Click image for more information
After surviving the Johnson Valley Thanksgiving run and Axle Alley right after that, I decided .the Currie steering system that was sitting in my garage would do better if mounted on the TJ rather than sitting next to it. I got Scott and Les to agree to a Saturday morning wrench session at my place. I had fresh coffee ready when Les showed up with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. Now THAT guy knows how to come prepared to the wrenching' party! Scott showed up a few minutes later and we were officially underway (he had the tie rod end puller).
The morning's work was to be pretty straight forward. First, remove the old draglink and tie rod. I was running the factory draglink and had done the ZJ tie rod conversion some time back. Second, install the new Currie hardware. Third, align the toe-in. Last but not least, have some pizza and sodas for lunch. Simple enough (especially that last one).
We loosened the lug nuts and blocked up the front axle just enough to get the tires off the ground. I put a set of jack stands under the frame for safety....in case the axle slipped off of the wooden blocks or the floor jack let go (never trust either one of these as your only supporting method). There was about a half inch of space between the frame and jack stands since we wanted the full weight of the vehicle on the front suspension components when the toe-in would be set. The tires were then removed and we were ready to remove the existing hardware.
We pulled the three cotter pins from the castle nuts at the pitman arm rod end and the two steering knuckles. A tip that Scott passed on to me....do not completely remove the castle nut from the threads. When the rod end finally lets go (from the tapered hole), it won't go flying. Lots of energy gets stored up when you are taking a rod end apart and this keeps things a bit safer.
With Scott's $6 Harbor Freight puller in hand, we popped the passenger side rod end off. One down, two to go. Scott warned me that pulling the rod end off of the end of the pitman arm would be more difficult since you have a rather tight area to work in.
We pulled the driver's side rod end next. The RS-5000 steering stabilizer (drag link end only) was removed from the drag link. Finally the rod end at the pitman arm was removed. Thanks to Scott for figuring out how to squeeze the rod end puller up into place by the pitman arm (there isn't much room to navigate up there and we didn't want to pull the pitman arm itself).
There is one known issue with the Currie steering system and that is the grease fitting that is located at the point where the drag link and tie rod join. I marked this spot in the above picture with a red arrow. The grease fitting can be broken off when a high flex situation occurs and the wheels are cranked over to full lock. This does not happen to everyone and from what can be determined, it has a lot to do with the type of suspension you have (long or short arm, adjustable control arms, how close to stock wheel base you have, etc.)
Here is the same point (the red arrow above) but shown from the back side. I removed the grease fitting and installed a flush fitting hex plug (after properly greasing the rod end) that my buddy, MikeW, sent me several weeks ago. Once he found out that I was getting the Currie steering, he knew I would be looking for one of these (he put his steering on a number of months ago and had already worked through this issue on his). I will still be able to grease the rod end when I do regular maintenance. I'll just turn the wheels over towards the left (where there is enough clearance), removed the plug and temporarily screw in a grease fitting for the grease gun. You can obtain this "set screw" at a Lowes hardware store. It is 1/4"-28 (28 threads per inch) and uses an Allen wrench (hex plug) to install it.
Note: Here is some additional information from Frank, an east-coast wheelin' buddy of mine:
McMaster-Car sells a flush style
grease fitting that I believe will solve the clearance issue some have with the
Currie HD Steering System. When installed only the Hex head of the fitting
is sticking out by about 1/8". Here is the info.
The McM-Car Part Number = 10595K14
Description = 1/4"-28 Flush Style Grease Fitting
Print catalog page # = 1,984
Cost = $4.55 for a package of 5
Hope some find this useful.
I thought I would toss this picture in just to give you a comparison of the old and new hardware. This is a picture of the drag link sections. The Currie drag link is on the left. You can see the that the Currie is certainly beefier than the factory setup. I measured the tie rods too...the Currie was 1.25" and the factory was .875"....the Currie is solid rod and the factory tie rod is the rather thin walled tubing. I do not expect any problems from this new Currie setup.
More Currie Steering