentially eliminating that side-to-side clearance, it should likewise greatly reduce any steering wheel play.  From a drive-ability standpoint, that to me is TIghtSteer's most attractive proposition.  As you say, we'll soon find out how well it actually works in the fully rebuilt steering gear.

Speaking of which.....

The last tasks to perform in assembling the gear were to install the steering column, and repair the horn wire. 

I soaked and cleaned the upper steering column bearing in solvent, let it dry completely, then re-greased it using Dupont Teflon grease.  I did not want to try to disassemble this unusually shaped bearing in order to grease it, as I wasn't completely sure I'd be able to get it back together correctly.  On the other hand, the clearances where grease could be pushed into the assembled bearing are very tight, so trying to pack it manually might not have succeeded in getting enough grease inside.  Instead, I used a vacuum pump & canister to "pull" the grease into the bearing, which worked very well. 

65.ColumnBearingre-greasing_zpsdtajkbgt.

 

Here's a video (not mine) on this general subject showing the steps in this process:

 

I decide to repair my original horn wire rather than use the Omix-Ada replacement, as I liked the quality of the spring and sheath setup in the original better.   My original wire still had normal electrical continuity, and was in very good shape except for a small nick in the insulation down near the plug, which caused it to be a bit weak at the nick.  To repair and seal the nick in the insulation and at the same time reinforce the stiffness of the wire there, I applied five layers of electrical heat shrink tubing, one at a time around the nicked area (Yep....that ought'a do it!). 

Note that this repair had to be done after the wire was threaded through the horn wire tube, as the repaired area would not have fit through its inside diameter.  Also, in order to fish the wire from the steering wheel end through the horn wire tube, it is easiest to push a different wire through from the lower end, tape the end of that wire securely to the plug above the top of the tube, then pull the horn wire slowly down through the tube.

66.HornWireRepair_zpsathuj3zn.jpg

 

Here are a few photos of the fully assembled gear.  Note that the NOS pitman arm, which was blasted and coated with epoxy gloss black paint, has not yet been installed, but is still loose, without the spline being engaged.  Since it wasn't possible in this case to determine the correct position of the pitman arm on the lever shaft spline, that will have to be done after the box is mounted in the jeep with the lever shaft and steering wheel centered, and the wheels held in the straight ahead position, as you described in your 6 February post in this thread.

67.RebuiltGear4e_zps0rksalew.jpg

68.RebuiltGear3_zpsddwpssuk.jpg

69.RebuiltGear2_zpsknubpqjx.jpg

70.RebuiltGear1_zpspskoaczd.jpg

 

"Before & after" photos of the assembled 1968-dated Ross steering gear:

71.1968datedRossboxbeforeampafter3_zpsqo

 

I'm now in the process of assembling my brother-in-law's 1966-dated steering gear, which posed a few issues I didn't have to deal with on the 1968-dated (top fill plug) gear above.   I'll post a few more photos here as I finish getting that one put together.

 

 

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3 hours ago, snoopy2x said:

As always, your expertise and insight are greatly appreciated, Moses.  I can completely see your point re. how the cone-shaped lever shaft pins enable them to stay in contact with the cam as the lever shaft is "pushed" away from the cam and into the set screw.  By the same token, at the point where the greatest possible movement of the lever shaft occurs along the axis of the shaft is the same point where the steering wheel would have maximum play, as the cone-shaped pins then have the most side-to-side clearance between the opposing faces of the cam groove. 

If the TightSteer's spring-loaded plunger design which replaces the set screw can largely prevent this by keeping the lever shaft pins fully engaged in the groove, essentially eliminating that side-to-side clearance, it should likewise greatly reduce any steering wheel play.  From a drive-ability standpoint, that to me is TIghtSteer's most attractive proposition.  As you say, we'll soon find out how well it actually works in the fully rebuilt steering gear.

Thanks, Maury (snoopy2x), I've enjoyed discussing the Ross TL gear at this level, we've had a good time with it.  Others should find our banter helpful.

Regarding your comments, right on, you do eliminate "play" with the TightSteer.  The cone's tension in the groove is governed by the spring load of the TightSteer device, so the force from the steering wheel end or the pitman (road resistance or kickback) will squeeze the stud cone outward.  The pressure of the TightSteer spring determines the degree of cone movement outward.  Like you share, there should be a noticeable improvement in "feel" and a definite gain in that the cones will not be rattling in the groove when off the gear's center point in either direction.  (Backlash with the OE setup would be metal to metal rattling with only the lubricant cushion.)  You'll be the judge about how much this helps reduce wander and the steering wheel sensation of play.

