Jerky/Bucking Steering Wheel on Turn -
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-11-2013, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Flushing
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Jerky/Bucking Steering Wheel on Turn

Hey all,
It is a 97' XJ, factory 1" lift, 30" tires, new ball joints, bearings and steering stabilizer. Never taken on true "offroad trails" and is a daily driver.

About two months ago I started getting this sensation while driving, it came out of now where and has been constant since. On slow speed gentle and sharp turns the steering wheel will jerk/buck while holding the wheel constant throughout the turn. When the speed is increased the jerking/bucking reduces but it is still noticeable. It similar to a rod riding on a cam, increasing then reducing ... if that makes any sense.

Things already tried:
Had my mechanic put the truck up on the lift and put it in drive while in 2WD. The front tires did not rotate. He then put it into 4WD and the front wheels did rotate but stopped when back in 2WD.

Side note:
Ever since I replaced my rotors, pads and calipers my front drivers wheel will squeak, getting faster as my speed increase but will stop as soon as I hit the brakes. I am assuming it is a warped rotor but am not sure and since I am hitting you all up already figured I would throw this out there too.

I appreciate any help and a case of beer for anyone that solves the steering wheel jerk issue!

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post #2 of 8 Old 04-11-2013, 10:20 PM
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
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Axle shaft u-joint.....

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-12-2013, 12:28 AM
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1989 XJ Cherokee 
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Check that the front ends of the frame, especially where the pittman arm gearbox is attached, aren't damaged or not tied together firmly. The front cross-member on the Cherokee is particularly weak and very often reinforcing the cross-piece will cure lots of steering/control issues.
Put your Jeep on an alignment rack and have someone turn the wheel from lock-to-lock several times while you watch the front-end from below. If the frame moves when the wheels are turning, you need to do something to tie the two members together like rock-solid. Check for damage where the gearbox bolts to the left-hand strut. Look for cracks or other damage to the frame in the way of the gearbox.

Cheers and good hunting!

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post #4 of 8 Old 04-12-2013, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by RockRodHooligan View Post
Axle shaft u-joint.....
Typical symptoms, and a logical starting point.


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post #5 of 8 Old 04-13-2013, 10:59 AM
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
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I had this same problem in my 97 XJ. I ended up replacing the front U Joint and hub assembly on my passenger side wheel.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-15-2013, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Flushing
Posts: 3
I replaced the front U-joint when I had the ball joint/bearing work done last month.

I discovered this weekend when I was up at West Point that when I lightly held the brake while turning the steering wheel jerking disappeared. Could this and the damn squeaking be all tied to a warped rotor or bad caliper? Btw two hours of none stop squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak definitely tries your sanity.

I have not had an alignment done in over 10 years so maybe it is just her way of telling me to get it done.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-15-2013, 05:52 PM
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Since all of this started after replacing your brakes I would lift the frontend and inspect your brake work first. Rotate that side and look for any drag against the rotor.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-20-2013, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Flushing
Posts: 3
After multiple inspections and tinkering finally broke down and replaced the rotors and brake pads. This solved all the problems in one action, even got rid of the damn squeaking! Tried and true the easiest solution is usually the correct action. Thanks for all the suggestions!
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bucking steering wheel , jerky steering , wiggle in steering wheel

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