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Old 10-24-2019, 06:44 PM
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Loose Steering

Hey.
My 2016 4 door has a 2.5 inch MC game changer with 285/70r17 falkens. Got a falcon stabilizer and Teraflex ball joints, but all other steering components are stock. My Jeep wanders all over road. In order to keep the Jeep straight I gotta constantly either pull the steering wheel left or right. Iíve had multiple alignments. Everything is within spec besides my camber. My camber is off at every shop Iíve took it too (6 places). Could it be possible that my knuckles are bent? My trusted Jeep mechanic also said everything is tight underneath. Track bar, bushings etc. Im gonna take it back to him for another look. But I guess Iím just asking if anyone has any ideas of what this could be before I take it back to the mechanic?


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Old 10-24-2019, 09:46 PM   #2
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It's a lifted Jeep. Every one of them I have ever had (over 10, maybe more like 15) could best be described as loose. Even the stock ones.

I flipped the drag link and raised the track bar on mine and it only gave like a 20% improvement. It was probably worth the grand it cost but it's still by no means "tight". Not that that matters since you can't quite go that route yet anyway at 2.5".

30k on it, brand new steering. Nothing else worn out yet. Still pretty damn sloppy compared to my 4runner with 140k on it and an inch level in front.

Your C's could be bent sure, but I'm not sure that's going to make the steering any sloppier. By sloppy I assume you mean play when you move the wheel, you have to move it like what seems too far before you get a reaction, right? Some of that is just softer tires with larger sidewalls for sure. Some of it is natural lifted Jeep.

Or are you talking about wandering on the highway? If so, What did the caster actually come out to be at and what tire pressure are you running?

How many miles on it? I have seen really sloppy steering boxes before, some of that can sometimes be adjusted out of it or the box swapped out - but I wouldnt think that to be the case yet if the lift was just recently done and you didn't seem to notice an issue before.

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Old 10-24-2019, 09:55 PM
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I understand that jeeps will never have perfect steering. My steering was loose compared to my brothers Tacoma since the day I got it. But I should mention that my steering was perfect (to my standard) even with the 2.5 inch lift and 35s(before I went to 33s). But about two months ago I got death wobble. That problem seemed to be solved and I no longer have death wobble but now my steering is terrible compared to what it use to be. Itís actually tiring. Iím constantly fighting the wheel to keep it straight.


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Old 10-24-2019, 09:59 PM   #4
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I understand that jeeps will never have perfect steering. My steering was loose compared to my brothers Tacoma since the day I got it. But I should mention that my steering was perfect (to my standard) even with the 2.5 inch lift and 35s(before I went to 33s). But about two months ago I got death wobble. That problem seemed to be solved and I no longer have death wobble but now my steering is terrible compared to what it use to be. Itís actually tiring. Iím constantly fighting the wheel to keep it straight.


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Ok now that's interesting. What change solved your death wobble issue?
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Old 10-24-2019, 10:08 PM
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Ok now that's interesting. What change solved your death wobble issue?


Well at first I had my Jeep at a shop that got me to replace my stabilizer with a falcon ef 2.1. That made the death wobble stop and made the Jeep driveable on the highway again. But the Jeep still didnít drive good and I was still getting steering wheel vibes. Then they had me replace my draglink with another stock one. Which made no change from what it already was from the changing the stabilizer. After that I got fed up and thought that maybe going to 285s from 35s would help. So I ditched the 35s and steelies for 285s and aluminum wheels. And thatís where Iím at now. I now have a new mechanic that have been working on lifted Jeep Wranglers for years and everyone in my off road group trusts him. He told me my old mechanic was wrong in getting me to get a new stabilizer. He called it a bandaid. He replaced my upper control arm bushings and tightened my track bar, and he said the steering components look good. My Jeep still wanders and steers like crap. By the way my caster is at 5 degrees and my Jeep has 46000 miles


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Old 10-24-2019, 10:12 PM
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My new mechanic said heís gonna do an alignment himself even though he doesnít have the machine. He said heíll measure and take my jeep for test drives until its right. And adjust my toe until itís perfect, even though itís in spec according to the alignment shop. Iím just confused. My Jeep use to be fine with a regular alignment. Iím tempted to just buy all new HD steering components and see if it solves anything.


