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Unread 06-25-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
matteo92065
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Frustrated with my steering. Brought on by DW?

It started out with all my concurrent suspension and tire upgrades. I went from a stock í05 TJ to a 3Ē Curry/Savvy lift, all new steering (save steering stabilizer and steering box), & new 33Ē tires. Its developed a shake and death wobble since then. Its mostly a shake, but has developed into a full DW a couple of times. Iíve had the tires balanced and rotated 3 times in 500 miles. I checked and moved around my caster a few times. Plenty of dry steer tests. The track bar (new Savvy) is tight on both sides (only small compression of rubber bushing). Iíve adjusted my steering box to what I thought was near perfect. I was afraid of moving the adjustment too much, so I only gave it about ľ turn tighter. Iíve done exhaustive reading on this forum about DW, shake, and steering boxes.
I donít drive the jeep very much on the street partly because of this problem. {side note question: Can you have DW while flat towing? This would surely destroy your front end in a hurry!}

I like to think that I can figure everything out and fix most things by myself. I knew I needed to take it to an alignment shop to at least get the base line numbers on camber/caster/toe etc.

So I took it into a local shop and asked them to fix my jeep. The mechanic knew was DW was and was sure he could find and fix my problem. They keep my jeep for 2 days and the verdict wasÖ The steering box. The shop said that my box had play in it and that they tightened itÖ a lot. But that I could expect that it would wander around a lot because the box is worn out and needs to be replaced. They said I should drive it around and evaluate it. Looking at the adjustment screw; which is normally two threads above the lock nut, is now 2-3 threads BELOW the lock nut. The shaft that the pitman arm attaches to is now really low and showing a shiny metal ring that use to be up in the box. Drove it home(6 miles), it did wander around, but very little shake/wobble. The steering wheel can now be turned an inch or two before the tires start to move. I get home and the box is covered in oil.
Iíve always suspected I might need a new steering box, but NOW I for sure need a steering box. (Let the reading and searching JF begin)
This is what Iíve found; since I have a 2005, I need a unique to 2003 thru 2006 box.

Choices are:
PSC at $690 plus hoses $30: Highly regarded on JF but spendy
Remanufactured from autoparts store for ~$200-300? But everyone says they are junk & hit and miss
From dealer: $905 part number: RL088993AD No Way!
Borgenson does not make anything for 03-06
ARG Superbox 2(or 1) at $389 from Quadratec. Mixed and poor reviews
Rebuild myself, but what do I need and where to get all the internal parts?

Ouch. I guess the tummy tuck will have to wait awhile.
Any suggestions on the right box would be helpful. Many of the threads are about jeeps that are not 03-06 and they have options that I donít.

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Unread 06-25-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
RnEmOvr
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I would say steering is an area you don't skimp on. So save your money and get the PSC. Also the DW can happen while flat towing and will cause major issues as you will keep speed and not even know it is doing it depending on the tow rig. It could also break loose and cause a wreck.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 02:41 PM   #3
rubicon17
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id really like to know the outcome of this it sounds just like mine, drove great until i put a lift on now it drives like a pile of garbage. what kind of tires did you put on with the lift? i do not have death wibble though ts more of a bump steer thats real quick in the steering on hard hitting uneven bumps.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 02:51 PM   #4
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:17 PM   #5
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The only thing you didn't mention was the control arms. I really don't understand why I get flamed for saying it. Post-lift D/W....on stock arms? Track bar nice and tight? It's your control arms. Don't forget the axle upper bushings.

You and your mechanic really boogered your box though. That adjustment will do little to nil for a shimmy, just shorten the life of the box.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:25 PM   #6
matteo92065
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Another option just opened up...
Send my box to Howeperformance (in San Diego) and they will take mine apart and rebuild it with all brand new parts. They will also weld in steering stops based on me marking the turn limits before they get it. Howeperformance says that the mode of failure on these boxes is typically at full lock the pump is still giving full pressure/force to the selector shaft and all bearings, this tears them up. He says that by welding in stop points inside of the box it will 'protect' the box from itself. I mentioned the PSC box to Howe, and they said that it could be a perfect box, but still wouldn't have internal stops. They also weld on exterior fittings for a future ram that can be capped for the time being. Turn around is 2 weeks. $~850ish.

