TJ Steering Shafts and Bearings: What I Know

I think we should look at this with fresh eyes- we are sort of fixated on the factory part- would be pretty easy to create a 2 part roller assembly to capture the shaft- could have adjustable tension as well.

There are two issues with the steering shaft. The first, a bad bearing, is relatively easy to overcome. I'm sure there is a heim joint somewhere that will fit. It needs to have two axis of rotation, so that is why I'm thinking heim. Any other spherical type bearing would work as well, but packaging could be a problem. The greater of the two issues is the plastic "journal" that is molded on the steering shaft. That starts to wear out as soon as the bearing seizes. Once you lose diameter there, there isn't an easy way to bring it back. A guy might be able to offer a rebuild service where the plastic is removed and aluminum or something is pressed back on, but coming up with a singular solution to just replace the bearing is going to be tough.
 
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To all future people who stumble across this thread or for anyone else looking to save a little money on the lower shaft, you can buy the pre 02 shaft and knock out the roll pin in the pic and swap the lower portion over. (The top shaft in the pic is the OEM 03-06. The lower is the 97-02.) they are the same on the bearing side despite the bearing/bushing not in the same place in the pic.

View attachment 283350
This was VERY helpful
Ive been chasing loose steering issues and replacing every damn part and still not fixed

My 97-02 replacement lower shaft arrived, and Im gettin ready to swap it with my 2003s lower shaft end.

Is this roll pin just pressed out/in with a 1 ton or 20 ton press?? Nothing else, its all ready to go into an ‘03-06??

I put a brand new Lares 2003-06 steering gear box in and that resolved maybe 50% of my steering looseness. Im hoping this is the remaining 50%.

Sadly the all new HD / ZJ steering linkage didnt show any improvements for me at all
 
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Guys I finally got this figured out. The bearing you are looking for is metric, and it's a 28x35x20. Here is the one I ordered...

https://bearingsdirect.com/28mm-bore-hk2820-needle-roller-bearing-28x35x20-tla2820/

Just in case you are reading this 10 years in the future and that link is dead there are many names this bearing goes by. The bearing I bought is an HK-2820, but any of the following should be the exact same bearing, just by different manufacturers, 28BTM3520, FJ2820, DB2820, TLA2820Z, or BK-2820.
 
Guys I finally got this figured out. The bearing you are looking for is metric, and it's a 28x35x20. Here is the one I ordered...

https://bearingsdirect.com/28mm-bore-hk2820-needle-roller-bearing-28x35x20-tla2820/

Just in case you are reading this 10 years in the future and that link is dead there are many names this bearing goes by. The bearing I bought is an HK-2820, but any of the following should be the exact same bearing, just by different manufacturers, 28BTM3520, FJ2820, DB2820, TLA2820Z, or BK-2820.

You're a real bro. Can't even tell you how many 10 year old forum posts have saved my butt, and yet there have also been many forum posts that ended up being useless when I found them through a google search only to discover that the image host was no longer working or had taken the pics down, or the solution was promised at the other end of a link to a domain that was no longer online.

Your comment will almost certainly become like a portion of the Rosetta Stone to future generations of Jeepers.

I present you with one of the internet's highest honors: the Unicode Ribbon of Valor 🎖
 
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Guys I finally got this figured out. The bearing you are looking for is metric, and it's a 28x35x20. Here is the one I ordered...

https://bearingsdirect.com/28mm-bore-hk2820-needle-roller-bearing-28x35x20-tla2820/

Just in case you are reading this 10 years in the future and that link is dead there are many names this bearing goes by. The bearing I bought is an HK-2820, but any of the following should be the exact same bearing, just by different manufacturers, 28BTM3520, FJ2820, DB2820, TLA2820Z, or BK-2820.

How did he know I had time traveled and was actually doing that, then realized I was wearing a diaper and in a nursery home.

Now I’m back. I need someone to change me.
 
That isn't a split bearing like stock that can close up as the coating on the shaft wears off. I'm dubious of it being able to remove play on any but a destroyed stock bearing
 
I accidently bought a lower shaft for a 97-02 TJ to replace my lower shaft on my 03, but I was able to make it work. As you said, the lower end section is about 2 inches too short where it meets the gearbox.
The end that goes into the gearbox is held in the shaft by a metal pin with a rubber bushing. I hammered out the pin and worked out the end piece of my old shaft. Did the same with my new shaft and swapped the longer piece into the new shaft. Replaced the pin and bushing as well and worked beautifully. If you have the time and patience, you can use the cheaper 97-02 lower shaft with this modification.

I know this is old but was wondering if anyone else tried this? I tried it a few days ago and the pin will only move about 1/8" on both the old and new shaft.
 
https://www.borgeson.com/tj-shaft-support-bearing-97-06


1000003992.jpg

Anyone try fitting this? I called borgenson today and they just released it. They said it took them months to find that bearing and have only sold a few. Said it was designed as a replacement for their shaft but maybe could be made to work on the oem? They don't really say where this goes and I don't see where they sell their own support bearing set up but I may be missing something.

Only $35 so maybe worth a shot. I get the infamous steering clunk when turning from this worn bearing.
 
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