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Unread 03-31-2007, 12:46 PM   #1
blueteej
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Steering Problems After Lift Install

I'm having a strange steering problem after having a lift installed.

The problem is that it feels like it takes 1/4 turn of the steering wheel for my steering to take affect. Furthermore, if I take a right turn and then straighten the Jeep out, the steering wheel will remained cocked at 2:00 but the Jeep drives and tracks straight. If I take three consecutive left turns the steering wheel is eventually back on center. Then I take another right turn and it's back to 2:00 while I drive straight.

Prior to having the lift installed there were no steering issues.

Here's what I just had done ... It started as an OME 2.5 coil and shock lift installed by a local shop. The shop, which is one I've used for years, struggled a bit with this install and claimed they needed extended sway bar links in the front and rear and a new front track arm bracket in the front because the lift was so much higher than before. I called ARB and Northridge, where I bought the kit from, and both said I shouldn't need anything outside of what was included in the kit to make it fit.

The installer contacted a well known 4x4 shop in the area who said the kit won't fit without the links and bracket.

I wanted quick disconnects anyway, so I didn't have a problem with new front links but the rears made no sense - same with the front track arm bracket. Begrudgingly, I agreed to the additional parts.

While the lift did net more than 2.5", I believe it is because the old springs were sagging after 100,000 miles. I gained 3 7/8" in the front and 2.5" (right) to 2 3/4" (left) in the rear. ARB said it would settle down after 500 miles or so.

Once everything was done, I had them align it to 1/16" toe in.

So it drives fine, drives straight, no death wobble but I've got this crazy steering problem.

What the heck is going on?! Any ideas? The shop that did the work is scratching their head. I'm thinking about removing the front bracket and putting the old links back on and seeing what happens as I still don't think they were necessary.

I'm running the same 30x9.5x15 tires that I had on prior to the lift.

A couple pics of the front are attached. I appreciate it if someone can make them click free.

front-l-2d.jpg   front-r-3d.jpg  
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1997 Wrangler TJ, Blue/Saddle, Low Output 4-cyl, 5-spd, Dana 30/35, 4.10 axle, 2.5 OME coil and shock lift, RE Quick Disconnects, 245-75/16 Goodyear MT/Rs on Moabs and we call her Daisy.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 12:59 PM   #2
Axl Jack
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You need to get a high lift steer kit.

But you only put 2.5" lift on, so you shouldn't be having a horrendous difference with steering.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:31 PM   #3
ytodd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axl Jack
You need to get a high lift steer kit.
Can you explain further?
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:36 PM   #4
PackMan
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Did you have a body lift with this? If so, you may need a steering shaft brace. M.O.R.E makes one.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:38 PM   #5
blueteej
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The shop that did the install felt that a dropped pitman arm would help. Perhaps that is what Axl Jack is referring to.

While I would agree that it would help for a 4" lift, this was only supposed to be a 2.5" lift. In my case I think the shop that did the work is getting confused on the net effect of my lift (nearly a 4" gain in the front over my old sagging springs) vs. a true 4" lift over OEM specs.
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1997 Wrangler TJ, Blue/Saddle, Low Output 4-cyl, 5-spd, Dana 30/35, 4.10 axle, 2.5 OME coil and shock lift, RE Quick Disconnects, 245-75/16 Goodyear MT/Rs on Moabs and we call her Daisy.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:39 PM   #6
blueteej
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PackMan
Did you have a body lift with this? If so, you may need a steering shaft brace. M.O.R.E makes one.
Nope. No body lift installed.
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1997 Wrangler TJ, Blue/Saddle, Low Output 4-cyl, 5-spd, Dana 30/35, 4.10 axle, 2.5 OME coil and shock lift, RE Quick Disconnects, 245-75/16 Goodyear MT/Rs on Moabs and we call her Daisy.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:40 PM   #7
Breaksteel
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Well heres a silly question... Did you get a alignment after the instal?
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:42 PM   #8
blueteej
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breaksteel
Well heres a silly question... Did you get a alignment after the instal?
I did. Even went back to the shop to talk with the guy who did it and he confirmed that he aligned it per my notes with 1/16 to 1/8" toe in.
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1997 Wrangler TJ, Blue/Saddle, Low Output 4-cyl, 5-spd, Dana 30/35, 4.10 axle, 2.5 OME coil and shock lift, RE Quick Disconnects, 245-75/16 Goodyear MT/Rs on Moabs and we call her Daisy.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:44 PM   #9
PackMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueteej
Nope. No body lift installed.
Yeah, I just saw the front body mount in your picture... should have caught that

Your draglink TRE to the pitman arm has a lot of sludge and doesn't look that hot... Clean that up a bit and see what the TRE looks like. Check also that the adjusting sleeve really has no give to it.

