1988 Jeep Cherokee
Jeep Steering Columns
All models use collapsible steering columns. All columns have integral ignition switch and locking device. Optional tilt wheel is available with both A/T and M/T. Transmission shift linkage is integral on all models except those with floor shift.
Refer to TROUBLE SHOOTING - BASIC PROCEDURES article in the GENERAL TROUBLE SHOOTING section.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
NOTE: Steering column removal and installation procedures refer to all manufacturers. Not all procedures, however, apply to all models.
STEERING COLUMN (COLUMN SHIFT)
Disconnect battery negative cable. Disconnect transmission
shift cable rod by prying rod from grommet in shift lever. Remove
cable clip. Remove cable from lower bracket.
Disconnect, as equipped, either the flexible coupling,
"Pot" coupling or "U" joint from pinion shaft.
Disconnect wiring connectors at column jacket. Remove
steering wheel and horn pad. See STEERING WHEEL & HORN REMOVAL
article. Remove damper assembly (if equipped). On RWD models, remove
turn signal lever.
On all models, remove steering column-to-floor pan
attaching screws. Expose steering column bracket. Remove instrument
panel steering column cover. Lower reinforcement. Disconnect bezel.
Remove indicator set screw and gearshift pointer from shift housing.
Remove steering column bracket-to-instrument panel
attaching nuts. Lower support bracket. Firmly grasp steering column
assembly and pull rearward while disconnecting lower stub shaft from
pinion shaft coupling.
NOTE: On vehicles equipped with cruise control and M/T, take care not to damage clutch pedal cruise control switch.
Fig. 1: Exploded View of RWD Steering Column Major Assemblies
On all models, aligning lower shaft with lower coupling
and insert shaft. Raise column assembly into position onto studs.
Loosely install nuts and washers in breakaway capsules. Pull column
rearward. Tighten nuts to specification. See TORQUE SPECIFICATIONS.
Install a new shift lever grommet using pliers and back-up
washer to snap the grommet into place. Use a multipurpose grease to
Connect gearshift cable rod to shift lever by snapping rod
into grommet with pliers. Adjust linkage. Place steering wheel on
shaft with master splines aligned. Place damper assembly inside
steering wheel (if equipped). Install steering wheel retaining nut.
Tighten to 45 ft. lbs. (61 N.m).
Install horn pad assembly. Refer to procedures in the
STEERING WHEEL & HORN REMOVAL article. Connect wiring connectors at
steering column jacket. Connect battery negative cable. Test operation
of lights and horn.
On models with A/T, install gearshift indicator pointer.
Slowly move gearshift lever from "LOW" position to "PARK" position,
pausing briefly at each selector position. Loosen and readjust to
align pointer with each position (if necessary). Install instrument
panel steering column cover.
STEERING COLUMN (FLOOR SHIFT)
The steering column with a floor mounted gearshift is basically the same as previously described. Standard columns and service procedures are identical except as described below.
* In place of rotating shift housing, there is a plastic shroud which is fixed to lock housing. Shroud covers jacket and lock inhibitor assembly. It is held in place by a tab that fits under side cover and one screw. Shroud can only be replaced by removing lock housing from jacket.
The lock inhibitor assembly consists of a lever that engages
lock levers (preventing locking of steering shaft), a button
to operate lever and a return spring. Assembly is attached to
lock housing in same location as shift gate is on column
shift. Lower steering shaft bearing is mounted in an aluminum
A spring is attached between shift housing and column jacket.
This spring keeps housing rotated counterclockwise against
NOTE: All columns are similar except for appearance of covers. Some models use ignition key light, while others do not. Disassembly and reassembly procedures cover all models. Some procedures may not apply to every steering column.
Pry out wiring trough retainers. Lift off trough. New
retainers may be required for reassembly. Use masking tape to protect
paint and a deep socket to back-up housing. Drive retaining roll pin
out with a punch to remove shift lever.
Remove breakaway capsules. Secure column in vise by
clamping at column bracket. DO NOT distort column. Remove turn signal lever cover-to-lock housing attaching screws. Remove cover. Remove wiper/washer switch assembly. Pull switch cover up wiper/washer lever. Remove lever sleeve-to-switch attaching screws.
Rotate wiper/washer shaft to full clockwise position.
Remove shaft from switch. Remove turn signal switch and upper bearing
retaining screws. Remove retainer. Lift switch upward out of way.
Unclip horn ground wire. Remove ignition key light retaining screw.
Lift ignition key light out of way.
