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Unread 07-31-2014, 10:26 PM   #1
kadetklapp
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1,296
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.

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Unread 08-01-2014, 12:27 AM   #2
mig1289
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1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: philadelphia, pa
Posts: 419
Dint forget the sway bar end links and an aliment
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2wd zj...
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Unread 08-01-2014, 08:02 AM   #3
AZ Jeff
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2014 JK Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Tan Valley Arizona, AZ
Posts: 7,419
Sounds like you are on the right track.

Refresh all steering/suspension connections with new rubber and joints. Then get it aligned. New tires with good balance will finish the job.
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Unread 08-01-2014, 09:41 AM   #4
caronaxtr
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2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Hamburg, NY
Posts: 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ Jeff
Sounds like you are on the right track. Refresh all steering/suspension connections with new rubber and joints. Then get it aligned. New tires with good balance will finish the job.
^^ do this. I had the exact same issue, was like a "danger ride" every time I drove it. Ball joints, control arm bushings, steering ends, and you'll probably be good to go. I don't have a steering dampener anymore. The steering is SUPER tight now.
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