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View Full Version : JK STEERING HAS ME WANDERING.... I mean wondering



ken31756
10-19-2019, 03:29 AM
I just bought my 2015 JKU Rubicon with 100k miles on it. Don't know much of its history, but was a one owner who left it stock, traded it in, and thru the auto auctions it ended up at a Off Road shop in CA that specializes in jeeps only. They put a Teraflex 2.5 lift and 33" on it, stock rims w/ wheel spaces, 9550 shocks & steering stabilizer.

When driving straight (or trying to) it always seems to go back and forth, never in a straight line. Even at fairly slow speeds. The steering feels tight, no play or sloppiness. Maybe too tight? The steering doesn't return all the way to center when coming out of a turn. Comes part way back but not completely, and seems worse on a right hand turn.
Driving straight If you flick the wheel to the right it keeps going to the right, won't straighten out. Then you have to steer it back to the left, and it keeps going to the left.... and back and forth it keeps going. :icon_crazy:

I thought with the lift (albeit modest) and slightly larger tires it might be caster angle. So I installed adjustable lower arms and set caster to 5.5 which made absolutely no difference.

Took it in to a 4 Wheel parts shop and had the entire front end inspected. They reported back that the drivers side ball joints were bad, and the tie rod end at the bottom of the pitman arm needed replaced. Had them replace those and the problem remains unchanged. It did steer tighter with the new ball joints, and they advised me that it takes 500 miles to break in new ball joints. I did that.... but the problem remains.
I returned to them, and they re-inspected the front end parts but claim everything else is good. They were not sure what was wrong and basically tried getting rid of me. >:(

I took it to a different off road shop to get a second opinion. They agreed that the remaining front end components do not need replacing, and that doing so was just a waste of money.

I'm wondering if the passenger ball joints are dry, too tight, bound up? When these shops check things they always seem to focus on play, sloppiness, worn out parts.... and often times miss a part that is binding.

Maybe steering gear box? I tried loosening the adjusting nut thinking that maybe the used car auction dealer tightened it up too tight trying to hide a worn out front end. I loosened it in small 1/8th turns to the point that I started getting some play in the steering, but the original problem never went away. When putting the adjusting nut back to where it was I noticed that it's only a 1/4 from bottoming out. Made me wonder if that's normal.

Played with tire pressure (they are almost new KO2) and did the chalk test finding that 28psi showed the most even wear. But regardless of where I put the tire pressure the problem remains.

I've owned Jeeps my whole life, probably had 8 or 9 of the them (well ok..... 8.5 LOL) and I know how a jeep handles. But there is something wrong here.
Makes me think I am barking up the wrong tree. Over looking something.

Any ideas? Suggestions? Similar stories?

BaddestCross
10-19-2019, 04:01 AM
Factory caster is 4.25į if I recall. New ball joints can be tight and create that feeling as well.

Have you checked the toe? Did any shop actually put it on an alignment rack and give you numbers?



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Build Thread - Adventures of Fiona - https://wayalife.com/showthread.php?t=47407

desertrunner
10-19-2019, 04:06 AM
Toe was my first thought as well
Definitely check that. It sounds like you might be toed out

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ken31756
10-19-2019, 04:16 AM
Yes both shops gave me a print out of the alignment. I just moved into a new place this past weekend and am a little disorganized but will post the alignments just as soon as I find them. Everything else on them was within spec tho as I recall.

Dpindustries
10-19-2019, 04:48 AM
Get a new gear box. Especially since the adjuster has been messed with. Just went thru your exact headache.

ken31756
10-19-2019, 05:03 AM
Here's the print outs from both shops.
As you can see the toe is within specs.

I questioned the right camber but have been told that's normal for jeeps, and that new JKs even came thru that way.
Not sure about that, but staying focused on the problem I don't think camber is the culprit.

TrailHunter
10-19-2019, 05:52 AM
New ball joints can be tight and create that feeling as well.





--
Build Thread - Adventures of Fiona - https://wayalife.com/showthread.php?t=47407

^^^This.... try removing your steering stabilizer and see if that helps a little. Have you replaced your unit bearings?

ken31756
10-19-2019, 06:30 AM
I haven't replaced the unit bearings, and not knowing the history I am unsure if they are original. But I would think bearings going bad would be making a noise? (which I'm not hearing)

I'm thinking maybe replacing the passenger side ball joints. If for no other reason than it bothers me that the drivers side was bad, and replaced.... how far behind is the other side?
And if that doesn't cure it, well at least once I find the cause I will also have new upper and lower ball joints on both sides.

