An upgraded steering box can completely change your driving experience. You can immediately tell the difference when you hit high speeds on less-than-ideal terrains. So, when you are
thinking about modernizing your old Jeep Cherokee JZ, you should consider going for a new aftermarket steering box.
Wondering how to upgrade the steering box on Jeep ZJ? Allow us to break it down for you!
When Should You Upgrade The Steering Box On Jeep ZJ?
You will need a power steering setup to complement the other upgrades you have made in the vehicle. Your stock steering arrangement will not let you enjoy the perks of oversized tires and a stronger engine to the fullest. A steering system upgrade will deliver much smoother rides on your Jeep ZJ.
How Much Do You Have To Spend For Upgrading The Steering Box On Jeep ZJ?
A new Jeep ZJ steering box will cost between $250-$400. If you take the vehicle to a mechanic shop, you might have to spend $100-$200 for installation.
How To Upgrade Steering Box On Jeep ZJ
To get started, lift the front part of your Jeep ZJ. Make sure that the vehicle is stationed on a flat surface. Put wheel chocks on the rear wheels so that the car does not drift backward when you lift the front end. Lift the car with a floor jack and place some jack stands underneath the axle.
Now, get under the vehicle and locate the steering box. Take off the steering box brace. Use a 13mm socket to undo the nuts that are holding the brace in place. Once the brace is out of the way, you will have to focus on the Pitman’s arm.
To take off the Pitman’s arm, you first have to take off the large nut that attaches it to the steering box. The 13mm socket won’t cut it. You will have to use a standard spanner to unfasten the nut.
Even though you took the nut off, it will not be enough to pull the Pitman arm out. Since it’s factory installed, it’s likely to stay stuck to the box. You will have to use a special tool called a Pitman arm puller to remove it.
We recommend applying some WD40 on the spline and the Pitman’s arm before deploying the Pitman arm puller. Ideally, you should spray some WD40 the night before you try to remove the.
Slip over the Pitman arm puller on the Pitman’s arm. Make sure the jaws of the puller touch both sides of the arm. Tighten the pressure screw so that it reaches the bottom of the box. Now take an air ratchet and connect it to the Pitman arm puller. Activate it, and the arm will come right off.
Your next challenge is to remove the steering linkage from the steering box. Remove the bolt that holds down the steering linkage with an 11mm socket. After removing the bolt, you can pry off the linkage from the box with a screwdriver.
Remove the steering lines from the steering box. Take off the radiator fan to make the box more accessible. Use a standard wrench to take off the lines from the steering box. Disconnect all hoses that connect to the box.
After that, remove the bolts that hold the box in place. Now you can bring the steering box out.
Now you can put the new steering box in. Before doing so, you need to ensure that the new steering box is in the center position. First, turn the steering shaft all the way in one direction using a spanner. Now, turn it in the opposite direction until it locks.
If you need to turn the spanner four times to lock from one position to the opposite position, you need to turn the spanner two times back to centrally align the steering box. Then, attach the Pitman arm to it. Make sure it faces the exact direction it did when you removed the Pitman’s arm.
Before you install the steering box, put the spacer back on. The spacer separates the steering box from the unibody. Originally, it’s aluminum made in Jeep ZJ models. We recommend upgrading to a steel-made spacer for better durability. Three bolts secure the spacer’s position. Fasten them and lock the spacer in place.
Now the new steering box is ready for installation. Put it in the same area as the old one and lock the mounting bolts. Then reattach all the hoses and parts you had disassembled. After completing the installation, take away the jack stands and lower the vehicle using the floor jack.
The stock Jeep ZJ steering box might not be enough to meet your driving requirements. So, learn how to upgrade the steering box on Jeep ZJ and take your driving experience to the next level.
I am Rick Bofia, a Jeep mechanic with a wealth of experience in repairing and maintaining Jeeps of all models and ages. I take pride in my expertise in diagnosing and repairing complex Jeep problems, from engine and transmission issues to suspension and brake system repairs. My passion for Jeeps and my dedication to delivering top-quality services have earned me a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy mechanic in the Jeep community. Whether you need routine maintenance or major repairs, you can trust me to get your Jeep back on the road in optimal condition.