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Unread 04-06-2010, 10:28 AM   #1
copleydad
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Notchy Steering - Opinions?

Started a few days ago. Steering felt a bit wonky and stiff. Took some forum advice and sprayed the knuckles of the steering shaft really well with PB Blaster and that solved that problem. Until 2 days later.....

Today I noticed in the vet's parking lot that moving real slow and turning, left or right, the steering wheel kinda pulls left (or right if turning right) a bit and lets go, pulls left a bit and lets go. I'm only talking it rotating maybe an inch or so. It seems to follow a pattern of a full tire rotation. When sitting still and turning the wheel, it doesn't do it.

When it's going at a decent speed, it's only slightly noticeable making turns (or maybe I am over-sensitized to this since I noticed it) and when going straight it seems fine.

So......I've kind of ruled out the steering shaft since it only moves when I make it move, right?

The power steering pump isn't making noise, the fluid is nice and clear (checked with a piece of white paper) and the belt is fairly new (4k miles) and about 1/2" deflection. I did notice that RPM's dropped about 100 to 150 when turning the wheels at stand still which maybe (?) I just never noticed before. Could the pump be going bad?

I checked all the ball joints, knuckles, u joints etc and greased everything up. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, but could something here be f**ked?

She has only been to the beach, never jumping through mud puddles or climbing rock walls, and has 4 wheeled while playing in the snow. In other words, she has never been abused or beaten so I would have my doubts about a bad steering box. Am I correct? Is there a way to check the steering box for integrity?

No, I didn't hit a curb, rough ride it in the woods or take it off a jump. Ity just kinda decided to give me some crap.

Thought about tires. Could a belt have shifted in one of the tires without giving it any "trauma"? I've ruled out balanced because of the slow speed at which this happens. Also had an alignment done last summer and have only put maybe 3500 miles on it since then.

She has 55,000 miles on her and is in great shape. I can't find where rust is an issue because every greasable joint looks almost new. Could maybe a rubber bushing or set of needle bearings have gone bad?

Is this even an issue? Is this "movement" in the steering wheel at slow speeds normal? Am I just noticing it now because of the earlier steering shaft tightness? Am I being aa hypochondriac about the ole girl?

Okay member of the Jeep Brain Trust, gimme your best guesses so I know where to begin. I've lost clumps of hair from scratching my head over this one.

Bobby

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Unread 04-06-2010, 11:17 AM   #2
OOXTEME
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i have almost the same issue when i turn it feels tight the ok then tight then ok same place its tight everytime in both directions...
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Unread 04-06-2010, 11:41 AM   #3
copleydad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OOXTEME View Post
i have almost the same issue when i turn it feels tight the ok then tight then ok same place its tight everytime in both directions...
That's what I'm talkin'. So I'm not nuts?
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Unread 04-06-2010, 11:54 AM   #4
OOXTEME
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nope deff. not nuts i was told that the ujoints in the steering bar are binding
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Unread 04-06-2010, 04:57 PM   #5
Burnerman
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Check the upper steering connection on the steering shaft. The shaft is pressed into the U joint yoke. Mine was doing the same thing and I found the shaft was pulling out of the yoke. Try to turn the wheel with the Jeep off and watch that upper joint. I bet it's stripping out. If so get a shaft from a 92 and up or you can weld it if you have a mig welder. Here's some pics...
p3290087.jpg   p3290095.jpg  
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Unread 04-06-2010, 05:34 PM   #6
copleydad
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Alright, I'm gonna check this slipping theory tomorrow morning. Too dark now and no one around who can driver a stick
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Unread 04-06-2010, 05:48 PM   #7
Burnerman
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I found it by accident. I thought I had a bad ball joint. Steering would get tight then be normal. I was removing the shaft for my engine swap and needed to rotate the shaft so I could get to the bolts. I grabbed the wheel and gave it a turn with the engine off and the wheels didn't move! I thought I was nuts. It had the same tight feel like when it got tight when driving down the road. I spun it again and saw the u joint try to turn then just spin on the lowwer portion of the shaft. The newer shafts have a better design so it can't happen.
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Unread 04-07-2010, 11:18 AM   #8
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DING DING DING _ WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!

Burnerman - you are my hero!

Checked the upper shaft connection with the Jeep off and the key in the "on" position and tried turning the wheel. I almost immediately noticed very slight slipping above the upper u joint connection.

I forgot to take pics, but this iswhat I did for now.

Removed the shaft - super easy, one bolt to loosen at the upper end, one at the lower and the shaft slid up and out easy easy. I did, keep in mind, empty about a quarter can of PB on these joints over the last several days.

I took a piece of aluminum flashing I had lying around and fabbed up a "Sleeve" that slips into the ends of the shaft that goes over the the shaft coming out of the steering box at the bottom and the column at the top. I cut it fairly exact to just pick up the slack inside this sleeve from wear and time.

Then I spray painted both side of the aluminum "sleeve" with some truck bed liner. I thought it would help add some grabbing power once it gets all tightened back down.

Let the paint dry for a couple hours and put her all back together. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Checked it by turning the wheel with the engine off and no more slipping, tried driving super slow and turning - no more grab/let go, grab/let go. I was thinking of getting a new steering shaft to be on the safe side, but honestly I think this is a far superior setup with a "friction sleeve" than just metal to metal. Even turning the steering wheel full left to right and back with the Jeep off there is zero slippage.

While doing all this, I noticed there is a bearing at the lower end of the column where it attaches to the steering shaft, and that has a bit of play to it, nothing too serious.

I'm gonna order the bearing setup, only about $18, and put that on because I'm road trippin' end of next week to Outer Banks in NC with a buddy for some surf fishin and those other games that involve barley and hops. Can't wait. Maybe order a new steering shaft down the road, but I'm saving that $120 for the cooler fund for now.

Thanks for all the guidance. BURNERMAN - I'LL DRINK A BEER IN YOUR HONOR AT THE SHORELINE!




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Unread 04-08-2010, 06:30 AM   #9
Burnerman
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Cool Have fun at OBX. Get a new shaft though and be wary if you feel any "notchy" steering with your repaired shaft. Steering and brakes are 2 good things to have while driving and shouldn't be skimped on.
Anyway glad you got it worked out!
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Unread 04-08-2010, 08:52 AM   #10
Que89YJ
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You never mess around when it comes to steering and brakes. Its not just your life if they fail. The new steering shafts are cheap I should have is a real expensive lesson. X2 with you Burnerman.
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Unread 04-08-2010, 01:32 PM   #11
copleydad
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I ordered a new shaft along with the bearing kit last night. Should be here by midweek next week and I'll put them on before the weekend. Leaving for NC on the 21st, so plenty of time to get it done.

I agree with both you guys. Thought about it and decided to just change it now before you guys posted. Safety first.....I spent a lot of time and money changing out all the brake components ie: ss lines, rubber lines, calipers, cylinders, MC, pads and shoes, and feel a whole lot better about being able to slam on the brakes in an emergency. It would really suck to lose the steering on the beach, or worse, at 70mph on 95 South.

Can't really have much fun in your Jeep from a hospital bed.

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Unread 04-08-2010, 02:48 PM   #12
Que89YJ
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Beach in Boston?
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Unread 04-08-2010, 03:48 PM   #13
copleydad
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No, beach down at Nags Head and Hatteras.

I do get a beach sticker for Cape Cod though. Only a couple places to go - Barnstable at the canal end and I think you can still drive out on the b each at Truro and Race Point all the way out on the hook by P'town.

I LOVE Outer Banks off season. I get on the beach in Corolla, right by the VA line, and you can drive about 80 miles on the beach and only have to get off a couple times.
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