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Unread 02-16-2002, 02:59 PM   #1
AeroViper1
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I can't keep it straight!!!

I put in a 4" suspension lift, I think all of the necessary mods to go with it...New steering stabalizer also. Now when I drive it, there is an incredible dead zone in the steering and I can't keep it straight on the road...befor the lift install, it was very easy to steer. My arm never stops correcting back and forth, gets tiring and it scares the crap out of me when I'm in a curve next to another car. Any ideas of how to fix it?

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Unread 02-16-2002, 04:45 PM   #2
grinder
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Your caster is off. Go to a front end shop and have them check it. Then go to auto parts store and order the degree of shims you need and install, problem solved. You can check all this yourself if you have the tools and know how. Do you have a book for the jeep? If you do check out the section on front ends.
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Unread 02-17-2002, 08:17 AM   #3
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Grinder is right, but see what can be done via the caster adjustments on the axle prior to resorting to shims.

Also, you A) did not say what you are driving and B) did not list the mods with the lift. Did this include a dropped pitman arm? You likely really need one if you have not already installed one.
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Unread 02-20-2002, 07:16 PM   #4
AeroViper1
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I left out that it's an 84 CJ7. The mods were a drop pit, revolver shackles(all 4), new steering stabalizer(BDS) and shocks(BDS). Any thing else you need to know?
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Unread 02-21-2002, 08:57 AM   #5
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Well, Aero, it could be a bunch of things. After installing any lift you should get it re-alianged. I'd still look really close at the caster angle. If I'm not mistaken, Revolvers add some static lift even when closed, like a lift shackle. It may not be much, but remember, that lifts only the front of the spring, really affecting the caster angle, and when you are taling about a few degrees here, it does not take much to throw it off.

You now have a very flexy suspension, a relatively tall lift, and a short wheel base. Under the best of circumstances it will be a little twitchy on the road with any speed, but what you describe seems a bit much. Take it to an aliangment place that knows 4x4s. Depending on what you learn, you may want or need to make more corrections to the sterring geometery, but a 4" lift is so common, I have to believe that adjustments exist that will mostly releive your problem.

PS: remember, the bigger the tires, the more the problem will be perceptable.

LOL
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2010 Grand Laredo 5.7 Hemi - SICK - work vehicle -gone - replaced by an 08 Tahoe - nice ride.

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Unread 02-21-2002, 11:07 AM   #6
scrambler24
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can someone expand on the caster check- I dont know any good 4x4 mechanics around me and I am having the exact same problem as Aero but have gone SOA on my 8-keeping the same length shackles and welding the new mounts exactly paralell to the originals. I thought this would keep most of the geometry in check but I would like to know how to check the caster. I did also use a 4" dpa
but actually gained almost 6" with my soa.
thanks if you can help
Jeff
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Unread 02-21-2002, 02:54 PM   #7
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Let me see if I can remember how. First go to JC Whitney and buy this: http://www.jcwhitney.com/item.jhtml?ITEMID=1883&BQ=null

You need some way of measuring the angles and this is the cheepest I know. I'm not endorsing this product because I've only used the real thing on real alignment machines in the past. I've only used the old machines that aren't computer operated.

I can't remember the exact steps so if someone out there is a current or former front end mechanic please reply. You mount the device on one of the front wheels and make sure the wheels are facing exactly foward. (Sight down both front wheels until you see exactly the same amount of the rear tires on each side) Zero the tools bubble. Then turn the wheel right 15 degrees and re-zero the bubble null out the gauge. Turn the wheel to the left now 30 degrees. (15 degrees the other direction) and check the bubble and how many degrees of caster you have on the gauge. To check camber, set the wheels straight, center the bubble, and use the gauge to see how many degrees positive or negative camber on the wheel. Repeat on the other side and then determine how much shimming you need to do. I usually guessed on how much shim to use and then retested. Re-shimmed again and retested. These tests are best done on a pad that makes it easy to turn the wheels back and forth, and the pad usually has marks on it so you know exactly how many degrees you have turned the wheel. I don't know exactly how to guess that part without the right tools.

If this is too complicated, take it to a front end shop and have them check the alignment and give you the figures. Then take it home and do the work yourself. I don't know how much extra they charge for adding wedges and shims. Make sure both wheels have exactly the same caster or it will be all over the road again. Most Jeeps I've read about need about 5.5 degrees of caster.

