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Old 02-16-2014, 02:51 PM   #1
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New TJ Owner--Suspension/Steering help please

Hi everyone. New owner of a 2002 Sahara (mostly stock except for 31" Scorpions) and a new member. I've been scanning older posts for something like what I'm experiencing but didn't find it so thought I would post. Here's the deal:

I seem to be getting some unusual things from the suspension or steering that driving little tricky on the road (pavement, that is). Difficult to describe but not DW. Possibly bump steer but also seems different from how I've heard that described. It almost seems as if the front and rear suspension are not in synch. A dip or bump on one side of the road seems to wind up pushing me to the other side of the road before the suspension settles back in. A few things that could be relevant here:
  • Pretty sure I'm all stock except for the 31s (not sure if it is lifted but based on info I've read here I don't think so. Springs are stock length)
  • Everything (shocks, springs, etc. is probably original with 130k+ but no serious off-road)
  • Automatic and she does squat down in back when I put it gear.
  • Steering wheel is a little off center but it seems to track pretty straight on flat roads
Is this as simple as old/worn shocks and springs or maybe something else. Had it inspected before I bought it and mechanic said it could be a bad ball joint. Appreciate any thoughts!

Dan

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Old 02-16-2014, 03:04 PM   #2
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Snap a few pictures of the front suspension and post them up, and we will most likely be able to tell if there is anything that is not stock. First, how much air is in your tires? You should also do a dry steering test like this:

Dry Steering Test

Do a dry steering test by having someone sit in your Jeep (with the tires on the ground) and continuously turn the steering wheel back and forth from about the 11 to 1 position while you lay under the front end and watch and feel for any lateral play in any steering or suspension joints. Check both track bar ends, the tie rod and drag link ends.
Although rotational movement in the tie rod and drag link is normal and necessary, there should be no end movement at all in the joints. There also should be no movement in the track bar ends.


You can also jack each front wheel slightly off the ground and with a small pry bar under the tire, see if there's any vertical play indicating bad ball joints.

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Old 02-16-2014, 06:34 PM   #3
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Great advice above.

In addition to that, 130k is some good mileage, I'd guess your shocks need to be replaced, along with control arm bushings....
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:01 PM   #4
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Thanks Dennis and Shark. I took some photos just before dark and now just need to figure out how to post them here. Also did a quick dry steering test. I didn't see anything obvious but it was close to dark and my teenage daughter was paying more attention to her phone than the task at hand. Will get the pics up ASAP and thanks again.
Dan
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:42 AM   #5
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Some Suspension Photos

Okay, guys I figured out why I couldn't load the photos last night...had to shrink them down. Not sure if these are what you need but hope they help. Thanks for any more thoughts you have:

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Old 02-17-2014, 08:52 AM   #6
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Yep, that appears to be all pure stock. Definitely do the dry steering test as mentioned above and check the ball joints. Also check these items:

Control arm bushings (front and back)
Sway bar links (front and back)
Shocks
Tire air pressure should be around 30psi

Nice looking Jeep, I love the color.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:18 PM   #7
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Thanks again Dennis and sorry for the slow response (work gets in the way of all my fun).

So, after finally getting a chance to check everything out, I discovered the both rear sway bar links are loose. I can easily shake the link or the bar and move them side-to side. Nuts are tight, so I'm thinking the bushings are shot.

Do you guys think this is likely my problem or just a symptom of something bigger? Is the remedy here just new bushings or should I replace both links?

Thanks!

Dan
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:36 PM   #8
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130k I would check all of the following to make sure they are all good

1 u joints
2. Ball joints
3. Tie rod ends
4. Control arms and bushing
5. Shock struts etc

A lot of times people don't lube their tie rod and ball joints and other parts that have the grease fitting causing bushing to crack. That away bar busing if I'm looking at it correct looks warn out. I would spend a lot of time one day and look all off the steering/suspension parts over real good and make a list of what needs to be replaced.

Oh btw welcome to the forum. There are a ton of people on here who are willing to help you out. I've learned a lot myself on here. Nice looking jeep
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:33 PM   #9
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To think my jeep looked exactally like yours at one point long long ago. I can mail you some rear links if you want to just pay the postage. I would Start with checking everything as stated above. Then move onto new shocks all the way around and a new steering stabilizer.
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:22 AM   #10
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Thanks itscakes and vballspen. This forum is awesome. vball, I sent you a PM regarding the links (thanks).

The rear links are the only obvious problem I've found in checking everything mentioned, but given age and miles I think I'll start replacing everything as budget allows. A crown HD steering kit is looking interesting at the moment! I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions as I get into all of this.

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