Remove bearing housing-to-lock attaching screws. Remove
snap ring from upper end of steering shaft. Remove bearing housing
from shaft. Remove lock plate spring and lock plate from shaft. Remove
shaft through lower end of column.
Remove ignition key. Remove warning switch retaining
screw. Lift out key warning switch. Remove 2 ignition switch-to-column jacket retaining screws. See Fig. 2. Remove ignition switch by rotating switch 90 degrees on actuator rod. Remove 2 dimmer switch retaining screws. Disengage dimmer switch from rod.
Fig. 2: Removing Ignition Switch
Remove bellcrank mounting screws. Slide bellcrank up in
housing until it can be disconnected from ignition switch rod. Using
key, place cylinder in "LOCK" position. Remove key.
Using a small diameter screwdriver or similar tool, push
inward to release spring-loaded lock retainer while pulling lock
cylinder from housing bore. Pull lock lever and spring assembly out of
housing as an assembly.
Remove 4 lock housing-to-column jacket retaining screws.
Remove housing from jacket. On A/T models, loosen shift tube set screw
in shaft housing. On all models, using Shift Tube Remover (J-23072 for
Jeep), remove tube through lower end of jacket. See
disassemble flexible coupling, remove 4 bolts
cross straps. Remove flexible coupling. "Pot" coupling is removed by
prying cover tangs from coupling body and lifting seal and cover from
body. Drive dowel pin down into coupling. Discard "Pot" coupling. Pull
body off shaft and shoe assembly.
Fig. 3: Removing Shift Tube
Fig. 4: Removing Lock Cylinder
1) Coat all friction surfaces with grease. Clamp column in vise so that both ends of column are accessible. Check column tube-to-
mandrel rivets for tightness.
2) Use new 1/8" diameter by 1/4" long (1/8" grip) aluminum blind rivets (if necessary). DO NOT use steel rivets as rivets must shear upon impact. Position crossover load spring and shift lever in gearshift housing. Tap pivot pin into place. See Fig. 5.
Fig. 5: Installing Column Shift Lever Courtesy of Chrysler Motors
Assemble key cylinder plunger spring. Install assembly on
lock housing. Install shift lever gate on lock housing. Place shift
lever in mid position (if equipped). Seat lock housing on top of
jacket by aligning keyway in housing with slot in jacket. Install
housing-to-jacket screws. Tighten alternately to 90 INCH lbs. (10 N.
Install dimmer switch rod by firmly pushing rod into
switch. Compress switch until 2 (.093") drill bit shanks can be
inserted into alignment holes. Reposition upper end of push rod in
pocket of wiper/washer switch. Remove lower column cover (if
necessary). Remove drill bits.
Switch should click when lever is lifted and again as
lever returns, just before it reaches stop in down position. Grease
and assemble 2 lock levers, lock lever spring and pin. See Fig. 6.
Install assembly into lock housing. Seat pin firmly in bottom of
slots. Ensure that lock lever spring leg is firmly in place in lock
casting notch. See Fig. 7.
Fig. 6: Assembling Lock Lever & Spring Assembly
Lock Lever & Spring Assembly
Fig. 7: Installing Lock Lever & Spring Assembly
6) Install ignition switch actuator rod from bottom through oblong hole in lock housing. Attach rod to bellcrank. Position bellcrank assembly into lock housing while pulling ignition switch and
rod down column. Install bellcrank onto its mounting surface. Gearshift lever should be in "PARK" position.
Place ignition switch on actuator rod. Rotate switch 90
degrees to lock rod into position. Install ignition lock by turning
key to "LOCK" position. Remove key. Insert cylinder into housing far
enough to contact switch actuator. Insert key. Press inward. Rotate
When parts align, cylinder will move inward and spring
loaded retainers will snap into place, locking cylinder in housing.
With cylinder and ignition switch in "LOCK" position, tighten ignition
switch mounting screws.
Feed key warning switch wires behind wiring post and down
through space between housing and jacket. Remove ignition key.
Position cylinder in housing. Tighten mounting screws. Install lower
bearing support (floor shift), bearing and spring on steering shaft.
Install and lubricate rubber "O" ring in lower groove on
upper end of steering shaft. Insert steering shaft assembly into
column assembly. Press upper bearing into upper bearing housing.
Bearing must be fully seated.
Push up on steering shaft to compress bearing and spring.
Hold shaft in this position until snap ring is installed. Install lock
plate on steering shaft. Install upper bearing spring. Install upper
bearing housing with bearing previously installed. Tighten bearing
housing retaining screws to 35 INCH lbs (4 N.m).
