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midwestdnd 02-24-2012 04:26 PM

Steering very squirrely w/3" lift and 31's
Hello Everyone!! We finally got a Wrangler.A bunch of our friends going through the same 'crisis' bought motorcycles which we wouldn't do so we got a Wrangler to carry the coolers. 2003 Freedom Edition. I'm getting it all checked out, tuned up, etc.. and ready for when the snow finally melts and we can drop the top. My questions: Did the freedom come with a factory 3" lift or is that aftermarket? It has 31's on it and is extremely squirrley when going down the road. Is this to be expected? Mechanic wants to change the Trackbar bushing and the lower control arms and wants them to have neoprene bushings. He said the tie rod ends look fine. He has a 2000 Wrangler with no lift and says his drives like a car. -he was nervous driving mine. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Imped 02-24-2012 05:05 PM

Don't listen to your mechanic. You don't need or want poly bushings and that likely isn't a big factor in your squirliness. Post up pictures of the front end, specifically of the pitman arm and a direct front view so that I can see the track bar and drag link angles.

As for the suspension, it's aftermarket. No such thing as a "factory lift."

jp2611 02-24-2012 05:08 PM

with no pics it is hard to say what is wrong.....first thing I would check would be tire pressure.....a lot of people over inflate. Not sure of your tire type but would guess 25-30 psi MAX!!

next would be alignment......

Death rider 02-24-2012 05:08 PM

I've having the same problem. I have to take it to get checked out because I can't figure it out my self

midwestdnd 02-24-2012 07:15 PM

Pictures of front end...
5 Attachment(s)
If I did it correctly there should be 5 pics I just took. Not sure how helpful these are so please let me know where I can zoom in or anything. I sincerely appreciate the help!!

Tire pressure is between 20 and 22 for all four.
They are Dominator Sport A/T 31x10.5 R15 LT

Imped 02-24-2012 07:22 PM

Raise tire pressure to 28psi and replace the pitman arm with a stock unit. Set toe to 1/8" and let us know how it is.

Will George 02-24-2012 07:26 PM

probably not this problem, but my tj got a death wobble because of a mud build up in my tires.
if nothing else works, then go to a tire shop and ask them to check that out, thats what happend to me in my 4inch lift and 32's

midwestdnd 02-24-2012 07:39 PM

Pitman arm
I thought seeing an extended pitman arm was a good thing since its lifted. Is there only one stock pitman arm or is there one for a lifted unit?
I think I'll definitely start with having the tire shop fully inspect the tires and then at 28psi I'll test drive.

Jerry Bransford 02-24-2012 07:45 PM

Several things...

First, no, a dropped Pitman arm is NOT desireable on a Jeep Wrangler TJ, even with a suspension lift. Yes dropped Pitman arms are usually needed for other lifted vehicles but a Wrangler TJ has an improved steering geometry that just gets screwed up if you install a dropped Pitman arm. The only time a Wrangler TJ needs a dropped Pitman arm is if the driver's side track bar mount has a corresponding drop which yours does not have.

So together with replacing the dropped with the factory Pitman arm, get the front-end aligned. Get the toe-in set to .15 and for the Caster angle, set it to around 6 degrees. The factory 7 degree Caster angle is only suitable for stock size tires, your 33" tires require a tad less Caster angle.

The alignment should make the Jeep track better. Going back to the factory Pitman arm will stop the steering from being moved left/right as the front-end suspension moves up and down over bumps/dips in the road. That latter problem is called bump steer.

midwestdnd 02-24-2012 09:36 PM

Thanks guys! I will be putting on a stock pitman arm, adjust camber, alignment and tire pressure. It makes me a bit nervous as to who put the dropped arm on it. I'm the third owner so I'll make some calls. ...again thanks everyone and
I will post results soon.

Jerry Bransford 02-24-2012 11:28 PM

Caster, not camber. :)

Wrangler06 02-24-2012 11:32 PM

is it just me or does it look like the gear box is pissin everywhere?

midwestdnd 02-25-2012 07:27 AM

Yes Caster not it.

Had a leaky power steering hose replaced so that's part of the 'wet'. The other is that I drove through snow/water as I pulled into the garage for the pics. Although I pulled into my wifes car's stall so maybe it's marking it's territory.

Thanks again everyone and I will post results.

midwestdnd 03-16-2012 05:53 PM

It WASN'T the pitman arm
Replaced the shocks, and track bar. Track bar was loose on one end and froze up on the other. Also it appeared that whoever did the lift tightened all the suspension bolts down when it was in the air. He loosened them, set the jeep down and retightend. Incredible difference now. Very controllable. Hope this helps anyone else...

UnlimitedLJ04 03-16-2012 06:16 PM

did you ditch the drop pitman arm?

midwestdnd 03-18-2012 06:41 PM

No, left it on. He checked the tires to see if they were plum and they were.

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