Moses Ludel’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine – Ross TL Steering Gear Replacement Parts

Ross TL Steering Gear: AMC-Jeep Era OEM Parts Flaws!
Note: A very detailed Ross TL steering gear rebuild exchange between a vintage Jeep owner and Moses Ludel can be found at the magazine’s forums.  If you would like to follow this comprehensive overview, click here!

Rebuilding a Ross TL steering gear

Rebuilding a Ross TL steering gear most often requires a new lever shaft. Pin wear is common, and the TL uses fixed pins—an integral part of the lever/sector arm.

Ross TL replacement NOS sector shaft at left.

In my presentation at the 2011 Midwest Willys Reunion, I talked at length about TL gear rebuilding. I shared the widespread belief that early AMC/Jeep® replacement parts included “seconds” with minor machining and tolerance issues. The allegation has a particular supplier passing these parts along in official Jeep® boxes. Out-of-tolerance parts syndrome affected a range of parts, the Ross steering gear components among them.

Fixed pins on the Ross cam-and-lever gear mean replacing the sector arm assembly.

I have always advocated use of NOS and OEM parts, especially when compared to the crude machining and questionable materials found in many off-shore restoration parts. These later OEM-NOS parts, however, require careful consideration.

Original splines of the Ross TL sector shaft 'NOS' factory-boxed Jeep part has improperly cut splines

One area for possible intolerance is sector shaft splines. Improperly machined or mis-cut splines can prevent the pitman arm from fitting the sector shaft properly. An example of such a sector is described in a detailed technical paper by Bill Kuran.

These are the unfinished splines on the NOS sector shaft.

Before you rebuild a Ross cam-and-lever gear with NOS or off-shore replacement parts, consider the findings of Bill Kuran. A professional engineer (MSME, P.E.) and Willys Utility Wagon aficionado, Bill dissects the cause and finds a cure for mis-cut splines on a genuine Jeep®-NOS lever shaft.

Check the dimensions and tolerances on NOS parts. When steering safety is at stake, don’t compromise!

Click here to download a PDF copy of Bill Kuran’s insightful technical paper!

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