The whole internal stop thing makes sense to me. I have steering stop washers installed at my wheels to keep the wheels from hitting the control arms. The Howe box would be working with those, not against; I like that.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:29 PM   #7
rubicon17
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why not just get a oem one to replace it if its bad?
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:41 PM   #8
matteo92065
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackJaw View Post
The only thing you didn't mention was the control arms. I really don't understand why I get flamed for saying it. Post-lift D/W....on stock arms? Track bar nice and tight? It's your control arms. Don't forget the axle upper bushings.

You and your mechanic really boogered your box though. That adjustment will do little to nil for a shimmy, just shorten the life of the box.
I tried to mention it in the very beginning.
control arms are very tight, Brand New JJ from Savvy.
Track bar is new from Savvy. With the Upgraded bolt that another member researched as being a much better fit. The upper axle bushings are all new JJ's from Savvy.
The suspension and tires were changed/modified many times in a short period and in groups, so its impossible to know what part caused the DW. I think that all the new tight stuff and bigger tires amplified a marginal part to begin with.

No doubt that we (I'm taking some credit too) put the last dozen nails in the steering box coffin. FWIW; It was suggested by many mechanics and JF threads to adjust the steering box. Is it a huge "no-no" to ever touch the adjustment screw?

I'm still hopeful that the steering box was on its way out and that it was allowing the wheels to turn back and fourth causing the DW.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
matteo92065
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon17 View Post
why not just get a oem one to replace it if its bad?
Its $900+ and it is a design that's prone to fail again. I know that off roading and installing 33" tires is not what it was originally designed to handle.
I just would like to find the longest lasting, best value box available.

So why would I just get an oem box?
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:50 PM   #10
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What kind of tires do you have. What size. Are they swampers at mud terrain. Are they brand new or used.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:50 PM   #11
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Not sure how far you live from gerald and MrBlaine, but maybe a stop by their shop they can help you to diagnose it quickly....lots of experience in california from those two, worth the drive from anywhere in my opinion if their willing to help a fellow jeeper out.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 03:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matteo92065 View Post

I tried to mention it in the very beginning.
control arms are very tight, Brand New JJ from Savvy.
Track bar is new from Savvy. With the Upgraded bolt that another member researched as being a much better fit. The upper axle bushings are all new JJ's from Savvy.
The suspension and tires were changed/modified many times in a short period and in groups, so its impossible to know what part caused the DW. I think that all the new tight stuff and bigger tires amplified a marginal part to begin with.

No doubt that we (I'm taking some credit too) put the last dozen nails in the steering box coffin. FWIW; It was suggested by many mechanics and JF threads to adjust the steering box. Is it a huge "no-no" to ever touch the adjustment screw?

I'm still hopeful that the steering box was on its way out and that it was allowing the wheels to turn back and fourth causing the DW.
Okay good then, I thought you did but re-read and must have missed it. Yeh I remember reading a lot about that adjustment, but i understand it's easy to blow it. I understand the only proper way to make that adjustment is to remove the box. I don't remember all the details but was just going over it with a guy that put a new box in. From your description of how far the mechanic pushed it though, failure was not surprising. I'm intrigued by your Howeperformance rebuild info though. My buddy went with a borgeson from psc if memory serves. Hes pretty thorough in making good choices on his jeep. Best wishes.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 04:00 PM   #13
rubicon17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matteo92065 View Post
Its $900+ and it is a design that's prone to fail again. I know that off roading and installing 33" tires is not what it was originally designed to handle.
I just would like to find the longest lasting, best value box available.

So why would I just get an oem box?
seems like the majority of us use the stock box and most have no problems, id throw a used one on and try it seeing how your mechanicos messed up your original.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 04:12 PM   #14
matteo92065
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlackJaw View Post
... My buddy went with a borgeson from psc if memory serves. Hes pretty thorough in making good choices on his jeep. Best wishes.
I'm not challenging what your saying, just talking it out...

I called Borgeson.com, they offer nothing for a 03-06
I called PSC and they only have two options for 03-06, both are modified Saginaw boxes made to fit. One with Ram Ports one without.

Your buddy may have gotten exactly what you said, but that is no longer an option.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 04:18 PM   #15
matteo92065
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdptrey View Post
What kind of tires do you have. What size. Are they swampers at mud terrain. Are they brand new or used.
They are 285/75R16 MTR w/Kevlar. Brand new (1000 miles). I tried to have them spin balanced on the car by a local specialty shop, but they couldn't since it was a solid axle with non-disconnectable hubs. I had the shop rotate the tires 180 on the rims and rebalance to try that out.
There is a ton of weights stuck to the inside of all my rims.
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