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Rag Joint Replacement


Jon71
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Hi all. My 71 (built-in 8/70) is ready for a new rag joint. I have already ordered the Lares 201 from Rock Auto and it is on the way. 

 

I have been looking through the forums for a consensus on the best method to remove or replace a rag joint. A buddy of mine said the steering shaft is collapsible and I could possibly unbolt the existing rag joint and slide the inner shaft backward. Another guy I know said jack up the car and unbolt the steering box and try to slide it out of the way. In another forum post, there is a lengthy description of removing the steering column.

 

Any suggestions are appreciated before I tackle this job.

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I have limited experience in working on the steering, so more experienced others can chime in, but I'm in the process of understanding the involved components.

 

Its my understanding that the steering column is collapsible so it should be possible to take out the bolt in the rag joint and slide up the column to replace it. Moving the steering box sounds like a pain to me since the power steering lines are connected to it as is the pitman arm all of which would have to be removed.

 

FYI, if you need to take the power steering lines off the steering box, a crow foot, flare wrench, 12 point with a ~2ft extension works nicely from the top. Moving the supporting brace gives a little more room to move around.

 

I wouldnt think the whole steering column would need to be taken out.

 

As I'm also going to do this at some point, it will be interesting to hear what others have done.

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Column will collapse enough to replace it. What rag joint did you order? The Scott Drake one is incorrect. Lars makes the correct one. This has been discussed many times on here.

73 Grande H Code. Headman long tube headers, T-5 Transmission, 3.70 Traclok, Lowered 1" all around, Aussie 2v heads w/ 2.19 intake, 1.71 exhaust, screw in studs, full roller cam 608/612 lift 280/281 duration LSA 112, Quick Fuel 750 CFM double pumper, AirGap intake.

 

- Jason

 

 

082-hot-rod-power-tour-2017-1970-1970s.jpg

 

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Column will collapse enough to replace it. What rag joint did you order? The Scott Drake one is incorrect. Lars makes the correct one. This has been discussed many times on here.

 

Yep. I got the Lares 201 from Rock Auto. Saw that in a previous post. ::thumb::

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As I'm also going to do this at some point, it will be interesting to hear what others have done.

 

I am in the process of re-doing the pump and the lines so everything is apart right now. I got a relatively clear shot from the top but could get to it from underneath. I too am looking forward to some responses from others as I do not like the idea of taking the steering column out.

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Unless your column is rusted, you should be able to slide the flange up out of the way enough to R&R the joint. The through bolt on the original is a 12 point, 7/16" IIRC. Steering box shaft is D-shaped, so it only will go on one way. The Lares is not 100% correct, as ti does not have the different sized pins, so make sure the column is locked.

 

Photo below is Lares 201 on the left, original fixed column rag joint on the right.

ragjoint.thumb.jpg.dc074fe64dbd238b90d8a6dfc1a8cca6.jpg

 

 

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The Lares is not 100% correct, as ti does not have the different sized pins, so make sure the column is locked.

 

Photo below is Lares 201 on the left, original fixed column rag joint on the right.

Yes, I caught in a previous post the info on the pins. I have been giving thought about doing the sleeve trick to make the pin bigger (wider) to eliminate signifigant play. My old stock one is flexing back and forth on the pins pretty badly now.

 

I cannot imagine it with smaller pins.

:jawdrop:

Making sure the column is locked is a great tip. Thanks. ::thumb::

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The pins have nothing to do with slop/no slop in the steering. They are nothing more than a safety should the rag joint fail completely.

73 Grande H Code. Headman long tube headers, T-5 Transmission, 3.70 Traclok, Lowered 1" all around, Aussie 2v heads w/ 2.19 intake, 1.71 exhaust, screw in studs, full roller cam 608/612 lift 280/281 duration LSA 112, Quick Fuel 750 CFM double pumper, AirGap intake.

 

- Jason

 

 

082-hot-rod-power-tour-2017-1970-1970s.jpg

 

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Any time I've replaced one, I had the box out anyway. I believe it would be significantly faster to drop the PS box rather than remove the steering column. That doesn't make any sense to me. Get a small ball joint puller or similar to separate the drag link and pitman arm, but first I would make sure everything is centered and in line and doesn't move.

The flat on the input shaft should be on top and the through bolt head will be uppermost. On the Lares 201, I don't remember mention of if the plate that they have going between the bolts, should be over the through bolt or under it. Mine is over it as this way, the through bolt can not fall out if it should ever come loose (which should never happen anyway!!)

Geoff.

Geoff.

 I learn something new every day!

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The pins have nothing to do with slop/no slop in the steering. They are nothing more than a safety should the rag joint fail completely.

 Understood. I am simply thinking about years from now, if this happens again, I want to keep the next guy/gal from experiencing what I did when mine began to fail.  It is not fun to drive with it rocking on the pins.

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Update: I got the rag joint loose, and the inner steering shaft slid backward, however it did not slide far enough. I messed with it for almost an hour and when I rotated the rag joint around and looked through where the pinch bolt is I can see the shaft coming out of the steering box is still in the way. While I may have screwed up my steering wheel alignment I do not see any other alternative. It is close. I am hoping to simply unbolt it and gain the space I need.

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Update 2: Got it out. I ended up taking off the front wheel and taking the 3 bolts out of the steering box. I supported the box with a jack and moved it forward about 1/2 an inch. The rag joint came right out. It is worth noting that the shaft has a smaller diameter portion (in the attached photo) that was the real culprit. So, it turns out (at least for me) it was both the steering column shaft and the steering box. 

 

IMG-2087.jpg

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  • 6 months later...

For whatever it is worth on my '71 Cougar fixed steering column I had the same issue, I believe it is par for the course on this specific set up. Hope this helps others that find this thread.

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