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Borgeson Steering Shaft Installation
1994-1998 Dodge Ram
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Manufacturer and Supplier:
Borgeson Universal Co. , Inc.
Many Ram owners have complained about a clunk that is felt in the steering wheel on 1994+ Rams as the trucks are traveling down the road. Many made repeated trips to the dealers to resolve the problem, without much success. The problem is a result of the loose slip joint in the intermediate steering shaft which is designed to protect the driver in a collision. Many of the shafts were too loose and replacements were just as bad.
I had not noticed the dreaded "steering clunk" on my truck until after 60,000 miles were on the odometer. After the clunk first appeared, it continued to grow more annoying. A shake of the steering shaft under the hood confirmed my suspicions that my steering shaft was loose at the slip joint.
If you think you may have the problem, open the hood and shake the intermediate steering shaft at the middle. If it moves more than 1/16", it is probably too loose. From inside the cab turn the steering wheel a few degrees side to side with the key unlocked and engine OFF. If you feel a clunk as the steering wheel passes through center, the steering shaft is loose.
Borgeson Universal Inc. manufactures a replacement intermediate steering shaft for the Dodge Ram that is much more precise than the OEM part. Borgeson's shaft uses needle bearings and precision universal joints at the ends, and closely matched telescoping tubing for the body. This shaft does not clunk!
Top: OEM shaft, Bottom: Borgeson replacement
BORGESON 9459950 Installation Instructions
Replacement Steering Shaft for '94 - '98 Dodge Trucks
1. Engage the ignition switch/steering column lock with the steering wheel in the straight ahead position. NOTE: Spinning the steering wheel with the intermediate shaft assembly removed can result in damage to internal steering column components. Remove the stock shaft assembly by first loosening the clamp screws at each end of the assembly; one at the steering column and one at the steering box, then slide each coupling off of the shaft at each end. The slip feature of the shaft assembly allows compression of the shaft length to allow removal.
My notes (Lettered A through I):
A. Cover the driver side battery with a nonconductive material to avoid welding something personal to the truck fender.
|B. Because the Ram steering lock will not engage until the wheel is upside down, use a pair of bungie cords to tie the wheel in the center position.|
C. Place a bright work light under the truck so that it illuminates the end of the steering shaft at the firewall. It is hiding under the vacuum brake booster and very difficult to see on my 94 diesel with 4 wheel ABS.
|D. From top or bottom (I'll leave the contortionist's choice up to you), find the sheering shaft bolt hidden under the brake booster.|
E. Note the position and determine if you can get a wrench to it. You may need to start the engine and turn the steering wheel slightly to get access. My wheel needed to be turned about 45 degrees to gain access to the bolt upper bolt. Turn off the engine and make sure all steering load is relieved before you disconnect the shaft.
F. Check the lower shaft bolt at the steering gear box. Make sure you can get a wrench to it. Repeat E until you are sure you can remove both bolts.
G. If installed, cut the tie wraps and remove the plastic safety sleeve installed for Recall #709 .
H. Remove the steering shaft bolts from the both ends of the shaft. NOTE: The bolts are installed with locktight and require a fair amount of torque to remove.
I. Collapse the shaft to slide it off the splined shaft at the steering box. Then pull the intermediate shaft off the steering column splines.
|2. Using the slip feature of the BORGESON Shaft Assembly, compress the shaft length so that the assembly will fit into position. Now extend the shaft length so that the ends fit over the splined or "DD" shafts at the steering box and steering column as shown in Figure B|
|Borgeson Shaft installed on the Steering Gear|
My Note: The two ends of the intermediate shaft appear identical, but they are slightly different. After struggling for 15 minutes to install the Borgeson shaft in the same orientation as the OEM shaft, I gave up and flipped the shaft end for end. It slid right onto the splined steering column and steering gear shaft. If the shaft does not easily slip onto the splines, try the other end!
|3. Secure the ends of the Assembly to the steering column and steering box shafts by tightening the set screws and lock nuts included. A flat or notch must be provided for each set screw as shown in Figure A|
My Notes: The notches were already machined into the shafts on my 1994 model. The steering column bolt was easier to access by lying under the truck and reaching up past the axle, fender, and hoses (I didn't say it was easy, just easier than trying to reach it from the top!)
It should be noted here that Chrysler has issued a Recall Notification for all 1994 and 1995 Model Year Dodge Ram Trucks because of a fault inside the steering column itself which can cause the shafts inside the column to disengage from each other and result in loss of steering control of the vehicle. Chrysler has addressed this problem by instructing Dodge dealers to install a "stop" on the intermediate shaft to prevent disengagement of the steering column shafts. We have added a feature to our assembly that provides the same measure of safety.
4. Once the set screws at each end of the new assembly have been tightened, the stop screw must be installed in the intermediate slip shaft. There are two tapped (threaded) holes provided in the shaft; one is for two wheel drive trucks and one is for four wheel drive trucks. If your truck is two wheel drive, only one hole will be visible when the assembly is installed. The stop screw should be installed in that hole. If your truck is four wheel drive, both holes will be visible and the stop screw should be installed in the tapped hole closest to the tube that the shaft slides into. The screw should be installed so that the head of the screw is bottomed out against the shaft.
My Note: I shortened and reinstalled the plastic sleeve using new tie wraps to hold it in place. A hole was drilled in the sleeve to clear the Borgeson stop screw.
5. Finally, the rubber boot should be pulled down over the head of the screw so that it covers the area where the sliding shaft enters the tube. Install one cable tie at each end of the boot.
My Note: The boot was a son-of-a-gun to get positioned correctly. Be patient, and it will eventually cooperate.
6. After approximately 100 miles, retighten set screws and lock nuts.
Unfortunately, many trucks have a loose lower steering column bearing that also produces a steering wheel clunk. Replacing the intermediate steering shaft may help if it is loose (usually is!) but replacement of the column is the only remedy for the loose bearing, and the new bearing is often not much better. There is no aftermarket for this problem.
There has been a complaint posted to the TDR forum about shabby of a customer treatment by Borgeson. YMMV!
This page was edited on: May 3, 2004