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  • Steering Column Upper Bearing

    1981 CJ7 258

    My steering column has an upper and a lower bearing. The upper one is in dire need of replacement (it has a plastic ring with 14 bearings in it) problem is I cannot find anyone who even knows what i'm talking about, the parts store says it only has one this upper bearing the same as the lower, it doesn't seem like it is. Anyone run into this problem? I'd hate to replace my entire column for one hard to find bearing. Does anyone have part numbers, stores (all that is here is napa) the dealership couldn't even help me out) Junkyards are very limited...Help with finding this upper bearing would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2

    Alaskan.. Is This A Tilt Or Non-tilt Wheel? Most Steering Columns Were Gm Products..but You Need To Check. If So And It Is A Tilt You Might Have To Buy A "rack Asm" (which Includes Both Bearings And The Ing. Rack Along With A "sector" It Goes On The End Of The Ing Lock Cyl ) If It's Manual You Might Have To Aquire The Housing Which Will Include The Bearing.. Some Gm Vehicles The Bearings Were Sold Seperately And Might Want To Check With Your Local Gm Dealership.. But Again Check To Make Sure It's A Gm Column Which Were Popular From The Factory In Jeeps. If You Find A Stamping Number On The Column I Might Be Able To Help You Futher In You Search.


    78 Cj5,258, Nothing Special Yet But Adding As I Go..


    • #3
      Sorry it's a tilt column, manual tranny...


      • #4
        try the host...

        Alaskan, you need this part:

        and this part:

        Plastic steering column bearing retainer lower (p/n: 4487696)
        Steering column bearing lower (p/n: 4486713)

        Look in the catalog at 1945-86 CJ Steering parts for a better view. In the 2008 Jeeper


        • #5
          Both of those parts say lower bearing...I need the "upper bearing"


          • #6

            I just answered your pm. It's quite possible I don't understand everything I know about this steering thingy...

            There is a thread that isn't too old that has a great steering column write up in it. I'm pretty sure it's in the CJ section. I'll see if I can dig it up.

            Here Alaskan, I found the thread. I don't know about parts acquisition, but this thread has two pretty good links for steering column rebuilding in it.

            Last edited by blackwater; 05-05-2008, 04:46 PM.


            • #7
              You need the part Blackwater found for you.
              There is no upper bearing or lower bearing.
              AMC parts lists just calls it bearing.
              Isn't there a picture of the part to compare?


              • #8
                Disassembly of Steering Column
                1981 CJ7 With Tilt

                Place front wheels in straight ahead position.
                Disconnect battery ground cable.
                Remove steering wheel.
                Remove gearshift lever retaining pin, then the lever.
                Remove lock plate cover.
                Remove tilt and turn signal levers.
                On 1987 Wrangler models, remove windshield wiper control lever.
                Remove hazard warning knob.
                To remove lock plate and snap ring, proceed as follows:
                Inspect and identify steering shaft nut thread type. Metric shafts have an identifying groove in the steering wheel locating splines. Standard type threads do not have this groove.
                If the steering shaft has standard type threads, use lock plate compressor tool J-23653 or equivalent to compress lock plate and remove steering shaft snap ring.
                If the steering shaft has metric threads, replace compressor tool standard forcing screw with metric forcing screw J-23653-4 before installing tool onto steering shaft. Lock plate is under spring tension. Do not attempt to remove lock plate without using the compressor tool.
                Remove compressor tool and snap ring.
                Remove lock plate, canceling cam and upper bearing preload spring.
                Remove turn signal switch harness from lower right side of steering column jacket.
                Loosen all toe plate bolts.
                Remove column mounting bracket to column jacket attaching bolts.
                Remove column mounting to instrument panel bolts, then the bracket.
                Remove wire harness protector from steering column.
                Remove turn signal switch from steering column.
                Insert ignition key into ignition lock cylinder and turn cylinder to On position.
                Using a suitable screwdriver, compress ignition lock retaining tab and remove lock cylinder from steering column.
                Remove cover attaching screws, then the cover.
                Remove upper bearing race and bearing seat from steering shaft.
                Install tilt lever and place steering column into full upward (tilt) position.
                Remove tilt spring, guide and retainer.
                Place column housing in center (non-tilt) position.
                Using tool J-21854-1 or equivalent, remove housing pivot pins.
                Raise tilt lever slightly to disengage lock shoes, then remove housing from steering column.
                Remove tilt lever and lever shield from housing assembly.
                Remove lock sector spring retaining screw, then the spring.
                Remove lock sector retaining ring, then the lock sector and sector shaft.
                Remove lock bolt, lock rack, rack preload spring, spring shim, if equipped and remote rod from column housing.
                Insert a suitable tool between lock shoes and housing to relieve spring tension on tilt and lock shoe pins. Using tool J-22635 or equivalent, remove tilt lever pin from housing.
                Remove lock shoe pin, lock shoes and springs from housing.
                Remove upper and lower bearing from housing, then disconnect steering shaft from intermediate shaft coupling.
                Remove steering shaft through upper end of steering column.
                Remove support attaching bolts, then the support.
                Remove retainer plate and shroud assembly.
                Remove key release lever and lever spring from shroud.
                Remove ignition switch from steering column.
                Remove snap ring, retainer, bearing assembly and steering column.

