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Old 05-30-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
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power steering question

This morning I went to take a cruise to the beach in my 97' TJ and as I turned the wheel I heard the power steering pump whining. Hmm, then as I got out to check the fluid I took a look underneath and there was power steering fluid all over the front diff. No beach cruise. After looking at it for awhile with my brother we concluded that the seal on the drop pitman arm that attaches to the gearbox is shot. So I'm gonna replace the whole deal, but before I order the parts I wanted to ask you guys if you've had this go out before? I'm lifted 5 inches and when I did the lift I didn't even think about possibly altering the power steering system. If there's anything to be done should I go ahead and do it now while I'm already fixing it? I'm kinda clueless when it comes to this part of my Jeep.

Thanks! Have a safe Memorial Day!

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'97 Sahara TJ
-4.0L manual on 35's
-4" Teraflex lift, 4.56 gears
-Dana 30 w/ OX locker up front, Dana 35 w/Detroit in the rear (for now)
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
Knows a couple things...

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Aside from replacing your steering box, you only need also to get rid of that dropped Pitman arm and reinstall the OE Pitman arm. A dropped Pitman arm with a 4" Tera lift causes bump steer. A dropped Pitman arm is only (!) required in certain specific circumstances like when there has been a dropped upper track bar mount installed which Tera's kit does not come with. While older CJ and YJ Wranglers generally always needed a dropped Pitman arm after a suspension lift was installed, not so the '97 and newer TJ that has a much better steering geometry design.

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Old 05-30-2011, 03:41 PM   #3
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Well yes a dropped arm will apply more load on the shaft. Simple leverage. Original arm is somewhat close to 90 degrees right off the arm. The drop adds length, so when the wheels turn they not only twist the shaft as they are supposed to, but also are putting more of a push/pull from side to side on the shaft.

Do a little searching here on the forums, the 98 or 99 Dodge Durango is a pretty much drop in unit, but is a much stronger box. Course you use the Durango arm too.
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:12 PM   #4
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So, what your saying is to toss the dropped pitman arm and just use a stock pitman arm? I don't know what bump steer is, although I hear people say it all the time, but when I make a tight turn at low speeds the Jeep wants to almost jump although my foot isn't on the throttle. I know my geometry isn't right as it sits, but I gather from what you're saying that this would not only help me fix my steering problem but improve my geometry. I just read an article in JP's July '11 edition that walks you through this process. Thanks for the replies guys!
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'97 Sahara TJ
-4.0L manual on 35's
-4" Teraflex lift, 4.56 gears
-Dana 30 w/ OX locker up front, Dana 35 w/Detroit in the rear (for now)
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:22 PM   #5
Knows a couple things...

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Bump steer is when the steering is forced left/right as the front suspension moves up/down. If you hit a bump or dip in the road with enough speed to make the front axle move up and down when bump steer is present, the steering wheel is "bumped" left/right.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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And to add to it, when you get a bump steer occurrence, you'll know it. A good(?) one will have the jeep jump a lane on you, and scare the bajeezus out of you.
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97 Sahara, 74 Renegade, 72 CJ5, 55 Willy's (the Beast) Boss 302, 6:34 gearing, Bose 901 speakers.
God I miss that Jeep. Forgot the kinda Jeep, 80 SX4.
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:23 PM   #7
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Yep. This has definitely happened. Puckered me up good quite a few times on wet roads and interstate. Thanks for all the help guys!

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'97 Sahara TJ
-4.0L manual on 35's
-4" Teraflex lift, 4.56 gears
-Dana 30 w/ OX locker up front, Dana 35 w/Detroit in the rear (for now)
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