Getting frustrated, on the verge of ditching the ZJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 18 Old 10-17-2016, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
ElCaminoManT
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Getting frustrated, on the verge of ditching the ZJ

I've been chasing crappy on-road handling/steering ever since i lifted it. my end goal has always been to be an 'expedition' style build. basically, be able to load up whatever i need for a few days off grid, drive to wherever the trail branches off from the pavement and go. I've tried to keep the lift height sensible, its somewhere between 3"-3.5" from stock and sitting on 31" a/ts. EVERY single suspension link and bushing has been replaced with new. extended sway bar links. adjustable front arms to dial in caster, adjustable front and rear track bars to center everything up, changed to V8 steering (also tried an inverted-t setup which was marginally more stable but way way sloppy). there is no play in the wheel bearings or the ball joints. I've put in a BRAND NEW steering box along with a steering box brace, had it aligned umpteen times, everything is dialed, everything is tight underneath and still it will not go down the road/freeway without it driving wherever the hell it feels like. it will track back and forth in a lane, kind of wallowing along, follow whatever unevenness there is in surface and cross-winds or wind from the front of a semi as i pass moves the jeep all over the place. off road its great, rides well, i can cruise all day. on road sucks and i hate that I'm trailering it anywhere further than 20 miles from my house. i tried taking it on a 200 mile round trip 2 weeks ago, it was miserable, I'm about to just dump the thing and move on to something else

WTF gives here? what am i missing? my 2500HD has way more wear/slop in the steering and it cruises along without me even thinking about it. I've done nearly a thousand miles in 1 day and still wasn't as worn out as after driving a hundred miles in the ZJ....


1993 Jeep ZJ Laredo 4.0L/42RE/242/D30/D35
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post #2 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 12:02 AM
CherokeeDavid
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have you tried rotating the tires or a different set altogether? one or two might have radial pull.
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post #3 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
ElCaminoManT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherokeeDavid View Post
have you tried rotating the tires or a different set altogether? one or two might have radial pull.
tires have been rotated numerous times since i lifted it 4 years ago. i have not tried another set tho. hmm, ill have to give that a try.

1993 Jeep ZJ Laredo 4.0L/42RE/242/D30/D35
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post #4 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
ElCaminoManT
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question for anyone who might know; I'm running the rubicon express double shear front track bar setup. does their bracket 'drop' the pivot point of the track bar compared to the stock setup? wondering if i might be fighting bump steer or something?

1993 Jeep ZJ Laredo 4.0L/42RE/242/D30/D35
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post #5 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 04:13 AM
chakkuchan
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You have sway bar on rear? Almost all my play in my steering has been from gearbox, installed a reman and after 100 miles as loose as old one

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1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 "ATJT"
1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 "Darth Jeep"
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post #6 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 06:35 AM
Timo_90xj
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Do you have adjustable control arms? What is your front caster angle? What is is your toe angle? Is your drag link and trackbar parallel between their pivot points? Are you running 15 x 8 wheels with about 4" BS?

If you want your Jeep to habdle as close as stock when being lifted about 3" or more, you really need OTK steering, trackbar relocated (it also needs to be as high as possible; frame end as high as possible, the same for axle), preferrably at least front axle CA mounts relocated higher up for horizontal CA angles. ..and you still want WJ steering & brakes after that

I've had three lifted Jeeps for almost 10 years, and what I mentioned above have been the keys for good road handling, and proper off-road performance. Icve had long arms, etc., and my current setup is the best by far. You can get it to handle pretty decently doing less mods, but it is never gonna be same as stock unless you do major mods.


Proper steering/ suspension geometry, and steering angles are essential on a lifted vehicle if you want gid road handling, good ride quality, and good off-road performance. Using just lift kit parts and a few bolt-on upgrades and thinking it's gonna be close to handling as stock - nope.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #7 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 07:10 AM
chakkuchan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo_90xj View Post
Do you have adjustable control arms? What is your front caster angle? What is is your toe angle? Is your drag link and trackbar parallel between their pivot points? Are you running 15 x 8 wheels with about 4" BS?

If you want your Jeep to habdle as close as stock when being lifted about 3" or more, you really need OTK steering, trackbar relocated (it also needs to be as high as possible; frame end as high as possible, the same for axle), preferrably at least front axle CA mounts relocated higher up for horizontal CA angles. ..and you still want WJ steering & brakes after that

I've had three lifted Jeeps for almost 10 years, and what I mentioned above have been the keys for good road handling, and proper off-road performance. Icve had long arms, etc., and my current setup is the best by far. You can get it to handle pretty decently doing less mods, but it is never gonna be same as stock unless you do major mods.


Proper steering/ suspension geometry, and steering angles are essential on a lifted vehicle if you want gid road handling, good ride quality, and good off-road performance. Using just lift kit parts and a few bolt-on upgrades and thinking it's gonna be close to handling as stock - nope.
Is the ORO Uturn steering kit i have installed considered over the knuckle?

