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Off Road Only U-Turn Steering

Off Road Only U-Turn Steering

Part #:

I had been looking for a way to fix the issues of a lifted Jeep and the steering.  Even though I didn't have any bump steer, I still had problems with the front drag link hitting the during a hard right turn.  The steering still felt a little vague at times on the road.  I had been looking for a way to solve the hitting issue.  Toys by Troy came out with a steering system that removed the K-link steering that is on the TJ.  I just wasn't fond of having to cut and weld stuff on the front axle.  So I kept looking.  Then Off Road Only released their U-Turn Steering.  A crossover steering design that eliminates steering toe change from suspension height change.  Parts of this write up come from Off Road Only's Install directions.

Additional Parts:
Steering Stabilizer Part #'s|
Rancho - RS5407
Gabriel - 6804SE
Monroe - SC2928

LockTite

(1) 1/2" x 3" grade 5 or 8 bolt 
(2) 1/2" washers
(1) 1/2" nylon lock nut
(1) spacer from a shock eye

Tools Needed:
5/16" Combo Wrench
1/2" Combo Wrench
3/4" Combo Wrench
13mm 12pt Combo Wrench
18mm Combo Wrench
1/2" Socket
3/4" Deep Well Socket
3/4" Socket
13mm 12pt Socket
15mm Socket
32mm Socket
(2) Adjustable Wrench's 12"
Ratchet
Extension
Tape Measure
Pliers
Pickle Fork
Big Hammer
Pitman Arm Puller

 

