Steering Coupler Rebuild "How To"

Brakes, Suspension, Rims and Tires

  1. MrMoparCHP

    MrMoparCHP Senior Member

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    Since it regularly comes up I felt it was time to do a write-up on how to rebuild the steering coupler.

    In my opinion the column needs to be removed from the car to properly rebuild the coupler.

    For the purpose of this demonstration I'm working with a bare shaft as that is what I had available.
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    Contents of the rebuild kit, the pin on the steering shave is good so I'm not replacing that (and this column isn't being used), not sure what the tiny pin is for and the roll pin is the one used in installing the column in the car.
    2019-04-08_003-jpg.jpg

    This assembly was still intact and took a little effort to pop the cover off. Once off I slid the shaft out and noted the orientation of the pieces, they were correct. Take a picture to remind you how they go.
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    The grease in this one was bad and caked in gunk. Both the shaft and the coupler were cleaned with brake cleaner.
    2019-04-09_007-jpg.jpg

    Now this is where the fun starts, as it comes out of the package the tabs on the cover are bent in the wrong direction.
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    Using needle nose and lineman pliers all the tabs are bent the other way. About halfway down and to about a 45^ angle.
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    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  2. MrMoparCHP

    MrMoparCHP Senior Member

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    The seal stretches enough to put it on over the pin on the shaft.
    2019-04-09_013-jpg.jpg

    For the purpose of the demonstration I used lithium grease as that is what I could find, typically I would use wheel bearing grease. I start by packing the housing most of the way up.
    2019-04-09_014-jpg.jpg

    then the shaft
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    and the bits as they go on.
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    slide the housing on fully and wipe off excess grease.
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    Position the cover and clamp in place (enough to hold at first), you may to open the tabs a little to get the cover on fully.
    2019-04-09_019-jpg.jpg

    Once you are happy with the position start clamping them a little tighter, for the most part the cover will stay in place and you can repossession one of the clamps more over on corner and tighten it a lot. Start with the drift and punch the tabs into the housing.
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    Only do the one corner, just the two tabs.
    Then drive the tabs down 2019-04-09_026-jpg.jpg

    Slide the clamp to the other corner and repeat.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  3. MrMoparCHP

    MrMoparCHP Senior Member

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    Make sure to check the tabs as you go as to not pinch them.
    2019-04-09_027-jpg.jpg

    Once you have done one side the clamp isn't needed,
    2019-04-09_028-jpg.jpg

    Wipe it off and it is ready to install, no wire bail needed, this isn't coming apart!
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    The key to this is prebending the tabs and clamping the assembly TIGHT.


    Alan
     
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  4. Gerald Morris

    Gerald Morris Well-Known Member

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    VERY USEFUL! I have a pot coupling rebuild kit that needs doing! THX BIGTIME!
     
  5. Xenon

    Xenon Senior Member

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    Somewhere around the early '60's and up that smaller pin s used to
    keep the squares from sliding out of the coupler... There is a hole on
    one of the flat sides close to the edge on steering column side of the
    coupler.. If the pin has been has been removed for a long time the hole
    would get rusty and hard to find... I am willing to bet if you used an
    awl and poked around you would find either the hole or the remnants of
    the broken pin..
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  6. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Also, the setup is known to have the grease seep out over time, typically due to being so close to the exhaust manifold, and shoddy crimping on the tabs, allowing the grease to flow out.

    I installed zirks on mine to allow periodic greasing.
     
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  7. MrMoparCHP

    MrMoparCHP Senior Member

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    No Joy, these housings are clean, I took this one apart to examine in detail, my Barracuda is the original and it was quite clean when it was rebuilt. Maybe they are out there, I haven't seen one. (I have only done 67-69)


    Alan
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  8. 68 4spd Fury

    68 4spd Fury Well-Known Member

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    Great explanation, thanks!
     
  9. mrfury68

    mrfury68 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent detail and pics describing the rebuild. This is something all of our rides will need done sooner or later, if not already taken care of. A good time to do this would be when you are replacing the steering gear. Thanks for the post.
     
  10. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Remember to mark the spot on the box shaft and the coupler so that the go together in the same place. There's no indexing spline on mine, and it took a few tries to get it back where the wheel was straight. I could have saved a couple of hours if I'd just made some marks and lined them back up again during the reinstallation.
     
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  11. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Well-Known Member

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    This is an outstanding write-up. I just did my coupler, and although I THOUGHT I had those damn tabs secure (following Richard Ehrenberg's method), they were just "kinda" secure and the whole thing popped apart during reinstallation. Had I rebent/prebent the tabs as shown here, I would have gotten a far more effective result with the tabs.

    Once you DON'T get a good clamp at the tabs (and it pops apart!), no amount of fiddling and re-straightening the tabs will solve your problem. I was lucky...I had already purchased the spring clamp thingy, show below, and finished the job.

    IMG_0970.JPG
     
  12. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Is there a link to the spring clamp thingy of which you speak? I'd like to have those on hand just in case mine pop apart too.
     
  13. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Well-Known Member

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    They are available from several dozen vendors and on eBay, search "mopar steering coupling clamp".

    mopar steering shaft coupling clamp - Google Search:

    And from Detroit Muscle Technologies, no less! :thumbsup:
     
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  14. 73Coupe

    73Coupe Senior Member

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    Excellent write-up Alan. I probably need to look into doing this on mine too. I have not gotten into the steering couplings that much yet. Is this coupler designed to be a shear mechanism during a crash? There's this coupler plus the "hockey puck" rubber joint up the shaft...
     
  15. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Cool part - do we know if the clamp fits the earlier couplers? Are they the same length body? Listing does not include earlier years...

    Anyone confirm?
     
  16. MrMoparCHP

    MrMoparCHP Senior Member

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    Since I was working on a bare shaft I wasn't thinking about the orientation of the housing on the shaft.
    The notch on the housing goes up, if your steering wheel isn't on yet, the master spline for the steering wheel is up.


    Alan
     
  17. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Interestingly, there were no master splines, indexing marks or anything on my car (1966) down at the coupler. There are indexing spines of course on the steering wheel end. I found it odd.
     
  18. 68 4spd Fury

    68 4spd Fury Well-Known Member

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    Just a question, if the coupler is worn or bad? My steering kind of loose, iv'e checked the coupler by holding it and the steering shaft and feel no play. I've also adjusted the steering box, (per the FSM), and didn't make much difference.
     
  19. 330dTA

    330dTA Well-Known Member

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    There may be other causes for a loose steering. It might as well be because of a worn out idler arm bushing, or worn out lower control arm bushings.
     
  20. Mopower76

    Mopower76 New Member

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    327F150E-DF4C-43D9-9EE6-52980B04DA9D.jpeg 1784BAC9-38A6-4986-96C3-4643E52BD892.jpeg BC5A538E-B7F0-4138-AC84-CC7B91BFA11D.jpeg Thought I’d add a few pics showing the orientation mark and the small dowel pin that was in question.
    This is the original coupler from my 1974 Dart Sport I’ve been “restoring”
    It is dumb luck I am rebuilding the joint right now!
    Like the OP this is the first coupler like this I have rebuilt. Most of the cars I am working on are 1972 and back.
    I’d imagine I’ll see this same coupler on my 1978 Monaco ex-cop wagon when I get it all apart.
    Great write up!
     
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