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Old 10-24-2019, 10:28 PM   #7
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Well at first I had my Jeep at a shop that got me to replace my stabilizer with a falcon ef 2.1. That made the death wobble stop and made the Jeep driveable on the highway again. But the Jeep still didnít drive good and I was still getting steering wheel vibes. Then they had me replace my draglink with another stock one. Which made no change from what it already was from the changing the stabilizer. After that I got fed up and thought that maybe going to 285s from 35s would help. So I ditched the 35s and steelies for 285s and aluminum wheels. And thatís where Iím at now. I now have a new mechanic that have been working on lifted Jeep Wranglers for years and everyone in my off road group trusts him. He told me my old mechanic was wrong in getting me to get a new stabilizer. He called it a bandaid. He replaced my upper control arm bushings and tightened my track bar, and he said the steering components look good. My Jeep still wanders and steers like crap. By the way my caster is at 5 degrees and my Jeep has 46000 miles


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Now it's coming together in my head.

Your new mechanic is 100% right about the band aid. I can (and have fairly recently) run with no stabilizer at all. Because nothing has any real play on mine. A stabilizer is never a fix for DW though sometimes even a dealer will incorrectly replace one and call it fixed. They are all missing something that is worn which caused the DW originally. Could likely be the source of your sloppy steering. I don't think it's an alignment issue now that you said that.

If this new mechanic knows Jeeps, he will know to watch every single component underneath for movement with Jeep running in park and someone else sawing the steering wheel back and forth. If he doesnt, tell him to do so. There is still play in something and if your sloppiness is excessive, my guess is track bar. #1 cause of death wobble from what I have seen over several models. Track bar bushings could be shot or holes on the mounts wallowed out. It can be "tight" and click at 125 or whatever the spec is, but may still move and let the axle shift back and forth. Definitely have him focus on track bar again before buying all new steering. But he should be able to see exactly what's going on with that one simple test. I always have, and I am only a shade tree mechanic

Again, Jeep running, trans in Park, watch for movement in anything while someone else moves the steering wheel back and forth like 90*. Something like 10 or 11 o' clock to 1 or 2 o' clock and back. Over and over. There is a whole thread on it somewhere but it's a trick we have been using for many, many years as owners of modified Jeeps. And it precedes the JK by quite a bit but all the principles still hold true. As does the Achilles heel of the track bar and its mounts on any SFA Jeep suspension.

Put it this way, if you changed the drag link with no change in behavior, why change it again? And if tie rod ends are bad, he'll see it right away with the same test.
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:35 PM
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Your new mechanic is 100% right about the band aid. I can (and have fairly recently) run with no stabilizer at all. Because nothing has any real play on mine. A stabilizer is never a fix for DW though sometimes even a dealer will incorrectly replace one and call it fixed. They are all missing something that is worn which caused the DW originally. Could likely be the source of your sloppy steering. I don't think it's an alignment issue now that you said that.

If this new mechanic knows Jeeps, he will know to watch every single component underneath for movement with Jeep running and someone else sawing the steering wheel back and forth. If he doesnt, tell him to do so. There is still play in something and if your sloppiness is excessive, my guess is track bar. #1 cause of death wobble from what I have seen over several models. Track bar bushings could be shot or holes on the mounts wallowed out. It can be "tight" and click at 125 or whatever the spec is, but may still move and let the axle shift back and forth. Definitely have him focus on track bar before buying all new steering.

Again, Jeep running, watch for movement in anything while someone else moves the steering wheel back and forth like 90*. There is a whole thread on it somewhere but it's a trick we have been using for many, many years as owners of modified Jeeps. And it precedes the JK by quite a bit but all the principles still hold true. As does the Achilles heel of the track bar and its mounts on any SFA Jeep suspension.


