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Old 03-15-2013, 08:04 AM   #1
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Slack in the steering

I just bought this jeep and I'm in no way mechanically inclined. I know basics. I have slack in the steering. Where do I start? It has 4 inches of suspension lift and 2 of body. Do you recommend taking the body lift off? I have heard bad things.

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Old 03-15-2013, 08:15 AM   #2
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Slack in the steering is caused by any of the following.

1. Track bar is loose
2. Tie rod ends are shot
3. Less likely but the u joint in the steering shaft is worn
4. Poor alignment
5. Drag link or tie rod is bent
6. Ball joints are shot.
7. Tie rod is flexing under the load if the tires are too heavy
8. Track bar and drag link are not parallel or close to parallel
9. Drop pitman arm was installed (see number 8)


I would start with the tie rod ends, drag link and pitman arm as those are the most common problems. Have a friend shimmy the wheel back and forth and check to see if any rod ends have play.

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Old 03-15-2013, 08:23 AM   #3
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Awesome! Thanks. Brand new to jeeping and right now nervous to get it up over 60
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thats a very good list, one more thing I'll add to it, when you run over-sized tires for any period of time the stock steering gear box tends to get a lot of wear. You can easily tighen it up, but if it is loose, this is a sign of a gear box well on it's way out.

First locate the steering gear box, on a Jeep it's very easy to find, look just in front of and under the grill on the drivers side, on top of the gear box there is a little nut with a screw in the middle, thats the adjusting screw, loosen the nut, tighten the screw until it's snug and then back it off 1/4 - 1/3 of a turn and retighten the nut without letting the screw turn.

The easiest way to check if this is the issue is have a freind rock the steering back and forth, watch the pitman arm, if it doesnt move when the steering wheel is moving, the problem is in the gear box. It's a very easy adjustment, make sure you dont take the screw out.

Also, now that you own a modified Jeep, it would save you a ton of money, time and grief to start becoming familiar with the components that are going to be the largest source of headache, so I'll leave you with a couple images to get you going down the right course, if you already know all this, awesome, if not, print the pics and take some time just to look around under there and learn whats what.

In this image you can see the steering gear box attached to the top of the pitman arm.


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Old 03-23-2013, 06:10 PM   #5
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Im a nooby to Jeepin too but built a few cars('55 Belair is my current project) and I just got '97 TJ a week ago and I had play in the steering wheel. Not much but u could move it back and forth about 2" b4 the wheels moved. I looked at the 2 joints at the steering column and the one out side the firewall looked sloppy. So when I got the shaft off I noticed the slot that squeezes when u tighten the bolt was damn near closed. So took my die grinder and ran it thru the slot to open it the thickness of the cut off wheel and reinstalled with a little blue lock-tite and slop gone. Hope this helps
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:19 PM   #6
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BTW I didnt have this problem b4 I dropped the column to take out the steering shaft but my AIRBAG light comes on and off now. I looked again to see if I pulled anything off but I just took the 4 nuts off the column pulled it our just enough to clear the studs and i just let it lay. I didnt remove it completely. Any ideas?
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O_M_Jeep View Post
Thats a very good list, one more thing I'll add to it, when you run over-sized tires for any period of time the stock steering gear box tends to get a lot of wear. You can easily tighen it up, but if it is loose, this is a sign of a gear box well on it's way out.

First locate the steering gear box, on a Jeep it's very easy to find, look just in front of and under the grill on the drivers side, on top of the gear box there is a little nut with a screw in the middle, thats the adjusting screw, loosen the nut, tighten the screw until it's snug and then back it off 1/4 - 1/3 of a turn and retighten the nut without letting the screw turn.

The easiest way to check if this is the issue is have a freind rock the steering back and forth, watch the pitman arm, if it doesnt move when the steering wheel is moving, the problem is in the gear box. It's a very easy adjustment, make sure you dont take the screw out.

Also, now that you own a modified Jeep, it would save you a ton of money, time and grief to start becoming familiar with the components that are going to be the largest source of headache, so I'll leave you with a couple images to get you going down the right course, if you already know all this, awesome, if not, print the pics and take some time just to look around under there and learn whats what.

In this image you can see the steering gear box attached to the top of the pitman arm.


I'm having the same issue and this visual was extremely helpful. I often struggle with verbal or written instructions. thanks for posting!!
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmyrick11 View Post
I have slack in the steering. Where do I start?
Check steering gearbox.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:55 AM   #9
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I got the same problem however when I turn the wheels to an extreme while driving there is a loud noise coming from the front. Obviously I'm not stupid and know this is bad... Any way to pin poi t the problem?
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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I got the same problem however when I turn the wheels to an extreme while driving there is a loud noise coming from the front. Obviously I'm not stupid and know this is bad... Any way to pin poi t the problem?
If you hold the wheel at full lock does it continue to make the noise? Is it a buzzing kind of noise? If so, that's your power steering pump screaming for help, asking you not to hold it there for long. That's the high pressure relief valve or something like that.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:42 PM   #11
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Well power steering is good. Just noticed the sway bar was undone... Not sure if it had anything to do with the noise... Picking up replacement nut now

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