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post #1 of 21 Old 10-05-2021, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
56BelAir
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sloppy steering and stuff

I'm trying to think of the words to say...my Jeep sways, waddles. Not a death wobble, but it feels like you are driving a boat. The steering is kinda sloppy too. It's very noticeable when I pull a 2500 pound trailer. This issue is about a year old.

Shocks are new. There is 2" budget booster kit on it that's been there for years. I'm curious if the stock steering stabilizer shock should be replaced. Perhaps the upper and lower stock ball joints. The Jeep has 196K miles on the body. 35K on the completely rebuilt engine.

Please advise


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post #2 of 21 Old 10-05-2021, 02:04 PM
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I wonder if what you are describing would be benefitted by addco sway bars? I put their biggest WJ ones on my ‘02 and love them. But…. I don’t do any towing. Maybe others can jump in here with a bump to your thread.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-05-2021, 02:55 PM
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I'd check tie rod ends. That's specifically what controls steering. Of course it could also be ball joints as well. Not sure if this rule applies to the WJ, but the general rule is with the wheel off the ground, if play exists horizontally, it's tie rod ends. If vertically, it's ball joints. But this test has assumptions about suspension setup, which is why I prefaced about its applicability to the WJ, perhaps someone more familiar can validate for me.


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post #4 of 21 Old 10-05-2021, 05:37 PM
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My money is on the cheesy control arm bushings, most likely the rear ones. I haven't replaced mine yet. I can induce sway on command by stepping on the gas and letting off.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-05-2021, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadsled jeep View Post
I wonder if what you are describing would be benefitted by addco sway bars? I put their biggest WJ ones on my ‘02 and love them. But…. I don’t do any towing. Maybe others can jump in here with a bump to your thread.

I agree....I will assume here, that the front and rear suspension of the WJ has been thoroughly inspected and repaired, and that the alignment is recently done, and all tires are in good shape and properly inflated....



If you want to use these WJ's as even part time tow rigs, you may be disappointed. I have talked about this before many times, but these coil sprung jeeps are inherently prone to "wig wag" in the rear that can make towing a scary experience. The on and off road ride is incredible because of this suspension, but the swaying and wandering can be a real downfall. Especially when lifted even a couple inches over stock. I recently purchased a 2000 WJ with a 4" lift on it and slightly oversized tires that was to be for my father. Now this would be the only Jeep he had ever owned in a laundry list of vehicles he had owned over his very long life, and I couldn't see him wandering all over the road like a drunken sailor. I chose to try the rear 1" Addco sway bar upgrade, and also swapped in the factory '04 front bar from a JY donor. It already had the Bilstiens installed, so that was a plus. This combo was by far the best driving WJ I have ever driven, and with a equalizer hitch, he DOES tow a small camp trailer with it. I believe it is about 4500 lbs or so fully loaded. Now granted, he does not travel the country from coast to coast like this, but he does get out from his hometown in a range of about 300-400 miles a few times so far this year. It still HAS the wig wag in it, but it is much less than before, and totally manageable if you are the kind of person that likes to command from the drivers seat(meaning you are all about driving the Jeep yourself, not wanting it to drive for you). You have to DRIVE these things, not sit back and go for a ride while adjusting the steering wheel slightly once in a while. If you want a serious upgrade to the handling of a WJ, by all means, upgrade the sway bars. But just know that the wig wag is always gonna be there, its just the nature of the beast on any vehicle with coil springs all the way around. FWIW
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-05-2021, 08:37 PM
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I agree with the addition of a heavier rear sway bar. If you're going to be towing I would consider a pair of load leveler shocks for the rear. Huge improvement when towing. If I have no plans for towing then I reinstall the standard shocks for a somewhat smoother ride. WJ rear shocks really are quite easy to switch out.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-06-2021, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 56BelAir View Post
I'm trying to think of the words to say...my Jeep sways, waddles. Not a death wobble, but it feels like you are driving a boat. The steering is kinda sloppy too. It's very noticeable when I pull a 2500 pound trailer. This issue is about a year old.

Shocks are new. There is 2" budget booster kit on it that's been there for years. I'm curious if the stock steering stabilizer shock should be replaced. Perhaps the upper and lower stock ball joints. The Jeep has 196K miles on the body. 35K on the completely rebuilt engine.

Please advise
Loose steering box?

Loose bolts to the chassis / frame?

Loose at the adjuster?
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-06-2021, 05:23 AM
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OP with your 196k miles, all your bushings should be replaced if they aren’t already. Aftermarket control arms with poly bushings and even Johnny joints are a great upgrade I’ve found on my 236k mile WJ.

Beefier springs will help a bit on wig-wag perhaps also, but sway bar upgrades is #1 imho.

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post #9 of 21 Old 10-07-2021, 06:59 AM
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Sloppy steering is almost certainly the TREs; replace all 4. The boaty feeling is almost certainly the control arm bushings.

