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Unread 03-01-2013, 10:28 AM   #1
2005rubi
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Steering issues after upgrade

So I upgraded my LJ's sway bar with the Currie Anti-Rock and the tie rod and drag link with the Currie Currectlynk steering kit. Everything went on well, tight and aligned. I did neglect to bolt on one steering box bolt because it was hitting on the Anti-Rock arm. With this bolt off I did try to flex on a large barrier block about 30" tall. Once I came down from it, the steering was hosed. Steering wheel was a complete 90 degrees off and the steering was unbearable almost going off the road several times. I came home and put that bolt back on and just grinded it a little so the Anti-Rock arm would clear. Took it to get aligned at Firestone and it was all peaches and cream once I drove away from thier shop. Drove it for about 50-60 miles with no more issues. The steering was tight and the steering wheel was centered. Then I took it off road. Did the usuall wheeling with a few tight turns and hard bumps on rocks but nothing major. Once I got off the second trail the steering went to s**t again. Steerng was very loose and woobly and the steering wheel was off by 45 degrees...and to top it off, on the way home on the highway I got extreme and I mean extreme death wobble! For a whole year of having this Jeep, I NEVER experienced death wooble on it. So I took back to Firestone and they checked everything. Nothing visibily wrong. The gear box works fine, the tire rod and drag link are fine. Alignment was fine but the steering wheel is still about 30 degrees off center and steering is way loose. It takes about 3-4 inches of movement on the steering wheel for the tires to respond. What's worse is that everytime I hit a small bump the Jeep goes all over the place. I am at wits end on this. Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Unread 03-01-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
kercher
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do the dry steering test. Something is loose allowing the steering wheel to turn without response in the tires. How is the steering shaft? Lower steering shaft collar on the gearbox securely?
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Unread 03-01-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
skywagon
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Have someone do the wiggle test on the steering wheel while you or someone that knows front end stuff watch all joints. With that much slop in the steering it will be very easy to find.
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Unread 03-01-2013, 12:25 PM   #4
2005rubi
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Thanks! Will do. Seems the thread posted twice but I am having great repsonses on both of them so I will keep them up. Keep Jeepin'!
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Unread 03-01-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
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Unread 03-01-2013, 01:55 PM   #6
kercher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1999TJRED85000 View Post
Although there are some experienced Jeep people on here, the guys on here are mostly complete morons and will repeat solutions that they've heard with no regard for your specific situation. Don't waste your time with the dry test or whatever cr@p those guys suggested. It sounds like your drag link is coming loose or something is moving under stress. If your alignment shop is not accustomed to lifted Jeeps, they might not catch it because it looks normal when not compressed or extended.

The best way to analyze this (if I can help) is to see a list of all components that you put a wrench on or replaced, and see some pics. The pics need to be full frontal upward, so I can see the entire tie rod, drag link, trac bar, pitman, etc. (Think knuckle to knuckle) And maybe some pics of the tie rod ends, knuckles, and other joints in the steering. The effect you described sounds like something that happens when a tie rod rotates (jam nuts come loose) but the Currie usually won't do that. Post pics and I'll see what I can do.
This is good advise. Take still pictures of the front end so 1999Red can figure out what moves under stress. I am not sure why i even suggested having someone steer the jeep while you looked for what is loose.

I finally addressed my loose steering last week. I found out that the lower steering shaft collar was loose and it rotated a little bit on the input shaft of the gearbox. It turned out that the gearbox splines were worn a little. I am not sure how long it had been like this, but once I replaced the gearbox (it was leaking too) and tightened that collar, everything was fine. The dry steer test let me quickly narrow it down to that link.

If the lower steering shaft collar is slipping on the gearbox input shaft i think it would explain 1) loose steering and 2) steering wheel coming off center.
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Unread 03-01-2013, 05:04 PM   #7
durango-bob
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My money is on a looes or worn track bar mount. That would explain both the steering going off center and the death wobble. After that, a worn, loose, or broken control arm or mount.
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Unread 03-01-2013, 09:50 PM   #8
2005rubi
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Here are some pics of the set up. I do have a drop pitman btw...Thanks so much for your help!




