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Old 10-04-2010, 09:17 AM   #1
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Steering Play in only 1 direction

I have noticed that I have a lot of steering play, but in only one direction. I have all new TRE's, new TB. Had an alignment and have new 31 in tires. When I turn to the right the steering is very responsive, but when I turn to the left it takes about a quarter turn or a little more of the wheel before the turn starts. I have looked under the jeep while someone is turning the wheel and nothing is loose or have movement/play. I hope someone can help with what to do next.

Thanks
Mel

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Old 10-04-2010, 09:35 AM   #2
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after turing left (and taking up the slack). there is no slack before it goes right? (just making 100% sure).

First place I'd look is the steering shaft and gearbox.

do the two person test - one watching one turning.

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Old 10-04-2010, 10:04 AM   #3
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Turning right there is a little slack but nothing like when turning left. Turning right has maybe 1/8 of a turn of the steering wheel. It drives fine except for the slack in the steering while turning left.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:11 AM   #4
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hmmm. I'm thinking, but honestly I'm drawing a blank.

Check out the gear box and the shaft...If its the box, you may be able to adjust it(don't go overboard or you will ruin the box). , if its the shaft its replacement time. if its neither I have no idea. Where did you take it for the alignment? They should have addressed this.

If you determine it is the box, and there isn't enough adjustment to remedy the issue, its replacement time.(this is rare on a fairly stock vehicle.)

One time I saw a gear box that was loose from the frame, and that gave a similar issue IIRC, so look for any gap/play there as well.

If you can't find it I'd advise you to take it to a good suspension shop, they should be able to figure it out in short order. If its a worn out joint in the front end, or a loose joint they should have noticed when they aligned it...

wow, I just hit 3000 posts. I really need a life.

EDIT: if you used a real suspension shop for the initial alignment, I suggest you take it to them, and ask for help figuring this one out. if you used a firestone or equivalent I suggest you find a small locally owned suspension/alignment shop that has a good reputation and give them a try.

If you've layed under the front end while the wheels have been turned left and right and can't see any play in any of the joints, then try the same from above, watching the shaft (there is a slip joint in it, and there is a bearing that it runs through (this i believe is called the intermediate shaft) I've seen those fail and cause slack in wheel. if you see one part move before the other part moves then that's your issue. If you are watching the input shaft of the gear box move and the output shaft isn't then you can adjust the lash, go in very small increments. as you won't know when its too tight (thanks to power steering). I adjust until the perceived play in the steering wheel is very very slight.

this much play should be rather obvious when looking.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:13 AM   #5
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Melissa, try this... as suggested above but with a little expansion on that, have someone start the engine and start repeatedly turning the steering wheel back and forth with the tires on the ground. Don't jack the Jeep up at all. While the steering wheel is repeatedly turned left/right, watch the steering components up front for unwanted left-right slop/movement. Most things need to have the ability to rotate around their long axis so they won't break when the suspension moves up and down but there should be zero left-right movement of anything. Any left-right movement around a joint should be considered unusual and be investigated. Especially look for any movement at the passenger-side of the trackbar, shown below. The track bar should have ZERO left-right movement while the steering is being turned left/right.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:26 AM   #6
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Hey Jerry its good to see you. I did the left right thing and didnt see any play in the joints. The track bar is the new currie TJS or whatever. It has the 5/8 in bolt on the frame side. I checked the bolts on both end and they are tight. Torq wrench tite. I just found it very strange that it was only in one direction. I could see it if it were in both directions but not just one. Thats what got me. The only parts that are not new in the front end is the ball joints, and they dont have play in them. So I am not sure what it could be.

I dont think it would be an alignment issue, Im not 100% sure of that but it seems that there would be more porblems then just play in one direction.

Let me ask this, Could I have messed up something when I did the TRE's? Such as inatalling one in too far, but I would have thought that would have been found during the alignment. I am just reaching here.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:36 AM   #7
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Well, it's hard to say Melissa without seeing it but based on that, I'm now kinda suspicious of the steering box itself. I'd start giving that area the third-degree and looking to see if the steering box's sector shaft that the Pitman arm is connected to is turning as it should or if there is slop between it and what the shaft that goes to the steering wheel is doing.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:42 AM   #8
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Thanks, will do.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:48 AM   #9
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and no, screwing the tie rod ends in too far will not cause this issue. basically the only thing you could cause by that is making it harder to set the Toe. (they'd have to bust the tie rod end loose, unscrew it a few turns and put it back on, then set the toe) and this is unlikely. if you compared the old parts length to the new parts length.

In my opinion a good suspension tech should have found and fixed this issue with the alignment. (I used to do this for a living, and wouldn't have let a vehicle leave my shop like that). Or at least told you "hey your gear box is shot, you need another one or its gonna do this."
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:54 AM   #10
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About the TRE's Mrcarcrazy I was just checking. I marked and measured the old ones then put the new ones in that far. I was just making sure.

I dont understand how the alignment could cause the issue. I thought only the toe could be adjusted. Could you give guidance on this please?

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