1988 Jeep Cherokee


Jeep Steering Columns

All Models


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.




NOTE: Steering column removal and installation procedures refer to all manufacturers. Not all procedures, however, apply to all models.



  1. 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.

  2. Disconnect, as equipped, either the flexible coupling,
    "Pot" coupling or "U" joint from pinion shaft.

  3. Disconnect wiring connectors at column jacket. Remove
    steering wheel and horn pad. See STEERING WHEEL
    article. Remove damper assembly (if equipped). On RWD models, remove
    turn signal lever.

  4. 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.

  5. 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


  1. 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.

  2. Install a new shift lever grommet using pliers and back-up
    washer to snap the grommet into place. Use a multipurpose grease to
    aid installation.

  3. 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).

  4. Install horn pad assembly. Refer to procedures in the
    & HORN REMOVAL article. Connect wiring connectors at
    steering column jacket. Connect battery negative cable. Test operation
    of lights and horn.

  5. 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.


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.

  1. 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

  2. A spring is attached between shift housing and column jacket.
    This spring keeps housing rotated counterclockwise against
    rubber bumper.



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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

Fig. 3.

9) To disassemble flexible coupling, remove 4 bolts and 2
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

  1. 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.
    m) .

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Install turn signal lever cover. Install breakaway
    capsules. Install wiring trough in place, being careful not to pinch
    wires. Install new retainers (if necessary)

  1. Bearing Assembly

  2. Shoe Release Lever

  1. Release Lever Pin

  2. Release Lever Spring

  3. Spring

6 Pivot Pin

  1. Dowel Pin

  2. Drive Shaft

9 Steering Wheel Lock Shoe

  1. Steering Wheel Lock Shoe

  2. Lock Bolt

  3. Bearing Assembly

  4. Tilt Lever Opening Shield

  5. Dimmer Switch Rod Activator

  1. Cylinder Lock Assembly

  2. Lock Housing Cover
    17 Lock Retaining Screw

  1. Buzzer Switch Retaining Clip

  2. Buzzer Switch Assembly
    20 Screw

21. Inner Race

22 Inner Race Seal

  1. Turn Signal/F-lasher
    Switch Assembly

  2. Turn Signal Arm Assembly

25 Screw 26. Retainer

  1. Jam Nut

  2. Retaining Ring

  1. Lock Plate

  2. Turn Signal Cancelling Cam

  1. Sprsng

  2. Screw

  3. Wiring Trough

  4. Pin Preload Spring

  1. Pivot & Switch Assembly

  2. Switch Actuator Pivot Pin
    37 Column Cover End Cap

  1. Spring Retainer

  2. Tilt Spring

  1. Spring Guide

  2. Spring

  3. Screw

  4. Switch Actuator Sector

  5. Steering Column Housing

  6. Rack Preload Spring
    46. Switch Actuator Rack
    47 Ignition Switch Acluator
    49 Gearshift Lever Sowl
    49 Shift Lever Spring

  1. Wave Washer

  2. Jacket Mounting Ptate

  3. Thrust Washer

  4. Shift Tube Retaining Ring

  5. Screw

  6. Shift Lever Gate

  7. Column Housing Support

  1. Screw

  2. Dowel Pin

  3. Lower Steering Shaft Assembly

  4. Centering Sphere

  5. Joint Preload Spring

  1. Race & Upper Shaft Assembly

  2. Screw

  3. Mounting Stud

  4. Ignition Switch Assembly
    66 Dimmer Switch Rod

  1. Dimmer Switch Assembly

  2. Steering Column Jacket

  1. Shift Tube Assembly

  2. Adapter & Bearing Assembly

  3. Screw
    72, Nut


Fig. 8: Exploded View of Tilt Steering Column



  1. 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.

  2. Mount column in vise at capsule bracket. Mount Holding
    Fixture (C-4132) onto column. Mount holding fixture and column in

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

13) Disassemble 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.

Centering Spheres



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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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
    align parts.

  11. 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
    from bottom).

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.



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)