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1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 "ATJT"
1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 "Darth Jeep"
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post #8 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 08:29 AM
jeepjeepster
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Totally different Jeep but my KJ does this... Sometimes... Ive decided that the tires are the culprit. I rotated the tires and the steering still feels 'loose' but it doesnt dart around. I checked EVERYTHING under that Jeep. I could be driving along, let go of the steering wheel and it would turn itself back and forth like I was cleaning my tires off before the green flag in a nascar race... Ok... not that bad but it reminded me of it.

Could a bad steering box/power steering pump cause this?

1994 ZJ-I6 w/216,000 mi
1998 ZJ 5.9 w/65,155 mi Slate Black
2004 KJ w/90,300 mi
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post #9 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 08:33 AM
GOLDWING
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How is your rear track bar? OEM? How about the rear control arms and bushings?

GW

2 '98 4.0 ZJs
Hers is stock, mine, OME shocks, BB, Aussie, 2x6 sliders, 31s, etc.
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post #10 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 08:37 AM
Timo_90xj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chakkuchan View Post
Is the ORO Uturn steering kit i have installed considered over the knuckle
No, not really. I ran ORO u-turn on my XJ that had 35s. Even though I had zero DW with the kit (no steering stabilizer), it does cause somewhat weird steering. You can end up with dead zone in the center. That kit - unless they've changed it - doesn't create the best possible ackermann angle on the steering, which is pretty evident by the tire scrub on tight turns.

Having driven lifted Jeeps with OEM steering, ORO u-turn and my current WJ brake & knuckle swap with OTK steering, WJ true cross-over is the best by far. If you want good steering feel, WJ swap is worth every penny. You also get better brakes..

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #11 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 09:13 AM
HighLonesome
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check the steering shaft
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post #12 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
ElCaminoManT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chakkuchan View Post
You have sway bar on rear? Almost all my play in my steering has been from gearbox, installed a reman and after 100 miles as loose as old one

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i have the rear sway bar but it is currently not installed. ive run it with and without and notice no improvement when it is installed. it does limit travel off road which is why i took it back out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo_90xj View Post
Do you have adjustable control arms? What is your front caster angle? What is is your toe angle? Is your drag link and trackbar parallel between their pivot points? Are you running 15 x 8 wheels with about 4" BS?

If you want your Jeep to habdle as close as stock when being lifted about 3" or more, you really need OTK steering, trackbar relocated (it also needs to be as high as possible; frame end as high as possible, the same for axle), preferrably at least front axle CA mounts relocated higher up for horizontal CA angles. ..and you still want WJ steering & brakes after that

I've had three lifted Jeeps for almost 10 years, and what I mentioned above have been the keys for good road handling, and proper off-road performance. Icve had long arms, etc., and my current setup is the best by far. You can get it to handle pretty decently doing less mods, but it is never gonna be same as stock unless you do major mods.


Proper steering/ suspension geometry, and steering angles are essential on a lifted vehicle if you want gid road handling, good ride quality, and good off-road performance. Using just lift kit parts and a few bolt-on upgrades and thinking it's gonna be close to handling as stock - nope.
yes, i do have adjustable front arms. caster is at 6*. before with fixed arms it was just shy of 8* and it was terrible to drive. adjusting to 6* greatly improved the handling but it still has a tendency to wander whenever it feels like. sometimes its fine, as long as the road surface is smooth and even and wind is not pushing it around. toe is set at 1/8" toe-in.

track bar and drag link appear to follow the same plane best i can tell and measure.

yes, 15x8 wheels with 4" bs.

im wondering if because of the angle of the control arms, the roll center is way higher than compared to stock. would long arms improve the situation by lowering the roll center back down? im at the point where im either going to throw a bunch more money at it on a gamble (which im done with, honestly) or im going to dump it and pick up a decent WJ and start over...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOLDWING View Post
How is your rear track bar? OEM? How about the rear control arms and bushings?

GW
JKS adjustable rear track bar. axle is centered to within less than 1/8". rear control arms/bushings are all new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighLonesome View Post
check the steering shaft
ive checked it several times to be sure, no play noticed.

1993 Jeep ZJ Laredo 4.0L/42RE/242/D30/D35
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post #13 of 18 Old 10-18-2016, 11:18 PM
Timo_90xj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCaminoManT View Post
i have the rear sway bar but it is currently not installed. ive run it with and without and notice no improvement when it is installed. it does limit travel off road which is why i took it back out.
Rear swaybar doesn't really limit flex much at all. I drive trails ranging from easy to hard, and I've got my rear sway bar connected at all times. I actually snapped the OEM rear swaybar, and had a company build me a new one that was slightly thicker than the original.

Rear swaybar keeps the body roll on trails under control, but doesn't limit flex too badly. Sort of like poor man's Currie antirock



Quote:
yes, i do have adjustable front arms. caster is at 6*. before with fixed arms it was just shy of 8* and it was terrible to drive. adjusting to 6* greatly improved the handling but it still has a tendency to wander whenever it feels like. sometimes its fine, as long as the road surface is smooth and even and wind is not pushing it around. toe is set at 1/8" toe-in.
Sounds about right.. you might want to try zero toe-in. It can cause DW though, depending on your tires and overall front setup. It's kind of trial-and-error to find the sweet spot between caster angle and toe-in.

