Sorry, I know this was posted a while ago, but I just came across it today and had a question.Once I got it on my bench I realized that the factory shaft assembly is in fact a solid shaft inserted inside the 1" round shaft, held together by two plastic pins. I drilled out the plastic pins and freed the shaft. I then pushed the lower 1" round shaft upwards by the amount of shortening needed, and then drilled two 3/16" holes through the solid shaft to align with the factory plastic pin holes. Threw in a couple nuts and bolts to hold it in the proper length, and re-installed it in the truck.
I am in the process of a cross-over steering crossover on my M1028, and modifying the rag joint to a u-joint on this and 5 of my other CUCVs. I found a very economical way to do this is to go on egay and buy 3 of the intermediate steering shafts from the Jeep XJ models ranging in years between the mid 80s to the late 90s. They separate by pulling them apart by hand and each end has a ujoint that will fit onto the steering box input splines. Next, I take the lower part of the ragjoint-type stock intermediate shaft apart by drilling out the plastic thingies. For the lower part of the XJ shaft, I take a hacksaw and make a cut on each of the flat sides of the old rag joint flange, then use a hammer and knock it off the GM lower shaft. The XJ's lower u-joint then needs it's shaft cut at about 2" - 3" from the u-joint, and it will go into the GM shaft end where the ragjoint flange was removed. It will be a very tight fit, and I found the best way to do it is start it a little by hand, then flip it over and ram the GM shaft upper-end onto a hard surface which will cause the u-joint end to slide in little-by-little. It's sort of like how one would install a new ax head or hammer head onto a new wooden handle. After this, you just reinstall the shaft and new u-joint like it was meant to be there.I deceided to install ORD cross-over steering, which was quick and easy. Used a rebuilt PSC 2WD steering gear, which also installed easy. However I could not bring myself to re-using that primitive rag joint, so I ordered a new universal from Flaming River to replace the thing.
The PSC gear steering shaft output is a 3/4" 30-spline, and the factory steering shaft is 1" with opposite flats, a/k/a Double-D. So I ordered Flaming River part #FR1939-8 3/4"-30X1"DD. The unit is produced from super-tough chrome moly and cost $72.95 + shipping.
The rag joint flange on the lower steering shaft had to be cut off because the shaft was flanged to keep it on. I accomplished this with a thin cut-off wheel, then ground the flaring to match the shape of the shaft so the new universal would slip on and fit perfectly.
I installed the PSC gear and Flaming River joint and quickly realized that the factory steering shaft was too long and needed shortening. This was also easy, as I simply pushed the shaft towards the cab as far as it would go into it's universal housing at the firewall, and then marked the shaft at the end of the FR joint. I then removed the factory shaft assembly by simply removing the carriage bolt at the firewall universal. Once I got it on my bench I realized that the factory shaft assembly is in fact a solid shaft inserted inside the 1" round shaft, held together by two plastic pins. I drilled out the plastic pins and freed the shaft. I then pushed the lower 1" round shaft upwards by the amount of shortening needed, and then drilled two 3/16" holes through the solid shaft to align with the factory plastic pin holes. Threw in a couple nuts and bolts to hold it in the proper length, and re-installed it in the truck. The steering now has no slop whatsoever.
If you do not plan to change to cross-over steering, you may not need to shorten the shaft. If you order a universal from Flaming River, you will need to make sure you order the correct unit to fit your steering box. Shaft diameter and spline count on the gear side, 1" DD on the shaft side.
Hope this helps anyone contemplating such modification.
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