Dpindustries might be right? Curious what type of gear box did you replace it with?
I've read that rebuilt ones don't last, and that the factory OEM models are crap to begin with (probably why I'm replacing it now) so what's a good one to go with?


Get a new gear box. Especially since the adjuster has been messed with. Just went thru your exact headache.

wjtstudios
10-19-2019, 12:08 PM
PSC big bore XD llr. When my OEM gear went, I had a lot of play at the steering wheel and that does not sound like what you are dealing with.

For the unit bearings, they wonít always make noise. You need to check for play in the wheel itself. Grab top and bottom of the tire and twist to see if there is any play in the unit bearing.


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

Dpindustries
10-21-2019, 04:56 AM
-I replaced the tie rod/draglink.
-Replaced unit bearings that didnt need to be replaced.
-replaced Dana ball joints with synergy that didnt need to be replaced.
-replaced control arm bushings.
-got 3 different alignments.
-new trackbar

These were all done separately on a jku with 37s. Finally last week I just ran to advance auto to try out a new gear pump. Fixed it all. I've been chasing this issue for awhile, it was terrible and it surely didnt use to be. So yes safe to say 37s do in fact wear out steering parts quicker lol. I will be upgrading to a beefier pump of some sort shortly but this cheap $240 pump is fine now

Dpindustries
10-21-2019, 04:58 AM
PSC big bore XD llr. When my OEM gear went, I had a lot of play at the steering wheel and that does not sound like what you are dealing with.

For the unit bearings, they wonít always make noise. You need to check for play in the wheel itself. Grab top and bottom of the tire and twist to see if there is any play in the unit bearing.


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

My steering wheel had the play issue for what it's worth so the new gear box fixed me

wjtstudios
10-21-2019, 10:56 AM
My steering wheel had the play issue for what it's worth so the new gear box fixed me

Great! Check out PSC for the Gear.


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

RockinAZJK
10-21-2019, 01:26 PM
As mentioned Iíd look into PSC for the box and pump. It would also bug me to only have half the balljoints replaced too, so itís not a bad idea to do the other side.

I really recommend taking off that steering stabilizer and taking it for a spin before you do the box and pump. The charged bilstein stabilizers like to push outward and couldnít potentially give you that feeling if the steering box is trying to fight it and return to center. If nothing else itís a free idea to try before you drop some coin to replace more parts.


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ken31756
10-21-2019, 05:09 PM
PSC big bore XD llr. When my OEM gear went, I had a lot of play at the steering wheel and that does not sound like what you are dealing with.

For the unit bearings, they wonít always make noise. You need to check for play in the wheel itself. Grab top and bottom of the tire and twist to see if there is any play in the unit bearing.


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

I checked for play y grabbing the top and bottom of the tire by hand and don't notice any. Is this something I should be checking with a pry bar, or is by hand going to detect it?

Sounds like PSC is the preferred gear box to look into.

So my plan is (in this order):

First I will unhook the steering stabilizer... it's a easy enough check.

Second I'm also going to replace the passenger side ball joints just because of my OCD :rolleyes2:

Then I'm replacing the gear box. Will need to compare cost to decide if I should just get the PSC and be done with it, or get away as cheap as possible since at this point I'm not even sure it's the gear box.

Meanwhile I'm still unpacking boxes after moving into my new place last weekend... so this might take a couple weeks, but I'll report back with findings.

wjtstudios
10-21-2019, 06:33 PM
I checked for play y grabbing the top and bottom of the tire by hand and don't notice any. Is this something I should be checking with a pry bar, or is by hand going to detect it?

Sounds like PSC is the preferred gear box to look into.

So my plan is (in this order):

First I will unhook the steering stabilizer... it's a easy enough check.

Second I'm also going to replace the passenger side ball joints just because of my OCD :rolleyes2:

Then I'm replacing the gear box. Will need to compare cost to decide if I should just get the PSC and be done with it, or get away as cheap as possible since at this point I'm not even sure it's the gear box.

Meanwhile I'm still unpacking boxes after moving into my new place last weekend... so this might take a couple weeks, but I'll report back with findings.

Iíve had mine torn up enough to feel movement as I twisted the tire in and out. But, Iíve also see guys have to use a gauge to show the movement because it was so small.

As for the gear goes, with 37s and bigger the gear and pump are the minimum. I ran the PSC big bore for years and it does help when you are bound up on rocks. This spring I added the ram to the system and itís night and day on the rocks as compared to just the big bore. So if you order one from PSC, get it ported. Itís ready for you when you get to the point of installing a ram assist.


