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Rag joint replacement

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n2fordwagons View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11-July-2014 at 8:01AM
Hey guys,
 
I need to replace my rag joint, something I've never done before.  Any suggestions on how to tackle this?  The shop manual gives a brief list, but it's not helpful to a novice like me.  Should I go at it from the outside of the car, from the top or bottom?  I noticed the head on the bolt that comes out the side of the joint looks to have a special head on it, not your typical hex head.  I'm assuming I'll need a special socket or wrench for that?  Or, am I looking at the wrong bolt?
 
Also, keep in mind I have a 460, so room may be somewhat limited compared to a 351M or 400.  I'm assuming the 460 takes up more room.
 
Or, a local shop has quoted me 1 1/2 hours of labor ($130).  There's no telling how long this job will take me.  Maybe I'd be better off letting them do it??  But, I could sure use that $130 for something else.
 
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Jeff

76 Mercury Montego MX Villager w/ 460
79 Ford Thunderbird w/ T-tops
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mcford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-July-2014 at 9:14AM
pull the stub shaft an do it on the workbench.  undo bolt/nut at gear box.  undo boot at firewall inside the car and then undo bolt inside car where shaft connects to steering column. then you can remove the shaft with the rag joint and replace the piece while at the workbench.
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-July-2014 at 10:02AM
Originally posted by mcford mcford wrote:

pull the stub shaft an do it on the workbench.  undo bolt/nut at gear box.  undo boot at firewall inside the car and then undo bolt inside car where shaft connects to steering column. then you can remove the shaft with the rag joint and replace the piece while at the workbench.
 
Cool.  So I'm on the right track.  I've removed the bolt at the gear box using a 7/16" 12-star socket.  And I've removed the nut inside the car using a 9/16" socket, and pushed the bolt through (it doesn't come all the way out).  I used a crow bar to pry up on the shaft / rag joint, but can't seem to get it to clear the gear.  How do I get this bad boy all the way out?
Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Regul8r Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-July-2014 at 1:13PM
yeah it was a pain in the ass for me on Lola!
I pulled the whole column because I also pulled the dash.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Billy C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-July-2014 at 5:30PM
Just took a column apart today. I am trying to picture what you are talking about with it on the car though. The joint is only about an inch onto the actual steering column shaft. Should be able to make it around the gear box by tipping the mini u-joint out of the way after it's disconnected.  As far as the bolt that won't come out all the way, that is normal. It is set in there from the factory with a tiny lock pin. The bolt has a flat it so it doesn't need to be removed. On the one I was working on today, the "clamp joint" part needed some convincing with a chisel and hammer from the back side.
-Billy Conturo
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-July-2014 at 5:54PM
least amount of work may be to remove the bolts holding the steering box to the frame, leave the pitman arm and joints connected, just slide the box forward a little to get the shaft out, so you can remove the rag joint from the shaft on the bench as stated
JOHN
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-July-2014 at 8:24AM
Thanks guys.  I appreciate the input.  I followed John's advice and dropped the steering box by removing the 3 bolts holding it to the frame.  Still having problems though.  How do you remove the bottom section of steering shaft (I think the shop manual calls it the U Joint) from the rest of the steering shaft?  The nut is off, the bolt is just hanging there.  I've pried on it with a crow bar.  I'm afraid I'm going to break something, if I don't do it correctly.
Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-July-2014 at 8:48AM
that bolt has notches in it, and there is a notch in the upper column shaft, try sliding the bolt in and out a little at a time to find the sweet spot, if that don't work turn the bolt 180 degrees and try finding the spot again, i had a hell of a time getting mine off this last time, i ended up driving that bolt completely out. my column's out and apart i can post a pic of the bolt or shaft or column if you need
JOHN
74 GRAN TORINO S&H CLONE
74 CORVETTE COUPE CUSTOM
90 S10 BLAZER 4X4 LIFTED
77 CELICA CUSTOM
75 V8 MONZA SUPERCHARGED
79 COURIER VERT. SLAMMED
75 VEGA V6 5 SPD
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 1:14PM
Ok.  So, I got the lower shaft out today.  Now, on to my next dilemma.  If I use Lares 202 steering coupler, it looks like I'm gonna lose the safety bracket.  I think I saw it described as the "deadman bracket" in another post.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Also, the bolts that came with Lares 202 will be too short.  Is there another part available out there, that would have the safety bracket included?
 