Install upper bearing snap ring on steering shaft,
locking assembly into position. Install 4 screws attaching bearing
housing to lock housing. Install ignition key lamp assembly in bearing
housing. Install turn signal switch in bearing housing.
Feed turn signal switch and ignition key lamp wires
through opening between bearing housing and lock housing and down
along bottom of jacket. Install bearing retainer plate. Tighten
screws. Ensure that ground wires from turn signal switch are
positioned toward ground clips before tightening.
Assemble wiper switch, shaft, cover or speed control
switch, switch cover and knob. Place wiper/washer switch assembly into
lock housing, feeding wires through lock housing. Fasten wires to turn
signal switch. Install dimmer switch rod and dimmer switch.
Install turn signal lever cover. Install breakaway
capsules. Install wiring trough in place, being careful not to pinch
wires. Install new retainers (if necessary).
Shoe Release Lever
Release Lever Pin
Release Lever Spring
6 Pivot Pin
9 Steering Wheel Lock Shoe
Steering Wheel Lock Shoe
Tilt Lever Opening Shield
Dimmer Switch Rod Activator
Cylinder Lock Assembly
Lock Housing Cover
17 Lock Retaining Screw
Buzzer Switch Retaining Clip
Buzzer Switch Assembly
21. Inner Race
22 Inner Race Seal
Turn Signal Arm Assembly
25 Screw 26. Retainer
Turn Signal Cancelling Cam
Pin Preload Spring
Pivot & Switch Assembly
Switch Actuator Pivot Pin
37 Column Cover End Cap
Switch Actuator Sector
Steering Column Housing
Rack Preload Spring
46. Switch Actuator Rack
47 Ignition Switch Acluator
49 Gearshift Lever Sowl
49 Shift Lever Spring
Jacket Mounting Ptate
Shift Tube Retaining Ring
Shift Lever Gate
Column Housing Support
Lower Steering Shaft Assembly
Joint Preload Spring
Race & Upper Shaft Assembly
Ignition Switch Assembly
66 Dimmer Switch Rod
Dimmer Switch Assembly
Steering Column Jacket
Shift Tube Assembly
Adapter & Bearing Assembly
Fig. 8: Exploded View of Tilt Steering Column
TILT WHEEL COLUMN
Remove lower bracket assembly-to-lower bearing support
bolts. On column shift models, remove shift housing cover. On floor
shift models, unsnap and remove shroud extensions. Remove wiring
protector from column jacket.
Mount column in vise at capsule bracket. Mount Holding
Fixture (C-4132) onto column. Mount holding fixture and column in
Remove tilt lever. To remove hazard warning knob, push in
knob while unscrewing. Remove ignition key light assembly. Pull knob
off wiper/washer switch assembly. Pull hider up switch lever. Remove 2
sleeve-to-wiper/washer switch retaining screws. Remove sleeve.
Rotate shaft in wiper switch fully clockwise. Remove shaft
by pulling straight out of wiper/washer switch. Carefully remove
plastic cover from lock plate. Using Lock Plate Depressor (J-23653-A
for Jeep), depress lock plate. Pry retaining ring from groove.
Remove lock plate, canceling cam and upper bearing plate.
Remove switch actuator screw and arm. Remove 3 turn signal switch
attaching screws. Place shift bowl in "LOW" position. Wrap a piece of
tape around wires to prevent snagging when removing switch. Remove
switch and wiring.
Remove key light. Place lock cylinder in "LOCK" position.
Insert a small screwdriver into slot next to switch mounting screw
boss. Depress spring latch at bottom of slot. Remove lock.
Using a paper clip, remove key warning switch. Bend one
end of clip into a hook. Insert hook into exposed loop of wedge
spring. Pull clip. Remove spring and switch. DO NOT allow spring to
fall into steering column.
Remove 3 housing cover screws. Remove housing cover.
Remove wiper/washer switch. Using a punch, press out wiper switch
pivot pin (if necessary). Tilt lever opening shield and dimmer switch
actuator rod may be removed from cap (if necessary).
Place column in fully upright position. Using a large
Phillips screwdriver, remove tilt spring retainer. Insert screwdriver
in opening. Push in approximately 3/16". Turn approximately 1/8 turn
clockwise until ears align with grooves in housing. Remove spring and
Remove dimmer switch mounting screws. Remove dimmer
switch. Separate dimmer switch from rod by pulling on rod. Push upper
steering shaft in far enough to remove steering shaft inner race seat
and inner race. With ignition switch in "ACC" position, remove
ignition switch mounting screws and switch. Place Pivot Pin Remover
(J-21854-01 for Jeep) over pivot pin. Thread small portion of screw
firmly into pin.
