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Unread 06-17-2007, 07:47 PM   #1
JeepinYahoo
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Steering Wanders Badly.

The steering on the CJ is really wandering badly. I am thinking it is the steering box going out because it feels like when that happened on my Ford and I can turn the wheel 1/3 around in both directions without the tires moving. I do not believe it is in the linkage but might be. I also have about 3" of lift without a drop pitman arm, could this cause wandering and unresponsive steering? Is there a way to check the steering box? Tighten it?

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Unread 06-17-2007, 07:53 PM   #2
jadams68
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Measure your castor angle on the front axle and shim the front axle if necessary to correct it.
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Unread 06-17-2007, 08:11 PM   #3
JeepinYahoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadams68
Measure your castor angle on the front axle and shim the front axle if necessary to correct it.

How and how....sorry, TJ guy here. Us coil guys dont know what to do with the dag-gummed leaf springs. I do know about the shims, how do I measure castor and how do I find out which shims to get.
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Unread 06-17-2007, 08:32 PM   #4
79cj7reny
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You'll have to take it to an alignment shop. They'll tell you if your measurements are within acceptable range. They can install the correct shims. I would check ALL of your steering components first before messing with the caster. You say that you can turn the steering wheel a 1/3 turn before the wheels move. Is that while sitting still? If so then it's definitely a steering issue not a caster issue. As far as the pitman arm, I would think that if you need a dropped arm and are running stock arm, then you would feel the steering bind. Someone else should be able to shed some light on that. Good luck!
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Unread 06-17-2007, 09:13 PM   #5
John N
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You need someone, who knows what they're looking at, to inspect the condition of your steering system. It could be one or a combination of parts and steering isn't something to guess at. What you're describing is not the result of not having a drop pitman arm. It is probably the result of worn out, broken and/or loose parts.
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Unread 06-17-2007, 09:22 PM   #6
schwim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepinYahoo
I also have about 3" of lift without a drop pitman arm, could this cause wandering and unresponsive steering?
YES!

I just went through this exact thing. Turning the wheel was actually rotating the tierod about a 1/3 of a complete revolution before it would affect the steering in the least. Putting the draglink on the same plane as the tierod solved my problem completely.

thanks,
json
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Unread 06-17-2007, 09:54 PM   #7
JeepinYahoo
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So many answers...I dont know what to choose. Well, I know it has to be from either the pitman arm or the steering box at this point. I doubt it is caster, I know it isnt the linkage, so I guess I will try the pitman arm first.
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Unread 06-17-2007, 09:59 PM   #8
JeepinYahoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 79cj7reny
You say that you can turn the steering wheel a 1/3 turn before the wheels move. Is that while sitting still? If so then it's definitely a steering issue not a caster issue.

Exactly what I thought.
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Unread 06-17-2007, 10:00 PM   #9
kavephish
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Why not go to an alignmet/mechanic shop and ask them to "look at it and give you a quote"....then fix it yourself.
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Unread 06-17-2007, 10:03 PM   #10
JeepinYahoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kavephish
Why not go to an alignmet/mechanic shop and ask them to "look at it and give you a quote"....then fix it yourself.

I might if I can't figure it out.
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Unread 06-18-2007, 05:25 AM   #11
John Brereton
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Check your steering box bracket. CJ steering brackets are known to be crap. Over time they loosen up, and break. Then, when you turn the steering wheel the steering box starts moving all around instead of turning the wheels.

Have someone turn the steering wheel while you sit in front of the Jeep and watch the steering box (or for any other odd movement).
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Unread 06-18-2007, 07:02 AM   #12
Fatman
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steering box bracket
tie rod ends
steering box
steering rod
ball joints
shackle bushings
loose spring / axle u-bolts

These are primarily the things that can and will go bad causing the "wander" condition.
You should get it to an alignment shop and not guess at the problem.
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Unread 06-18-2007, 07:14 AM   #13
BESRK
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All good suggestions above.. a good way to generally diagnose your steering system is to have someone jump in the Jeep and turn the wheel fully to the left and right several times while you inspect. Start with the hood open. Check the steering shaft for play/slop. Then, move down to the box itself. Make sure it's not moving around on the mount, check to see if there's any sort of delay between the steering shaft input and output which would indicate a worn box (internally). Check the steering joints starting at the end of the pitman arm and working your way down to the steering joints (tie rod ends) at the axle ends.. look for slop. Check your leaf spring mounts and shackle mounts for slop and movement (a little movement is unavoidable.. rocking back and forth a couple inches isn't). If all that checks out, put a jack under the axle and raise tires off the ground. Grab tires at 12'oclock and 6'oclock and wiggle tire to check for slop in the wheelbearings or balljoints. Those are pretty much the major contributing areas/causes of steering slop. If the steering is pretty tight but the vehicle wanders, then you probably have caster issues (not enough positive caster) which can be remedied with shims.
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Unread 06-18-2007, 01:55 PM   #14
neilmuehlhausen
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check the universal joinyt at the bottom of the steering shaft where iyt connects to the steering box. I had the same problem with my 79', replaced the shaft and attached u-joint, and now it drives like new.
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