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Thread: 99 Jeep TJ STEERING STILL VERY WONKY AND DANGEROUS Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-17-2019 01:02 PM
TJnBC You should post up a video of your old Steering box that you said had a ton of play in it. Just so others can see HOW much slop you said you had
10-14-2019 06:01 AM
1Old_Crow When you bump that castor setting up, there's a good chance the twitchy feel in the steering will go away.
10-13-2019 12:03 PM
mukluk
Quote:
So yeah I never wanted to be a mechanic that just throws parts at something blindly and hope one will fix the problem but although I spent a good
$900 on this problem. I was really, really, glad I replaced everything at once. It drives like new now!
I wouldn't say you threw money at it from your description, it sounds like money well spent. Thanks for the follow up.
10-13-2019 09:27 AM
Shark_13 Glad you finally solved it!
10-13-2019 07:34 AM
kaybone Hello again everyone:
First I want to thank everyone that chimed in here on this thread and helped me solve my Jeep steering and suspension problems.
Thought I would follow up so y'all knew what I came up with and what the main problems were.

I spent about $900 in Parts (countless hours of labor cus I am slow and learned still- but heck it's a labor of love anyway),
not that I needed everything I list here to fix the particular problem, but I had everything apart anyway and the Jeep is 21years
old and never had any of this done before. Also a lot of worn bushings and rusted parts were replaced.

* New NAPA Steering Box - this definitely fixed the massive play in the steering wheel, but was not really the bump steer cause
* Brand new Spicer Ball joints - This really was the main culprit. When I finally disconnected the tied rod and tried to move the wheels
easily by hand -NOWAY!- when You can't even budge the steering knuckles without hitting them with a BFH I would say the ball joints
were extremely froze up. My guess is this helped cause the steering box gears to strip out some or get loose. Also I assume these ball
joints were that way for a long time.
* New Rubicon Express front shocks -didn't really need these but shoot everything was off anyway - I prefer the OME's but they are pricy now!
* Brand new Rubicon Express adjustable front upper and lower control arms - These helped a lot also. All my bushings were either hard as rock or deteriorated.
But man getting those things out - especially the front ends off them were a biatch!! Had to cut bolts off and drill out the bushings and sleeves since there
were like welded in there with age! Also I like having the adjustable in there now.
* New Tie Rod and Drag link - I could have reused the old ones but again since I was replacing the control arms with new bushings and put in new ball joints
I wanted these ball joints and rubber to be fresh also. There were also originals and too much of a rusted mess to adjust alignment and steering wheel.
* New OME Steering Damper - My old one was worn and totally a rusted mess.
* New Rubicon Express Upper Control Arm Axle Bushings - I did that mod that one fellow has on youtube to replace that stock ones to make these
easier to replace in the future. This took some time but worked out great! ( here is his video and the parts for this -
)
*New Brake Shields left and right - mine were rusted to paper thin and crumbling apart.

So yeah I never wanted to be a mechanic that just throws parts at something blindly and hope one will fix the problem but although I spent a good
$900 on this problem. I was really, really, glad I replaced everything at once. It drives like new now!

couple of final comments:

1) I love the YouTube videos where the guys are throwing thread locker on everything -BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA -Thread locker????? who the hell uses that??
I live in Ohio where we get Buffalo style snow and rust and our thread locker is a gift directly from Heaven - God gives us free rust to lock it all in!
Anti-Seize is your friend!!Use it wisely! I spread it on everything.
2) I guess I alway assumed my ball joints where good because I have always done that little test with the board or crowbar under the wheels to check if
they were loose, never figuring they might be froze up solid. Other than disconnecting the tie-rod and trying to move them by hand, I wonder if there is
an easier check for this frozen up problem.
3) I would have been dead in the water if I hadn't already had these two tools - A complete ball joint press kit (with the proper Jeep TJ adapters) and my
air driven cut off wheels. went threw several of those cutting off the front control arm bushings.
4) Like I said I think because my ball joints were in such bad shape it tore up the steering box causing all the play
5) I ended up with a nice toe-in setting of 1/16" narrower in front now and a caster measured at the top of the ball joints of 6^. I think I want this
at 8^ since stock is 7^, but I am gonna let the suspension settle in for a while and look at that in a few months.
6) Now the Jeep drives like new with very responsive steering, In fact it's almost too much, the steering wheel moves so free and easy. Wonder if
there is a way to firm this up some (not play- just feel)