Hold screw from turning with one wrench while turning nut
clockwise with a second wrench to withdraw pivot pin from support.
Remove opposite pivot pin in same manner. Use tilt release lever to
disengage lock shoes. Remove bearing housing assembly by pulling
upward to extend rack fully.
Move housing assembly left to disengage rack from
actuator. Rotate housing clockwise to free dimmer switch actuator rod. Remove activator assembly. Remove coupling from lower end of steering shaft. Double coupling is retained to shaft with a roll pin. Remove shaft assembly from upper end.
CAUTION: DO NOT drop or bump steering shaft as plastic pins may shear.
steering shaft assembly by removing center
spheres and anti-lash springs. See Fig. 9. Remove 4 bolts securing
support to lock plate. Remove support from end of column jacket.
Remove 2 attaching screws and shift gate from support (if necessary).
Dimmer switch is removed with support.
Fig. 9: Shaft Centering Spheres
14) Using a screwdriver, remove shift tube retaining ring. Remove thrust washer. Remove 2 screws from lower bearing. Remove lower bearing from jacket. Using Puller (J-23073-01 for Jeep), remove shift tube from bowl. Insert bushing on end of puller in shift tube to force tube from bowl. DO NOT hammer shift tube as plastic joints may shear.
Fig. 10: Removing Shift Tube from Bowl on Models With Tilt Wheel
15) From lower end of jacket, remove shift tube from jacket. Remove jacket mounting plate by sliding from jacket notches and tipping down toward bowl hub at 12 o’clock position under jacket
opening. Remove wave washer. Remove bowl from jacket. Remove shift lever spring from bowl by winding spring up with pliers and pulling out.
By removing spring retaining screw and moving spring
clockwise, remove lock bolt spring. Using a hammer and punch, lightly
tap drive shaft from sector. Remove drive shaft, sector and bolt.
Remove rack, spring and shim (if used). Remove tilt release lever pin.
Relieve load on lever release by holding shoes inward.
Wedge a block between top of shoes and bearing housing. Remove release
lever and release lever spring. Using punch and hammer, remove lock
shoe pin. Remove lock shoes and lock shoe springs.
Remove bearings from bearing housing only if they are to
be replaced. Remove separator and ball from bearing. Place housing on
work bench. Using a punch against back surface of race, hammer race
from housing. DO NOT reuse bearings.
1) During reassembly, coat all friction surfaces with
multipurpose grease. Clamp column in vise so that both ends of column are accessible. Install bearings in bearing housing (if removed).
Install lock shoe springs, lock shoes and shoe pin in
bearing housing. Use a .180" rod to line up shoes for pin
installation. With tilt lever opening on left side and with the shoes
facing up, the 4 slot shoe should also face up.
Install spring, release lever and pin in bearing housing.
Install drive shaft in housing. Lightly tap sector onto drive shaft
far enough to bottom on shaft. Install lock bolt. Engage lock bolt
with sector cam surface. Install rack and spring. Block tooth on rack
should engage block tooth on sector.
Install external tilt release lever. Install bolt spring
and spring retaining screw. Tighten to 35 INCH lbs. (4 N.m). Install
shift lever spring in bowl by winding up with pliers and pushing in.
Slide bowl into jacket. Install wave washer and jacket mounting plate.
Work jacket mounting plate into jacket notches by tipping
jacket mounting plate toward bowl hub at 12 o’clock position and under
jacket opening. Slide jacket mounting plate in jacket notches.
Carefully install shift tube in lower end of jacket.
Align key in tube with keyway in bowl. Using Puller (J-
23073-01 for Jeep), pull shift tube into bowl. See Fig. 11. DO NOT
push or tap on end of shift tube. By pulling bowl up and compressing
wave washer, install thrust washer and retaining pin.
Puller (C-4119 For Chrysler Motors, J-23073-01 For General Motors & Jeep)
Fig. 11: Installing Shift Tube on Models With Tilt Wheel
7) Slide dimmer switch actuator rod through hole in support. Feed rod between bowl and jacket. Install support by aligning notch in support with notch in jacket. Insert 4 screws through support into
jacket mounting plate. Tighten screws to 60 INCH lbs. (7 N.m). Install lower bearing on lower end of jacket (if removed).
Install centering spheres and anti-lash spring in upper
steering shaft. Install lower steering shaft from same side of spheres
that spring ends protrude. Perform a trial fit of assembly to ensure
that master serration of upper shaft is on same side as master
serration of lower shaft assembly.
