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wideopencowbell

2WD Steering Setup - Moog / Delco Center Links New Worse Design?

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Posted (edited)

Hello Folks, 

 

This is my first time posting as I recently bought my first WD21 and haven't had time to post an Intro or anything yet.  I have an '88 WD21 acquired about a month ago, I've put a 2.5" lift on using Rough Country UCAs & shocks (for now), Swayaway bars and JGC springs.  I got all my parts together to do a 2WD steering setup, and the Moog center link has a multi-piece design with a strangely-fitted hollow rod crimped to two solid outer portions.  To me, this looks like a very bad design and a terrible way to save a few dollars on production costs.  So I ordered an AC Delco CL (same part, different box) from another source, wanting to try my luck and see if I could get an older stock version that is monolithic all the way through.  Negative - the Delco part is the same deal.  Both parts are 555 Japan parts, by the way.

 

Does anyone have any experience with this style of center links?  They just look like two added failure modes to me.  I'm pretty frustrated because right now the Pathfinder is held up until I put a new center link in, and I'm running out of time before bad weather and already ran out of time for the start of a new school quarter.  I have a new 4WD CL that I was going to return (ordered before I learned about the 2WD setup), but I'm wondering if I should scrap the 2WD swap and just install the 4WD stuff instead to get the Pathfinder back on the road.

 

If anyone who has experience with this swap or this style of center link has any strong feelings about the matter, please chime in!  I can try ordering a different cheaper brand of center link with hopes of it being solid/monolithic.  I really like the 555/Moog stuff but this is a major let-down.

 

 

IMG_0361

 

IMG_2535

 

Edited by wideopencowbell
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Posted (edited)

Never seen one and I get your reservations. I will say 555 are excellent parts as a general rule.

Personally I wouldn't use them in a 4x4 application, or I'd have them welded.  

Edited by FirstGenFreak

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The 2wd and 4wd steering is the exact same parts on the WD21. It is on the pickup where the steering is different between 2wd and 4wd. They are not really interchangeable other than 4wd pickup and the WD21. 

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Thanks for the input.  Since I’m running out of time I decided to go ahead and install everything tonight (yes D21 stuff).  I don’t like the center link situation but I couldn’t wait another week for another round of parts to find out if I can get something better.  Agree that the CL should be welded before any serious 4x4 stuff, however I’m not going to be doing much of that for awhile.  Right now I’m just trying to tighten things up and attempt to get the wandering out of the steering and suspension as it’s more of a handful on the highway than it has a right to be (only running 265/75r16 tires).  
 

 

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I've got that same centerlink sitting in my "need to get around to installing this" pile. I wasn't impressed by the shark-bite construction either, but I haven't found any complaints about them separating. I do like the idea of running a weld around both ends to be on the safe side, though. Wrap a wet rag around the joints first so you don't burn holes in the boots.

 

I've been down the same road trying to get rid of steering wander ("all over" the same road is more like it). While loose joints don't help, in my case it really came down to the slop in my steering box. I tried to adjust the original, destroyed it, and ended up with a crap BBB/VisionOE reman that's sloppier than what I started with and also leaks. Now and then I consider whether the later box sold by Redhead would fit, but then I look at the price and remember why I stopped considering that option. I've got a Grassroots link installed now, which has enough binding in its joints that the steering doesn't explore the play in the box, which does actually help. I've got a steering stabilizer/damper to install when I mount the 2WD link.

 

Let us know how it goes!

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I found that some of my wander was in the steering shaft in my truck. I couldn't find any play in the joints, but when I replaced the shaft with one from a Hardbody pickup that some of the play went away. 

For the record, the reason I had made the swap was because of the body lift and I didn't like the way the slip joint was after the body lift. Also found the HB transfer case shifter needed less adjustment than the original to work with the body lift. 

Makes sense since the 4x4 HB body sits higher off the frame than the Pathfinder. 