Installation:
These area all the parts you receive for the U-Turn. DSC02762.JPG (63088 bytes)
1. Assemble the Tie Rod Ends first.  Locate the 4 tie rod ends and the bag with the yellow zinc adjuster sleeve and jam nuts. There should be 3 right hand Jam nuts and 2 left hand. The Left hand nuts are marked with a tick on each of the 6 flat intersections.  They are the two on the left side of the picture.
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2. Install the boot over the tie rod end  and the Zerk into the bottom of the tie rod.  You will need a 5/16" Combo Wrench.  The Zerk's are pipe threaded, so be careful to get them lined up straight into the hole.  You may need to press down on them with your thumb to get them to go in straight. DSC02764.JPG (61866 bytes)
3. Now screw a left hand thread jam nut on to the adjustor sleeve, and a right hand jam nut on to a right hand tie rod end.  Crew in the jam nuts until 1" of the threads are exposed.
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4. After kicking the jam nuts across the floor I decided to go ahead and screw the remaining jam nuts on to the tie rod ends.  Note: One of the ends is a left hand threaded end. DSC02766.JPG (63787 bytes)
5. Locate the short bent drag link.  You will be screwing the adjustor sleeve and the right hand tie rod end from step 3 into this bar.  They screw into the long side of the bar.  The end on the right of the picture. Check the threads on the bar to make certain there is no debris on the threads.
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6. Screw the adjustor sleeve into the drag link until the jam nut seats against the drag link.  Be careful not to turn the jam nut. DSC02772.JPG (64449 bytes)
7. Now screw the tie rod end into the adjustor sleeve until the jam nut seats against the adjustor sleeve.  Be careful not to turn the adjustor sleeve or the jam nut on the tie rod end. DSC02773.JPG (64138 bytes)
8.  Adjust the Jam Nut on one of the right hand tie rods to leave 3/8" of thread showing behind the jam nut. DSC02774.JPG (63479 bytes)
9. Screw the tie rod end into the opposite end of the drag link until the jam nut seats against the drag link.  Be careful that you do not turn the jam nut. DSC02775.JPG (62651 bytes)
10.  Adjust the tie rod end until they are facing the opposite directions .  This is what the bar should look like.  Short side down, Long side Up. DSC02776.JPG (64206 bytes)
11. Screw in the remaining tie rod ends into the tie rod.  You need to set the the tie rod to 48" tie rod end center to tie rod end center.  It is simple to use the zerk fitting on each tie rod to set this.  Ensure that the tie rod ends are screwed in equally.  Estimate of 1/4" of thread behind the Jam Nuts. DSC02777.JPG (64069 bytes)
12. Remove the front drag link, tie rod, and steering stabilizer.  You may need to remove the tires.
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13. Remove the cotter pins from the castellated nuts on the two steering knuckles, and the pitman arm.
14. Loosen the castellated nuts, but do not remove them.  Unscrew the nuts until they are flush with the top of the threads.
15. There are two ways to remove the tie rod ends from the knuckles and the pitman arm.  You can use a pickle fork to separate them.  Insert the pickle fork between the tie rod end and the mount, and just pound away on the pickle fork until it separates them.  The other method is to hit the end of the steering knuckle right by the tie rod end with a big hammer.  A couple good hits and the tie rod end drops out.  With the pitman arm try to hit directly towards the shaft, this will remove the give that occurs from hitting it on the side.
16. Once you have all the tie rod ends loose, remove the steering stabilizer from the axle mount.  You will need a 15mm socket, extension and a 18mm combo wrench. DSC02783.JPG (61440 bytes)
17.  Now remove the entire steering assembly as one unit.  If you have an aftermarket steering stabilizer you will need to remove it if it is one of those that can be used with the U-Turn steering. DSC02785.JPG (61971 bytes)
18.  Off Road Only U-Turn steering requires the use of the stock drag link.  So if you have a drop pitman arm installed you will need to remove it and reinstall the stock pitman arm.  This will requires a 32mm socket and a pitman arm puller. DSC02784.JPG (60254 bytes)
19. Assemble the parts you will need for mounting the hub assemblies.  The bracket with the 3 holes in it will mount to the passengers side steering knuckle.
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20. Working on one side at at time.  Remove the forward and top wheel bearing retaining bolts on each side; these will require a 13mm 12point socket or a 13mm 12point box end wrench.  Either way they are difficult to remove.  I used a cheater wrench to help with a little extra torque.  Once they break free they come right out.  
21. Locate the -20 grade 8 x 2.5” long bolt with the cross drilled hole in the threaded end. This bolt should have a top lock nut, 2 washers and an aluminum bushing. Remove the nut and the first washer. This should leave the Bolt, a flat washer, and the bushing on the bolt, in that order.  
22. Place the hub assembly so that the non-tapered hole is positioned over the OEM drag link attachment point. Insert the bolt/washer/bushing assembly from the bottom. Place the washer and the nut on the top. DSC02789.JPG (60710 bytes)
23. Install the two wheel bearing retaining bolts that you removed earlier.  Place a few drops of LockTite (recommended only if you wish to torque these bolts once, if you wish to check the torque during vehicle maintenance, do not locktite!) on the 2 wheel bearing retaining bolts and install. Start the threads and tighten a couple of turns to ensure that they are started properly. DSC02791.JPG (60450 bytes)
24. Push the -20 bolt and bushing assembly up into the taper, there should be approximately 1/8” of the bushing remaining below the stock steering knuckle. This is the allowance for crush, the bushing will swedge into the taper providing a very tight, rigid placement of the bolt in the tapered hole. When tightening this nut, hold the bolt to prevent it from rotating, turning only the nut. This requires a 3/4" Combo Wrench and a 3/4" deep well socket.  
25. Once the bushing is seated, tighten the wheel bearing bolts.  This will require a 13mm socket, or 13mm Combo wrench. DSC02790.JPG (61879 bytes)
26.  Torque the bolts on the brackets, then the 1/2-20 bolt, then install the cotter pin on the 1/2"-20 bolt.  This is just to retain the nut if it were to ever back off that far. DSC02792.JPG (61299 bytes)
27.  Install the drag link assembly.  With a needle nose pliers or similar small instrument, align the cotter pin holes in the tie rod ends so that they are parallel with the axle.  This will make installing cotter pins easier.  Insert tie rod end into the passenger steering knuckle bracket and install castellated nut. DSC03143.JPG (348288 bytes)
28. Insert opposite end into pitman arm.  With lifted suspensions you will be required to adjust the drag link length to center your steering wheel.  The initial setting on the drag link will closely approximate the stock setup.  Install castellated nut.  The U-Turn sticker should be facing forward and be basically parallel to the ground.  Bend in the bar pointed outwards. DSC03139.JPG (355102 bytes)
29.  Install the Tie Rod assembly.  With a needle nose pliers or similar small instrument, align the cotter pin holes in the tie rod ends so that they are parallel with the axle.  This will make installing cotter pins easier.  Make certain that the right hand threaded tie rod end is on the passenger side.  This will make future adjustments easier.  The rod should fall right into place.  The setting of 48" is close for both stock and lifted heights.
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30.  Tighten all of the castellated nuts, and take it for a slow test drive, to get the feel for it, and to check the steering wheel position.  Adjust the drag link as necessary to center the steering wheel.  Recommend taking it in and getting an alignment.  3/4" Combo wrench or socket is needed for all the tie rod ends.  I used 2 adjustable wrench's to tighten all of the Jam nuts down. DSC03140.JPG (351396 bytes)
31. Installing the steering stabilizer.  The bracket comes with 2 different holes drilled in it to fit the above listed steering stabilizers.  The Monroe comes with a 1/2" stud that has a taper on it to attach to the bracket.  It does work, just doesn't look as nice.  I decided I would not use this stud. DSC03112.JPG (333789 bytes)
32. Now I am assuming that you have already centered the steering wheel and that the vehicle drives straight.  If not.... correct that first.  Measure the extended length of the shaft of the steering stabilizer.  This measurement should be close to 8" to allow for a proper fit.  Compress the stabilizer shaft to 1/2 of this measurement. DSC03113.JPG (355217 bytes)
33. Now bolt the steering stabilizer into the axle bracket with the factory bolt.  You will need an 18mm Combo Wrench, and a 15mm Socket on an extension. DSC03115.JPG (342405 bytes)
34. With the stabilizer bolted in you can see where you will need to position the bracket on the drag link. DSC03116.JPG (338570 bytes)
35.  Check the fit of the bracket first.  Since I was using the 1/2" hole in the bracket I needed to position the bracket so nothing would interfere with the movement during turning.  As you can see having the hole farthest away from the pitman arm does not work since the u-bolts interfere with the stabilizer.  You will need a 1/2" Deep well or a 1/2" Combo Wrench to tighten the nuts for the U-Bolts.
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36. Now since I decided not to use the stud that came with the Monroe Stabilizer, I need to figure out how to mount it.  This was answered by "Mac" at www.macs4x4products.com .  He utilized a 1/2" bolt, nut and 2 washers to mount his.  Here is what you will need exactly.  (1) 1/2" x 3" grade 5 or 8 bolt, (2) 1/2" washers, (1) 1/2" nylon lock nut, and (1) spacer from a shock eye.  If you have installed AiROCK the spacer from the shock eyes that were pressed out during installation of the Bar Pin Eliminators works well.  (I have a couple from my Grand Cherokee that worked).  I inserted the spacer into the rod end bushing of the stabilizer.  I currently have a grade 5 bolt installed.  This required a 3/4" socket and 3/4" Combo Wrench. DSC03114.JPG (352579 bytes)
37. Now position the the bracket onto the drag link.  The bracket should be on the bottom side and angled up towards the rear.  I decided to keep the rod end bushing at a 90 degree angle to the axle end bushing.  This should allow for movement in all directions.  I then bolted the stabilizer to the bracket and watched as a friend turned the steering both directions.  You want to make certain that there is no contact. DSC03119.JPG (363311 bytes) DSC03120.JPG (344919 bytes)
Here it is installed.  The stabilizer was added later on than this picture. DSC02793.JPG (63341 bytes)
One thing that you will need to check after driving it briefly is if the lower wheel bearing bolts rub on the front axle yokes.  It is the flange on the bolt head that rubs, not the ORO bracket.  A couple of Jeeps have had this problem and the initial thoughts are that some Jeeps have steering stops that are just slightly shorter than others.  On my Jeep I have always noticed that I can turn sharper than others, and that I can still rub my Lower Control Arms even with the tires spaced out.  While others with similar setup cannot.
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The simple solution to this is to install a washer on the steering stops to solve this problem.  Since I can already turn sharper than others, I don't feel that I will be losing much with limiting a little more.
At max flex I can just rub the weld on the weld on the drag link against the front anti-sway bar axle bracket. DSC03027.JPG (324335 bytes)

