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Old 02-08-2014, 11:08 AM   #1
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Why does my new 04 rubicon, drive like hell on the expressway

Alllllllllllright. Now, this is my 3rd wrangler, so I know that they aren't known for being aerodynamic. However, this is my first Jeep (an automobile) in 5 years, so I'm a little rusty and have forgotten a lot of what I know. So, I bought this 2004 rubicon, 62k miles, my mechanic says it's in pretty great shape, everything works well. Now, this is where I don't know my shit. This beast stands at about 6'5'', I'm guessing there's a 4-6 inch lift, plus my tires are monsters. They are Goodyear Wranglers, LT315/75R16. It looks like the idiot previous driver never had them rotated.....ever. So the back two are almost bald and the front two have about 3/4 of an inch tread left. Mechanic says he can't rotate them now, b/c it would be risky for breaking. He said just replace them.

I've had it for about 2 weeks and this is what I notice. When I don't have him in 4wd, he drives like he has a mind of his own. The steering seems like it could be tighter (is this because of monster tires?) I just had an alignment on it. When 4wd is disabled and I'm on the expressway going 55-65 (haven't been brave enough to take him any higher) and I let off the accelerator, it feels like the tires want to go their own way and I have to fight to get them back to a steady line. I'm sure wind is a factor...but it seems more intense than my other wranglers (neither were lifted and had normal stock tires) Now, when I put him in 4WD, no matter if the roads are dry or wet or snowy (I've experienced all this month) he drives near perfect. Steering still feels a little loose and sloppy, but I feel like I'm not going to lose control of the car.

Now, is this because the tires are 1. mud tires and I'm using them on highway, 2. front tire tread is drastically different than rear tires, 3. I have a lift and wind is pushing it like a sail (my coworker suggested this).

Please please help me. I want to buy new tires regardless and I want to get the right ones. If anyone can answer any of these questions and also suggest tires to get. 90% of my driving will be on paved roads and expressway, with 10% being on gravel, mud, sand, when I take it to my cottage in the boonies (Indiana).

What's the deal..?

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Old 02-08-2014, 11:14 AM   #2
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Some of it is the tire condition... Post some pic of the suspension... front steering links etc.. lots of things that if are not adjusted correctly can cause issues.... and if we can see pic's we might be able to help you out some more...

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Old 02-08-2014, 11:20 AM   #3
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Only second answer, but I would also question tire pressure....and here is a hint it is not what is on the tire or door plate.....you didn't say what size tire exactly just big...and no pics so all we can do is guess.

FWIW I have 33"x 12.50"s on 15" Cragar soft 8 wheels...and I run about 26-28PSI and it is great on or off road and up to 85 on the interstate. (that doesn't happen much) I am running without a front sway bar because of the width of the tires. (It rubbed off road.) First thing I would check or change is tires.

My tires are Duratracs..best A/T IMO for the money...had BFG A/Ts before (3sets) like these better.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepgal19 View Post
Alllllllllllright. Now, this is my 3rd wrangler, so I know that they aren't known for being aerodynamic. However, this is my first Jeep (an automobile) in 5 years, so I'm a little rusty and have forgotten a lot of what I know. So, I bought this 2004 rubicon, 62k miles, my mechanic says it's in pretty great shape, everything works well. Now, this is where I don't know my shit. This beast stands at about 6'5'', I'm guessing there's a 4-6 inch lift, plus my tires are monsters. They are Goodyear Wranglers, LT315/75R16. It looks like the idiot previous driver never had them rotated.....ever. So the back two are almost bald and the front two have about 3/4 of an inch tread left. Mechanic says he can't rotate them now, b/c it would be risky for breaking. He said just replace them.

I've had it for about 2 weeks and this is what I notice. When I don't have him in 4wd, he drives like he has a mind of his own. The steering seems like it could be tighter (is this because of monster tires?) I just had an alignment on it. When 4wd is disabled and I'm on the expressway going 55-65 (haven't been brave enough to take him any higher) and I let off the accelerator, it feels like the tires want to go their own way and I have to fight to get them back to a steady line. I'm sure wind is a factor...but it seems more intense than my other wranglers (neither were lifted and had normal stock tires) Now, when I put him in 4WD, no matter if the roads are dry or wet or snowy (I've experienced all this month) he drives near perfect. Steering still feels a little loose and sloppy, but I feel like I'm not going to lose control of the car.

Now, is this because the tires are 1. mud tires and I'm using them on highway, 2. front tire tread is drastically different than rear tires, 3. I have a lift and wind is pushing it like a sail (my coworker suggested this).

Please please help me. I want to buy new tires regardless and I want to get the right ones. If anyone can answer any of these questions and also suggest tires to get. 90% of my driving will be on paved roads and expressway, with 10% being on gravel, mud, sand, when I take it to my cottage in the boonies (Indiana).

What's the deal..?
Sounds to me like you need suspension adjustment and need to do through the Jeep. If the tires weren't rotated, chances are fluids weren't changed either. Have the tires balanced or just get rid of them altogether. Your tires are 35" +/- so also check brake pads etc. As also mentioned check tire pressure. I run the same size tire, Dry roads 30 psi, snow packed 15-20psi, off-road 3-8psi (beadlocks)...

My guess is in 4wd the front pulls the "slack" out of the suspension making everything tight...and it handles better. My PO had a 6" lift handled like CRAP. There was loose suspension parts and drivetrain issues...dealt with those and it was much better. I then lowered the Jeep from 6" to 3.5" and it handled even better! A little TLC will make a huge difference! Good luck!
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:35 AM   #5
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Sounds to me like you need suspension adjustment and need to do through the Jeep. If the tires weren't rotated, chances are fluids weren't changed either. Have the tires balanced or just get rid of them altogether. Your tires are 35" +/- so also check brake pads etc.

My guess is in 4wd the front pulls the "slack" out of the suspension making everything tight...and it handles better. My PO had a 6" lift handled like CRAP. There was loose suspension parts and drivetrain issues...dealt with those and it was much better. I then lowered the Jeep from 6" to 3.5" and it handled even better! A little TLC will make a huge difference! Good luck!
Oops I missed that didn't read correctly...so used to lookin' for 33"/ 34" 35" totally missed it
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jp2611 View Post
Oops I missed that didn't read correctly...so used to lookin' for 33"/ 34" 35" totally missed it
and we'll forget it ever happened!
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:54 AM   #7
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As mentioned above, check your tire pressure first. Your tires measure out to about 34.5" x 12.5" and you should be running them at well less than 30 psi...about 26 would be good. Do a dry steering test like this:

Dry Steering Test
Have 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 and feel 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.

If your tires are in terrible condition, this could also lend to your issues.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:59 AM   #8
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I may also suggest that when you said you had it aligned was it done to the t of the machine. Where as with all those after market parts and what nots you want to have a slight toe in the tires to prevent that wandering of the jeep.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:44 AM   #9
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Hey guys, thanks for suggestions. I have an identical post in general tj forum where I posted the pix. Yes, I believe my tires are around 35s.

New 04 Rubicon, drives like hell on the expressway!!!

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