97 Jeep Wrangler front end - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-19-2017, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
wrightd
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97 Jeep Wrangler front end

The steering wonders across the road. It does not "dart"across the road, but if you hold the steering wheel in one location on straight road, it will start drifting to the point it has to be corrected and it's not in the same direction. I cannot detect any play in the steering wheel, but something is causing it to constantly drift.
I know this is revisited topic, but I think I have done the things that are most common. I have replaced the steering box, I have tightened the steering box and replaced the steering stabilizer, and checked all ball joints for play or looseness ( they seem to be tight and firm), replaced shocks all the way around, although, the front shocks are more firm than the rear. I have roughly check front end "toe in", it seems to be fine.
What am I missing? My Jeep has 4" lift, and 33"x12.50, I have had other Jeep with the same size tires and lift and it drove straight as an arrow. Could any of the front end bars, need to be upgraded? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 10 Old 02-19-2017, 08:25 PM
Shark_13
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What is your tire pressure?
Caster & toe in?
Did you check all the tie rod ends?
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-19-2017, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
wrightd
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Thanks for the fast reply. I think the tire pressure is 33, what ever the little sticker says on inside of driver door.
I do not know about the camber and caster, I have not had front end alignment.
I have visually checked, tie rod ends, and jacked the front end up where the front tires was off the floor, and tried to wiggle the wheels, but no looseness, but that is extend of tie rod checks.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-19-2017, 08:44 PM
Shark_13
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The tire pressure on the door is for factory sized tires, your 33's should be around 26-28 psi.

With a 4" lift, your caster is probably a bit low, unless you have cam bolts or adjustable control arms. Low caster will cause poor return to center and wandering.

Best way to check tie rod ends is tires on the ground, engine off, have a helper turn the steering wheel back and forth while you feel each one. Rotation is OK but they should be tight with no slop or clunk feel.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-19-2017, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
wrightd
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Would my Jeep come standard with "cam bolts" and if so where would they be located at? If it doesn't have them standard could I add them? And where would adjustable control arms be?
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-20-2017, 08:46 AM
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Cam bolts are on the axle side, front lower control arms. Best bet is to get adjustable control arms though. You can set your caster to the point of vibration, and back off a turn. That would give you as much caster as you can have


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post #7 of 10 Old 02-20-2017, 09:58 AM
Jerry Bransford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrightd View Post
Would my Jeep come standard with "cam bolts" and if so where would they be located at? If it doesn't have them standard could I add them? And where would adjustable control arms be?
Your '97 came with cam bolts, hopefully they are still there.

This shows what the cam bolt looks like. The washers under the both ends of the bolt are cam shaped if you still have the cam bolts installed.



Before adjusting them which affects the caster angle, have your present caster and toe-in angles measured. Wandering can be caused by bad toe-in or caster angles.

And as said above, 26-28 psi is the appropriate tire pressure for a 33x12.50 tire. The bigger the tire, generally speaking, the lower the pressure that should be run in it given the same vehicle weight.

When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-20-2017, 10:18 AM
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The cam bolts typically only give 1 to 1.5 degrees of adjustment, if you have them (you should from the factory on a 97) they might help a bit. As Jerry noted you should probably have it checked to see where you are at.

Might help to post a few pics of the front end. Hopefully you do not have a dropped pitman arm as they usually just cause handling issues .
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-26-2017, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
wrightd
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Ok, after much time, deliberation, and money, due to everyone's input, which I want to thank everyone for that. I have reduced my tire pressures from ~33psi too ~27psi, I have replaced front and back lower control arm bushings, I have replaced my cam bolts, which the old ones suffered from the same fate so many others suffered from (seized to bushing inner sleeve). Adjusted my cam bolts to there maximum adjustment forward on both sides. (The old ones seem to have been slightly back), and adjusted my toe in too 1/8" ~ 3/16" "in" regarding the front of tire verses the rear of the tires. I have only been able to drive it a small amount, but it seems as though the wandering, and slight looseness in steering wheel is gone, what little I have driven it, it drives GREAT. I do have some question however.
1. Will this amount of toe in cause excessive tire wear?
2. Do you think it would improve things to replace upper control arm bushing, they do not seem to be in bad shape, but neither was the Lower ones, just the lower ones was seized on inner sleeve.
3. Do you think it would improve my steering, if I installed adjustable control arms, and provided more positive caster. I have not measured my current caster level, due to not having gauge which I can buy from harbor freight, and do not know where to measure from, I have read on knuckle, or other terms but do not know where that is. I feel that my caster was corrected by the cam bolt adjustment I made, but it only provides a change of ~1.5 degrees max (from what I read), and it may be on the edge of good caster and bad caster, where as if I have adjustable lower control arms, that would provide a higher level of margin.

I know its long, but there it is, any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-26-2017, 01:39 PM
Jerry Bransford
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It's impossible to know if increasing the caster angle will help or is needed without knowing your present caster angle. Just have it measured on an alignment rack, other methods are not always accurate.

When you have a choice, buy American made.
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