2004 WJ steering wander - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 02-07-2010, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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2004 WJ steering wander

Hi folks, new here and in need of help. I have a 2004 WJ bought brand new in 2004. At about 83,000 miles i noticed front passenger shock was leaking, tires were hitting the 48,000 mile mark and the springs had sagged from towing and steering was wandering a bit. So, I fixed everything or so I though! I bought new 245/75/16 Destination ATs, added a KOR 2.75 lift with new shocks, a new JKS track bar and KOR steering stabilizer. Had 2 alignments done and STILL have a wandering problem, no vibration just that if there is an un-even area on the road it steers into it. What could this be?
Thanks. . .Rudy

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post #2 of 26 Old 02-08-2010, 07:36 AM
Double E
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2004 WJ 
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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Tie rod ends worn?

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post #3 of 26 Old 02-08-2010, 07:45 AM
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Get the front end off the ground and wiggle everything. Have a helper turn the wheel side-to-side while you are examining the steering linkage and all rod ends. Grab the wheels and wiggle them side to sidechecking for steering box play. Put a long bar under the tire and lift, seeing if the wheel lifts easily without loading the suspension, possibly indicating worn ball joints.

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post #4 of 26 Old 02-08-2010, 06:07 PM
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1999 WJ 
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Your steering box is loose. If you look under the hood up by the front area where the windshield wiper bottle is and look down, you will see the top of the steering box. There will be a nut with an allen screw in the middle of it. If you put the allen wrench in it and then loosen the nut then turn the allen wrench 1/2 - 1 turn and then hold the allen wrench still while you retighten the nut. That should fix it, mine gets loose from time to time from wheeling and what not. Just be careful not to overtighten the allen head to much.

Wait, you said wandering, I'm refering to play in the steering wheel which causes wandering. If that's not what yours is doing, I appologize.


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post #5 of 26 Old 02-08-2010, 06:10 PM
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1993 ZJ 
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Mine was shot ball joints, but you'll have play in the steering and if you slam on the brakes hard it will want to pull back and forth.

Oh, and this was on a ZJ with 160k on it so could be a little early for that on yours...not sure.

'93 ZJ, 4.0L, D30 & D35, NP231, 4" Lift, 31" BFG's, Soft 8's, Painted Cladding, Glasspack, JVC Deck, CB, Lightbars, JKS Discos & TB, Tow Hooks Everywhere...more crap.
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post #6 of 26 Old 02-09-2010, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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2004 WJ 
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Location: Az
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I will have to check to see if it's the ball joints. There isn't much if any play in the steering wheel, but when i am at speed and use the breaks, it does pull from side to side. Thanks for the help all and if there are any other suggestions let me know. Thanks. . . .Rudy
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post #7 of 26 Old 02-09-2010, 09:57 AM
1993 ZJ 
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sounds like the problem is coming from the rear...

double check sway links and track bar back there with the vehicle on the ground, also something as simple as front sway links, I wiggle everything while it is sitting on the ground not in the air when the suspension is tight from sagging/drooping.
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-09-2010, 10:20 AM
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Just a heads up, mine was doing the same thing. The cause of mine was the steering box. I tightened it up last night and all is back to normal.
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post #9 of 26 Old 02-12-2010, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Update - well I decide to take it to the dealer thinking that if anyone would be able to fix it they would. . . oh well, wrong again! My axle bushings were shreddes and the axle misaligned, they said once you get an alignment should be perfect. Went had it aligned, NOPE, still wanders! Went back to dealer, mechanic told him my camber is out of whack and that I need off set ball joints and then it would be fixed! I had them replaced around 2004-5 as part of warranty repair, would it have gone this soon? Anyone have any opinions?
Love the truck but really getting frustrating as I am not mechanical in any way and know no one who is. You folks have been very helpful, what else can you think of? Thanks. . . Rudy
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post #10 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 01:02 AM
1993 ZJ 
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interesting this dealership does not have an alignment rack...

give us a heads up on who they are so we can avoid them too.
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post #11 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 01:25 AM
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1998 ZJ 
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Location: glendale, az
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there are a whole bunch of things that can cause your steering to "wander" do you have a stock steering setup? i've ran 3 different typess, and mine still goes where it wants (at times.) send me a pm. i have a bunch of extra steering parts and i'd be glad to help a fellow jeeper. i'm in surprise btw

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post #12 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Hi update-

Hexonut - they do alignments, I have free at Firestone so used them.

Zjnaz - thanks for the kind offer, I will let you know if this current visit doesn't solve the problem. Oh btw I have a JKS track bar, KOR steering stabilizer, KOR coils, Pro Comp shocks but otherwise the steering is stock

Well here is where I stand as of now - the dealer said I could do 1 of 2 things, either replace the ball joints ( for 2 uppers total for work= $1200.!!) or they would use an adjustment kit and make everything back to where it belongs through adjustments. I took the second step, I had the ball joints replaced in Sept of 2008 under warranty for TSB notice! They quoted $300 for the ball joints alone for this go around! It should be done shortly and I will let you know how goes. Thanks for all the imput and suggestions, you guys were a big help. Now off to Bass Pro Shops to look araound! Take care all. . . Rudy
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post #13 of 26 Old 02-16-2010, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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New update - The dealer's guru mechanic did something to the hole on the lower ball joint to allow for the 1.00 difference so now my alignment is perfect! Guess what. . . still have the problem though !!!!
Okay so here's what's been done. . .
4 new Pro-Comp shocks
4 new Firestone Destination A/t 245/75/16
new JKS adjustable track bar
new KOR 2.75" coils springs
new KOR steering stabilizer
new front axle housing bushings
front rotors turned. . . .
and it STILL wanders! driving on the highway is scary, as I go faster it drifts quicker and if i let up on the gas if drifts too! The dealer says it's the "cheap" tires and their design? I had the same tires and got 51,000 mile out of them where the Goodyears it came with couldn't last ! also says it's road crown! What next? Any ideas? It's gotta be something simple that's being overlooked! I'm taking it to another dealer to have them check it out and give me their ideas. Help I want my truck back! Thanks in advance. . . Rudy
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post #14 of 26 Old 02-16-2010, 07:59 PM
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control arm bushings? these are a popular wear item thats often overlooked, kinda hard to diagnose without removing them though

i was just under my jeep today, turns out my adjustable track bar was 1 turn too short for my height settings, slightly mis-aligned. Its amazing how much less it wanders now, before it would do weird side-side shimmys on off camber roads. Worth a look since it won't cost you anything

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post #15 of 26 Old 02-16-2010, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Patrick, I will check them out, they supposedly checked them and they were fine. I did check the track bar had had it adjusted. It's frustrating when your not mechanically! Take care. . .Rudy
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