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Old 02-08-2014, 11:05 AM   #1
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New 04 Rubicon, drives like hell on the expressway!!!

Alllllllllllright. Now, this is my 3rd wrangler, so I know that they aren't known for being aerodynamic. However, this is my first Jeep (an automobile) in 5 years, so I'm a little rusty and have forgotten a lot of what I know. So, I bought this 2004 rubicon, 62k miles, my mechanic says it's in pretty great shape, everything works well. Now, this is where I don't know my shit. This beast stands at about 6'5'', I'm guessing there's a 4-6 inch lift, plus my tires are monsters. They are Goodyear Wranglers, LT315/75R16. It looks like the idiot previous driver never had them rotated.....ever. So the back two are almost bald and the front two have about 3/4 of an inch tread left. Mechanic says he can't rotate them now, b/c it would be risky for breaking. He said just replace them.

I've had it for about 2 weeks and this is what I notice. When I don't have him in 4wd, he drives like he has a mind of his own. The steering seems like it could be tighter (is this because of monster tires?) I just had an alignment on it. When 4wd is disabled and I'm on the expressway going 55-65 (haven't been brave enough to take him any higher) and I let off the accelerator, it feels like the tires want to go their own way and I have to fight to get them back to a steady line. I'm sure wind is a factor...but it seems more intense than my other wranglers (neither were lifted and had normal stock tires) Now, when I put him in 4WD, no matter if the roads are dry or wet or snowy (I've experienced all this month) he drives near perfect. Steering still feels a little loose and sloppy, but I feel like I'm not going to lose control of the car.

Now, is this because the tires are 1. mud tires and I'm using them on highway, 2. front tire tread is drastically different than rear tires, 3. I have a lift and wind is pushing it like a sail (my coworker suggested this).

Please please help me. I want to buy new tires regardless and I want to get the right ones. If anyone can answer any of these questions and also suggest tires to get. 90% of my driving will be on paved roads and expressway, with 10% being on gravel, mud, sand, when I take it to my cottage in the boonies (Indiana).

What's the deal..?

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Old 02-08-2014, 11:49 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your new acquisition!

Could be a lot of things, but if you are going to buy new tires, also get an alignment done right away and ask for the technician to check all of the steering components for looseness and wear.

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Old 02-08-2014, 12:37 PM   #3
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First, don't drive it in 4wd on dry/wet pavement. Only low traction surfaces. These aren't full time transfer cases and you will end up breaking things pretty easily.

Could you post a few pics of your lift, steering parts, rear driveshaft, and a side picture shot? That will tell us a lot about what parts the previous owner used and what is now the weak link or could be causing the problems you mentioned.

Wandering could be from an insufficient caster angle, improper steering geometry, or a bad alignment.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:07 PM   #4
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Cool

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Originally Posted by jeepwayoflife View Post
First, don't drive it in 4wd on dry/wet pavement. Only low traction surfaces. These aren't full time transfer cases and you will end up breaking things pretty easily.

Could you post a few pics of your lift, steering parts, rear driveshaft, and a side picture shot? That will tell us a lot about what parts the previous owner used and what is now the weak link or could be causing the problems you mentioned.

Wandering could be from an insufficient caster angle, improper steering geometry, or a bad alignment.
Here are pics. Excuse mounds of snow. I'm not sure if I took what you needed.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:12 PM   #5
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Here are pics. Excuse mounds of snow. I'm not sure if I took what you needed.
Here are extra pictures
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:15 PM   #6
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Here are extra pictures
Also, I believe my tires are 35s
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:21 PM   #7
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That giant dropped pitman arm isn't helping any. It's probably got bump steer like crazy. Apparently the PO was trying to tame the thing also by putting a second steering stabilizer on it...that's useless and will do more harm than good. I suggest you get rid of the ad on stabilizer, and change out the pitman arm to stock, get some new tires, do a dry steering test to identify any worn components and replace them, and post up your caster angles and alignment numbers from the shop that did the alignment.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:28 PM   #8
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That giant dropped pitman arm isn't helping any. It's probably got bump steer like crazy. Apparently the PO was trying to tame the thing also by putting a second steering stabilizer on it...that's useless and will do more harm than good. I suggest you get rid of the ad on stabilizer, and change out the pitman arm to stock, get some new tires, do a dry steering test to identify any worn components and replace them, and post up your caster angles and alignment numbers from the shop that did the alignment.
Ha. You are so speaking gibberish to me. I need to educate myself further on all of this. I think I'll take it in to a Jeep dealer and have them do what you suggested. My mechanic said everything's in good condition, (general checkup) but I'm pretty sure he didn't do all of that extra stuff.