Thanks! Thatís a very helpful response. Iíll definitely do that


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Old 10-24-2019, 11:52 PM   #9
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If it helps any, I'm dealing with the same issue of loose or sloppy steering. It's drivable, but not what I would consider tight. I'm running a 2.5" Terafelx suspension lift with 35x22.5 Cooper MT tires. I've changed out the tie rod, drag link, and steering stabilizer with all Terafelx HD components, it helped but didn't bring it back to "tight". I have a Terafelx track bar in the box, but haven't gotten around to putting it on yet. Maybe next week for that. I also have Terafelx ball joints sitting in the box waiting to be taken to a garage to be installed. I tried to do it myself this summer but failed miserably. The HD steering components may help, but if your idea of tight is the same as mine, it won't do it but still worth the time to upgrade. I'm not looking for 18 year old tight, but like 30 year old tight. I'm sitting at about 38 year old tight right now with the upgrades I've mentioned

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Old 10-25-2019, 12:16 AM
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If it helps any, I'm dealing with the same issue of loose or sloppy steering. It's drivable, but not what I would consider tight. I'm running a 2.5" Terafelx suspension lift with 35x22.5 Cooper MT tires. I've changed out the tie rod, drag link, and steering stabilizer with all Terafelx HD components, it helped but didn't bring it back to "tight". I have a Terafelx track bar in the box, but haven't gotten around to putting it on yet. Maybe next week for that. I also have Terafelx ball joints sitting in the box waiting to be taken to a garage to be installed. I tried to do it myself this summer but failed miserably. The HD steering components may help, but if your idea of tight is the same as mine, it won't do it but still worth the time to upgrade. I'm not looking for 18 year old tight, but like 30 year old tight. I'm sitting at about 38 year old tight right now with the upgrades I've mentioned

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Yes we have very similar situations. I wonder if steering box could actually be an issue? Also does your Jeep also experience wandering and do you need to pull the steering wheel left/right constantly to keep your Jeep straight?



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Old 10-25-2019, 12:26 AM   #11
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Yes we have very similar situations. I wonder if steering box could actually be an issue? Also does your Jeep also experience wandering and do you need to pull the steering wheel left/right constantly to keep your Jeep straight?



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I don't enough about Jeeps (or anything else mechanical for that matter) to say, I'm learning as I go and doing all the work I can myself to learn as much as I can from my first Jeep. As far as the steering box goes... you'd have to ask someone who knows more than I do, which isn't hard to do. But yes, it's almost constant corrections in the steering wheel to keep it going straight down the road. I'm hoping it's not the steering box and either the track bar and/or the ball joints will solve the problem for me

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Old 10-25-2019, 12:43 AM
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I don't enough about Jeeps (or anything else mechanical for that matter) to say, I'm learning as I go and doing all the work I can myself to learn as much as I can from my first Jeep. As far as the steering box goes... you'd have to ask someone who knows more than I do, which isn't hard to do. But yes, it's almost constant corrections in the steering wheel to keep it going straight down the road. I'm hoping it's not the steering box and either the track bar and/or the ball joints will solve the problem for me

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Ball joints did not solve the problem for me. Hopefully you have better luck! I have a Metalcloak HD track bar, but Iím definitely going to check out my track bar bushings.


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Old 10-25-2019, 12:48 AM   #13
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Ball joints did not solve the problem for me. Hopefully you have better luck! I have a Metalcloak HD track bar, but Iím definitely going to check out my track bar bushings.


