Originally Posted by Jaba04
First off, I've been doing a lot of reading throughout the forum, but I just needed some clarification for my own benefit and peace of mind.
The steering on the front end of my 2002 TJ (manual/I6/stock-no lift) has been getting squirrelly (for lack of a better word) over the last few weeks. I have noticed that the ride has been getting a bit rougher and bouncier.
So far I've narrowed the work needed to be done to the following:
Angry sparrows have started up, change the CV joint and U-joints in front axle and rear axle
New shocks all around (haven't been changed in quite some time, over 70,000 miles)
Possibly change the ball joints, even though they're not that bad
Change steering damper (just because it's shot too)
My concern boils down to what would be the most necessary work performed first? I could go get the tires balanced, but with 122,000 miles on my Jeep I know that the rest of the items on the list will need to be completed, even if that does fix the steering issue.
I'm not getting DW, I'm just getting the usual bumpiness that you would expect from improperly balanced tires (e.g. rough ride from about 61 mph to 64 mph then smoothes out again), I just would like some kind of a game plan because I am on a budget and I only have small windows of time to work on the Jeep during the week.
I appreciate any advice and help and if you guys need any clarification on this let me know, thanks.
I would replace any bad u-joints first. Letting those go can take out other stuff, especially if there is a catastrophic failure.
Then do the shocks and get the tires balanced. The only alignment spec that you're really going to have to worry about is toe-in, and that is easy to check yourself... Basic Jeep Front End Alignment
Don't change the ball joints if they're not bad. Lastly do the steering stabilizer.
I do suggest you do a dry steering test to uncover any additional issues.
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
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.