 

Also found some of my wander issues is caused by the rear suspension. One of these days I am going to make my own links using something like jonny joints. And make the panhard rod drop bracket more solid. I don't see signs of it moving, but have suspicions. However, all that is on hold while I get other life issues resolved. My daughter wrecked her car Monday afternoon and so I need to take care of that. Likely a total, so need to find and replace the transmission in my Altima. 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Slartibartfast said:

 

I've been down the same road trying to get rid of steering wander ("all over" the same road is more like it). While loose joints don't help, in my case it really came down to the slop in my steering box. I tried to adjust the original, destroyed it, and ended up with a crap BBB/VisionOE reman that's sloppier than what I started with and also leaks. Now and then I consider whether the later box sold by Redhead would fit, but then I look at the price and remember why I stopped considering that option. I've got a Grassroots link installed now, which has enough binding in its joints that the steering doesn't explore the play in the box, which does actually help. I've got a steering stabilizer/damper to install when I mount the 2WD link.

 

Let us know how it goes!


I didn’t realize Redhead had Nissan box options.  I’ve got one in my 67 Chevy truck and it’s almost too quick, but I like it.  I wouldn’t be opposed to spending the money if that’s the solution, because if I can’t get the wander out then this WD21 love affair is going to be really short.  This morning on the way to work at 4AM I was actually concerned I may get pulled over for suspected DUI one of these days if I can’t sort out the lane wander...

 

I adjusted the play down to a minimum at the box when I had the CL off, but when I put everything back together with a Moog Problem Solver Idler (temp until I can find a D21 manual box), the steering was so stiff it barely moves off center even with the wheels off the ground.  I was afraid I messed up at the box so I took a quarter turn back out but realized it’s probably the ultra stiff idler.  So I’ve got some sorting to do between those variables.

Edited by wideopencowbell

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Mr_Reverse said:

I found that some of my wander was in the steering shaft in my truck. I couldn't find any play in the joints, but when I replaced the shaft with one from a Hardbody pickup that some of the play went away. 

For the record, the reason I had made the swap was because of the body lift and I didn't like the way the slip joint was after the body lift. Also found the HB transfer case shifter needed less adjustment than the original to work with the body lift. 

Makes sense since the 4x4 HB body sits higher off the frame than the Pathfinder. 

 

Also found some of my wander issues is caused by the rear suspension. One of these days I am going to make my own links using something like jonny joints. And make the panhard rod drop bracket more solid. I don't see signs of it moving, but have suspicions. However, all that is on hold while I get other life issues resolved. My daughter wrecked her car Monday afternoon and so I need to take care of that. Likely a total, so need to find and replace the transmission in my Altima. 


Thanks for this... I was actually searching to find out if slop in the column could be a factor.  I have too much stiffness in the steering on center now (see above), but it’s still incredibly vague between my hands and the tires.  My box had a little slop but not a lot, so I was wondering about the shaft.  

 

Also I definitely have too much motion in the ocean coming from the back end which isn’t helping.  Going to do Poly bushings ASAP and I’m waiting on a panhard bracket drop from 4x4parts.  I agree though it seems like the whole thing needs spherical ball ends.  
 

Sorry to hear about your daughter’s wreck!
 

 

Edited by wideopencowbell

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Posted (edited)

When I adjusted my steering box, I just barely moved the screw, and it got really stiff around center, to the point where it felt like it was trying to lock up. By the time I realized it wasn't just the Grassroots (I did both at once), the adjustment screw was jammed and wouldn't move, which told me that the box was done for. At that point, I bought the reman, which, well, it's not locked up, but that's all the good I can say for it. The idler arm shouldn't be tight enough to change the steering feel. Hopefully your box isn't overtightened, but it sounds like it is.

 

This is the box I've been looking at. It's not listed for a WD21, but I'm curious whether it would fit given the similarity of the WD21 and the W/D22.

 

The shaft in mine is tight (yes, I know, that's what she said), but when a friend and I checked over his S10, we found massive play in the joint in the column. We checked it by holding the shaft at the box with vise grips, then seeing if the wheel still had play in it. His did, mine didn't. I could however grab the end of my pitman arm (when it wasn't bolted to the center link) and wiggle it back and forth a surprising distance, producing a clacking noise inside the box.

Sucks about the crash, hopefully the car is the only casualty.

Edited by Slartibartfast

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Yep, she is ok, but her car was an 18 Versa and everything forward of the doors and windshield is wrinkled like it is supposed to. I don't see the insurance fixing it. Airbags frighten me, but I am thankful that it did what it was supposed to. I have seen what happens when people hit the steering wheel and windshield. 