I am very impressed with the vacuum greasing method, ingenious, thanks for sharing!  There are many cases where a bearing is in excellent shape but needs fresh grease.  The grease type is critical, and you chose wisely for your upper column bearing.  I shared the video link with a good friend who is the maintenance supervisor at a huge pulp mill in Oregon.  He'll really enjoy and value this one, they have newer and older equipment, plenty of obsolete bearings, I'm sure.

Your restoration work is professional grade.  The horn wire insulation fix is definitely wise, we're back to off-shore contemporary pieces versus time-tested OEM/U.S. in-the-day quality.  You went the smart route with the original wire, it should last forever now.

Regarding powder coating on the pitman arm, I always wire brush the coating off the splines.  Especially with aftermarket components that tend to have thicker powder coating, I wire brush the ball-stud taper on pitman arms with a tapered hole.  The powder coating will otherwise loosen over time, I've seen pitman tie-rod end ball stud tapers become loose on contemporary aftermarket dropped pitman arms that have been powder coated.  Powder coating is resistant enough to create a torque feel when first installed;  over time, the material cannot tolerate the cutting ability of splined teeth or the force of a tapered ball stud.

You're about to install and align the steering gear's center point with the front wheels pointed straight ahead.  Refer back to our discussion about tie-rod centering and sleeve thread depth.  Set up the bellcrank to specification, too.  You're so close that I can envision the test drive, your CJ's round taillights going down the road!

This has been an experience well taken.  You're now the family go-to guy for rebuilding a Ross TL...Nice restoration work, Maury, you have really paid attention to detail!

Moses

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Moses,

Again, thanks so much for the positive feedback!   I'm humbled that someone like you who is so experienced and widely respected in the jeep realm thinks well of what I've done here, especially given that it's my first steering gear rebuilding / restoration.  I'm no less than delighted that you found the vacuum-pump bearing greasing method I suggested to be helpful, particularly considering the fact that you have been so incredibly helpful to me.  This is true in several ways - not only in the great deal of time you've spent to thoroughly talk me through the process of rebuilding the Ross TL gear here in this thread, but also through your jeep-related books and videos over the years. 

As I put the second steering gear together (my brother-in-law's 1966-dated box), I ran into a few interesting problems that I hadn't with the 1968-dated box .

The first was that the NOS Crown roll-neck bearing races I needed to install were apparently just fractionally larger in diameter than the aftermarket "square-necked" ones I had removed from the housing.   The thickness of the new Glyptal paint around the bearing race seat could also have been a factor here, though I didn't experience this problem when installing the NOS TRW / Ross races in the other box. 

In any case, to get the lower bearing race installed in this housing, I had to use the hydraulic press to get it seated.  This was a bit difficult due to the fact that the horn wire tube was already installed at that point.  In order to work around the horn wire tube without damaging it, I used a 12" long 1/2" diameter metal pipe, and an appropriately sized socket, to push the bearing into its seat:

72.Fredsboxbottombearingraceinstallation

73.Fredsboxbottombearingraceseated_zpskr

 

The machine shop tried to fix the bent cam tube mentioned previously, and although they succeeded in straightening it to a large extent, it was still just not quite "straight enough".  So it was time to move to "Plan B", which was to re-thread the cam tube with the stripped threads.  Initially it was thought that doing this might cause the tube to get too thin and therefore too weak, but it ended up working out fine.  The original 13/16" fine thread was carefully removed using a lathe, and the reduced-diameter shaft end was then re-threaded using a 3/4"x16 die.  Here are before & after photos of this shaft:

74.RethreadedCamTube_zpst0cwlsvy.jpg

 

I've not yet been able to find a sufficiently thin 3/4"x16 nut to secure the steering wheel, so it may be necessary to grind down or machine a thicker nut in order to make it thin enough so that the horn button will work.  On the other hand, it may turn out that the 1/4" thick nut already in hand works okay as-is once the steering wheel is firmly seated on the spline.

