TightSteer steering damper is a patented spring-loaded device that removes the free play "death wobble" common to early Jeep and similar steering systems that feature the standard Ross steering box.
TightSteer’s spring-loaded assembly replaces the Ross set screw and keeps the sector shaft in full contact with the cam (worm gear) through the entire turning range of the wheel. The constant engagement of the sector shaft’s pins into the cam eliminates the free play often found in early Ross steering systems.
The Ross steering box (see drawing below) features a worm gear referred to as a cam (1) and a sector shaft (2) with two pins (3) that engage in the teeth of the cam. The teeth are moved forward or backward depending on which way the cam is turned by the steering wheel. In the standard Ross steering box, the contact of the sector shaft’s teeth are controlled by a set screw (4) which controls the depth of the teeth into the worm.
Even on completely rebuilt steering systems, the standard Ross set screw does not provide for full contact of the sector shaft’s pins in the cam through the entire turning range of the steering wheel. Also, the uneven wear caused by years of use makes it impossible for a stationary set screw to remove free play in all steering positions
The patented TightSteer unit features a machined steel body with a hardened-steel plunger. A custom spring is enclosed in the unit by a cap screw that sets the spring to the desired “standard” pressure. TightSteer replaces the Ross set screw and threads into the cover plate of the Ross steering box.
The standard spring supplied with the unit provides for a normal steering wheel return (where the wheel comes black to straight forward after a turn). A medium spring is available that provides for a snug return where tighter steering might be desired, such as for use on gravel roads. A heavy spring is available that provides for a truck-like feel with no return, the response that might be desirable for serious off-roading — such as in the Rubicon, or similar climbing events.
TightSteer is available in three models.
- Model 100 features a 7/16″-20 threaded shaft with “standard spring.” Model 100 fits the steering boxes on MB, GPW, CJ-2A, CJ-3A, CJ-3B, CJ-5 (to 1967), CJ-6, DJ-3, M-38, Jeepster, ’46-’53 Willys station wagon 2WD, ’46-’53 Willys truck, American Bantam ‘39-’40, Auburn ‘35-’36, Crosley ‘39-’42, Pierce Arrow ‘35-’38, Reo ‘35-’36, Studebaker ‘39-’42, ’53-’55 Studebaker pickup, Willys Aero ‘41-’42, Willys ‘60-’62 FJ3A, and other vehicles in which the small Ross steering box was used.
- Model 200 features a 1/2″-20 threaded shaft with “standard spring.” Model 200 fits the steering boxes on CJ-5 (after 1967), M38A1, ’54-’63 Willys truck, ’54-’63 Willys station wagon 4WD, ’54-’63 Willys sedan delivery 4WD, and other vehicles in which the larger Ross steering box was used.
- Model 200X (extended) features a 1/2″-20 threaded shaft with 1/2˝ extension and standard spring. Model 200-X fits the steering boxes on ’39 -’40 Studebaker, President V8, ’50-’54 Studebaker Commander, ’62 Studebaker GT Hawk, ’64 Studebaker Avanti, and other vehicles in which the larger Ross steering box was used.