The Lone Ranger – Intermediate Steering Shaft Repair
There were surprisingly few articles written on how to replace the rag joints in our steering shafts, so here’s one for ya.
The intermediate on my generation of truck has two rag joints, and after several years (and miles) they’re bound to fail. When pulling the transmission out (for the third time) I noticed that the upper rag joint was in very rough shape. I did a brief search and it appears that this part is no longer being made. So your choices are junkyard, fix what you have, or custom make something. These trucks really don’t seem to be in the Junkyards around here (Plus, that dude was rusted on my column shaft something fierce), and I don’t really want to mess with the custom shaft at this point, so I opted to rebuild what I have. Especially since there isn’t any slop in the in the slip joint itself with this shaft.
The dead joint is on the RH side here, you can’t tell in the photo, but it was cracked all the way through on both sides. Surprisingly, the steering didn’t really seem to be any sloppier because of it:
Step one is to cut off the rivet heads, and pound the rivets out of the remaining pieces:
Then you pick up Dorman Part Number 31002 (you need one of these per joint), this part is often found in the Help! section of the parts store:
For each joint, you’ll need 4 – 5/16×1.5” Grade 8 bolts, 4 – Nylock nuts to go with the bolts, and 4 rubber grommets. I saw a few write-ups mention that they used ¼” bolts, but the holes in my shaft were drilled to 5/16”, so the ¼” stuff was too sloppy:
Assemble everything back together and you’re done. For a little extra security, you can put some locktite on the bolts.:
I only fixed one end right now as this still seems like a ghetto fix to me (even though that’s apparently how you’re supposed to do it) and the other rag joint is in good shape. I’ll be doing some research on U joint shafts sometime in the future as I don’t like rag joints for offroad applications.