Quote:
track bar and drag link appear to follow the same plane best i can tell and measure.
If you have no bump steer, then they are close enough to being parallel.



Quote:
im wondering if because of the angle of the control arms, the roll center is way higher than compared to stock. would long arms improve the situation by lowering the roll center back down? im at the point where im either going to throw a bunch more money at it on a gamble (which im done with, honestly) or im going to dump it and pick up a decent WJ and start over...
If you can weld, you don't necessarily need long arms. Cut off original axle LCA and UCA brackets from the front axle, and fab new ones. You want to raise the LCA brackets to axle tube level, and move the upper up and back the same amount. Driver side upper needs a bit of work, because you cannot weld to the cast iron pumpkin; you need a truss "bridge" over it.


I did that with my previous front axle upgrade, and I gotta say I'm more than happy with the results. Front CAs are now horizontal @ 3" lift height, handling is better, suspension is much smoother over rough terrain, and amount of flex is not limited by CAs at all with my setup. I've got 11" travel shocks in the front, and I get all the flex there is available from those shocks. In other words, no need for long arms.


If you're gonna end up with a WJ, you do get the better brakes and steering, and a few other good things.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #14 of 18 Old 10-19-2016, 05:30 PM
paulsheer2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCaminoManT View Post
... 15x8 wheels with 4" bs. ...

What from sway bar do you have? You'll need a stiffer sway bar for street driving.


I think as soon as you add negative-offset to your wheels you introduce a degree of instability. The proper way to have wheels "stick out the sides" is to get wider axles and choose wheels so that the ball joints are centered over the contact patch with the road.

I have these: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/pcw-52-6166 (which are probably a bit worse that yours and a very bad decision on my part.)

and of course my own custom steering brace: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/b...nt-zj-3528338/

now the steering brace has to brace the left and right frame rails. A steering brace that attaches only to the left frame rail is not going to fully limit the twisting of the steering gear-box. So you still get some play in the steering. In fact I STILL get some twist even with my steering brace, but it is small.

I have increased the caster a lot over stock. I had to make a drive shaft to handle the larger caster without vibration: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/m...op-me-3698521/

So my stability in lanes on the highway is not as good as my Dodge Dakota 2002 -- which has superb handling. If I compare my Honda Fit Sport 2010, my ZJ, and my Dodge, I would say rate them Dodge, Honda, then ZJ worst.

My ZJ role when cornering is as good as my Honda due the WJ sway bar swap. The WJ sway bar is very heavy.



As an experiment, you might want to switch to stock wheels.

In fact I'll bet you $5 that stock wheels will fix your problem. Then you just have to trade off wheel-offset for stability.

Myself I am actually going to switch to a smaller negative-offset as soon as I'm due for new tires.

93 ZJ 5.2, 3.58 stroked. 242 swap. 2.5" lift. dozens of mods.
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post #15 of 18 Old 10-20-2016, 08:00 AM
Timo_90xj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsheer2 View Post
What from sway bar do you have? You'll need a stiffer sway bar for street driving.
Stock front and rear sway bars work just fine. Slightly thicker swaybars (ie. WJ front swaybar) will of course reduce body roll and add stability, but it is not a necessary upgrade.

If it is a lifted Jeep, you need to raise the trackbar mounting locations higher up - both on the frameside and axle. That will raise the IC height and reduce difference between COG height and IC height, which in turn reduces body roll.


Quote:
I think as soon as you add negative-offset to your wheels you introduce a degree of instability. The proper way to have wheels "stick out the sides" is to get wider axles and choose wheels so that the ball joints are centered over the contact patch with the road.
Negative offset wheels (or wheel spacers) and wider track width sure will cause all sorts of issues, like scrub radius out-of-spec, extra load on wheel bearings, etc.. - but it does NOT increase body roll nor does it reduce sway control ability of the sway bars. If anything, it adds stability due to wider track.

Body roll is caused by the center of gravity affecting on the (virtual) pivot point of the vehicle. Instant center is in real life varying depending if one is accelerating, decelerating, going up a steep incline, etc..., but it can be calculated on a 4-link vehicle if you know certain aspects.
The smaller the distance between IC and COG heights, the less body roll you will have. Track width has nothing to do with it when talking about OEM track width vs. slightly wider stance.



Quote:
now the steering brace has to brace the left and right frame rails. A steering brace that attaches only to the left frame rail is not going to fully limit the twisting of the steering gear-box. So you still get some play in the steering. In fact I STILL get some twist even with my steering brace, but it is small.
Having steering & suspension components as sturdy as possinble is a good thing. Steering brace sure does help in more precice steering feel.


Quote:
I have increased the caster a lot over stock. I had to make a drive shaft to handle the larger caster without vibration:
Why would you increase caster over stock? There is no point in that at all. On our Jeeps, you should stay as close to stock caster spec. if you want your Jeep to handle well. If you're within 5...7 it is pretty good.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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