Weird/Scary steering problem - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-29-2020, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
MomoJeep
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Weird/Scary steering problem

After putting in the new box, it was fine for about a year, but now on the freeway it will suddenly swerve at only the slightest rotation of the wheel (mostly to the left it seems) enough to put me almost at the edge of my lane. Actually it seems like there is a dead spot when the wheels are straight ahead, then when I turn the wheel slightly it seems to not respond, then suddenly it over-responds into a swerve. No weird noises. Anyone know what this might be?

I have newer M.O.R.E steering shaft with upgraded ujoints, Steering box mount brace, newer tie rod ends. Recently put in a new(rebuilt) "Lares" Power Steering Box. I had my friend turn the wheel back and forth and watched the ball joints, tie rod ends, steering shaft, steering great mount and brace, pitman arm. The only thing that seems to move is the shackles getting shoved side-to-side a little (pretty normal I think).

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post #2 of 26 Old 03-29-2020, 09:55 PM
only in a jeep cj
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Sounds like you have a seized front axle shaft U joint. The same description is what I experienced as well. Easy to check them quickly. Get front tires off the ground lock the hubs and turn steering wheel hard to one side. Spin the tire, and if one of the U joints is bad it will bind and stop the wheel from turning.

If that’s not it, I would suspect ball joints next. Yes, a small amount of shackle movement side to side while turning the steering wheel with the jeep not in motion is normal.
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-31-2020, 09:14 PM
oldschool74cj5
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hello

if you have hubs and are unlocked then it wont be your front axle shafts because they are not spinning while driving. there are a couple of things i would check are the following

wheel bearings. if you have a wheel bearing that is loose or going bad you can get erratic steering. some when tightening the bearings dont use a torque wrench and never get enough pressure on the bearing so when they back the nut off 1/6 of a turn it will let the hub wobble some. or the lock nut is backing off if the washer was bent over correctly to lock it.
ball joints, if you jack the wheel up a little and put a bar under the tire and lift. have someone watching the knuckle and see how it moves. if the joints are bad you will see the upper or lower part of the knuckle move inward or outward.
recheck tie rod ends, make sure the joints on your steering shaft are moving freely.
also could be your steering box also. something internal sticking. in the FSM there is a troubleshooting section for it.

oldschool
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-31-2020, 10:14 PM
only in a jeep cj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschool74cj5 View Post
hello

if you have hubs and are unlocked then it wont be your front axle shafts because they are not spinning while driving.

Of course they aren’t spinning, but the U Joints are pivoting with the front wheels as they are turned. If you have a dry or loose cap, rust binds up the bearings and the joint locks up. The leverage from the steering system powers through this and the unbinding darts the jeep around and you can feel it.
I had this happen to my jeep and I’ve seen it in others.

I’m not saying that it IS the problem but worth checking. As is the wheel bearings and other things
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-31-2020, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by only in a jeep cj View Post
Sounds like you have a seized front axle shaft U joint.
When mine froze (dried and rusted) up it would steer okay but now and then it would just jerk to the left or right. This happened with unlocked hubs. It's the vibration that would put the joint in a certain position that affected / conflicted with the wheels angle. Made no sense but replacing it fixed the problem.

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post #6 of 26 Old 04-01-2020, 11:42 AM
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Definitely could be the axle shaft u-joints giving erratic steering, happened to mine. I pulled the axles and the joints were dry and stiff to move, repacked the joints and all was good. My biggest problem was it would not return to center after making a turn to left or right, now all is good.
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-03-2020, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade82 View Post
When mine froze (dried and rusted) up it would steer okay but now and then it would just jerk to the left or right. This happened with unlocked hubs. It's the vibration that would put the joint in a certain position that affected / conflicted with the wheels angle. Made no sense but replacing it fixed the problem.
I had this exact thing happen on my F-150. It was very exciting suddenly being in the left lane when doing 70mph. Good thing nobody was next to me!
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post #8 of 26 Old 04-07-2020, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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I did an experiment. I locked the hubs but did not engage the front axle at the TC. This way when turning corners the ujoints would be forced to move thru angles. At first there was lots of wobbly-wheel. But I think I (temporarily) un-binded a u-joint. After this the steering felt pretty nice. But this doesn't necessarily tell me whether it's u-joints or ball-joints. I'm still suspicious of both. I figure if I tear into it I'd replace the ball joints while I'm there. Does anyone know a test to check ball-joints?
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post #9 of 26 Old 04-07-2020, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomoJeep View Post
Does anyone know a test to check ball-joints?
Post #3 describes the process below.

“ball joints, if you jack the wheel up a little and put a bar under the tire and lift. Have someone watching the knuckle and see how it moves. if the joints are bad you will see the upper or lower part of the knuckle move inward or outward“

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post #10 of 26 Old 04-07-2020, 06:41 PM
oldschool74cj5
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hello

In the factory maintenance manual in the axle section about high steering force needed. i believe it applies more to cjs with manual steering BUT they have where you disconnect the steering link and use a dial torque wrench for a measuring force to turn the knuckles. mostly i have only really seen worn out ball joints that you can feel and see movement when trying to pry on the wheel.

also you want to read the other tread here on the board about changing ball joints. in short dont use cheap aftermarket ball joints. the best one is to use the DANA ball joints.


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post #11 of 26 Old 04-29-2020, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks ya'll! Many of you were right, the driver side u-joint is semi-seized. Up on blocks, as I turn the wheel, the shaft has to rotate into a more agreeable ujoint angle as I turn the wheel...

And I'll check the ball-joint torque while I'm there. Thanks for the suggestions.

Any recommendations on good replacement ujoints or upgrades?
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-29-2020, 05:44 PM
oldschool74cj5
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hello

i would use dana ball joints just because they built the original part and there replacement part will fit perfectly as long as the ones you took our were the dana ones. there was someone about a month ago that tried a different ball joint that was knurled. which normally not a problem because the knurling is what flattens out and make a tight fit. small story short he said now factory dana wont fit tight in. so has to use aftermarket ones that the nut sat a little to high without a washer.

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post #13 of 26 Old 05-03-2020, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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What about the front axle U joints? Are greaseable better than non-greaseable? Moog? Dana? Upgrades?
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post #14 of 26 Old 05-03-2020, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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And what about the "seal" (I think) that is on the front spindle behind where the wheel hub comes off? Good idea to replace.
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post #15 of 26 Old 05-04-2020, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomoJeep View Post
What about the front axle U joints? Are greaseable better than non-greaseable? Moog? Dana? Upgrades?
if you grease regularly it can still be a struggle to get all four parts of the U joint oozing grease. One or more will dry up, the resulting friction can turn a round shaft square. I am moving to non-greasable as each joints comes apart. Dana Spicer have long been the default choice, not tried Moog but hear good stuff about their gear, avoid crown.
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