The pronounced boatness while towing: I fought this one tooth and nail, I tell you what. I tow a 3600 lb travel trailer and had a heck of a time cleaning up the slop. The two things that helped the most were FRONT upper control arm bushings on the axle, and installing a heavy duty rear upper control arm with a flex joint to eliminate the ball joint. ALSO installed Addco 1" rear sway bar and solid front sway bar from a 2004 parts donor like Bigrigr mentioned; both of these also helped. She rides pretty good now, still get get a little swaying while towing in traffic or wind but nothing that cannot be easily corrected with one hand on the wheel.

Myself, I would put my money into all new CAs, starting at the front uppers. If the fronts don't clean you up enough, move to the rear and consider the IRO or Ironman4x4fab adjustable UCA. Sway bars if you need more. Clean up the steering with TREs.


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post #10 of 21 Old 10-07-2021, 07:15 AM
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The front upper bushing on the axle is a JOY to change out.

Jeeps decision to use oval rubber bushings with air holes/slots for comfort…. Irks me! Idiocy. New control arms with better bushings/joints is key for sure.

For a WEAK and IGNORANT people, SERF-dom is a Reward, not a Curse. W1CCW
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-07-2021, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GmanWJ View Post
Sloppy steering is almost certainly the TREs; replace all 4. The boaty feeling is almost certainly the control arm bushings.

The pronounced boatness while towing: I fought this one tooth and nail, I tell you what. I tow a 3600 lb travel trailer and had a heck of a time cleaning up the slop. The two things that helped the most were FRONT upper control arm bushings on the axle, and installing a heavy duty rear upper control arm with a flex joint to eliminate the ball joint. ALSO installed Addco 1" rear sway bar and solid front sway bar from a 2004 parts donor like Bigrigr mentioned; both of these also helped. She rides pretty good now, still get get a little swaying while towing in traffic or wind but nothing that cannot be easily corrected with one hand on the wheel.

Myself, I would put my money into all new CAs, starting at the front uppers. If the fronts don't clean you up enough, move to the rear and consider the IRO or Ironman4x4fab adjustable UCA. Sway bars if you need more. Clean up the steering with TREs.
How much weight do you put on the ball / hitch when you tow your travel trailer please G?
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post #12 of 21 Old 10-07-2021, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta0 View Post
How much weight do you put on the ball / hitch when you tow your travel trailer please G?
My measurements say somewhere around 380-400 lbs. According to the truck scale I have access to.


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post #13 of 21 Old 10-11-2021, 02:09 PM
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So i have all new IRO long arm 3 link in front and IRO adjustable short arm lower rear with new A-arm. Been having some super sloppy, wandering steering and then lately a random "clunk" up front. Was driving me crazy, cause I was sure it was the old control arm bushings until I replaced with new and the problem persists. Went out there yesterday and jacked the front driver's tire off the ground an inch and used a long bar to lift the tire and sure enough...bad upper and lower ball joints. Also noticed that the tie rod end on the driver's side boot is torn.

So new ball joints and TRE's ordered. Hoping that tighten things up, as after that, everything will be brand new.

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post #14 of 21 Old 10-12-2021, 02:51 PM
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I'm trying to think of the words to say...my Jeep sways, waddles.
Your jeep has 200K on it, and the suspension is likely collectively worn out.

Mine did it a little bit and I bit the bullet and ordered all of it (track bar, arms, spring mounts, shocks) from Kolak. Cost me about $1500 (includes a 3" OME lift and the Bilstein shocks) but it'll drive like new because it IS new.

Same for the straightened and balanced drivelines with new U joints ($150) and the new front axles and bearing and ball joints ($300 I think).

Quote:
The front upper bushing on the axle is a JOY to change out.
And that's the one that usually fails first. Having done the ones on my XJ a couple of times, I'm going to pull the calipers, remove the drag link, and pull the axle out as an assembly when I do it. That way I can do the ball joints and the axles and wheel bearings AND that bushing as an assembly where I can get on top of it rather than on my back. They put that in at the factory as an assembly, so I'm going to do the same thing.

Quote:
Jeeps decision to use oval rubber bushings with air holes/slots for comfort…. Irks me!
When this vehicle was new, I was in the automotive repair business. I've seen these fail in 30K when the car was new. OP's rig has 200K.

These cars are wonderful if they are in good shape, but it's 20 years old and has 200K. Cmon. Lets keep it in perspective.

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post #15 of 21 Old 10-17-2021, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses everyone. I talked to my Jeep mechanic who does side work at home when he's not wrenching for Mopar. He suggested the following parts bran new to be replaced by him

Sway bar links and bushings
Upper control arms front
Ball joints upper/lower
Steering dampener
Rear upper control arm

He didn't think an upgraded sway bar was necessary in his opinion because I don't off road. I replaced my shocks myself about 3 months ago with the Bilstein. I have the 2" Budget booster from Kevin's Off Road.

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