Wandering steering, four mechanics stumped - Page 2 - JeepForum.com
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post #16 of 25 Old 05-16-2017, 05:12 AM
JEK3
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I had a similar feeling once, turned out to be a rear upper control arm bushing disassembled itself.

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post #17 of 25 Old 05-16-2017, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
jjw3579
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Originally Posted by JEK3 View Post
I had a similar feeling once, turned out to be a rear upper control arm bushing disassembled itself.
You know, I'm not sure anyone has thought to check the rear control arms, which could explain why nothing has been found up front. I'll investigate and get back to you!


For a sanity check- does anyone think it could be the power steering pump? The last guy says that's what it is, but it isn't making any noise. I'm trying to decide if he's nuts or knows something I don't.
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post #18 of 25 Old 05-16-2017, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
jjw3579
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So here is my plan- hopefully this isn't more bad ideas on my part :/

1) Check all the control arms for bad bushings, front and rear.
2) Check the sway bar.
3) Check all the mounts and brackets to make sure there isn't a broken weld or something.
4) I might try disconnecting the steering stabilizer and take a quick test ride to make sure that's not the problem or making it worse.
5) I'm going to put the original box back in. The new box didn't fix the problem (it got worse) and I can still return it to use that money for any other parts I might need to fix it. If it goes back to how it was before (same problem but not as bad) that might indicate the new steering box was also bad.

If none of that does it, I think my next attempt may be to just replace all the tie rod ends and have it aligned again. It seems like that would be in the $100-$200 range and then I could eliminate it as a possible cause.

There's not much left it could be after that- either the power steering pump or the steering shaft/u joints.
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post #19 of 25 Old 05-16-2017, 08:06 AM
mrblaine
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Originally Posted by jjw3579 View Post

BTW, it doesn't feel so much like something is loose as much as it feels like the steering has weird response. Sometimes it's hard to "push" the Jeep left, then it will become easy and that causes me to "overshoot".. then when trying to line back up right the same things happens. I thought it might be binding in the steering shaft U joint but that seems to check out ok.
That is a considerably different description than "wandering" steering and more fits the description of "darty". It sounds like the steering gear is popping over center in that it doesn't want to stay pointed straight ahead. If you move the wheel towards center to steer straight ahead and then it tightens up and the pops past center causing you to over steer slightly, that is typically the symptom of a bad steering gear that needs rebuilt.

As for the pump, they do have an effect on how your rig will handle. I finished up a motor swap a few months back for a friend. He complained of crap steering before the swap. I put a new pump on as part and parcel of the swap because he wanted all new parts on the engine. After he got the rig back, he asked if I replaced the steering gear and all the steering because of how well it handled and steered. I didn't, just the pump so that can have some effect depending on current pump condition.

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post #20 of 25 Old 05-16-2017, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
jjw3579
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Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
That is a considerably different description than "wandering" steering and more fits the description of "darty". It sounds like the steering gear is popping over center in that it doesn't want to stay pointed straight ahead. If you move the wheel towards center to steer straight ahead and then it tightens up and the pops past center causing you to over steer slightly, that is typically the symptom of a bad steering gear that needs rebuilt.
That's it exactly! It "pops" past a resistance then gets really easy to turn, which causes me to shoot over until I correct. I thought for sure something was binding and I've checked my lower steering shaft U joint about 8 times. I'm thinking I'll pull that gear tonight and see if it goes back to the way it was. Maybe I've got two bad boxes. If I can figure out if that's the cause I'll hunt down a new or known good box, but that's going to cost me 500-$750 depending on the manufacturer so I want to be sure before I spend the money.
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post #21 of 25 Old 05-17-2017, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
jjw3579
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I borrowed a known good steering box and gave it a shot- the problem went away completely. Seems like that's been the culprit all along and my "new" box was worse than the one I started with. Serves me right for going cheap I guess :/

So for now I'm on my original box that is only kind of annoying until I can get a new box to fix the problem.

Thanks for helping me think this through everyone!
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post #22 of 25 Old 05-17-2017, 08:24 PM
Shark_13
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You didn't install a"new" box, you installed a used junk yard box. Big difference. Glad you found the issue.
I'm happy with the Redhead gearbox I put in mine.
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post #23 of 25 Old 06-24-2017, 04:45 PM
bergovoy
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on these types of mystery cases, I usually try to adjust things to extreme/maximum, like toe-in way too much, or way to far out...I would also want to know where you live, as in what is the geography. are you near mountains, foothills, or on the plains or dessert... roads are built on weird angles and sometime when things look like they are going uphill they are goin down, and trackin whether or not symptoms follow patterns

Im glad you found the problem.. its not everyday we get to have extra parts to just plug in and out like circuit boards and computers.


good job
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post #24 of 25 Old 06-24-2017, 05:10 PM
LJ Dave
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If you get a sensation of it pulling one way when on the gas and the other way when lifting off the gas, it could be your rear axle thrust angle changing because the axle is moving around. Worn bushings in the control arms and rear track bar can cause this to happen.

2005 Rubicon LJ 4.5 inches of lift, 35's
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post #25 of 25 Old 06-24-2017, 06:52 PM
UnlimtedRubi06
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I went through 3 remanded steering boxes, before finally having enough. I now have a psc box and haven't had issues in years.

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