Rag Joint Delete


85_Ranger4x4

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Anyone know of a shaft out there to replace the stock dual rag joint shaft with a dual u-joint shaft in a first gen?

I know early Aerostars but they ain't exactly growing on trees anymore and I can't find anyone making/selling a new one.
 


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The early build 1990 Explorers had dual Ujoint shafts. Only the first few months of production. That shaft should work.
 

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I saw something about a Cherokee shaft being usable, but requiring minor modifications. IIRC is was a bit too long and needed to have a bit cut out, but the sizes and splines were otherwise correct.

Nobody around me junks Cherokees though, or I'd probably already have one to mess with.
 

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I have noticed the second gens have one u-joint. Things are tight down around where the bottom rag joint is, given my drothers I would rather have the u-joint down there and a rag joint up above.

Good to know on the 90's, I will have to watch for them.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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I saw something about a Cherokee shaft being usable, but requiring minor modifications. IIRC is was a bit too long and needed to have a bit cut out, but the sizes and splines were otherwise correct.

Nobody around me junks Cherokees though, or I'd probably already have one to mess with.
In the spirit of that I did a google search on "Cherokee steering shaft in Ranger" or something like that which lead me to here:


BlackBII used a combo of second gen steering shaft to mate to the steering column shaft and Jeep lower shaft to mate to the steering box. We had to come to Omaha for Easter tomorrow so I suggested coming up earlier so I could hit the JY. They had half a dozen XJ's, it seems the later ones had a less intrusive airbox that allowed easier access to the steering shaft. Whoever the clown was that came up with dual hood latches hanging off the bottom of the hood needs to find another job though...

So I grabbed the shaft off my parts truck ('86) for reference to make sure the ends matched up for splines/shape and grabbed two shafts. One was a shaft out of a '91, it had a perfect lower rag joint so I grabbed both ends in case the dual u-joints don't work out. Long shaft has the lower end from a Jeep and the upper end I found sitting in the seat of a bullnose, might be handy for something and it wouldn't effect the price so I grabbed it too.

Cut to length will be nice to get rid of the steering spacer from my BL.

 

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Check out Borgesen or a street rod catalog, they have a lot of builder shaft pieces. Keep in mind that the rag joint absorbs noise and vibration that you're apt to hear and feel when it's gone. I removed the rubber insulator from the T5 shifter in my Mustang and now I hear some transmission rattle accelerating hard in 3rd gear but I'm pleased to have a tighter feeling shifter.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Check out Borgesen or a street rod catalog, they have a lot of builder shaft pieces. Keep in mind that the rag joint absorbs noise and vibration that you're apt to hear and feel when it's gone. I removed the rubber insulator from the T5 shifter in my Mustang and now I hear some transmission rattle accelerating hard in 3rd gear but I'm pleased to have a tighter feeling shifter.
The ones I picked up have an isolator type thing made into them. The inner shaft has a rubbery plastic thing between it and the outer shaft and there is a rubber cap that goes over the outer shaft, you can see it on the bottom shaft in my pic by the left side of the middle shaft I didn't take a pic but I was playing with it last night. Otherwise steel to steel the shafts are very loose.

It might make it worse, if it is too bad I can just poke the like new rag joint in on the bottom.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Hit a snag, both flat location areas are on the left side...



... and the steering wheel side is 90* off.



Wonder if Jeeps were set up differently over the years? @BlackBII
 

BlackBII

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Edit: I'm an idiot.

Here's the pics of the shaft I used. I don't remember running into that issue, but, my entire steering shaft, from steering box to steering wheel, is made up from all kinds of parts including Ford, GM and Jeep, and, I have a fully adjustable splined connection after the electric power steering unit that may have solved the 90' problem on accident.

Looks like you may have to cut and weld it 90' ?

I am also using a manual steering box, which uses a 3/4" 30 spline, where the power steering gearbox is a 36 spline

Found a 3/4 30 spline shaft on a Jeep Cherokee today. Luckily the DD shafts between an '89 ranger and first gen Cherokee are the same and it made for an easy swap.

Manual vs power



Cherokee shaft on bottom, ranger shaft on top



Both shafts shortened; left is Cherokee and goes to the steering box, right is Ranger and goes to steering column



Completed shaft. I used the rangers shafts' plastic inner sleeve fitted over the Cherokee shaft and rubber outer sleeve on both

 
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BlackBII

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It might make it worse, if it is too bad I can just poke the like new rag joint in on the bottom.
If you do end up getting a new rag joint, be sure it's a quality unit. I bought a Autozone/Dorman garbage one years ago for my Ranger and it disintegrated in about 3 weeks of driving. Scary stuff.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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I thought that your modified column must have inadvertently fixed it as soon as I saw it wasn't lining up. Second thought was a first to second gen difference but that isn't the case.

I think I am just going to run the second gen shaft using my extension as an adaptor. It still took some work but will be easier. Gotta drill a hole for the cross bolt yet.







Rag joint on the second gen shaft looks new, the whole shaft looks new once I got the grime off. A lot better than my old one.

 

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"new" shaft fits perfect.

 

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What’s the reason to go from rag joint to u-joint?
 

85_Ranger4x4

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What’s the reason to go from rag joint to u-joint?
Smoother, especially with a bodylift. Easier to replace for me.

After I put the body lift on (way back in 2006) it took a couple months to get the rag joints exercised so it wasn't lumpy when I steered. To rebuild them you have to cut all the rivets out and bolt in new rubber isolators which don't last as long as originals and looks like crap. Versus just finding a JY shaft with tight u-joints and running that.
 


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