Steering colum tear down and repairs

Old 03-03-2010, 05:14 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Chico,ca
Posts: 2,158
Year: 89
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default Steering colum tear down and repairs

There is always alot of questions about the steering colum and how to repair it. It is also one of those items that there cannot be enough info on how to repair it.
This is a detailed write-up on all the parts and how to repair them if needed.
The first thing I will say before we get started,if you do not have the tools listed below or just do not feel this is for you I would suggest you go to your local jy and find a good replacement,they cost me about $45 and is alot easier to replace the entire colum than tear it apart.
As with other write-ups if you have questions you can contact me anytime you want and I will assist in anyway I can.
1. First thing to do is disconnect the negative cable from your battery,not the positive. The reason for this is so you do not arc a wrench or tool on metal if you remove the positive first,if you are working on a colum with an airbag you would also want to remove the positive second and touch the positive and negative together to discharge any residual power from capacitors and relays so you do not set of the airbag by accident in your face,this will also prevent arcing the pcm.(before touching them together make sure both are disconnected from battery)
One more note of importance,have a small can or magnetic tray to put all your screws and small parts in,saves time.
Take pictures of every step so you can refer back to them if needed.

2. These are the tools you will need to repair the colum.
A. Regular screwdriver
B. Phillips head screwdriver
C. Set of torx,or male torx sockets for either 3/8,1/4 drive ratchet
D. Cresent wrench,medium size
E. 1/2" drive ratchet and either 13/16" or 21mm socket
F. Wheel puller
G. Lockplate removal tool,has red handle.
H. 3/8" ratchet 13mm and 15mm sockets
I. 1/4 " drive ratchet,extension and 1/4" socket
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3. Remove horn cover,just gently pull off on side by hand.

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4. Remove horn button,held in place by 3 phillips head screws. The horn button is made up of the button,3 screws,green plastic insulator,and flat metal spring so button can retract.

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5. Metal spring for horn,concave side goes away from you.
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6. Remove steering wheel nut,either use 13/16 or 21mm socket and 1/2" drive ratchet,I use a cresent,if it has not been removed before the socket works best.
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7. Install wheel puller on steering wheel,use a cresent to remove steering wheel,if wheel has not been off before it maybe hard to remove,if it is just take your time and gently tap on the wheel this will loosen it up.
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8. After wheel is removed install lockplate removal tool and remove the lockplate,this lockplate is what locks your wheel when you turn the key off,once you have pushed the plate down remove the little oval lockplate retainer clip,I do not have a pick of it,just forgot to take one sorry. It is clear to see,be careful removing it not to bend it or spread it apart to much,if you do you can use some pliars to squeeze it back together.
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9. This is the blinkler cancellation switch,it also has a copper ring on the back for the horn button,when use push on the horn it actually are pushing down on the button shown on the right.
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10. This just shows the back side and the copper ring.
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11. Remove the screw shown here,it connects the blinkler switch handle to the blinkler switch assembly.
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12. This is the blinkler and hazard light lights switch,remove the 3 phillips head screws,do not try to removeit at this point,you need to loosen the bolts on the lower colum that holds the colum in place,the wires run between the colum and the bracket that holds the colum to the body,once those are loose it will make pulling the wires up through the colum alot easier.
I was replacing the entire blinler housing so I had to remvoe all the wiring harness for the wipers and blinklers,all is covered in next pics.
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13. Remove hazard lights switch.
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14. Disconnect blinkler and hazard harnes connector located on right side of colum under ignition switch.
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15. Disconnect wiper control module.
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16. This is one of the 4 13 mm bolts you need to loosen along with the 15 mm nuts shown just to the right here to get the wires to slide through the colum easily. Removing left side of lower dash makes it much easier to get to these bolts. Removing lower dash is covered in dash removal in the write-up section.
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17. Remove the tilt wheel adjusting handle
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18. Remove these 3 torx head screws,they hold the blinkler housing to the colum.
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19. Remove the screw shown,it holds the ignition tumbler in place.
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20. Remove tumbler.
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21. Remove blinkler housing,like I said before this was my main reason for taking apart my colum,if all you want to do is tighten your tilt because the bolts are loose,you would not have to remove it all the way,just far enough to get to the tilt.

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Last edited by Abovetimberline; 03-05-2010 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:19 PM
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Engine: 4.0
Default Steering colum teardown and repairs 2

22. One of the main problems with the colum is the tilt steering comes loose,once you have the blinkler assembly out of the way you can get to the bolts that hold the knuckle tight.
A couple of things to note is,1 there is 4 bolts not 3,you can get to 3 of them but not the fourth,in order to get to the fourth one on the top right the entire knuckle has to come apart and in my opinion it is not worth the trouble,3 will hold it just fine.

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23. This is one of the bolts,this one is the bottom right. I use a 1/4" socket to tighten them.

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24. This is the plate that holds the tilt steering tight and where the bolts screw into,it can only fit in the lower colum one way.
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25. To get to the bolt on the top left I find it easier to remove the cam for the lockplate pin,it is possible to get to it with universal but not the best in my opinion,so to remove the cam first remove the little bolt that holds the spring in place.
The hole to the right is how you get to the lower left bolt also.
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26. Remove spring from lock pin.
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27. gently remove cam with regular screwdriver.
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28. Remove ignition actuator rod.

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29. Remove lockplate pin.
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30. All that so you can get to this bolt.
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31. These following pictures are just for info.
32. This is the buzzer actuator and is located on the right side of the colum,see next pic. When you install it the key has to be in the on position or it will not go in the slot.
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33. This is where the actuator goes,(circled in black) not where my finger is pointing.
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34. This is the housing that holds the actuator for the high beems,it is located on the left side of the colum where the tilt steering handle is,the best way I have found to reinstall it is to use some heavy grease like bearing grease to hold it in place,then install it just before you put the blinkler housing back in place,as it is part of the housing, There is a little **** on the housing that the actuator uses as a guide.
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35. This is the actuator rod it sets against. before installing the actuator make sure the rod is on the dimmer switch on the lower colum.
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36. This is the plastic sheath that the wires for the blinklers and wipers go through on the colum,it sets between the colum and the bracket that holds the colum,the 2 square holes go over the bosses on the colum that the bracket attaches to.
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37. This just shows the horn button.
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I hope this helps those wanting to do this repair.

Last edited by Abovetimberline; 03-05-2010 at 05:40 PM.
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