Project Jeep CJ-7 – Installation of a Saginaw Gearbox
Mounting a Gearbox Bracket That Means Business!
With the installation of an AGR Superbox 2 and an AGR High Performance Power Steering pump to turn my Super Swampers, I could no longer trust my stock bracket to hold the Saginaw gearbox onto the frame. So I made a call to my friend Mike at OK Four Wheel drive and asked about a power steering gearbox mounting bracket that I had heard about.
Besides the seriously beefy construction, this bracket moves the steering box 1 inch forward which would give me the extra room I needed to clear my pitman arm from my tie rod. Then I could get rid of my pitman arm hack job. Mike hooked me up with this SERIOUS aftermarket Saginaw Gearbox mount. When you compare this massive bracket to the stock CJ two piece stamped steel, there not even in the same ballpark. Laser cut 3/8″ steel. Serious beef. I’m not sure about the manufacturer of this bracket, apparently it’s from a small mid-west shop, but I ordered from OK Four wheel Drive in Stewartsville New Jersey (www.ok4wd.com, 908-454-6973). If you give them a call and ask for Mike, tell him Ralph sent you and ask for the CJ Saginaw gearbox mounting bracket that I bought.
Here are a few pictures of comparison between the stock CJ, stamped steel Saginaw mounting bracket on the left and the new, larger aftermarket Saginaw gearbox mounting bracket. A few things to note about this new heavy duty bracket are: the diameter of the steel it is fabricated from, 1/4″ and 3/8″ steel welded together and gusseted. The top horizontal piece of the bracket has more surface area with a third bolt hole for an additional 7/16″ bolt. Also the new mounting bracket moves my Saginaw gearbox one inch forward with fixes the issue of my pitman arm hitting the tie rod on compression of the driver side suspension. A plus for this bracket is that it is a bolt on minus a little trimming of the front frame cross member to clear the Saginaw gearbox hoses (see below).
First order of business with the bracket is to give the bare metal a paint job. I thought it would be a crime to paint this massive bracket anything but a bright color so I chose red. Then the AGR Saginaw gearbox was bolted up to the bracket using the spacers that came with the bracket. I replaced the hardware that the AGR gearbox came with, which was grade 5 hardware. As with everything else on the Jeep, I used grade 8 hardware instead.
Because this bracket moves the box forward about one inch, I had to notch the frame crossmember a little. These next three shots point out where I had to trim a small notch in the CJ-7’s front cross member to clear the AGR Superbox 2 power steering fluid hoses.
I used my angle grinder to notch the frame just enough to be able to get the hoses on without any contact.
I trimmed the notch a few times in between test fitting the AGR and bracket to the frame.
Finally with enough clearance to install the hoses I mounted the AGR gearbox and the new gearbox mounting bracket to the frame using grade 8 bolts.
The following are a few pictures of the gearbox and bracket mounted up.
An underside view
This picture shows the extra clearance I gained by moving the steering box one inch forward.
AGR Pump Installed
The Good the bad and the ugly.
The Good. So what do I think of it? Massive. Super strong. It won’t be this bracket that breaks I can tell you that. Moving the gearbox one inch forward was a huge plus for me. I needed the room with the Dana 44 axle and the aftermarket tie rod and drag link causing contact. The extra room will be helpful if I ever go with a reverse shackle.
The Bad. Not much bad. It is a little on the expensive side at 150 bucks but after thinking of a way to fabricate my own, it saved me a lot of trial and error and headaches.
The Ugly. Yeah, I like ugly. This thing is so massive that you don’t want to hide it. Paint it bright red like an in-grown toe nail.
The Pitman arm hack
Above, my hack job to eliminate contact between the tie rod and the pitman arm. Note, DON’T DO THIS! It was a temporary hack job to move the Jeep around. The Jeep now had a new factory pitman on the AGR Steering Gear.