Might be a good idea to have someone steer the car while you're up front and under looking at the action.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:46 PM   #10
ytodd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PackMan
Might be a good idea to have someone steer the car while you're up front and under looking at the action.
X2. Sit up front and watch all the components involved while somebody cycles the steering back and fort a few times.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:50 PM   #11
blueteej
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After seeing the alignment question I ran out and measured to confirm that there is 1/16 to 1/8" toe in. There isn't. I measured it three times in three spots and there is no front toe in compared to the back.

Could it be that simple?

I'll get some brake cleaner and clean that stuff up, have someone grab the wheel and I'll see what's happening as they move it around.

Really appreciating the advice.
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1997 Wrangler TJ, Blue/Saddle, Low Output 4-cyl, 5-spd, Dana 30/35, 4.10 axle, 2.5 OME coil and shock lift, RE Quick Disconnects, 245-75/16 Goodyear MT/Rs on Moabs and we call her Daisy.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:54 PM   #12
[ITA]Tsunami
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One question: is that a relocation bracket for the trackbar? if the answer is yes: it's that tight and firm? if not your steering wheel will move one side to the other randomly due to the side movement of your front axle
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Unread 03-31-2007, 02:00 PM   #13
blueteej
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [ITA]Tsunami
One question: is that a relocation bracket for the trackbar? if the answer is yes: it's that tight and firm? if not your steering wheel will move one side to the other randomly due to the side movement of your front axle
It is a relocation bracket. I'm running out grab a torque wrench now for my T-case drop tomorrow. I'll confirm that the bracket is torqued properly.
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1997 Wrangler TJ, Blue/Saddle, Low Output 4-cyl, 5-spd, Dana 30/35, 4.10 axle, 2.5 OME coil and shock lift, RE Quick Disconnects, 245-75/16 Goodyear MT/Rs on Moabs and we call her Daisy.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 02:07 PM   #14
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Possible (but unlikely) that the draglink adjustment bolts were left loose after the alignment given how you describe the steering centering seems to change from turn to turn. If it were me, I'd go through the DIY alignment instructions just to make sure each bit was solid and tight.

Others ought to chime in here, because the "high lift steer kit" and dropped pitman arm should not be necessary or useful in this situation.

With the lift you installed, all you should have to do is reset the toe-in and re-center the steering and be fine. Front axle would be slightly off-center which you can correct if you want by re-drilling the stock track bar or with an adjustable front track bar. Rear axle would be more offset and you can correct that simply with OME's relocation bracket. Quick disconnects were a good call, but your 2.5 lift should have allowed you to hook up your stock links just fine even though the anti-sway bar set at too low an angle. Mine with 3" lift has been driving just fine that way for a little while waiting on JKS disconnects to ship. And none of these things should contribute to the steering problem you're describing.
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Unread 03-31-2007, 02:28 PM   #15
PackMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STW
Possible (but unlikely) that the draglink adjustment bolts were left loose after the alignment given how you describe the steering centering seems to change from turn to turn. If it were me, I'd go through the DIY alignment instructions just to make sure each bit was solid and tight.

Others ought to chime in here, because the "high lift steer kit" and dropped pitman arm should not be necessary or useful in this situation.

With the lift you installed, all you should have to do is reset the toe-in and re-center the steering and be fine. Front axle would be slightly off-center which you can correct if you want by re-drilling the stock track bar or with an adjustable front track bar. Rear axle would be more offset and you can correct that simply with OME's relocation bracket. Quick disconnects were a good call, but your 2.5 lift should have allowed you to hook up your stock links just fine even though the anti-sway bar set at too low an angle. Mine with 3" lift has been driving just fine that way for a little while waiting on JKS disconnects to ship. And none of these things should contribute to the steering problem you're describing.
x2 on the drop pitman arm. I have read over and over again that this is not needed - and in fact is detrimental - in short lifts. You'll be well over 4"+ vs stock (not your previous sag) before this is even a consideration, and even then is not likely to be needed.
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