Some Notes from Off Road Only

Driving.
The toe setting plays a big factor in how it drives.

Excessive toe in: A steering adjusted with too much toe in will be quick over center,  twitchy, almost impossible to keep going straight on rough roads.

Excessive toe out: A steering adjusted with too much toe out will be slow to respond to steering input and may also deliver an over steer condition once it does respond.

Our findings,
35-37” tires toe set at zero to + 1/32 (1/16 toe in)
31-33” tires toe set at +1/32 to +1/16 (1/16 to 1/8 toe in)

Settings may be affected by tire pressure and other variables; each vehicle should be adjusted to the best drivability.

500 Mile check and then every 3000 miles after that

Remove the cotter pins and recheck the torque on the -20 grade 8 bolts. Reinstall cotter pins. 
Check torque on the 12point 13mm wheel bearing bolts. ***Only if not lock-tited! *** 
Check jam nuts to ensure they remain tight.

 

  N-m Ft. Lbs. In. Lbs.
Wheel Bearing Bolts (FSM) (ORO instruction - 70) 102 75 -
1/2-20 locknut   90 -
POWER STEERING GEAR PITMAN SHAFT NUT 251 185 -
Tie Rod Ends BALL STUD 74 55 -
STEERING DAMPER AXLE BRACKET BOLT 74  55  -
STEERING DAMPER DRAG LINK NUT 74  55  -
DRAG LINK BALL STUD 74 55 -

This page last updated: 16-Apr-2008

Content and Design © 2002-present WanderingTrail,  Ron Seegert
Common Sense and Safety should always be observed when working on your vehicle or doing modifications. Jackstands, wheel blocks, disconnecting the battery are a few of the basic safety precautions that should be used and may not be mentioned in the write ups on this site. You are responsible for your own installation, these write ups are a helpful guideline and should not be taken as an official installation instruction. My write up may be different from the kits currently out there, so alwasy double check the manufacturers installation instructions when installing anything. I try to keep the site up to date with changes that have occured as I discover them, but may not have the latest unless someone lets me know. If you feel that an install is above your capabilities after reading my write ups, I recommend getting together with a club and getting some help. Only a few times have I needed to employe some actual help from a shop to get something done. Usually welding or A/C work.
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