Ok thanks every one again for the help - maybe my comments will help someone else with similar issues. Now after this "minor" distraction, I can go
and do what I originally set out to do, replace my rusted window frame so I can actually replace the glass in there

HAPPY JEEPING!
kaybone
08-17-2019 06:11 AM
kaybone
Quote:
Originally Posted by mukluk View Post
Different engine. A '62 Willys would have had the Kaiser-Jeep Tornado OHC engine, whereas the 4.0L is the final derivative of the AMC 232.
Thanks for the engine correction info mukluk, guess I really like the AMC232 then, and yes officer Obie I did pay the $50 and picked up the garbage.
08-16-2019 06:57 PM
mukluk
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybone View Post
Oh and as an aside, the Jeep 4.0 Straight Six I am convinced is one of the best motors EVER!
And will run forever if I treat it kindly. My Dad had a 62 Willy's Wagon back in the day when I was like 10 years
old, with the same engine in it. Probably why I own a TJ today. he would have loved it,
Different engine. A '62 Willys would have had the Kaiser-Jeep Tornado OHC engine, whereas the 4.0L is the final derivative of the AMC 232.
08-16-2019 06:44 PM
kaybone Oh and as an aside, the Jeep 4.0 Straight Six I am convinced is one of the best motors EVER!
And will run forever if I treat it kindly. My Dad had a 62 Willy's Wagon back in the day when I was like 10 years
old, with the same engine in it. Probably why I own a TJ today. he would have loved it,
08-16-2019 05:21 PM
kaybone Well Gee this is fun Who knew I was such a troublemaker asking some simple questions.
And, It really doesn't matter if I am rock crawling around to hunt in the Smokies, or driving my TJ to the mall for pink nail polish,
Steering is steering and it still has to work. I also realize there is possibly more going on here than just the steering Box, which is why
I have decided to replace almost all of the front components anyway, even though everything right now checks out tight and firm except the
box. So I'll start there.
I have owned this 99TJ for 18 years and it is still an awesome vehicle, almost a friend. which is why I don't mine shelling out the $1K to replace most
of the front suspension and steering components, which are still original stock for the most part, minus the shocks/steering stab/U-joints.
This Jeep has really never been a maintenance hog at all, other than mods I have done myself mostly, so no problem to invest that money since I will own the Jeep a long time.
With 200K on it living through the heavy salt and "Buffalo-Style" snow we get in eastern Ohio, it's no wonder stuff wears out a little faster here under the heavy road salt attack.
It makes a huge difference!! I recently bought another 20 year old vehicle from down in Florida and I was blown away by the condition of the car having
existed in that climate for its entire life. It was virtually new.
So I'll let all y'all know what I end up doing and how it turns out when I get to it. Jerry, that's a good suggestion on not to use Polyurethane bushings. Point well taken.
08-16-2019 02:30 PM
TJnBC I actually feel the opposite. Like you think what I say means nothing.... not only on this thread but others. You don't know it all, you know a lot BUT others know a lot too.

I am trying to save the OP money by not just throwing new parts at it... that are not needed
08-16-2019 02:29 PM
mukluk Adjusting the over center screw without first adjusting the worm bearing preload can lead to damage of the steering gear and improper steering response, not to mention that adjustment alone is unlikely to be the cause or fix for excessive slop between the input and output of the steering box.