New ball bearings were used along with the original plastic bearing retainer rings.  I prefer to use American-made parts whenever possible, and after some searching I was able to find new Made-In-USA 5/16" Grade 25 ball bearings at http://ballbaron.com/products/516-inch-g-25-chrome-steel-bearing-aisi-52100.  (I checked with the manufacturer directly to make sure, and was told that these bearings are indeed made in their plant in Georgia).   

The parts just before assembly:

75.Fredsparts_zpstgrhnghu.jpg

 

The assembly process was basically the same as with the 1968-dated box, so except for those included here, I didn't take photos this time.   The only other issue I ran into during assembly that's worth mentioning is that due to the fact that the shaft was rethreaded to a smaller diameter thread, the original brass horn wire button cup was a bit too wide for the new, smaller 3/4" nut to fit around.  To adapt it, I had to carefully grind off just enough metal from the outside diameter of the lip of the cup so that the cup would still seat inside the shaft without falling through, but would also be small enough to fit through the new 3/4" steering wheel nut.  I did this using a Dremel:

76.Hornwirebrasscupgrinding2_zpsaghpgzfi

 

The completed assembled gear, which is now ready to send back to my brother-in-law (who has waited very patiently for the past month or so, but I know is itching to get it installed and get his jeep back on the road!)   The upper steering column bearing is not fully pressed in yet, as he has decided to replace the dented original steering column tube with a new one before installing the assembly his jeep:

77.FredsGear-Finished_zpsgadb5ltj.jpg

 

Before & after photos of the 1966-dated (side fill port) Ross TL box.   I've included a pipe elbow in the fill port that was not installed previously in order to raise the lubricant fill height of the box by 1/2" - 3/4".  As noted earlier in this thread, this same modification was routinely made to these side-fill port steering boxes by Jeep dealerships "back in the day".

78.Fredsboxbeforeampafter3_zps2q0bnb03.j

 

I'll update this thread again after the 1968-dated gear is installed in my jeep, and will follow up re. the testing of the rebuilt steering gear with and without the TightSteer unit installed.  

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PS - Moses, I meant to tell you that the Mystery of the Horn Wire Tube Fitting we were theorizing about earlier in this thread is solved.  I decided to remove it as the horn tube was pretty bent up anyway.  When I did, what had been done by the prior owner (or some mechanic) became obvious. 

Apparently, the original horn wire tube either started leaking where it was brazed to the cover, or was damaged during an attempt to disassemble the box out-of-sequence.  The method used to replace it was to drill out the original cover and use a 1/4" plumbing compression fitting threaded into it, to which was attached a piece of more-or-less straightened 1/4" copper tubing.   A resourceful solution, and really not a bad fix.  Anyway, here's a photo of it:

79.56e44a7017a21_Horntubefitting.thumb.j

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Innovative work, snoopy2x...You got through this second gear quickly, your '68 Ross TL gear still fresh in mind!  This is true restoration work, especially as these vintage gears have deplete the NOS stock of parts.  Off-shore parts get tempting, and I'm glad you stayed with proven American pieces.  The ball bearing approach is right on, I buy loose Grade 25 chromium ball bearings from MSC.  Glad you confirmed the origins of your bearings...Georgia is definitely the U.S.A.!

The press work with a hollow pipe and 1/2" drive large socket (which cleared the horn wire tube) was spot on.  Your thread restoration on the steering tube looks good, and you confirmed that there is enough remaining material/thickness in the tube wall.  The splines take the bulk of the force, these threads are primarily for holding the steering wheel down and in place.  

These threads on steering tubes and steering shafts take abuse, often at the hands of DIY'ers trying to remove the steering wheel without an inexpensive steering wheel puller.  In this case (your left photo), it looks like a steering wheel puller flared the tube end outward.  At your right photo, it looks like remnant hammer marks at the top, which would also flare out the top threads.  In either case, the nut was forced into place, destroying all of the threads.  The flared top thread(s) should have been chased first with a thread chaser or dressed carefully with a thread file.  Good news is that you fixed it!

Footnote:  A thread chaser is different than a die.  A tool steel die will immediate cut and remove material, while a chaser tries to restore a top thread before following the original threads.  With care, a die can be carefully used, the goal is to remove the absolute minimum of thread material and follow, not cut, the original threads.

