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Unread 09-01-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
Martin_N
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Steering wheel pulls during turns / steering feels wobbly at high speeds

Hi all,

Need some help with my TJ. Have been searching on the forum and found a load of info, but still not really sure what I should try first on my TJ.

I'll do my best to describe the symptoms (and forgive me for any crappy English - doing my best but 'Jeep English' is still pretty new )

1. At all speeds, when going in or out of a turn, I feel the steering wheel 'pull' as if it wants to straighten the wheels again. This pulling is not 1 constant pull but short pulls quickly after each other. The sharper the turn, the more pulling I feel.

2. On the highway I don't really want to go faster than 90km/hr since the Jeep just doesn't feel stable enough anymore. Quite a lot of vibration in the steering wheel, feels really wobbly, and sometimes I really need to take my foot of the gas to let my Jeep get stable again.

I feel there might be a link between the 2 items, but not sure...

I think the mud tires are partly to blame, especially for the vibration as described in problem no.2, but still I believe there must be something else that can be done in order to improve either 1 or both of the a/m issues. Plenty of people run mud tires without these issues.

The Jeep just had it's yearly mandatory check needed to be allowed on public road and the shop/garage where I went did not find any play on e.g. the ball joints or wheel bearings. So no probs here / this can not be the cause.

Steering box is loosing a bit of oil lately. I don't leave any oil marks on the parking lot but it is "sweaty''

I run:

- '98 TJ 4.0L sport
- Roadstone 31" MT's
- 2" OME lift
- Stock control arms, track bars etc.

What things (and in which order) do you reckon I should check?

If any additional info is needed please let me know.

Thanks all,
Martin

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Unread 09-01-2013, 11:01 AM   #2
JFM626
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" At all speeds, when going in or out of a turn, I feel the steering wheel 'pull' as if it wants to straighten the wheels again. This pulling is not 1 constant pull but short pulls quickly after each other. The sharper the turn, the more pulling I feel."

This happens to me if it is left in four wheel drive on the highway.
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Unread 09-01-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
The_Dealer
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Get a partner to help you do the dry steering test. There's many videos on you tube. Basically with the jeep running have a partner turn the wheels lock to lock, and then short fast movements back and forth. Look for any play in the front end. Pay close attention to the track bar, and steering tre's. It sounds to me like you are getting some pre-death wobble. Also make sure your tires are balanced and not just "close". Im sure some more members will chime in and help you out. You can also pull one control arm at a time and check the bushings. Also put your tcase in neutral and adjust your linkage. It sounds like its not in 2wd

edit: also try moving your front tires to the rear and see if it stays the same or gets better. That can help rule out the tires
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Unread 09-01-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
Martin_N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Dealer View Post
Get a partner to help you do the dry steering test. There's many videos on you tube. Basically with the jeep running have a partner turn the wheels lock to lock, and then short fast movements back and forth. Look for any play in the front end. Pay close attention to the track bar, and steering tre's. It sounds to me like you are getting some pre-death wobble. Also make sure your tires are balanced and not just "close". Im sure some more members will chime in and help you out. You can also pull one control arm at a time and check the bushings. Also put your tcase in neutral and adjust your linkage. It sounds like its not in 2wd

edit: also try moving your front tires to the rear and see if it stays the same or gets better. That can help rule out the tires
Something like this?


I'm probably going to change rims shortly so once swapped I will ensure they are properly balanced.

With regard to the 2wd - last time I used 4wd was 2 months ago and I'm pretty sure I disengaged from 4wd since I nearly dug my rear tires in when trying to exit the beach in the last bit of sand before the pavement started again But for sure will double check if it's really in 2wd (quite important on the road...) Can't I just jack up the rear axle, put it on jackstands, start the Jeep and release clutch very, very gently? (will notice quickly if it's properly in 2wd then)

Rgds,
Martin
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Unread 10-05-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
Martin_N
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Hi all,

Ok I did the dry steering test now but see nothing out of the ordinary. Seems to be all in order / no play on any of the parts.

Next I will check the control arms.

Then maybe really need to try other tires....?

Or should I first try to centre my axles again with adjustable track bar?