STEERING GEAR ADJUSTMENT
WORM THRUSTBEARING PRELOAD
(1) Remove adjuster plug locknut.
(2) Turn the adjuster in with Spanner Wrench C-4381. Tighten the plug and thrust bearing in the housing until firmly bottomed in housing.
(3) Place an index mark on the housing even with one of the holes in adjuster plug.
(4) Measure back (counterclockwise) 13 mm (0.50 in) and mark housing.
(5) Rotate adjustment cap back (counterclockwise) with spanner wrench until hole is aligned with the second mark.
(6) Install and tighten locknut to 108 N-m (80 ft. lbs.). Be sure adjustment cap does not turn while tightening the locknut.

OVER-CENTER
(1) Rotate the stub shaft from stop to stop and count the number of turns.
(2) Starting at either stop turn the stub shaft back 1/2 the total number of turns. This is the center of the gear travel.
(3) Turn the pitman shaft adjuster screw back (COUNTERCLOCKWISE) until extended, then turn back in (CLOCKWISE) one full turn.
(4) Place the torque wrench inthe vertical position on the stub shaft. Rotate the wrench 45 degrees each side of the center and record the highest rotational torque on center.
(5) Turn the adjuster in until torque to turn stub shaftis 0.6 to 1.2 N-m (6.0 to 10.0 in. lbs.) more than previous reading recorded.
(6) Prevent the adjuster screw from turning while tightening adjuster lock nut. Tighten the adjuster lock nut to 27 N-m (20 ft. lbs.).
08-16-2019 02:27 PM
Jerry Bransford Ok doc, I give up. You're apparently the only one who has the right answers and who feels he is the only one should be listened to in this thread. You have convinced yourself nothing could be wrong with his steering box, others also participating in this thread are not convinced of that.
08-16-2019 02:14 PM
TJnBC Does the OP even take his jeep off road to actually "wheel"? If not, why suggest flex joint control arms. He doesn't need them. Unless of course he plans to wheel this jeep and put a bigger lift on it. What a waste of money if it is a mainly street driven rig. I love how people on here tell posters to just go a spend money and buy things when they are not even needed, spending other peoples money is soooo easy...smh

and yes you shouldn't really need to touch the adjustment screw on the box which sets BACKLASH on the gears. That is why you would only want to tighten in 1/8 increments. The backlash COULD be too much right now if someone messed with it previously.
08-16-2019 02:04 PM
Jerry Bransford
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybone View Post
Which is why I am also replacing, my stock fixed upper and lower control arms with adjustables with polyurethane bushings,
Tie Rod/Tie Rod ends and Drag Link, and steering stab/Front Shocks for good measure. After 200K on the stock stuff, it's about time anyway, and the new stuff should
help tighten all up, along with the replaced Steering Box. I gotta pull stuff apart and the Pittman arm off anyway, so might as well do it all. My two cents.

Track bar seems pretty solid yet - I'll hold off on that for a while.
Ball Joints still very good yet
I'd install nearly any type of control arm EXCEPT one with polyurethane bushings. Avoid those like the plague as they are so inflexible that they can cause the control arm mounts to tear away from where they are welded to the axle/frame as happened to my TJ nearly 20 years ago after installing control arms with poly bushings. For any control arm I'd insure at least one end of it has a flex joint, both ends having flex joints is best. If you can go with those with a flex joint at just one end, at least make sure the other end is rubber not polyurethane.

Based on your descriptions above it still seems likely your steering box has gone worn out inside. Adjusting that hex screw with an allen wrench is like setting up gears without knowing what you're doing. It's not likely to produce the desired results. That screw is not there to tighten anything, it's there to set the proper engagement between the gears inside.
08-16-2019 01:39 PM
TJnBC
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
It doesn't matter what your experiences are, the OP confirmed his steering box has issues. I see problems all the time that I have never seen with well over 300k on my TJs that are driven hard.
It is pretty clear on this site that a lot of inexperienced jeepers misdiagnose things. Pictures/videos tell a thousand tales. If the OP was dead sure on his steering box, he wouldn't be on here asking what he should replace. Most of the time the slop is in the steering shafts and/or coupler that attaches to the Box input. It could be skipping or loose.
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