2002 Jeep G Cherokee 4.7 v8 - Pulled steering wheel/column out of jeep and column flipped over 180*

jpstryin2fixitjpstryin2fixit Member Posts: 2
edited November 2017 in Jeep
HELP PLEASE! I was taking the dash out of my 02 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 v8 so that I could replace the heater core, ac evap, and blend doors. After dropping the column and pulling the steering wheel and column out of the vehicle safely and setting it down in the correct orientation, I picked up the steering wheel and column from the ground without holding the column (so i just grabbed the wheel with 2 hands and picked up the part) which led to the column flipping over 180 degrees. Now the column is upside down from the correct orientation of the wheel and its locked so that i cant turn it back the correct way. I also didnt see which way the column flipped so i dk if it flipped 180* to the right or left.. I dk if this is bad or not. Trying to find info online has been unhelpful so this is the first time ever asking a question online. I figure i need to insert the key (which is now on the left hand side of the wheel) to turn the wheel back to its original position, but is there something that could go wrong if i turn it the wrong direction and or does anyone know if I broke something or misaligned the column? I try to work on my vehicles if possible but i'm no mechanic. Any help would be great.


  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,478
    The biggest concern is for the clock spring for the airbag. Normal travel should allow for about 3.5 turns from one steering lock to the other. The clock spring tolerates about two turns in each direction. (4 complete turns)What you can do is support the column in its normal orientation in a vise or suitable fixture and then unlock the ignition (steering column) with the key. Turn the wheel clockwise carefully until you feel resistance, which would mean that you have wound the clock spring tight to its clockwise limit, then turn it back counter-clockwise two turns stopping with the wheel level. Now lock the wheel in place with rope or a bungie cord so that you don't lose your indexing. If you damage the clock spring, you could end up with an airbag light on with a code for an open or shorted drivers airbag circuit or issues with the horn or cruise control system if equipped. Not having the clock spring centered could cause the steering wheel to stop turning short of a full right hand turn.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,400
    I'm no expert either, so I'll make a cautious approach. Assuming you didn't notice which way it turned the 180 degrees, but can you see anything at all that might indicate which way it turned? Hopefully one of our truly expert folks here will pick up on this and have some harder knowledge to help.

    If *I* was stuck in this spot, I'd go very slowly and CLOSELY examine everything I could see for signs of which way it might have turned. I'd "retrace my steps" and think about exactly how I picked it up and which way it might have turned. If I unlocked it with the key, I would VERY carefully and slowly see if it doesn't want to move in one direction or the other.

    Calling all our forums automotive whizzes!!!
  • jpstryin2fixitjpstryin2fixit Member Posts: 2
    Thanks Doc and Flyer, for the quick response. Ultimately i wrote this and then went out to the jeep to get started. Basically I took the same cautious approach that Flyer was suggesting. I didn't realize how quickly people would respond so I didn't get a chance to read either of your replies, but I went out and retraced exactly how it happened and realized the column had to have spun to the right a 1/2 turn. The way in which I picked it up and the way that I turned/spun (which was to the right) gave me decent confidence that the column spun right. I supported the column while checking with my theory in a mock scenario and I believe I was spot on. I ended up picking it up and very slowly turned back the opposite direction (to the left) closely and carefully listening for anything and feeling for pressure or any issues, but didnt hear/feel anything and once i got it back to original orientation, I locked the column, took out the key, and gently laid it back down.. I wont know until i get it back into the Jeep, but atm I think I may be alright. I really appreciate the time that you guys took to answer. I'll be thinking about what you said Doc incase I do notice any problems going forward. Again, thank you both!!
Sign In or Register to comment.