Curious about the worm end play shim stack.  It looks considerably thicker than the left (original) setup.  Were the Crown bearing races a taller stack height?  I know you're very detailed about end play measurements and that you set the shims correctly.  The Glyptal might add slight height, considering the Glyptal's cost, you likely did not use excessive paint!  From the photos, Glyptal does not appear thick in this area.

Note:  I generally mask off areas like these bearing seats to provide metal-to-metal contact for fitted parts.  If you used the Glyptal prudently (it looks very smooth and uniform), this paint is substantial material and has been "crushed" in place by the roll neck race and your use of a press.  Highly doubtful there will be any kind of issue, but if need be down the road, the worm cam end play can be adjusted with the steering gear in place by raising the column tube and the upper cap enough to carefully cut (a pair of scissors or diagonal side cutting pliers works here) and remove a thin shim(s).  This is the Ross/Jeep factory service procedure for worm bearing adjustment in the chassis.

Your brother-in-law should be thrilled.  What a gesture on your part, Maury!  Very nice work, you nailed it.

Moses

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You're correct that the number of shims required for this steering gear was significantly more than was the case for the '68 box.  My guess is that the bottom thickness of the Crown roll-neck races may be greater than that of the previously installed (aftermarket "square-neck") races, but I'm really not sure.   In any case, once I used the "right" number of shims, it went together fine, with zero shaft end play.   I'll certainly keep your suggestion in mind if that end play ever increases as the gear "wears in".

(Also, did you see the short post on the horn wire tube issue directly above your last response?  I think they may have crossed in cyberspace....)

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Yep, we figured that was the basic approach.  The copper tube would have been a thinner I.D. for the wire, perhaps a tighter fit.  The idea was sound, as "necessity is the mother of invention"...How did you remedy this?  Did you install a different (OE) end plug/cap and tube?

Moses

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Actually, I haven't remedied this horn wire tube issue yet, as the box it came out of was the (side-fill plug) housing that was originally in my 1967 CJ5, which I'm about to replace with the restored 1968-dated top-fill plug version.   I'll keep all of the parts, though, and if it's necessary to re-use the housing at some point, I'll do as you suggest and try to find a used OE horn wire tube for it. 

Another question that I've been meaning to ask you concerns the wisdom, or lack thereof, in installing an aftermarket steering stabilizer, like this one made by Rancho: http://www.amazon.com/Rancho-RS97345-Steering-Stabilizer-Kit/dp/B000CP8H6W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457751948&sr=8-1&keywords=Rancho+RS+97345  My brother in law has a similar steering stabilizer on his '67 CJ5, and seems to like it.  I've resisted installing one up to this point simply out of a desire to maintain as much originality as possible.  However, it is an easily removable bolt-on item that, if it were painted black, would not be all that noticeable.  If it would increase the safety margin (as it is supposed to mitigate against the dreaded "death wobble") and/or the driveablilty of the jeep somewhat, maybe it would be worth doing.  What are your thoughts?  (If I do end up deciding to get one, I definitely would not install it before driving and evaluating the jeep with its restored steering gear without it for a good while first.)

By the way, I'm pleased to report that my brother in law does indeed seem to be appropriately thrilled with his restored steering gear.  Earlier today, when I sent him a link to the post on it above, he wrote back, "That's great! I feel like I own a Celebrity Gearbox now."

 

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snoopy2x...The steering stabilizer will help reduce wander.  The ultimate fix is a shackle reverse for the front springs, but we'll make that another topic some time.  The damper also reduces gear kickback at the steering wheel and provides slightly more control.  This does help reduce death wobble, which can be kingpin shimmy that needs address.

Kingpin shimmy should be seen as a mechanical problem and not masked with a damper.  Steering knuckle bearings need to be in good condition and on spec for bearing loads.  The front axle caster angle is very important, as it contributes to, or even creates, kingpin shimmy.  The damper shock is not a substitute for mechanical troubles or wear.  

I did use the Rancho kits in the day, they have been available for a very long time and are a quality, bolt-on product that does not demand modifications with this application.  Make sure that steering linkage is centered at the tie-rod joints' ball studs during installation so that the damper kit does not inhibit range of motion on the tie-rod(s).  Be certain there is no binding or interference...

Moses

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Photos and discussion re. the installation and alignment of the restored steering gear can be found in a different thread, which can be accessed by clicking on the quote link below:

 

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