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Old 09-20-2012, 01:52 PM   #1
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Steering Issues?

Hey Guys, I just bought my cousin's 97 TJ and he didn't do a great job taking care of it. He's had this problem for a while and since I'm the new owner, I'd like to get it taken care of.. Hopefully on my own to avoid having to pay for mechanic fees.

So basically the steering on the jeep is very off. I can turn the steering wheel left to right a good 3-5 inches from the original location without the wheels turning. While I'm driving, since the alignment is off, I'm constantly turning the wheel to get it straight.

So instead of a "stiff" steering wheel.. it feels very loose.

Sorry if this doesn't make sense. I'm completely a Jeep newb, and even worst with car repairs, but I'm trying to make this Jeep into a project and help me get familiar with working on cars.

Also, since I've just gotten this... I'd like to run extra maintenance on it since I know my cousin didn't do anything but regular oil changes (regular might be a little exaggeration) I've already replace the black sludge, I mean oil, as well as the air filter. I plan on replacing the spark plugs, distributor cap, rotors, wires, and the serpentine belt.

Is there anything else I should do? Remember this is a 97 TJ Sport 4.0L, that was rarely taken care of, so any and all necessary steps to get it working better is needed.

Thanks! and excuse my ignorance!

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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Can't help the steering, but change the differential fluids front and back, lube the chassis, change the air filter, flush and trill the radiator with coolant and distilled water, change transmission oil (manual), maybe an auto tranny flush if not too many miles, change transfer case fluid. If you want to take it to the next level, check the breaks, flush the brake lines, check the head for sludge make sure power steering fluid is full. Yeah, that's just about everything.

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Old 09-20-2012, 11:29 PM   #3
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Go get yourself a shop manual, or shoot. An owners manual it will tell you how to so simple maintence
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Check out my 5.3 swap in progress here!
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shug11
Hey Guys, I just bought my cousin's 97 TJ and he didn't do a great job taking care of it. He's had this problem for a while and since I'm the new owner, I'd like to get it taken care of.. Hopefully on my own to avoid having to pay for mechanic fees.

So basically the steering on the jeep is very off. I can turn the steering wheel left to right a good 3-5 inches from the original location without the wheels turning. While I'm driving, since the alignment is off, I'm constantly turning the wheel to get it straight.

So instead of a "stiff" steering wheel.. it feels very loose.

Sorry if this doesn't make sense. I'm completely a Jeep newb, and even worst with car repairs, but I'm trying to make this Jeep into a project and help me get familiar with working on cars.

Also, since I've just gotten this... I'd like to run extra maintenance on it since I know my cousin didn't do anything but regular oil changes (regular might be a little exaggeration) I've already replace the black sludge, I mean oil, as well as the air filter. I plan on replacing the spark plugs, distributor cap, rotors, wires, and the serpentine belt.

Is there anything else I should do? Remember this is a 97 TJ Sport 4.0L, that was rarely taken care of, so any and all necessary steps to get it working better is needed.

Thanks! and excuse my ignorance!
The steering issue could possibly be your tie rod ends wore out. I would start there and wore case scenario is the gearbox is shot.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:10 AM   #5
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The steering gear box does have some adjustability in it to "tighten" up the steering, but you need to make small adjustments to avoid problems. I would check the tie rod ends as mentioned above, before I tried making any adjustments. A good shop manual (FSM) will be your friend while working on your Jeep.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:36 AM   #6
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When I first bought my TJ, my steering was very loose as well and driving it on the highway was pretty scary. I decided to do the Durango Steering Box upgrade since my TJ is lifted 4" with 33s and it helped tremendously.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:11 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your input. I plan on getting some new tie rod ends and possibly a new steering stabilizer for her and see if it helps out.

Do you guys have a reccomendation on which brand I should get or which brand to avoid for the ends n stabilizer?

I do plan on getting a manual but I'm trying to only use Internet resources right now. With my daughter being born 5 months ago.. all the funds go to her

Hence why I'm sticking with small repairs at first until the big projects come.

Thanks again guys and please keep the suggestions coming. I'll try to use this thread as a journal to update my process along the way.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shug11 View Post
Thanks everyone for your input. I plan on getting some new tie rod ends and possibly a new steering stabilizer for her and see if it helps out.

Do you guys have a reccomendation on which brand I should get or which brand to avoid for the ends n stabilizer?

I do plan on getting a manual but I'm trying to only use Internet resources right now. With my daughter being born 5 months ago.. all the funds go to her

Hence why I'm sticking with small repairs at first until the big projects come.

Thanks again guys and please keep the suggestions coming. I'll try to use this thread as a journal to update my process along the way.
NAPA carries Moog Tie Rod Ends...

Steering Stabilizers aren't really needed if the rest of the front end is done correctly, so stock will work fine...

Send a PM to Board Member Atthehop and see if he can send you a PDF copy of the FSM that you need... He's one of the best "resources" going!

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