The last thing to do is check the toe. You want the front of the tire to be slightly closer together than the rear of the tires. Measure between the left and right tires at the front and jot down the measurement. Do the same at the rear part of the tires and jot down that measuremnt. Remember to use your tape measure in exactly the same front and rear so you get an accurate measurement. Adjust the tie rods until you have about 1/16 - 3/32 of an inch tow in at the front of the tires. If yours is toed out, that can cause a lot of instability. This is one thing you can easily check and adjust before checking caster and camber.

One last thing. If you camber is way off, you have a bent axle. The camber should be close to 0 degrees plus or minus 1/2 degree (i think)....??? If one wheel is 3 degrees, and the other is 0 degrees, you got a bent axle. Hope this helps.
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Unread 02-21-2002, 07:03 PM   #8
ooze
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Aero, another thing to watch for is the new spring ubolt nuts loosening. not that it's your problem but something to keep an eye on for a while.
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Unread 03-02-2002, 10:25 AM   #9
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Thanks ooze, I'll keep an eye out.
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Unread 03-02-2002, 12:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeep Daddy:
One last thing. If you camber is way off, you have a bent axle. The camber should be close to 0 degrees plus or minus 1/2 degree (i think)....??? If one wheel is 3 degrees, and the other is 0 degrees, you got a bent axle. Hope this helps.

I think that the caster on an '84 is supposed to be around 6 positive? (top of the knuckle tilts towards the back of the Jeep. I think that is positive). My '86 has a 4" lift, 1-1/2" longer shackles, and no drop pitman arm and handles rock solid. I also suspect that incorrect caster is AeroV's problem.
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Unread 03-02-2002, 06:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by SamFromCO:

I think that the caster on an '84 is supposed to be around 6 positive? (top of the knuckle tilts towards the back of the Jeep. I think that is positive). My '86 has a 4" lift, 1-1/2" longer shackles, and no drop pitman arm and handles rock solid. I also suspect that incorrect caster is AeroV's problem.
SamFromCO - I believe you are absolutely right about the "caster" angle. But, you are quoting my statement about "camber" angle as though I'm talking about caster angle. Just want to clear things up.
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Unread 03-03-2002, 11:36 AM   #12
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Is there slack in the system? Have a buddy wiggle the wheel back and forth while you inspect all linkages.Is the steering box centered? If it isn't,(which is common with suspension lifts) then that could be your problem.Lug nuts tight? Tire pressure right? While It needs an alignment(by a pro!),I'm guessing that the droped pitman arm isn't centering your steering box.However,CJeep hit the nail on the head as far as large lifts,tires an short wheelbase Jeeps. Remember IF IT AINT SAFE,DONT DRIVE IT!!!!
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Unread 03-03-2002, 12:14 PM   #13
AeroViper1
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Can you elaborate on how the DPA can be affecting how the steering box is centered, how do you center it, what is centering of the box?...I had a friend look at it, he told me to get the sway bar back in before he checks the alignment...more $$$!!!
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Unread 03-04-2002, 09:04 PM   #14
SamFromCO
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Sorry JDaddy, reading has never been one of my strong points!
AeroV, FWIW, when I bought my first drop pitman arm, it had the splines rotated about 15-20 off compared to the stock one. My Jeep would turn really well one direction and not very well the other. I couldn't adjust the drag link enough to correct it. When I replaced that one with one clocked correctly, I discovered another thing about many DPA's. Quite a few of them have a shorter radius that the stock one. I think that this is so that they don't hit the tie rod. I couldn't hit either steering stop because the pitman arm was too short to turn the wheels far enough. So, I put the stock one back on and it works fine, no bump steer and I have my tight turning radius back.
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Unread 03-04-2002, 10:50 PM   #15
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Aeroviper1, steering boxes are designed to have a "tight spot" in the centered position.This keeps the steering from wandering. when you turn the box to the left or right, the steering loosens keeping wear and steering effort down.When you install a lift, you are moving the box away from the tie rod which pulls the pitman arm/shaft off center.This causes excesive steering play within the system. A drop arm should fix this problem. Checking is simple, drop the pitman arm, turn the wheel all the way left.
Count the turns to the right. 1/2 the distance back should be centered. note the position of the steering wheel. Replace the pitman arm and drive. if the steering wheel isn't in the same place, adjust the drag link until it is.
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