Thanks for the help
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:39 PM   #9
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Okay. Just googled Bump Steer. That's definitely what's going on.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:45 PM   #10
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Ha. You are so speaking gibberish to me. I need to educate myself further on all of this. I think I'll take it in to a Jeep dealer and have them do what you suggested. My mechanic said everything's in good condition, (general checkup) but I'm pretty sure he didn't do all of that extra stuff.

Thanks for the help
Sorry, I circled the issues in your picture. You said you had an alignment done. They should have given you a print out with some numbers on it. See if you can take a picture of it and post it...It may help explain your issues.

Here's another pic that explains what the suspension parts are called...might help you out.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:48 PM   #11
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Thanks, Dennis. Are you offering mentorships? jk they never gave me a printout. I texted the guy who sold it to me and asked for it. I'll post when he gets back to me.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:51 PM   #12
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Looks like one jounce bumper is missing along with the front body mount bolt.. Unless I'm mistaken.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:18 PM   #13
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Thanks, Dennis. Are you offering mentorships? jk they never gave me a printout. I texted the guy who sold it to me and asked for it. I'll post when he gets back to me.
Sorry, too cold in Chicago. Rdock31 made a good catch on the jounce bumper and missing body bolt. Here's where they are

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Looks like one jounce bumper is missing along with the front body mount bolt.. Unless I'm mistaken.
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:06 PM   #14
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Big dropped pitman arm as mentioned. Remove it and replace with stock and get back to us. That should help a lot
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:44 PM   #15
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I just removed the drop pitman arm on my 04 Rubi today............world of difference. No more bumpsteer. That alone should help a lot. Then new tires will probably go a long way with an alignment. Let us know.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:51 AM   #16
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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:11 PM   #17
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Where in chicago are u located? I'm in Downers Grove. I have had some experience with my suspension. I might be able to take a look at with u.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:22 PM   #18
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Wait... So remove pitman arm completely, or remove and replace with stock? I really appreciate the circled pix. Would you recommend taking it to my family mechanic our bringing it to a jeep dealer?

hodgeman-I work in the city and live south burbs, around tinley
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:27 PM   #19
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Wait... So remove pitman arm completely, or remove and replace with stock? I really appreciate the circled pix. Would you recommend taking it to my family mechanic our bringing it to a jeep dealer?

hodgeman-I work in the city and live south burbs, around tinley
Replace with stock.
You can't drive without the Pitman arm.

Any decent mechanic can swap a Pitman arm, should be about an hour job assuming it's not stuck too badly. Start spraying it with pb blaster a coupe days before.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:27 PM   #20
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If you would like give me a call my #312-656-2974
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:32 PM   #21
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Replace with stock.
You can't drive without the Pitman arm.

Any decent mechanic can swap a Pitman arm, should be about an hour job assuming it's not stuck too badly. Start spraying it with pb blaster a coupe days before.
....i knew that...(no I didn't) thanks. I'd rather sick with someone I trust.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:20 PM   #22
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Sorry I just realized that you go by jeepgal19. I wouldn't want my daughters meeting up with someone from the Internet.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:27 PM   #23
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Looks like one jounce bumper is missing along with the front body mount bolt.. Unless I'm mistaken.
and there's no bumpstop extensions so the shocks are bottoming out.

that things a mess. needs a lot of work.

fix the pitman arm, fix the alignment (caster & toe), probably going to need adjustable control arms, unlikely that it has the necessary CV driveshaft in the rear, front track bar is still stock with redrilled hole (not sufficient for that lift height and no welded on reinforcment), go with a Metalcloak or Currie. can't see the control arms, but if they are stock or anything with poly bushings those need replaced as well. basically you'll need to clean up the PO's mess and start over with usable components.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:54 PM   #24
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and there's no bumpstop extensions so the shocks are bottoming out.

that things a mess. needs a lot of work.

fix the pitman arm, fix the alignment (caster & toe), probably going to need adjustable control arms, unlikely that it has the necessary CV driveshaft in the rear, front track bar is still stock with redrilled hole (not sufficient for that lift height and no welded on reinforcment), go with a Metalcloak or Currie. can't see the control arms, but if they are stock or anything with poly bushings those need replaced as well. basically you'll need to clean up the PO's mess and start over with usable components.


Thanks. Here is the copy of alignment specs. It's kind of a crappy copy, hoping someone can tell if it was done wrong.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:38 PM   #25
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Thanks. Here is the copy of alignment specs. It's kind of a crappy copy, hoping someone can tell if it was done wrong.
Your rear thrust angle is out of spec. and that could only be corrected by adjustable control arms in the back. Your left front wheel camber is slightly out of spec, but probably not enough to be noticeable. Hopefully your alignment guy checked for play in the ball joints. It looks like they adjusted the toe although I'm struggling to actually read the numbers. The 5.2 caster isn't terrible. I would start by replacing the pitman arm and get some good tires on it properly balanced, then see how it drives. As UnlimitedLJ04 suggested, it does need further work and you should plan on going through it all.

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