Position shift bowl fully counterclockwise. Install
ignition switch actuator rod between bowl and jacket from bottom.
Guide back of coupling into support slot. Assemble bearing housing
over steering shaft. Engage rack over end of ignition switch actuator
Fig. 12: Installing Lock Plate Retaining Ring
Position access hole of bearing housing over end of
dimmer switch actuator rod. Rotate housing counterclockwise to
assemble. Holding lock shoes in disengaged position, assemble bearing
housing over steering shaft until pivot holes line up with holes in
Install pivot pins. Assemble as far as possible, using
palm pressure of hand to prevent enlarging support pivot hole. Using a
small hammer and punch, tap pins into place. Replace wiper/washer
pivot assembly. Press pivot pin in cover (if removed). Check pivot
assembly for ease of movement.
If movement is restricted, tap other end of pin for
clearance. Install wiper/washer switch. Replace tilt lever opening
shield in cover (if removed). Position cap over dimmer switch actuator
rod. Guide end of actuator rod into pivot slot during cover assembly.
Hold cap so that cover will slide over it.
Place housing in full upward position. Ensure there is
grease between guide and peg on support, tilt spring and tilt spring
retainer. Install guide. Using a screwdriver in retaining slot, turn
retainer clockwise to engage. Install bearing inner race and seat.
Install lock housing cover. Tighten 3 screws to 100 INCH
lbs. (11 N.m). Assemble key warning switch to spring clip with formed
end of clip under end of switch and with spring bowed away from switch
on side opposite contact. Push switch and spring into hole in lock
housing cover with contacts facing lock cylinder bore.
Install key light (if equipped). Install turn signal
switch wires and connector through cover, bearing housing and shift
bowl. Push in hazard plunger. Install turn signal switch. Tighten
screws to 25 INCH lbs. (3 N.m). Install hazard warning knob and screw.
Pull knob out.
Install canceling cam spring, canceling cam (carrier
assembly) and lock plate. Using Lock Plate Depressor (J-23653-A for
Jeep), depress lock plate. See Fig. 12. Install a new retaining ring.
Install tilt release lever (if removed). Install turn signal switch
Install ignition lock. Turn key to "LOCK" position.
Remove key. Insert cylinder into housing far enough to contact shaft.
Press inward while moving ignition switch actuator rod up and down to
When parts align, cylinder will move inward and a spring
loaded retainer will snap into place locking cylinder in housing. To
replace ignition switch, position key cylinder in "LOCK" position.
Remove key. Place ignition switch in "LOCK" position (second detent
Fit ignition switch actuator rod into slider hole.
Loosely install on column with 2 screws. Push switch lightly toward
lock housing to take out slack in actuator rod. Tighten screws to 34
INCH lbs. (4 N.m). DO NOT move switch out of detent position.
Install dimmer switch by firmly seating push rod into
switch. Compress switch until 2 (.093") drill bit shanks can be
inserted into alignment holes. Reposition upper end of push rod in
pocket of wiper/washer switch. Remove lower column cover (if
With a light upward pressure on switch, install 2 screws.
Remove drill bits. Switch should click when lever is lifted and again
as lever returns, just before it reaches lower stop. Install wire
protector over wires on column jacket, being careful not to pinch
Remove column from vise. Position lower bracket assembly
on steering column. Install 2 bolts. Tighten to 105 INCH lbs. (12 N.
m). Aligning master splines, install coupling assembly on steering
shaft. Support coupling under joint. Drive in roll pin.
NOTE: DO NOT remove bearings from housing unless they are to be
replaced. Install new bearings if bearings are removed from housing. Never reuse old bearings.
TORQUE SPECIFICATIONS TABLE
Application Ft. Lbs. (N.m)
Flexible Coupling Bolts 17 (23)
Steering Wheel Retaining Nut 45 (61)
Support Plate Bolts 17 (23)
INCH Lbs. (N.m)
Bearing Housing-to-Lock Housing Screws 35 (4)
Bracket-to-Column Bolt 124 (14)
Column Clamp Stud 20 (2)
Column Clamp Stud Nut 106 (12)
Hazard Switch 27 (3)
Housing Cover Screws 100 (11)
Ignition Switch Screws 35 (4)
Lock Housing-to-Jacket 90 (10)
Shift Tube Support Screws 60 (7)
Steering Column Lower Bracket Bolts 106 (12)
Tilt Release Spring Retaining Screw 35 (4)
Turn Signal Retaining Plate 27 (3)
Upper Bracket Nuts 106 (12)