It looks as if the entire spring may be slight cocked to the outboard side of the frame. I have had very vague steering in the Jeep - about 5 degrees of play in the wheel before the wheels turn. This has created tracking issues at high speed or on very bumpy roads. My setup is:
4" BDS life with 6 degree shims to correct for caster
33x12.5x15 Goodyear MT/R
New AGR Superbox 2 steering box with new supply and return lines
New ps pump
I have not finished going over the Jeep end-to-end but this is something that stood out for me when I began to go over it. Any thoughts if this is an areas on which to focus?
The BDS website says their CJ lift kit comes with urethane bushings. Those sure look like rubber to me. The shackle hanger looks bent, the bolts look too small in diameter, also. If you installed this setup, it seems to me that after spending all that money on suspension and steering, decent shackles would be small change.
I would rather have a tool I don't need, than need a tool I don't have.
Let the front end 'hang' with wheels off the ground.
Loosen up all 8 axle U-bolts and shake the axle to settle the springs. Retighten each U-bolt. Finish up with 55 ft lbs of torque on each nut.
Another issue was the fact that AMC spec'd the axle pad spacing wider than it should have been. There was a TSB at one time on this.
Yep, your shackle mount is bent. Fairly common with the stock ones, they tend to twist under side loading or some even unroll slightly. Are those stock shackles? Cause they don't look parallel. Shackle sides must stay parallel and the stock ones had shoulder bolts, welded to one side so it stayed square. I agree too, those look like rubber bushings.
Thanks to everyone for the input. Investigation found that the ball joints were toast in addition to the bent shackle mounts. Ball joints, tie rods, drag link, shackles and shackle mounts were all replaced (steering stabilizer still needs to be re-installed). The wander has been largely resolved but the passenger-side spring is still not sitting straight.
I wrote to BDS and their reply was to loosen up the bolts and let the spring marinate some:
I have seen the military wrap shift on the spring, but it looks like your spring is twisted some. I would recommend you loosen the shackle and frame end spring eye bolts, and allow the spring to settle in a little more. If the problem still exists after a few hundred miles, please contact the BDS dealer to start the warranty process.
Does this sounds right? My local wrench and the BDS rep seemed to think this is mostly a non-issue but would welcome any additional perspective.
Those new shackles look a bit chinsy, how thick are the sides? Also, you have the bolts too tight, as they are bending the sides, which should remain parallel. Did you support the frame and assemble everything finger tight before torqueing any bolts so that nothing is "forced" into position? I def. now think it's your springs. I would start the warranty process now. You didn't pay for a defective spring or to have to try to fix a faulty product.
If you happen to be taking the spring off for any reason, take and set the spring on a level surface but set a socket down first and then the exposed bottom threads of the centerbolt into the socket. Use a large socket. This should balance the spring. Now lay a torpedo level across each spring eye top (perpendicular to the spring). Both should be identical and level.