Here are some pics.
 
 
Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 1:41PM
can you get longer bolts?
JOHN
74 GRAN TORINO S&H CLONE
74 CORVETTE COUPE CUSTOM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bmf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 1:43PM
"I am completely broke and have the ability to sustain that"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bmf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 1:47PM
Don't know why I can't put text with my pictures, but this is what I came up with.
"I am completely broke and have the ability to sustain that"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 2:06PM
Originally posted by californiajohnny californiajohnny wrote:

can you get longer bolts?
 
Sure, but I doubt I could find some with the shoulder on them.  Maybe add some nylon bushings?
But, that still leaves me without the safety bracket.  Maybe not a big deal on a car that's not driven much?  What does everyone else use?
 
Originally posted by bmf bmf wrote:

Don't know why I can't put text with my pictures, but this is what I came up with.
 
Looks great.  Does that bracket on the bottom side act as a safety bracket?  Where did you get that part (manufacturer and part #)?
 
 
Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 2:45PM
right, i see the shoulder, i didn't want to throw out a whole run down on bolts and make it sound confusing. what about your original bolts in the pic? are they the wrong size or too short too? with regular grade #8 longer bolts, what about an extra sway bar sleeve(cut to the proper length for a shoulder/spacer ) if it is the right id and od


Edited by californiajohnny - 14-July-2014 at 6:18PM
JOHN
74 GRAN TORINO S&H CLONE
74 CORVETTE COUPE CUSTOM
90 S10 BLAZER 4X4 LIFTED
77 CELICA CUSTOM
75 V8 MONZA SUPERCHARGED
79 COURIER VERT. SLAMMED
75 VEGA V6 5 SPD
70 CHEV C10 P/U
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72FordGTS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 3:09PM
I used longer grade 8 bolts when I did mine.  I used nylon bushings as the spacer.  It worked out well, no issues.
 
 
Vince

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bmf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-July-2014 at 3:52PM
The rag joint is Lares Ford to Saginaw and it was ordered with a
quick ratio Saginaw box.  Sorry, its been too long ago for numbers.  The provided bolts were long enough.  I like shiny and I had the buttonheads in stainless.
The "dead man" bracket would need the holes elongated a small amount and it could then be tac welded to the studs to give a lot less play if the rag joint failed.
Looking at the post by 72FordGTS made me think that some polly bushings (shock absorber?)would lessen the slack also.
I looked at the original bolts and they had a short spacer on the threads.  Probably press fit.
 
"I am completely broke and have the ability to sustain that"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72RogerGT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-July-2014 at 7:00AM
I went and bought a spacer sleeve and 8 grade bolts. Had to cut the spacer in two in order to fit a piece into each hole and it was tight on the bolt, leaving no play.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bmf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-July-2014 at 11:08AM
I looked at the bottom brscket again and it will limit wheel play if the rag joint fails.
"I am completely broke and have the ability to sustain that"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-July-2014 at 11:08AM

While I was at the hardware store, I noticed that the holes in the new rubber piece are the same diameter as the holes in the U joint.  Therefore, if I were to use the provided bolts (5/16"), there would have been a decent amount of play where those bolts attach to the U joint.  So, I just went up to a 3/8" bolt, which fit perfectly in both the new rubber piece and the U joint.  Will that be an issue?  Is there supposed to be play in the U joint holes?  Am I over-analyzing this?!  :)  Sorry for all of the questions.  I just don't wanna take any chances when it comes to something as important as steering.

Here's what I've got.  See any problems with it?
 
 
 
Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-July-2014 at 11:12AM
Also, I tightened the nuts/bolts pretty tight, which compressed the rubber.  I couldn't find any specs on how tight they should be.  Any issues with that?
Jeff

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