 

Like I said with my steering shaft, I couldn't find any play in my old one, but the steering was a bit better after the replacement. Back in 04, got hit by a Cavalier and the body shop said my gear box was damaged(BS, yet they didn't notice the frame was bent a bit), so they put in a reman. The thing was horrible, it was like driving a 68 Ford truck. They replaced it again, and by this time I was done fighting with the crappy shop. It had a little play and kept dropping the sector shaft seal but I lived with it for years. Finally got around to replacing it with one I pulled in a salvage yard and finally have a good gear again. 

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I think I found my smoking gun.  Or smoking gear in this case...

 

Wanting to make sure that I hadn't cranked in my box adjuster to the point of binding, I checked things out again this evening.  Because I had adjusted the box with the center link removed so I could feel the backlash through the pitman, I felt like I had it set about as well as it was going to be set... and I still think it was OK.  What I found is that with the front end off the ground and the wheels turned all the way to one direction, play in the steering gear goes from ~30 seconds on center between the input shaft and the pitman, to maybe around ~2 minutes when it's cranked to one end or the other.  So I have a bunch of slop off center, and it's about ideal on center.  Looks like I may be exploring the Redhead option... but I need to rescue a D22 box from the yard and acquire the appropriate pitman first.

 

Also, I still think my new idler is the cause of the extra stiffness throughout the system.  I was planning to pop the center link off the pitman to check the gear adjustment, but being able to feel what was going on without breaking the taper I'm just going to make it a wait-and-see if it wears in a bit for now.  Maybe I'll get luck and find a manual box soon...

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On 10/8/2020 at 3:16 PM, Slartibartfast said:

When I adjusted my steering box, I just barely moved the screw, and it got really stiff around center, to the point where it felt like it was trying to lock up. By the time I realized it wasn't just the Grassroots (I did both at once), the adjustment screw was jammed and wouldn't move, which told me that the box was done for. At that point, I bought the reman, which, well, it's not locked up, but that's all the good I can say for it. The idler arm shouldn't be tight enough to change the steering feel. Hopefully your box isn't overtightened, but it sounds like it is.

 

This is the box I've been looking at. It's not listed for a WD21, but I'm curious whether it would fit given the similarity of the WD21 and the W/D22.

 

The shaft in mine is tight (yes, I know, that's what she said), but when a friend and I checked over his S10, we found massive play in the joint in the column. We checked it by holding the shaft at the box with vise grips, then seeing if the wheel still had play in it. His did, mine didn't. I could however grab the end of my pitman arm (when it wasn't bolted to the center link) and wiggle it back and forth a surprising distance, producing a clacking noise inside the box.

Sucks about the crash, hopefully the car is the only casualty.

I think redhead will rebuild yours if you send it in. I know MY1PATH has one. The WD22 box is @!*%, it also doesn't use banjo bolts, but flared lines with nuts, kind of like brake lines. It always leaks on the Xterra, supposedly mine was on it's third when I bought it. Look how the seal is on the output shaft vs the wd21 one. It is a bad design change.

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On 10/17/2020 at 4:46 PM, adamzan said:

I think redhead will rebuild yours if you send it in. I know MY1PATH has one. The WD22 box is @!*%, it also doesn't use banjo bolts, but flared lines with nuts, kind of like brake lines. It always leaks on the Xterra, supposedly mine was on it's third when I bought it. Look how the seal is on the output shaft vs the wd21 one. It is a bad design change.

 

Ahh thanks much for the input!  Yeah I haven't been able to verify myself but some precursory *research* (eg. looking at specs on Rock Auto which may or may not be accurate) indicated that the WD22 boxes are a different input spline count, so I let that idea go.  As it turns out, I think the Problem Solver idler I installed with everything really was amplifying my issues the first couple days, it worked in a bit and now everything feels actually quite good.  I wouldn't call it tight by any means, but at least I'm not fighting to keep it in a lane at highway speeds.  I may still have a look at swapping to a later large-shaft WD21 box since I have the early one.  Redhead is localish to me so I can at least drop it off directly to have them go through.

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Good to hear it's settling in, and good catch Adamzan on the Xterra box--I hadn't even considered the fittings (or the splines for that matter). Figures that Nissan would change another part of the steering system that wasn't the problem. :scratchhead:

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