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I'm sure my ball joints need to be replaced anyway. Been riding on those 35s for about 6 months, but they're the stick ball joints with 114k on them. Good luck with your rig, if you find a solution please post it for others (me) to see and I'll do the same if I ever get it figured out. Steering box will undoubtedly be my last option tho

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Old 10-25-2019, 12:50 AM
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I'm sure my ball joints need to be replaced anyway. Been riding on those 35s for about 6 months, but they're the stick ball joints with 114k on them. Good luck with your rig, if you find a solution please post it for others (me) to see and I'll do the same if I ever get it figured out. Steering box will undoubtedly be my last option tho

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I donít want to replace the box either. Thatís a lot of cash to spend if it doesnít solve the problem. Iím getting my mechanic to look at the Jeep again next week. Iíll keep this thread updated if I find a solution


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Old 10-25-2019, 08:16 AM   #15
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While it could be a bad steering box, that isn't that common and certainly should be easy to confirm. There is either play in the steering box or there is not. If there is not play in the steering box (you can turn the steering wheel back and forth without the pitman arm moving) than replacing a steering box will do nothing.
Death Wobble is about play, play in the track bar ends, play in the ball joints, or play in the steering linkage. If there is no play, there is no DW.
To the OP, what did your MC lift include for caster correction, and what is your caster at currently?
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:23 AM   #16
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Castor and tire pressure...? Over inflated tires wander like crazy.
And if it has any toe out it will want to wander.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:52 AM
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While it could be a bad steering box, that isn't that common and certainly should be easy to confirm. There is either play in the steering box or there is not. If there is not play in the steering box (you can turn the steering wheel back and forth without the pitman arm moving) than replacing a steering box will do nothing.
Death Wobble is about play, play in the track bar ends, play in the ball joints, or play in the steering linkage. If there is no play, there is no DW.
To the OP, what did your MC lift include for caster correction, and what is your caster at currently?


MC lift included front and rear track bars and all 8 adjustable control arms. I live in NL Canada, and a lot of alignment shops are uneducated on jeeps and straight up said no to adjusting my arms. My caster is currently at 5 degrees though. Camber is at -.7 and -.8 each side(slightly out). And toe is within spec with the total front tow at 0.11. My new mechanic thinks the toe needs a specific adjustment and add more toe in himself and see what happens


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Old 10-25-2019, 09:55 AM
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Castor and tire pressure...? Over inflated tires wander like crazy.
And if it has any toe out it will want to wander.


Thatís a good point. I generally have my 285/70s at 30 psi. I should check and make sure that one of the many shops I took it too didnít add more air. But my wandering steering have been an on going problem since May. Tire pressure may be contributing but Iím not sure if itís the source. Iíll check it out! Last year one time a shop decided to put 45 psi in my old 315s. The Jeep felt like it was driving on rocks for wheels lol


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Old 10-25-2019, 10:08 AM   #19
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MC lift included front and rear track bars and all 8 adjustable control arms. I live in NL Canada, and a lot of alignment shops are uneducated on jeeps and straight up said no to adjusting my arms. My caster is currently at 5 degrees though. Camber is at -.7 and -.8 each side(slightly out). And toe is within spec with the total front tow at 0.11. My new mechanic thinks the toe needs a specific adjustment and add more toe in himself and see what happens


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My opinion is that isn't enough toe.
I could be wrong, but that is my opinion. More toe will typically be more stable, and the trade off is tire wear.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:11 AM   #20
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Thatís a good point. I generally have my 285/70s at 30 psi. I should check and make sure that one of the many shops I took it too didnít add more air. But my wandering steering have been an on going problem since May. Tire pressure may be contributing but Iím not sure if itís the source. Iíll check it out! Last year one time a shop decided to put 45 psi in my old 315s. The Jeep felt like it was driving on rocks for wheels lol


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1/8" total toe-in is recommended for a JK. More than that and you will be scrubbing the hell out of your tires, and it will be twitchy and want to turn in too easily. FWIW, I run my 285/70-17's at 30 psi cold and they are wearing beautifully.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:12 AM
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My opinion is that isn't enough toe.

I could be wrong, but that is my opinion. More toe will typically be more stable, and the trade off is tire wear.


This is what my mechanic thinks also. Hopefully he will adjust the toe. Maybe you could help me understand something though. I know what toe in and toe out are but I donít know how that translates to the numbers. If I increased my current toe reading that would be toe in?


