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Old 06-07-2006, 11:19 AM   #1
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New guy, old..er TJ with probs

I bought a 97 TJ Sport with 117,000 miles. Got a really good deal on it.... but..... it was not takin care of and its got some suspension troubles. It has a lift (don't know what brand or size) and 33 inch tires. When I got it, I could barely drive it down the highway at 45, because it was all over the road. I could tell the tie rod and drag link were bent up pretty bad, so I put a Rusty's HD rod, link and adjustable track bar. Put new skyjacker shocks and had the front end aligned. Its better but still a bit of a squirrel (when you push the clutch at speed or let off the gas at 55mph it wants to take off to one side, etc.). The idiot who owned it before me cut the rear upper control arms and extended them about 1.5" and welded in a piece of steel to turn the axle rearward, so I'm putting new control arms on it. I don't know what to do next, but I'm almost to the point of scrapping the whole suspension and putting a new everything underneath. Anyone got any suggestions b4 I do?? Thanks...

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Old 06-07-2006, 01:10 PM   #2
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can't help you with your problems....but we have lots of knowledgable people that can

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Old 06-07-2006, 01:57 PM   #3
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Checked your motor mounts yet?

BTW, Welcome to the Forum!
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Old 06-07-2006, 02:15 PM   #4
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Checked your motor mounts yet?

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no, never thought about that. I will though. Thanks.
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:28 PM   #5
coilovers are damn flexy
 
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Welcome to the forum, glad you are here. There are a lot of knowledgeable people here, so don't be bashful with any questions.
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Old 06-07-2006, 06:11 PM   #6
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Kind of sounds like there's a Detroit Locker in the rear that is causing what you are seeing. When you shift gears do you hear any clunking in the driveline at all?
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Old 06-07-2006, 06:54 PM   #7
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Also - with a standard track bar replacement; make sure a drop pitman arm wasn't installed (you need the stock one, unless you're gonna drastically alter the steering, or drop the trackbar). Installing one can give you bump-steer; which can also be present when you let on/off the gas obviously.
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Old 06-08-2006, 08:30 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the comments guys. I know there are no lockers installed, so thats not it, and the track bar and drag link are within 5 degrees of eachother and the pitman arm is stock so thats not it either. To be honest I'm leaning more toward the problem being isolated to the backside. The front doesn't wobble or jerk or anything. Here is the main problem, when you tap the gas at speed or let off the gas at speed it seems as though the rearend is kinda shifting to one side or the other, as if the torque on the driveshaft is pushing it out to the side, and then I have to change steering direction a tad to compensate.
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Old 06-08-2006, 04:12 PM   #9
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Saying that sounds like there are bad bushings or something in your extremely home brewed rearend setup that you were left with from the previous owner. Personally I would imagine that putting new (correct) control arms in there will take care of your issues.
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Old 06-08-2006, 07:25 PM   #10
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if your sure theres no locker in the rear i would get all new rear control arms. make sure you get adjustable ones if you plan on getting a slip yolk eliminator for the t-case. and look into new bushings for the rear track bar and check the mount on the axle, mine came loose and made the jeep all squirly in the back
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:30 AM   #11
coilovers are damn flexy
 
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I would imagine that he has the equivalent of a 4" lift to clear those 33" tires. On the rear axle, there should be a riser for the track arm. To check the geometry, measure how much tire is sticking out past the flares on each side of your Jeep. If it is the same, you have the correct geometry. Now check to make sure that the riser is properly secured. All the bolts are in place, and tight. If there are any bolts missing from the riser, it will give you that squirrelly feeling. As 1BLKJP also mentioned, check all the bushings in the rear, and make sure the bolts through your control arms are tight. If they are loose, and if your bushings are shot, you will get that squirlley feeling.

One more suggestion, measure the wheel base on that Jeep to make sure that it didn't get shortened. With that much lift, you usually have to put in longer lower control arms to maintain proper dimensions. Also make sure that this lift wasn't put on top of 2" spring spacers. No telling how radical the previous owner was. That will really mess up the geometry.
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bluvikng
I would imagine that he has the equivalent of a 4" lift to clear those 33" tires. On the rear axle, there should be a riser for the track arm. To check the geometry, measure how much tire is sticking out past the flares on each side of your Jeep. If it is the same, you have the correct geometry. Now check to make sure that the riser is properly secured. All the bolts are in place, and tight. If there are any bolts missing from the riser, it will give you that squirrelly feeling. As 1BLKJP also mentioned, check all the bushings in the rear, and make sure the bolts through your control arms are tight. If they are loose, and if your bushings are shot, you will get that squirlley feeling.

One more suggestion, measure the wheel base on that Jeep to make sure that it didn't get shortened. With that much lift, you usually have to put in longer lower control arms to maintain proper dimensions. Also make sure that this lift wasn't put on top of 2" spring spacers. No telling how radical the previous owner was. That will really mess up the geometry.
First and again, thanks for the feedback. A couple of things, after further inspection the track bar mount on the rear axle is being held on by one bolt (DOH!!) so I'm fixing that. I also have the new upper contol arms coming, but while inspecting again, I noticed that the lower control arms (shock type lookin thing) are welded, to say that the no longer go in and out. What does this affect or hurt? Also, there ARE spacers on it, but what is the length of the stock springs with the weight of the jeep so I can tell if they are lift springs or not. The previous owner must have been the dumbest person on the planet, I'm tellin you guys I'm about two inches from buying a whole new suspension system.

Also, what do you guys think about Full Traction systems? I've read mostly good reviews on them, but some bad also.
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Old 06-12-2006, 02:24 PM   #13
coilovers are damn flexy
 
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At this point, I think we need some pictures to be able to identify your problems. Do you have, or have access to, a digital camera? I am almost inclined to think that you may simply have a 2" budget boost, and a 2" body lift. It would really simplify this if you could get some pictures on here for us. The lower control arms are not supposed to act like shocks. They have to be solid, to hold your axle in the right position. Did you get a chance to measure your wheel base yet? Center of front axle, to center of rear axle, should be no shorter than 92 inches.

I do not have any experience, other than reading about full traction systems. Sorry I can't help you with that.

You may be money ahead, by simply ordering a Rough Country 4" lift. It is a very complete kit, and fairly easy to install. It is probably the cheapest as well. That is what I have on our Rubicon, and it seems to hold up very well on the trails. A long arm suspension is preferrable, but much more expensive. The RC kit even has new lower control arms to keep the wheel base correct.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:21 PM   #14
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if you get pics get them of the lower control arms (goes from lower part of axle to frame). i sounds like they may be aftermarket ones already
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Old 06-13-2006, 10:28 AM   #15
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My cousin had a similar problem when we installed a four inch lift on his 99 Tj. When he hit the gas it would pull to the right, but wasn't noticably pulling when the throttle was steady. After inspecting everything we found out a transmission mout had broken free so the tourge on the transmission from hitting the gas was causing it. We order a stronger one of e-bay threw it on and problem saw. Easy way to tel is climb underneath your jeep and push up on the transmission (not the skid plate) and if it budges it is probably busted.

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