                Coat all friction and bearing surfaces with a suitable grease.
                Install bearing assembly and retainer onto lower end of steering column.
                Install snap ring onto lower end of steering column.
                Install key release lever spring onto lever. Install assembly into shroud.
                Install shroud onto steering column jacket.
                Install retainer plate.
                Align steering column V notch with corresponding V on support. Install support onto column. Torque support bolts to 60 inch lbs.
                Install remote rod into support assembly.
                Install steering shaft into column.
                Install bearings into housing.
                Install lock shoes, lock shoe springs and lock shoe pin into housing assembly.
                Install release lever, lever spring and lever pin into housing assembly.
                Install sector shaft into housing. Install lock sector onto steering shaft.
                Install lock bolt into housing assembly and engage bolt into lock sector cam surface.
                Install lock rack, rack spring and retaining shim, if used, into housing assembly. Square block tooth of rack must engage square block tooth of sector.
                Install lock spring and spring retaining screw. Torque screw to 35 inch lbs.
                Align then install assembled housing assembly onto support. Align pivot pin holes in housing and support, then install pivot pins. Press housing downward during installation of pivot pins to prevent damaging pin holes.
                Insert tilt lever into housing and place housing in full upward (tilt) position.
                Lubricate tilt guide and spring with a suitable grease and install tilt spring and guide into housing.
                Install tilt lever shield into housing assembly.
                Remove tilt lever.
                Install cover onto housing assembly. Torque cover attaching screws to 60 inch lbs.
                Install turn signal switch. Guide switch harness and connector through column and position switch onto housing.
                On 1987 Wrangler models, install windshield wiper control lever.
                Insert hazard warning knob, then the upper bearing race. Completely seat race in housing.
                Install upper bearing preload spring, canceling cam and lock plate.
                Install a new snap ring onto sleeve of compressor tool J-23653 or equivalent onto steering shaft. NOTE: Identify steering shaft nut thread type before installing compressor tool onto steering shaft. If the shaft has standard type threads, use compressor tool specified in step 27. If the steering shaft has metric type threads (identified by a groove in the steering wheel locating splines), replace compressor tool standard forcing screw with metric forcing screw J-23653-4 before using the compressor tool.
                Compress lock plate and completely seat snap ring into steering shaft groove.
                Remove compressor tool.
                Install tilt and turn signal levers. Torque turn signal lever attaching screws to 15 inch lbs.
                Install shift lever and lever retaining pin.
                Install ignition lock as follows:
                Hold cylinder sleeve, turn knob clockwise against stop, align cylinder tab with housing key way and insert cylinder into housing.
                Turn cylinder knob counterclockwise until cylinder meshes with lock sector.
                Push lock cylinder inward until retainer snaps into position.
                Insert key into lock cylinder and turn cylinder to Off-Unlock position.
                Install ignition switch as follows:
                Move switch slider to Accessory position, then back 2 positions to Off-Unlock.
                Insert remote rod into switch slider hole and install switch onto column jacket.
                Move switch downward and torque switch attaching screws to 35 inch lbs.
                Position switch harness protectors, if equipped over harness and snap protectors onto steering column.
                Install lock plate cover.
                Install steering wheel, torque steering wheel nut to 30 ft. lbs.
                Install steering column into vehicle. Torque column bracket to instrument panel attaching bolts to 20 ft. lbs.
                Connect battery ground cable.
                Last edited by Alaskanbadfish; 05-06-2008, 11:32 AM.


                • #9
                  Your column is a Saginaw GM product. You may have more success going to a junkyard and looking at steering columns from the GM line. Most parts places hear jeep and they start speaking gibberish. Your dealer has a breakdown from 1981 forward anything prior to that is no longer available from the dealer.


                  • #10
                    Ok, so you give a quote from a bunk book and you expect me to agree with you.
                    I know that it is a bunk book because the real book would never include the 87 wrangler.
                    So back to what I said you do not have an upper and lower bearing. Just a bearing.
                    If you would like the AMC part number then I will gladly post it for you. But please do not try to correct me with bad information.


                    • #11
                      Sorry Penguin, it is from it's what we use in our shop for referance material.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Penguin View Post
                        So back to what I said you do not have an upper and lower bearing. Just a bearing.

                        Sorry Penguin, you are wrong.

                        The columns have an upper bearing. It kind of looks like a bicycle wheel bearing. You get to it by pulling off the steering wheel; lock plate; then the horn disk; and bearing preload spring; and thrust washer come out, and there it is. Both the tilt and non-tilt columns use them. I have taken apart too many not to know.


                        Try a GM dealer and look for one from an '88-'92 S-10 (as far back as the local dealers go here) they may be the same (I'll lay 3:1 odds they are the same). If that does not work and the cage isn't broken, and you have all the balls, just pack it with grease and forget about it.

                        The junk yard route isn't a bad idea either.


                        • #13
                          Ok, it is not a bearing, it is a race and a seat.
                          I know they are close to a bearing. I am including a diagram for the part#'s to save some dignity.
                          I guess I deserve one of these.



                          • #14
                            don't be so hard on yourself...

                            Originally posted by Penguin View Post
                            ...I guess I deserve one of these.
                            After a little over three years of pretty constant participation, that's the first time I've seen you blow one. I'd just give you one of these:


                            • #15
                              After going to every parts store, bearing shops, jeep dealer, gm dealer, finally took the last resort and visited my local junk yard. The guy had an entire conex full of columns, I'd say that about 50% of these columns had this bearing in them, it was easy..He sold me the entire column for 10$ I just wish I would have listened to everyone on here and hit up the junk yard first. It amazes me that this bearing was so hard to find, because of how many columns have it... I guess if I ever open up my own parts store I'll know one part to keep on hand. Thanks again for everyones help. All I need to do now is figure out all my vacuum lines on my MC2100 system and this little 3 month project will be done...Wooohooooo