New to Jeeps how to fix scary steering - Page 2 -
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post #16 of 25 Old 10-10-2013, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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1975 CJ5 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Fort Wayne
Posts: 18
Haven't had a lot of time to work on the Jeep recently, but I think I've found a few culprits. The first thing I noticed was that the PO installed caster shims. Problem was that he installed them between the springs and the ubolt retainers instead of between the springs and perches. Second thing I noticed was loose bolts on what I would call a sway bar on a car (not part of the steering linkage). After reading several threads on the forum I am also thinking of doing a tie rod flip to correct the bumpsteer I'm experiencing. The drag link and tie rod tube are nowhere near paralel. The bushings from goferit are the way I'm thinking of going as I already have a 3/4" drill. Any opinions on this kit as opposed to the Rock equipment sleeves that need to be taper reamed? I understand that the goferit bushings need to be welded, thats not a problem as I have a welder. I will post pics as soon as the camera comes off the charger. Thanks everyone for the help!

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post #17 of 25 Old 10-10-2013, 09:00 PM
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1982 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Russellville
Posts: 9
A New steering shaft with u joints instead of rag joints fixed my steering
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-12-2013, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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1975 CJ5 
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Location: Fort Wayne
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Lets seee if this photo of my tie rod/ drag link will show. Don't know if I meet the required posts/ time limit yet.
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post #19 of 25 Old 10-12-2013, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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1975 CJ5 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Fort Wayne
Posts: 18
Notice the improperly placed caster shims and everpresent AMC lifeblood all over the garage floor!
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post #20 of 25 Old 10-12-2013, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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1975 CJ5 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Fort Wayne
Posts: 18
Another thing I noticed was the inner ubolt on passenger side riding up on side of the pumpkin. Is this correct, or another mistake by the PO. It looks like its cocking the whole spring pack. Thanks again for all your help!
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post #21 of 25 Old 10-27-2015, 07:30 AM
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1980 CJ5 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: tontitown
Posts: 7
Play in steering box

My steering was pretty loose in my old CJ5 also. Everything underneath seemed tight, except there was too much play in the column from the wheel to the box. This video is a pretty simple demonstration of how to adjust it. 15 minutes and a couple of trips around the block, and I had it steering 10x better!
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post #22 of 25 Old 10-28-2015, 07:00 AM
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I have gotten a lot of info from this site and feel compelled to respond when I see a newbie going down the rabbit hole. My first was a '79 cj5 and my second was a '83 cj7. Both suffered from the "loose, wandering, unresponsive & not returning to center syndrome". On my second purchase I recognized a lot of the issues and knew I could fix relatively inexpensively. When I started the repairs I told myself I would do one item and see how much impact it had on getting back the steering. First I started with the tie rod ends. Three were bad and went with all four. Test drive showed improvement but still a long way to go. Second was driver side ball joints that had noticeable wear. Test drive showed improvement but again had a lot of room for improvement. Passenger side ball joints showed to be in decent shape and I would replace when time permitted (beach trip approaching). Third was 4 degree castor shims. There has been a lot of debate, both pros and cons on the shims. After exhausted research I decided to install because the PO had installed a 4" lift along with taller/longer shackles which took my castor to almost zero. Also I've learned that my front diff yoke angle to T case was off and the shims would be correcting in the right direction. After shim install test drive showed that the steering wanted to start to return to center but still needed a bit more. Told myself I would decide after professional alignment gave accurate castor values whether or not to go to 6 degree shims. Got alignment done at a friends shop and results were surprising. Castor at 6+ degrees and toe requiring minimum adjustment. Test drive after alignment showed very little improvement. Next was a new Borgeson steering shaft as the factory original showed signs of wear with noticeable slop. The shaft showed a major improvement in removing side to side unresponsiveness not to mention peace of mind. The next step was to look at the steering box lash adjustment. This is the allen screw adjustment on top of the box. I was shocked to find that this adjustment was way out. This was a new box having a 2006 (I believe) factory sticker on the box. Several full turns were done before a mild seat was felt. I backed off a 1/8 to 1/4 turn and test drive showed much improvement. I am finishing up the passenger side ball joints and found the bottom stud very loose and the upper almost frozen. Have not test drove but curious. I did replace the driver side U joint as it showed extreme tightness and did the passenger side as well. I will look into spring/shackle bushings and other smaller impact items. My steering is now tight but still not returning to center. 6 degree shims maybe the answer. Anyone reading this have other ideas please respond.
The reason I wrote this is to show others that when trying to solve this all to common problem you have to realize that you are going up against many factors. First off the CJ is 32 years old. Parts have worn, broken or froze. The PO was neglectful, didn't know what he was doing or both. Replace what is obvious and go from there. The other thing I'd like to mention is after this frontend rebuild I have more confidence in what I have. Example is when replacing the ball joints I discovered that the PO had recently repacked the wheel bearings. It was done wrong and now it is right. I have found many other items the PO did wrong and didn't do because I feel he was lazy. Some were cosmetic while others weren't. I hope this helps those of you just starting out.
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post #23 of 25 Old 10-28-2015, 09:03 AM
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1930 VJ 
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I have a 75 CJ5. When i first got it [stock] it drove great. Added a 2-1/2" lift and a 4" drop Pitman arm. Took it to an alignment shop. Changed the spring shackles out, adding another 1/2 of lift. Took it to the shop again. It didn't drive near as well. Added a stabilizer. Lil better.. I noticed that the drag link was not right. Hung down too low. I found a new drag link 2-1/2". Installed it. Now the drag link is parallel with the tie rod. Jeep drives great again. I may still have the 4-1/2" drag link here if you are interested. FWIW I have removed the stabilizer.

The shim under the Ubolt is just that a shim. IMO it is probly part of the problem. The passenger side Ubolt should go over the the edge of the axle tube.

Me? I 'd start by correcting everything back to the way it's supposed to be. I'd also replace or at least check the spring bushings. Then replace the U-bolts.

75's as far as I know didn't come with a sway bar set up. Could be someone added it.

If I get a wild hair today I'll try to take a photo of mine for ya.

Pull my finger
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post #24 of 25 Old 10-28-2015, 04:40 PM
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1980 CJ7 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cottage Grove
Posts: 61
Another thing to check is your leaf springs if they are old or broken, When I got my first cj7 I was 16 and knew nothing about cars, I made a set of shackles for it and the shackles were not long enough, so the leaf spring was literally resting on the frame! you want to talk about scary to drive! after a week of that my butt cheeks ripped a leather strip out of the middle of the seat! with that being said you could also check that the leaf springs are not resting on the frame and your shackles are long enough

Nearly all men can stand adversity,but if you want to test a man's character,give him power.
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post #25 of 25 Old 10-28-2015, 05:20 PM
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1981 CJ7 
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Location: Elbert
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Originally Posted by bucklagrim View Post
Another thing I noticed was the inner ubolt on passenger side riding up on side of the pumpkin. Is this correct, or another mistake by the PO. It looks like its cocking the whole spring pack. Thanks again for all your help!
Normal. That's how they came from the factory. One odd-ball u-joint, on the inner passenger front, to clear the diff housing.

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