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

ken31756
12-04-2019, 08:37 PM
So to finish this thread, I solved the problem.... albeit a VERY expensive way!!!

First I removed the steering stab just to see if it was masking a problem, or maybe contributing to it (although I dont see how)
and found it made no difference.
Next I replaced the passenger side ball joints with Synergys to match the recently placed drivers side. Made no difference.
Then came a PSC Big Bore XD gear box. Nice quality, big unit....but fit right in. Wheels turn nice and smooth.... however made no difference with the steering this way/ that way problem.
>:(
I also adjusted the tow myself, moving it a little it in and out just trying different settings to see what it did.
I noticed if I moved it enough I could feel the difference in how it steered, but it didn't effect the original complaint.
It's like I'm barking up the wrong tree. Nothing I have done has effected the constant steering back and forth issue even a little bit.

Then I solved the problem with the help of my brother when he came into town for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We went out Jeep shopping!
I test drove my first JL ........ AND FELL IN LOVE WITH HOW IT RIDES AND HANDLES.
A bunch of paperwork later, and I drove home my new Jeep!!!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!
PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!

-AINOKEA-
12-04-2019, 09:00 PM
So to finish this thread, I solved the problem.... albeit a VERY expensive way!!!

First I removed the steering stab just to see if it was masking a problem, or maybe contributing to it (although I dont see how)
and found it made no difference.
Next I replaced the passenger side ball joints with Synergys to match the recently placed drivers side. Made no difference.
Then came a PSC Big Bore XD gear box. Nice quality, big unit....but fit right in. Wheels turn nice and smooth.... however made no difference with the steering this way/ that way problem.
>:(
I also adjusted the tow myself, moving it a little it in and out just trying different settings to see what it did.
I noticed if I moved it enough I could feel the difference in how it steered, but it didn't effect the original complaint.
It's like I'm barking up the wrong tree. Nothing I have done has effected the constant steering back and forth issue even a little bit.

Then I solved the problem with the help of my brother when he came into town for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We went out Jeep shopping!
I test drove my first JL ........ AND FELL IN LOVE WITH HOW IT RIDES AND HANDLES.
A bunch of paperwork later, and I drove home my new Jeep!!!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!
PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!

Well thatís one way to do it. Congrats!


Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE

Primo82
12-04-2019, 09:19 PM
So to finish this thread, I solved the problem.... albeit a VERY expensive way!!!

First I removed the steering stab just to see if it was masking a problem, or maybe contributing to it (although I dont see how)
and found it made no difference.
Next I replaced the passenger side ball joints with Synergys to match the recently placed drivers side. Made no difference.
Then came a PSC Big Bore XD gear box. Nice quality, big unit....but fit right in. Wheels turn nice and smooth.... however made no difference with the steering this way/ that way problem.
>:(
I also adjusted the tow myself, moving it a little it in and out just trying different settings to see what it did.
I noticed if I moved it enough I could feel the difference in how it steered, but it didn't effect the original complaint.
It's like I'm barking up the wrong tree. Nothing I have done has effected the constant steering back and forth issue even a little bit.

Then I solved the problem with the help of my brother when he came into town for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We went out Jeep shopping!
I test drove my first JL ........ AND FELL IN LOVE WITH HOW IT RIDES AND HANDLES.
A bunch of paperwork later, and I drove home my new Jeep!!!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!
PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!

Ha! Gave me a chuckle, thanks needed it. Looks nice!

Clutch
12-04-2019, 09:26 PM
Multiple ways to skin a cat!


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Jsouder53
12-04-2019, 09:41 PM
Congrats! Thatís one way to get into a new Jeep

wjtstudios
12-04-2019, 10:41 PM
Congrats! That did solve the problem


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

Snboarder113
12-04-2019, 11:01 PM
Thatíll do it.


....
..

... hereís this link for later 🤣
https://wayalife.com/showthread.php?t=58749


Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE

WJCO
12-04-2019, 11:12 PM
Then I solved the problem with the help of my brother when he came into town for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We went out Jeep shopping!
I test drove my first JL ........ AND FELL IN LOVE WITH HOW IT RIDES AND HANDLES.
A bunch of paperwork later, and I drove home my new Jeep!!!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!
PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!

Sometimes with Jeep problems, that's the only way to fix them.

WJCO
12-04-2019, 11:13 PM
... hereís this link for later 🤣
https://wayalife.com/showthread.php?t=58749


Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE

:cheesy: :cheesy:

jeeeep
12-04-2019, 11:23 PM
So to finish this thread, I solved the problem.... albeit a VERY expensive way!!!