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Old 10-25-2019, 10:15 AM
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1/8" total toe-in is recommended for a JK. More than that and you will be scrubbing the hell out of your tires, and it will be twitchy and want to turn in too easily. FWIW, I run my 285/70-17's at 30 psi cold and they are wearing beautifully.


How would 1/8 inch total toe in translate to the alignment measurement? Like what should that 0.11 be changed to?


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Old 10-25-2019, 10:22 AM   #23
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How would 1/8 inch total toe in translate to the alignment measurement? Like what should that 0.11 be changed to?


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.125" of toe-in on both front tires. If both sides are set to .11", that's just about perfect. Larger tire sizes tend to need a bit more toe-in. Here is a link that might help. https://www.jkowners.com/forum/write...djustment.html

And to clarify, I misspoke in my earlier post, too much toe-out will make it want to turn in too quickly. As Guzzi said, more toe-in usually gives more directional stability at the cost of increased tire wear.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:31 AM
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.125" of toe-in on both front tires. If both sides are set to .11", that's just about perfect. Larger tire sizes tend to need a bit more toe-in. Here is a link that might help. https://www.jkowners.com/forum/write...djustment.html

And to clarify, I misspoke in my earlier post, too much toe-out will make it want to turn in too quickly. As Guzzi said, more toe-in usually gives more directional stability at the cost of increased tire wear.


Thank you Rhinosport, thatís very helpful!


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Old 10-25-2019, 10:42 AM   #25
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.125" of toe-in on both front tires. If both sides are set to .11", that's just about perfect. Larger tire sizes tend to need a bit more toe-in. Here is a link that might help. https://www.jkowners.com/forum/write...djustment.html

And to clarify, I misspoke in my earlier post, too much toe-out will make it want to turn in too quickly. As Guzzi said, more toe-in usually gives more directional stability at the cost of increased tire wear.
I used to take my MINI to the shop and toe it out for track days, back in on Monday. The shop where I had the alignment would do it free. They were race fans...

It felt really funny on the highway with it toed out. It wanted to dart around like a nervous squirrel.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:07 AM
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I used to take my MINI to the shop and toe it out for track days, back in on Monday. The shop where I had the alignment would do it free. They were race fans...



It felt really funny on the highway with it toed out. It wanted to dart around like a nervous squirrel.


Dart around like a nervous squirrel is great way of putting it! Thatís what my Jeep feels like


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Old 10-25-2019, 11:12 AM   #27
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Dart around like a nervous squirrel is great way of putting it! Thatís what my Jeep feels like
Well, you're a Newfie so it would be like a moose on meth. But same thing.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:14 AM
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Well, you're a Newfie so it would be like a moose on meth. But same thing.



I like the comparison


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Old 10-25-2019, 01:02 PM   #29
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I used to take my MINI to the shop and toe it out for track days, back in on Monday. The shop where I had the alignment would do it free. They were race fans...

It felt really funny on the highway with it toed out. It wanted to dart around like a nervous squirrel.
I've always thought of the new mini as a nervous squirrel anyway.
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Old 10-25-2019, 01:22 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jon_Bob View Post
If it helps any, I'm dealing with the same issue of loose or sloppy steering. It's drivable, but not what I would consider tight. I'm running a 2.5" Terafelx suspension lift with 35x22.5 Cooper MT tires. I've changed out the tie rod, drag link, and steering stabilizer with all Terafelx HD components, it helped but didn't bring it back to "tight". I have a Terafelx track bar in the box, but haven't gotten around to putting it on yet. Maybe next week for that. I also have Terafelx ball joints sitting in the box waiting to be taken to a garage to be installed. I tried to do it myself this summer but failed miserably. The HD steering components may help, but if your idea of tight is the same as mine, it won't do it but still worth the time to upgrade. I'm not looking for 18 year old tight, but like 30 year old tight. I'm sitting at about 38 year old tight right now with the upgrades I've mentioned

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Always go for 18
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