Steering coupler/Rag Joint Install/Repair

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by BB81Z, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. BB81Z

    BB81Z Veteran Member

    267
    0
    Sep 1, 2011
    Aurora, Illinois
    This is gonna sound like a dumb question. I was looking into replacing/repairing my steering coupler/rag joint on my 81 Z with a repair kit to get rid of the last bit of slop in my steering. I already replaced all the ball joints and control arm bushings with polyurethane this winter. I a looking into replacing my gear box as well since it is leaking from every place possible with an IROC box. I figured I would fix the old and tired rag joint while I was at it. I have heard of other members doing it, just not sure how exactly it comes off of the intermediate shaft side. Probably one of the only things that I haven't taken apart on this car since I bought it 12 years ago. I glanced at it at work tonight to get an idea but didn't see any bolt holding it on. Do you just tap it off the intermediate shaft? And would it be easier to remove the whole shaft first since I really don't have room with the header and control arm in the way. Forgot to mention it has a BB in it so room is a little tighter. Any help would be appreciated. I'm sure I can figure it out, but any tips or tricks would help.
     
  2. 71RS/SS396

    71RS/SS396 Veteran Member

    2,556
    16
    Aug 26, 2008
    Wake Forest NC
    There's a bolt and nut on the box end of the shaft that clamps the joint on to the splines of the box, just loosen it up. The column end has a bolt and nut as well but the bolt head looks like a rivet, this one you have to take the bolt out since it passes through the shaft and the column, once you have both ends loose push the shaft up towards the column, it collapses, then you should be able to remove it.
     
  3. BB81Z

    BB81Z Veteran Member

    267
    0
    Sep 1, 2011
    Aurora, Illinois
    That part I understand. It's removing the rag joint from the intermediate shaft itself is what I was looking for. Thank you for the info.
     
  4. 71RS/SS396

    71RS/SS396 Veteran Member

    2,556
    16
    Aug 26, 2008
    Wake Forest NC
    You have to grind the heads off of the rivets or drill them out to get the rag joint apart ( remove and replace the rubber disc ), then you will have to put bolts in where the rivets were. It's not fun I did it on my G body which is pretty much the same. The upper secton of the joint won't seperate from the intermediate shaft, it's pressed on. I had to use a universal rubber disc from the help section.
     
  5. BB81Z

    BB81Z Veteran Member

    267
    0
    Sep 1, 2011
    Aurora, Illinois
    Ah ok. That answers my question. I ordered one from our local Napa and the disc looked like it was about an inch too big in diameter and didn't think it would fit in the brackets. I'm gonna return it since I found one on NPD's website. The Napa one says it was a universal part that fit all kinds of cars. Just wasn't sure if it came off the intermediate shaft or not. Thank you for the info. Appreciate it. :)
     
  6. 71flh

    71flh Veteran Member

    915
    14
    Jun 1, 2010
    DFW
    The rag joint bolts to the steering shaft with 2 bolts. No grinding is needed to take it apart.

    It sort of looks like the lower end of the steering shaft is part of the rag joint until you unbolt it.
     
  7. BB81Z

    BB81Z Veteran Member

    267
    0
    Sep 1, 2011
    Aurora, Illinois
    I thought I had seen them apart before which is why I was asking. Suppose I can just take out the shaft when I get the new parts and figure it out. Again any help is appreciated.
     
  8. 71flh

    71flh Veteran Member

    915
    14
    Jun 1, 2010
    DFW
    Maybe search the internet, which knows all, but lies a lot, for gm rag joint pic.

    Three bolts attach the rag joint. It seems pretty easy to figure out.
     
  9. Dr. Z

    Dr. Z Veteran Member

    203
    0
    Jun 18, 2010
    Oklahoma
    Get the right diameter rag joint, and when grinding / drillng the rivets out try not to damage the hardware they are pressed into too much. I used a universal joint from the help section and A combination of the original hardware and the kits hardware to make it work.
     
  10. BB81Z

    BB81Z Veteran Member

    267
    0
    Sep 1, 2011
    Aurora, Illinois
    Yeah looks like definitely comes off which is what I figured but haven't dug into it yet. Considering I've had pretty much the entire car apart and back together, I've never really paid attention to how it came off. And now that everything is in the way, I have to get it out. Figures. Shouldn't be too bad. Can't be any worse than a heater core in a 2nd gen. lol
     

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