Steering wandering - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Steering wandering

We were just working on a friends jeep and after lifting it about 4", the jeep wanders quite a bit. He did say that it wandered before and it's a little better now but it was unbearable when I drove it. There is virtually no play in the steering wheel but the jeep darts from left to right pretty bad. We added a drop pitman arm and the brand new drag link is perfectly flat now. The caster is at 3.5 degrees with the top leaning aft. The toe in is only 1/16" but the tie rod is seized up so we can't add anymore toe without replacing that. The tires are within 1psi...now the same but 1 psi isn't going to cause a serious steering issue.

Any ideas what could be causing this? Is that little amount of toe in going to cause this?



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post #2 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 09:24 AM
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How did you achieve this lift?

Usually it's caster angle due to lift shackles, but your toe in seems light as well. I usually run 1/8" or a nudge more on 35s. What size tires is he running?

Here's Stu Olsen's TJ thread, but it applies to YJs as well. https://www.stu-offroad.com//steering/align/align-1.htm

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post #3 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luuca View Post
How did you achieve this lift?

Usually it's caster angle due to lift shackles, but your toe in seems light as well. I usually run 1/8" or a nudge more on 35s. What size tires is he running?

Here's Stu Olsen's TJ thread, but it applies to YJs as well. https://www.stu-offroad.com//steering/align/align-1.htm
It was my old SUA Rough country lift which of course has longer shackles but his front leaf perches were falling apart so we welded new ones on. He's on fairly new 33's.


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post #4 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 09:36 AM
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It was my old SUA Rough country lift which of course has longer shackles but his front leaf perches were falling apart so we welded new ones on. He's on fairly new 33's.
You are back to toe in. PB Blaster and hammer tap the adjusting sleeve or simply replace the tie rod, set to 1/8" and all should track well.

EDIT: Bad ball joints can cause this as well, but you stated no play in the steering wheel, so YES, not enough toe in will cause flighty steering.

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post #5 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luuca View Post
You are back to toe in. PB Blaster and hammer tap the adjusting sleeve or simply replace the tie rod, set to 1/8" and all should track well.

EDIT: Bad ball joints can cause this as well, but you stated no play in the steering wheel, so YES, not enough toe in will cause flighty steering.
Ok thanks. We just hit it with some PB blaster, heat, wire brush, and more PB blaster. Maybe it'll loosen up before he leaves in a few hours.


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post #6 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Well a little time, heat, PB blaster, and two vice grips broke the tie rod free. We bumped it up to a little over 1/4" toe in just to make absolutely sure it is or isn't the toe. I didn't drive it but my friend says it's better. How much better, I don't really know but hopefully that's all it was.


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post #7 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Correction.... he's saying now that it will go straight if he doesn't touch the wheel at highway speed but steering inputs make it squirrely. It's basically like it's stable but the steering is way too sensitive. We put on a drop pitman arm but after measuring, it's actually shorter by almost an inch so I'd think that would make it even less sensitive.


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post #8 of 20 Old 08-21-2019, 09:25 PM
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I'd check the caster again to rule that out.

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post #9 of 20 Old 08-22-2019, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Koyote Kustom Wheels View Post
I'd check the caster again to rule that out.
Oh yeah.... we've checked that like 4 times. It always comes up between 3.5 and 4.5 degrees depending on how we check it.

This sounds a little crazy but I'm almost thinking we should loosen the set screw on the steering box to give it a hair of play in the steering wheel. Maybe a little play would help with the human side of the twitchy steering by allowing the steering wheel to be turned a hair further for a smaller correction in the tires.


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post #10 of 20 Old 08-22-2019, 07:02 AM
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Barring the obvious stuff you've mentioned, and if you don't know the full history of the jeep, maybe pull some measurements on the frame and look for anything that may have been wracked in an old collision.
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post #11 of 20 Old 08-22-2019, 08:53 AM
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Question: your friend.. has he driven a lifted YJ before? The lift does add to the roll of the body and changes the dynamics of driving it. I'm wondering if you have it right, but the driver is expecting the same as stock ride and body roll. Any chance he's just experiencing more body roll and or a higher center of gravity and interpreting it as steering issues?

1/4" toe in should have it tracking true enough, but if he's too far away to perform the work himself (guessing he less experienced than you) maybe a professional alignment shop can verify all the actual teo, caster and front to rear axle alignments for him - maybe even correct the toe???

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post #12 of 20 Old 08-22-2019, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luuca View Post
Question: your friend.. has he driven a lifted YJ before? The lift does add to the roll of the body and changes the dynamics of driving it. I'm wondering if you have it right, but the driver is expecting the same as stock ride and body roll. Any chance he's just experiencing more body roll and or a higher center of gravity and interpreting it as steering issues?

1/4" toe in should have it tracking true enough, but if he's too far away to perform the work himself (guessing he less experienced than you) maybe a professional alignment shop can verify all the actual teo, caster and front to rear axle alignments for him - maybe even correct the toe???
Actually he's better at keeping it straight than I am and he did say it tracks true if you quit touching the steering wheel. I felt like a drunk driver driving it down a 2 lane road at 50mph. Every time I would correct a little problem, I'd over correct to a bigger problem, and then over correct that over correction to the point where we were both getting a little worried. The body roll isn't that bad and actually much better than mine with 4 link and coilovers in the rear.

I really feel like the steering is too light and the steering inputs are immediately translated to the tires making what is normally a tiny input turn into a larger output.

So one other question.... his tires pressures are pretty high IMO for a 33" mud tire at 38psi but they don't feel bad on the road. I run my 35's at like 20-22psi. Any chance the high pressure could be grabbing imperfections on the road and causing the wander?


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post #13 of 20 Old 08-22-2019, 09:20 AM
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What you are describing is too little caster angle. Shim the front springs to add 2 degrees of caster and test it out.

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post #14 of 20 Old 08-22-2019, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What you are describing is too little caster angle. Shim the front springs to add 2 degrees of caster and test it out.
Alright. I'll see if he's willing to flip his shackle around in the front and run it in the middle hole as a test option and then buy shims if that fixes it.


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post #15 of 20 Old 08-22-2019, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Temporarily shortening the shackles gave 3-4 degrees of caster and he said that fixed the steering issue so some shims are going to be necessary. Thanks guys
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