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Unread 03-02-2013, 07:58 AM   #9
1999TJRED85000
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Before the steering went all crazy, was the backing plate on the stabilizer connection totally straight? Look at it now. Is it slightly bent around the tie rod? Probably not, but it's worth asking/looking. Currie gives you a pretty beefy plate. What you described is the same thing that happens if that stabilizer connection rotates from the baccking plate bending and loosening that connection. It's hard to see in the pic. If you line everything up again, you can mark the positions with a marker and see if they move after use. And if everything measures up, I would verify that the knuckles are in good shape. After that, I think Durango Bob might be right, that the control arms would be the next thing to check. Make sure they are not bent, loose, etc. In a nutshell ... something is loose/bent and moving under light use, based on your description. (Oh, and make sure the drag link adjuster is snug)
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Unread 03-02-2013, 08:15 AM   #10
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The rear lower bolt sleeve that goes through the frame and attaches the steering gear looks pretty messed up. Was it in that condition before all of this happened?
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Unread 03-02-2013, 08:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1999TJRED85000 View Post
Although there are some experienced Jeep people on here, the guys on here are mostly complete morons and will repeat solutions that they've heard with no regard for your specific situation. Don't waste your time with the dry test or whatever cr@p those guys suggested. It sounds like your drag link is coming loose or something is moving under stress.
Is that right? So if something is moving under stress do you have a better, quicker and more accurate way of exposing it than simply turning the steering wheel? Given what he's said, that's the absolute first thing I would do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1999TJRED85000 View Post
If your alignment shop is not accustomed to lifted Jeeps, they might not catch it because it looks normal when not compressed or extended.
"Lifted" or not, it doesn't really matter. Stuff can and does come loose or wear out on stock-height TJ's.


2005, quit going to Firestone. Those guys obviously don't know how to properly diagnose front end issues. If it doesn't involve step by step instructions on a computer, it's likely over their heads. Before you replace your dropped pitman arm with a stock one and losing that wonky track bar drop bracket like you should, you need to determine where the slop is being generated. With someone turning the wheel back and forth between 11 and 1, start up stream and work your way down--

Steering box and frame--there should be no movement between them. You NEED all three bolts. The AR arm should clear just fine, I've never seen interference there.

Steering shaft to steering box input shaft--they're connected so they should act as one unit with no play between them

Input shaft to output shaft--any input should generate an output. There should be no play between them.

Output shaft to pitman arm--unlikely but check it anyway. They should behave as one unit with no play between them.

Pitman arm to drag link TRE--no play should exist

Passenger side tie rod TRE--no play should exist

Passenger side drag link knuckle TRE--no play should exist

Driver side tie rod TRE--no play should exist

Both ends of track bar--watch closely

Given the fact that you have play and your steering wheel is no longer centered, something either bent or is loose or worn. It's up to you to find it.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 08:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1999TJRED85000 View Post
Although there are some experienced Jeep people on here, the guys on here are mostly complete morons and will repeat solutions that they've heard with no regard for your specific situation. Don't waste your time with the dry test or whatever cr@p those guys suggested. It sounds like your drag link is coming loose or something is moving under stress.
Amen, brother! Another point. People don't come back with I got it fixed closing thread. I learned why..... When you do post a fixed statement the same morons will tell you that you're covering up the true problem and why your fix is not really fixing anything. It took me 8 months of reading forum threads to piece together enough tidbits of info to fix my wandering issue at highway speed and folks on this board said I was wrong. I just smile when I cruise at 85 mph drinking a cup of coffee passing a semi on a windy day on a rutted road.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 08:54 AM   #13
M1ark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post

Passenger side drag link knuckle TRE--no play should exist
This.

After checking for no play on everything I noticed this connection would "roll" up and down and couldn't be stopped with torquing the castle nut to spec. I installed a $7 jcroffroad.com polyurethane shim. Problem solved. I called jcroffroad to see if this shim would work on my other tie rod ends. They recommend it ONLY on the passenger side draglink tre. No benefit was observed on the other tre's.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 10:26 AM   #14
durango-bob
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Can you post some pics of the track bar ends and brackets. I'm still thinking that your problem is there.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 01:39 PM   #15
1999TJRED85000
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Imped is mostly right. For some reason I thought you had a bigger lift, but if you only have a 3.5" lift like it says in your profile, I would go back to a factory Pitman too. If you don;t have one, I think they're only about $25 and you really should swap it out. While you're doing it, you might be able to search around and find out what is bent/loose. I think Imped and I totally agree on that. Now it's up to you to find it. Keep us updated on what you find!
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