Diagnosing front end/steering doom
My 97 was a police car it's entire life up until February. It just turned 80,000 miles however. When I got it, I noticed the steering wheel is wandering to the right about 15 degrees while going down the road. I don't have any vibration in the steering whatsoever. However, I do have to pull the wheel to the left to stay centered, and the right front tire is worn heavily on the outer edge.
That being said, I also have some noise issues. When going down a county road or hitting some bumps on the street, I get a loud thump under the passenger side of the Jeep. There is also some "jangling" noises from the front right.
I jacked the Jeep up today and tried wiggling the front wheels back and forth like you would to check for ball joint issues, but they didn't budge at all. I did notice that nearly every rubber part in the suspension/steering is cracked and rotted to oblivion. My thinking was to just get in Rock Auto and order ball joints, tie rod ends, a track bar, and control arm bushings and throw them at it and see what changes, but that seems like it could maybe hide an underlying problem. Any ideas appreciated. I need to solve this before winter as I'm planning to purchase some tires in the fall.
**1997 Jeep Cherokee SE**
Former Police Car
2008 "Jeep" Patriot <-----Crap.