Wandering steering

Moneypitjk

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I bought this 09 jk already lifted and everything done to it. From when I bought it it always had flighty steering and a loose steering wheel (Probably about half an inch to inch of play in steering wheel). Anything over 25mph and it will be flighty. Highway speeds and hitting bumps is almost dangerous. It’s not a death wobble but will definitely try to kick me into other lanes. I’ve replaced the ball joints and checked my toe in and caster angle and everything is tight. I can’t tell if any of my drag link, tie rods or any other joints seem loose. I noticed it looks like my steering box could be leaking. Occasionally when I’m pulling into a parking spot or slow speeds with tight turns the steering acts like it cuts out for a minute but haven’t heard any whining or noise come from it. I just want to get other opinions on it before I dump the money into replacing the steer box also to avoid putting a bandaid over the actual problem and possibly messing up another steer box. I’m not 100% sure on what lift size it has from the measurements I found to do online it looks like possibly a 4inch lift. Help with determining that would be great too. It has 33” tires on it and upper and lower adjustable control arms in the rear and just lower adjustable control arms in the front.

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Moneypitjk

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Wouldn’t let me add the full video I have of all the joints. Sorry for the sloppy videos Best I could do by myself. Driver side tie rod looks the same as passenger in the video.
 

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FishFam JKU

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I don't have a solution but in a similar conundrum. Been chasing a flighty steering wheel for a bit. I've personally replaced most the joints and bushings to no avail. Now its down to the actual steering box or my stabilizer being dead. Gonna pull the stabilizer this weekend and drive without it and try to notice a difference.

If you do notice on occasion that you hit a hard spot in the steering I would lean towards the steering box or low fluid (air in the system). You try and tighten up the gear mesh on the steering box? Should help the steering wheel slop at least. But I'm just shooting in the dark like you.

Cheers
 

BLACKJKU

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It looks as though you have a 4" lift so you should have adjustable control arms in the front and adjustable track bars front and rear.

With the Jeep not running turn the steering wheel back and forth and look how far the wheel turns before the tire starts moving. You should have very little movement before the tire starts to move, that will check your gearbox.
 
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Moneypitjk

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I don't have a solution but in a similar conundrum. Been chasing a flighty steering wheel for a bit. I've personally replaced most the joints and bushings to no avail. Now its down to the actual steering box or my stabilizer being dead. Gonna pull the stabilizer this weekend and drive without it and try to notice a difference.

If you do notice on occasion that you hit a hard spot in the steering I would lean towards the steering box or low fluid (air in the system). You try and tighten up the gear mesh on the steering box? Should help the steering wheel slop at least. But I'm just shooting in the dark like you.

Cheers
I looked at attempting to tighten the gear but my box only has the nut the middle part doesn’t have a flat head or Allen key which also makes me think it’s been replaced with a cheaper one before. Which also leads to if it has been replaced is there something causing it to go out again or was it just a cheap box. I’m just not trying to drop the money on a box and have it not do anything or end up going out in the future.
 
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Moneypitjk

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It looks as though you have a 4" lift so you should have adjustable control arms in the front and adjustable track bars front and rear.

With the Jeep not running turn the steering wheel back and forth and look how far the wheel turns before the tire starts moving. You should have very little movement before the tire starts to move, that will check your gearbox.
With it off I have a good 1/8 of moving the wheel before the tires start moving. There’s definitely a ton of play in the steering wheel.
 
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Moneypitjk

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It looks as though you have a 4" lift so you should have adjustable control arms in the front and adjustable track bars front and rear.

With the Jeep not running turn the steering wheel back and forth and look how far the wheel turns before the tire starts moving. You should have very little movement before the tire starts to move, that will check your gearbox.
Based off that should I go ahead and bite the bullet and get the box?
 
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Moneypitjk

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If it has to much play, no adjustment and leaking I would say yes.
I know it needs to be replaced anyway sadly. You think that could be what is causing the flighty ness in the steering? Could it just be it’s loose so bumps and speed causes movement inside the box that I’m not feeling in the wheel until I have to correct it?
 

BLACKJKU

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I know it needs to be replaced anyway sadly. You think that could be what is causing the flighty ness in the steering? Could it just be it’s loose so bumps and speed causes movement inside the box that I’m not feeling in the wheel until I have to correct it?

It could be part of the issue, but you didn't answer my question about the other parts it should have installed.
 
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Moneypitjk

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It could be part of the issue, but you didn't answer my question about the other parts it should have installed.
Apologies. It has lower adjustable control arm in the front. Here is pictures of the track bars front and rear. I don’t believe they’re adjustable but the front looks like a relocation bracket. I also noticed both my back springs are bent back like this.

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BLACKJKU

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Apologies. It has lower adjustable control arm in the front. Here is pictures of the track bars front and rear. I don’t believe they’re adjustable but the front looks like a relocation bracket. I also noticed both my back springs are bent back like this.

View attachment 123634

View attachment 123635

View attachment 123636


Looks like you need to get a level or 2x4 and stand it up against the tires so it's touching the top and bottoms of the tires sides. Then measure how far the top of the level is away from the fenders, you should be the same measurement side to side.
 

BLACKJKU

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Post number 3 shows how to check that.

 
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Moneypitjk

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Looks like you need to get a level or 2x4 and stand it up against the tires so it's touching the top and bottoms of the tires sides. Then measure how far the top of the level is away from the fenders, you should be the same measurement side to side.
Okay so just did that following the post. Rear wheels are even. Front is 1/8th inch further on passenger side. Is that enough to cause the flighty steering?
 

BLACKJKU

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Okay so just did that following the post. Rear wheels are even. Front is 1/8th inch further on passenger side. Is that enough to cause the flighty steering?

Doubt if 1/8" would cause a issue.

If the track bars bushing are bad could cause it or if the track bars bolts are loose could cause it to wander.

What size tires and how much air pressure you running in them?
 
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Moneypitjk

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Doubt if 1/8" would cause a issue.

If the track bars bushing are bad could cause it or if the track bars bolts are loose could cause it to wander.

What size tires and how much air pressure you running in them?
33’s at 35 psi. When I first got it they were at like 50 psi and it wondered horribly so I dropped it down to what the door says and it helped but still has the wonder.
 

BLACKJKU

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33’s at 35 psi. When I first got it they were at like 50 psi and it wondered horribly so I dropped it down to what the door says and it helped but still has the wonder.

Does the tire lay flat on the ground, have you done the chalk test? You may need to lower them a little more.
 
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Moneypitjk

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Does the tire lay flat on the ground, have you done the chalk test? You may need to lower them a little more.
Haven’t done a chalk test do to wether and never not having snow on the ground. What would you recommend lowering them to? I think the lowest I’ve gone was 30 but that might have been before I changed my ball joints and re did my toe.
 

BLACKJKU

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Haven’t done a chalk test do to wether and never not having snow on the ground. What would you recommend lowering them to? I think the lowest I’ve gone was 30 but that might have been before I changed my ball joints and re did my toe.

I know on 35's they are going to 26 to 30 on some of them, I have stock size on mine so not sure what you'd want to do.
 

Mit12

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I purchased a used 2013 Jeep Wrangler JK 4 door with a 3 inch lift. I fought darty loose feeling steering That seemed to follow every crack in the road. I checked the ball joints rod ends, replaced the steering damper and shocks performed the chock test and adjusted air pressure accordingly. Finally I purchased front trailing arm re-locater brackets from Rough Country. I installed them and the Jeep drives like a dream now. I imagine that you could purchase adjustable upper and lower trailing arms and get the same result but it came down to price for me.