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Old 11-17-2013, 07:41 AM   #1
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steering problem

I installed a 4" lift on my Jeep over the summer. After doing so, the steering seemed a little loose. I put a new steering stabilizer. I also removed the dropped pitman arm and replaced it with the original factory pitman arm. After that the steer was feeling closer to stock. No that it is getting colder I have put the softtop and windows on the Jeep. This is where the problem come in. When it is windy, the jeep swerves all over the road like a drunk driver. It is almost undrivable. It drives fine without the windows. I don't have any DW issues. Does anyone have ideas on how to fix the steering other than leaving the windows off?

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Old 11-17-2013, 07:49 AM   #2
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Well just think about the shape of the jeep, as aerodynamic as a billboard. You just raised it up higher, therefore raising the center of gravity, so you will feel the wind pushing you around more. You don't have this problem with the windows out because the wind can pass right through. Just ask a truck driver, they can tell you all about it. As for the steering being loose, I assume you also put on bigger, wider tires with a higher sidewall. That contributes hugely to the loose feeling you are talking about. You want your pitman arm to be as level as possible to your axle...the less level, the more strain is put on the entire system. After the lift, did you get your alignment, toe, camber and caster set up? If not, do that.

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Old 11-17-2013, 09:40 AM   #3
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Check the alignment, toe in specifically, and caster.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:40 AM   #4
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X2, your front-end's alignment is likely off. Your toe-in should be the factory .15 degrees but the optimal caster angle depends a lot on your tire size. Since you have a 4" lift, I'll guess you have 33" tires where 6-7 degrees of caster angle would be fine. Optimal caster angle for 35" tires would be a tad less, 5-6 degrees would be good.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:15 PM   #5
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I went from a 2" BB to 4" and I am still running the 32" tires I have had on for several years so there is not a big height difference. I am taking it to get an alignment next week to see if that helps, but I am wonder if could be an issue with the drag link. I had to replace the tie rod end that connects to the pitman arm. If I left the drag link a little long when replaced the rod end would that make the steering feel loose? Should I try shortening it up before taking it to get an alignment? Don't want to pay for an alignment twice.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GoodLife View Post
I went from a 2" BB to 4" and I am still running the 32" tires I have had on for several years so there is not a big height difference. I am taking it to get an alignment next week to see if that helps, but I am wonder if could be an issue with the drag link. I had to replace the tie rod end that connects to the pitman arm. If I left the drag link a little long when replaced the rod end would that make the steering feel loose? Should I try shortening it up before taking it to get an alignment? Don't want to pay for an alignment twice.
The drag link length is adjusted to center your steering wheel, and they should make that adjustment during a front end alignment. If you lifted your Jeep an additional 2" (over what is was) your toe in is likely to be off by a 1/2" or more. Once the alignment is done, you will probably see a lot of difference in the way it handles.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:55 PM   #7
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Hey Goodlife...

Changing the length of the draglink can cause an issue, as Waterdog mentions, steering needs to be centered.

What is really important is the when the jeep is actually going straight down the rd, that the steering box is exactly centered.

It's easy to not have this set correct when lifting a jeep.

Is your steering wheel positioned correctly when you are going straight?? Or is it turned either way a bit?

If it's turned a bit, most likely the steer box is not centereally tight when u r going straight.

The gears inside the box are designed to be meshed together basically tight when centered, then more play as you turn each way. But if the steer box is turned from center yet you are driving straight, then you have play in the steering box.

That can cause wandering etc. Now, if you throw in some incorrect toe-in or worse yet toe-out or incorrect caster, then the jeep can be all over the rd!

Tough to have the caster right and the pinion angle right on a lifted jeep!, But a bit of compromise usually gets them both good enough...

Too much toe-in usually gives quite stable steering, but wears tires bad. Too much toe-out also wears tires, but makes the vehicle very darty, bumps undulations etc and it's every which way!

So, check the steering box for center, check the toe-in / toe-out, see what the caster is...

Now to complicate things, also check all control arm mounts, bushings and bolts... YUP, front and rear!

Play/loosness etc there can cause dartyness as well

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Old 12-04-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the good info. Here is an update. I got 4 wheel alignment today. Yes it was very much off. I talked to the guy for a while when I picked it up. He noticed the play in the steering without me mentioning it. He said the outer tie rod ends are worn and that replacing them will tighten the steering up. He said that they are not damaged so it won't hurt to drive that way but changing them will stiffen it up again. I guess I will try that next. I really hate how loose it feels.

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