Squirly Steering - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-11-2011, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Squirly Steering

About a year ago I purchased my 1993 YJ Wrangler and since than I have been trying to return it to "closer" to original state and make it more comfortable for a 66 year-old to drive. It has a 1.5" body lift on it and nearly new BAJA MT WIDETRACK 31x10.50R15LT tires on aluminimum rims.

Recently I had the shop replace the manual steering gear with power steering gear (much easier on this old man) BUT now the steering can be downright scarey. At speeds of 25mph or more it is VERY easy for a "swing & sway" rythum to develop and the faster you are going the more it wants to increase the tempo and the amount of deviation.

I have taken it to two different frontend shops and no one seems to be able to find the cause. I have replaced the steering dampener and all of the ends and joints checked OK. I am planning to get rid of the tires and wheels as soon as I can find someone who wants them. I'd love to find some one that wants to trade original rims and decent tires for the big guys I have.

Anybody got any ideas or answers? I'd appreciate any input. This really has me scratching my head.

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post #2 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 07:34 AM
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damn, go easy on the bold and sizing there. makes it a little hard to read.

a lot of jeeps are like that to begin with, its lifted so its naturally gonna be somewhat squirrely. you should try driving mine, people are too scared to drive it. im used to it so i don't spin the wheel at 100mph when it starts to drift like some idiots who i used to let drive my jeep. just make slight corrections as you're going down the road. if its vibrating so bad that the jeep is shaking and about to fall apart then thats death wobble and could be a number of things.

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post #3 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 08:54 AM
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Get some caster shims for the front. (This is a steel "wedge" that goes between the leaf springs and the axle pads, thick part goes toward the front of Jeep). The shims will increase your castor angle and should fix your problem....It worked for me on a CJ with lift shackles....Oh and howdy neighbor - I'm up in Tyler....
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 05:45 AM
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There are quite a few "front end shops" that understand how to set up a steering configuration to published specs but clearly don't understand the geometry of steering and how all the angles play together to give you a straight & safe ride that's easy to turn but has a tendency to straighten out on it's own. The suggestion to use degree shims on the front axle is good, this is done to increase the caster angle - you'd probably need to try more than 1 set of shims (don't stack them if you need a larger angle) to fix the problem. I generally start with a 2 degree set and sometimes go to a 4 degree set depending on the lift as well as the rims and tires. After I get the stability and re-centering working to my satisfaction, I take the jeep to an alignment shop to check the angles to ensure that both sides are the same. If you end up with an axle where shims won't give you the same caster on both sides, this can be fixed with adjustable ball joints.

The consequence of using shims to adjust your caster to make your steering safe is that you may end up with front drive shaft - dissimilar angles at the 2 single cardan joints can cause vibration.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by SunDevilJeeper View Post
damn, go easy on the bold and sizing there. makes it a little hard to read.
probably did it so he could see what he was writing. no shame in that. welcome to jeep forum!

granny shifting not double clutchin like I should
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 06:50 AM
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didn't read all of it at first, just now saw he's 66.

1991 YJ: Daily Driver
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 08:44 AM
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How bout snapping a few pictures of how the steering is currently set up? Since you're changing things back to stock it is quite possible that other things were changed prior to you owning it, and as is evidence from reading enough of this forum, not everything done is done correctly or safely.

You never know you may post a pic and we can clearly see what the "pros" have clearly missed.

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post #8 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 10:10 AM
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How is a body lift going to affect steering??

X2 on the pictures!


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post #9 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Mobile_Homie View Post
How is a body lift going to affect steering??

X2 on the pictures!
Exactly. Why would you need to adjust your castor angles when all you've done is a body lift? But from the symptoms it sounds like it may have some long shackles on it.

If you can get a pic of the front end we may be able to spot something.

Stock shackles should be 4" from bolt hole center to bolt hole center. You should measure yours and see if they are. Long shackles can do what you're describing. I've driven Jeeps with long shackle lifts that could swerve over a lane without any reason at all.

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post #10 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 09:34 PM
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The comment earlier about death wobble being a number of possibilities is very true. If it's not an obvious problem then it becomes a process of elimination. The first step is to narrow it to a tire issue or front end issue. If you have the option of bolting on another set of tires & wheels then try that first. If that is not possible then rotate the tires front to rear and see if that changes anything. If the problem persists after eliminating the tires then we need to start eliminating front end possibilities.

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post #11 of 19 Old 04-14-2011, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and ideas - the pictures are a can-do item but may take a day or two due to other commitments. Where does one get "caster shims"? What I am really interested in is turning my YJ into a reliable "work horse" to get me and my gear to the out of the way places that I like to go to fishing and taking pictures. At my age, ATVs are a little rough on the spine and joints. My YJ is a "rockn' (pardon the pun) chair" version that my body can stand.

Thanks again folks.
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-09-2011, 09:32 AM
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How did this end up? Did you ever put the front axle shims in and did it help?
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 07:16 PM
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I'd like to chime in here too. I have 6" shackles I believe, along with 31's. All on a 95 YJ 4.0 My steering is ......ok... just. It doesn't wander really, but it takes a bit of concentration to stay straight. It doesn't really have much of this centering affect, so I figured caster was at play here, or since the axle was effectively rotated when the shackles were installed, that I lost some caster. If I find these wedge/shims what degree would be recommended? I will do it myself installing them. I'm guessing as was said early on, 2 to 4 degree wedges...?
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-01-2012, 04:06 AM
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Jollyzebra, I'm a 60 year old with a 20 year old YJ . And we have more in common, my steering is squirly too. No lift, thank God.
I've replaced the front leaf springs, two tie-rod ends, stabilizer bushings, steering gear box, and intermediate shaft and bearings.
Still squirly, but much better. All were contributing.
I think you've got good advice with the axle shims. Get your front end aligned, have them set the toe-in.
Get a reading on caster. Adjust with shims if necessary. Let us know how you make out.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-03-2012, 12:31 AM
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"Bring out yer dead!"..... (old thread!)
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power steering , steering , tires

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