Installation date: 2/7/99
Finally! Someone has come out with a steering box brace for XJ’s.
Installing the brace involves drilling two 3/8″ holes and bolting up some brackets. The brace itself is pretty simple and looks similar to a brace for CJ/YJ/TJ’s: a round bracket/clamp to go around the bottom of the steering box and a tube/support bracket that runs to the passenger-side frame rail. If you’ve got the factory front skid plate, you’ll need to remove it and the front of the splash mat (if your Jeep still has it) to install the brace. The support bracket bolts to the inside front of the passenger-side frame rail, and uses one of the bolts/holes used for the factory tow hook brackets. On some early XJ’s this hole in the front of the frame/nose may not be there and will need to be drilled to 7/16″. One of the two 3/8″ holes is already there, but isn’t quite the right size, so it will have to be drilled out. Then just place the bracket and mark where the other 3/8″ hole needs to be drilled. Once the holes are drilled, loosely place the clamp around the steering box, just above the pitman arm (the clamp will only fit in one direction), and place the end of the support brace between the open ends of the clamp. Then just bolt everything together and torque to the specs in the installation instructions. Check to make sure there’s no interference or binding, and you’re ready to go. Oh yeah, and you can reinstall that skid plate and splash mat, the brace won’t interfere with them at all.
The brace tucks up inside the frame and will not interfere with the front skid plate or swaybar, and you really can’t even see it unless you poke you head under the front end and look up. At only $60 I figure this is cheap insurance against the steering box ever coming loose or cracking the frame.
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