How To Upgrade Steering Box On Jeep YJ

How To Upgrade Steering Box On Jeep YJ

The Jeep Wrangler stock steering box can facilitate excellent driving experiences throughout its lifetime. But, over time, you will see the performance decline and the steering feel loose. So, you will have to get a new steering box to ensure safe and smooth driving. 

We will show you how to upgrade the steering box on Jeep YJ and tell you how much you need to spend on the modification.  So, let’s get going. 

jeep xj steering box upgrade

How Much Do You Have To Spend For Upgrading Steering Box On Jeep YJ?

To buy the best quality aftermarket Jeep YJ steering boxes, you might have to spend between $700-$900. If you add mechanic fees to that, the cost could easily go beyond the $1000 mark. 

How To Upgrade Steering Box On Jeep YJ 

Remove The Old Steering Box 

Assuming you are working on a worn-out steering box, you should use a Speed Blaster to remove rust from the components. Rusty parts could be a nightmare to take off, so it’s best if you do something to minimize rust interference during the disassembly of the stock steering box.

We will start by draining the power steering fluid reservoir. Take off the reservoir cap and empty the reservoir. 

The next step requires a bit more effort. You will have to take the center nut off the Pitman’s arm. To do that, you can choose to lift the vehicle with a car jack or just crawl underneath it. Use a half-inch impact gun to take the nut off in the blink of an eye. 

If you have removed a Pitman’s arm before, you would know that the Pitman’s arm will not come right off after you remove the nut. You still need to put considerable effort into pulling it out. So, you are going to need a Pitman arm puller for the job. 

Put the jaws of the Pitman arm puller on the Pitman’s arm and start to turn the screw clockwise. Keep on doing so until the screw touches the end of the shaft. When it does, the Pitman arm puller should sit firmly on the Pitman’s arm. 

Now, pick up the impact gun again and place the chuck on the screw of the Pitman arm puller. Ideally, the Pitman arm should pop off immediately, but that is not likely to happen. If the Pitman’s arm doesn’t come off, hit it with a hammer when you run the impact gun. Repeat this a few times, and the Pitman arm should collapse. 

If you do not have a floor jack in use already, get one. Put the jack underneath the steering box and raise the lifting arm right up to the bottom of the steering box. Now, the steering box will not fall on the ground when you undo the bolts that hold it in place. It will rest on the lifting arm on the jack, and you can lower it when you are done. 

Now take a 3/8-inch impact gun and use it to remove the bolts on the steering box. You will find the box right behind the bumper. Lower the jack so that we can access the steering box. 

We will need an 18mm line wrench to remove the power steering lines. Make sure to place a tray or a bucket underneath if you don’t want the garage floor to get messy with power steering fluid. 

Wait till the lines drain out. After they do, look for the steering rag joint. It should sit right above the power lines you just removed. You require a 3/8-inch size ratchet to take off the bolt that secures the rag joint. After the bolt goes off, pry off the steering box with a screwdriver. 

Install The New Steering Box 

Take the new steering box and align its position with the stock steering box. Put the steering box on the jack and raise it to the mounting station. It will help if you get someone to operate the jack handle so that you can hold the new steering box and ensure it reaches the installation area in the proper orientation. 

Put it in place and secure the rag joint bolt to hold the steering box in place. Now reconnect the power steering lines. Start with the low-pressure line. It’s the line with the hose clamp. The other one, by default, is the high-pressure line. Be careful when you tighten the bolts, as too much pressure might damage the rubber O-rings and compromise the sealing on these lines. You don’t want a leaky steering box! 

Reinstall the steering box mounting bolts and put the Pitman arm back. If you have trouble lining up the Pitman’s arm splines with the steering box spline, ask your helper to turn the steering wheel a bit. The Pitman arm should lock into place. 

Put in new power steering fluid in the power steering fluid reservoir and shut off the cap. Your new steering box is now all ready for action. 

Final Words 

Getting a new steering box in your Jeep YJ should not feel intimidating now that you know how to upgrade steering box on Jeep YJ. The instructions we have provided above will help you do the job by yourself without spending extra money on labor. 

Driving with an old, underperforming steering box is not only a matter of discomfort, but it could also be a serious safety concern as well. So, make sure to replace your worn-out steering box as soon as you can.

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