First I removed the steering stab just to see if it was masking a problem, or maybe contributing to it (although I dont see how)
and found it made no difference.
Next I replaced the passenger side ball joints with Synergys to match the recently placed drivers side. Made no difference.
Then came a PSC Big Bore XD gear box. Nice quality, big unit....but fit right in. Wheels turn nice and smooth.... however made no difference with the steering this way/ that way problem.
>:(
I also adjusted the tow myself, moving it a little it in and out just trying different settings to see what it did.
I noticed if I moved it enough I could feel the difference in how it steered, but it didn't effect the original complaint.
It's like I'm barking up the wrong tree. Nothing I have done has effected the constant steering back and forth issue even a little bit.

Then I solved the problem with the help of my brother when he came into town for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We went out Jeep shopping!
I test drove my first JL ........ AND FELL IN LOVE WITH HOW IT RIDES AND HANDLES.
A bunch of paperwork later, and I drove home my new Jeep!!!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!
PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!


That’ll do it.
... here’s this link for later ��
https://wayalife.com/showthread.php?t=58749

Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE

:cheesy::cheesy::cheesy:

Congrats on the JL!

TrailHunter
12-04-2019, 11:24 PM
Did you only change 1 wheel bearing? Not that it matters... Congrats on the new Jeep.

jeeeep
12-04-2019, 11:27 PM
Did you only change 1 wheel bearing? Not that it matters... Congrats on the new Jeep.

I was curious about it as well but the JL fix... :thumb:

leave it up to 4wp to only change 1side on ball joints :doh:

nmwranglerx
12-05-2019, 01:24 AM
So to finish this thread, I solved the problem.... albeit a VERY expensive way!!!

First I removed the steering stab just to see if it was masking a problem, or maybe contributing to it (although I dont see how)
and found it made no difference.
Next I replaced the passenger side ball joints with Synergys to match the recently placed drivers side. Made no difference.
Then came a PSC Big Bore XD gear box. Nice quality, big unit....but fit right in. Wheels turn nice and smooth.... however made no difference with the steering this way/ that way problem.
>:(
I also adjusted the tow myself, moving it a little it in and out just trying different settings to see what it did.
I noticed if I moved it enough I could feel the difference in how it steered, but it didn't effect the original complaint.
It's like I'm barking up the wrong tree. Nothing I have done has effected the constant steering back and forth issue even a little bit.

Then I solved the problem with the help of my brother when he came into town for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We went out Jeep shopping!
I test drove my first JL ........ AND FELL IN LOVE WITH HOW IT RIDES AND HANDLES.
A bunch of paperwork later, and I drove home my new Jeep!!!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!
PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!

Congrats. I also test drove a JL (sport) this past weekend and the urge to buy it was strong to say the least. Think I want a Rubi this time around though.


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ken31756
12-05-2019, 02:19 AM
I was curious about it as well but the JL fix... :thumb:

leave it up to 4wp to only change 1side on ball joints :doh:

Yeah I ended up doing both sides. I guess I get where 4WP was coming from... "We feel the other side is OK and don't want to waste your money".
But it seems to me all they check for is loose play, not something bound up tight.
In all my searching around underneath that jeep I did spot some signs of a prior accident to the right front.
I'm thinking there might have been remaining issues from that maybe?
Or the fact that the lift kit was installed just before I bought it, including new tires...that covered up any uneven wear, thank you very much!!!

I don't know, but in my life I have owned 8 jeeps now (8.5 if you count that old CJ7 project that never really came together)
and I never encountered such a hard to diagnose problem with any of them.

But no matter any more! :clap2:

My new jeep, not actually brand new is a 2018 JLU with 19k miles on it. Has a 3" ProComp lift w/ 35" Nitto Grapplers on 18x9 XD Grenade rims.
While out Jeep looking with my brother we probably test drove half dozen different ones, but this first one had me at hello because of the way it handled!
Never have I drove a jeep that steers and handles as well as this one.
I'm in love!!!

.....well, it's probably just pure lust! :D

jdofmemi
12-05-2019, 03:03 AM
Thatíll do it.


....
..

... hereís this link for later 🤣
https://wayalife.com/showthread.php?t=58749


Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE

That's cold!

Couldn't even let him enjoy it for a day first🤣🤣

ken31756
12-05-2019, 03:10 PM
At least let me get back from the honeymoon first!!! :D

Snboarder113
12-05-2019, 04:07 PM
At least let me get back from the honeymoon first!!! :D

Hahaha. Youíve owned jeeps, you know exactly what youíve done lmao.


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