Thanks for your help,
Martin
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Unread 10-05-2013, 09:59 AM   #6
Kiwi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin_N View Post
Hi all,

Need some help with my TJ. Have been searching on the forum and found a load of info, but still not really sure what I should try first on my TJ.

I'll do my best to describe the symptoms (and forgive me for any crappy English - doing my best but 'Jeep English' is still pretty new )

1. At all speeds, when going in or out of a turn, I feel the steering wheel 'pull' as if it wants to straighten the wheels again. This pulling is not 1 constant pull but short pulls quickly after each other. The sharper the turn, the more pulling I feel.
This issue is very similar to what happens when a u-joint in the front axle is bad and seizing up. To test this jack up the front, turn the steering wheel hard to either the left or right and then spin the jacked up wheel. If the u-joint is bad you will feel it wheel binding as you spin it.
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Unread 10-05-2013, 11:54 AM   #7
Martin_N
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Thanks, I´ll give it a try. Would surprise me though since these joints have both been replaced recently.... But I could be unlucky with a bad replacement part so worth checking.
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Unread 10-05-2013, 02:35 PM   #8
fire239
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Mine did the same thing. It was the driver side axle u-joint.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 05:36 AM   #9
Martin_N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
This issue is very similar to what happens when a u-joint in the front axle is bad and seizing up. To test this jack up the front, turn the steering wheel hard to either the left or right and then spin the jacked up wheel. If the u-joint is bad you will feel it wheel binding as you spin it.
Just to be sure: with binding you mean like blocking right? Like on this video where you see the wheel turning back i.o. turning smoothly in same position:


Sorry sometimes still run into the language barrier
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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:15 AM   #10
Martin_N
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Ok I checked the u-joints on the front axle shafts and whilst at it also checked the u-joints on the drive shafts. Work in progress :



On drivers side: very smooth, no play, no issues.

On passenger side: wheel is difficult to rotate, locks, and moves inwards

So I think I found the (or at least a) problem!

Rear drive shaft seems all in order, no noticable play. On the front one there is a very little bit of play. Since I'll replace the seal there anyway on short notice I'll change this u-joint right away then as well.

I'll try to replace the passenger side u-joint first and see the difference (never did this alone before....but need to learn so will give it a shot)

Thanks for your help so far guys, much appreciated.

Martin
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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:53 AM   #11
Kiwi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin_N View Post
Ok I checked the u-joints on the front axle shafts and whilst at it also checked the u-joints on the drive shafts. Work in progress :



On drivers side: very smooth, no play, no issues.

On passenger side: wheel is difficult to rotate, locks, and moves inwards

So I think I found the (or at least a) problem!

Rear drive shaft seems all in order, no noticable play. On the front one there is a very little bit of play. Since I'll replace the seal there anyway on short notice I'll change this u-joint right away then as well.

I'll try to replace the passenger side u-joint first and see the difference (never did this alone before....but need to learn so will give it a shot)

Thanks for your help so far guys, much appreciated.

Martin
Yes, its the passenger side u-joint that is bad based on your video. It should just turn smoothly while the wheel is turned hard passenger side and not binding (locking) like it is.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 08:03 AM   #12
Martin_N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
Yes, its the passenger side u-joint that is bad based on your video. It should just turn smoothly while the wheel is turned hard passenger side and not binding (locking) like it is.
Ok thanks. Actually the video is not mine, just picked it off youtube, but my Jeep is doing exactly the same thing as on the video so problem found right there.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 10:10 AM   #13
Jerry Bransford
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You're certain your TJ is in 2 wheel drive right? Those same symptoms occur if it's driven on pavement when the transfer case is in 4Hi.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 10:21 AM   #14
Martin_N
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Yes, I'm certain it's in 2wd.

Hope the u-joint will solve the issue.

Does make sense, seeing how it locks up you must feel it when pushing it through the corner anyway...
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Unread 10-12-2013, 10:50 AM   #15
Jerry Bransford
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If it turns out to be a bad u-joint, the Spicer 5-760x would be very good direct fit stronger & more durable upgrade for the Spicer 5-297 u-joint the factory installed.
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