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Old 12-05-2019, 09:47 PM
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Steering still wanders after geo bracket install

So I just installed rubicon express geometry correction brackets on my jeep that has a 2.5 inch spacer lift, I did this to try and solve my steering problems. I know that geo brackets are not necessary for a lift this small, but I had read that it would solve my issues where my jeep tends to wander in the lane above 40mph and requires constant steering adjustment.

After it took me about an hour to install the brackets, mainly because I spend half my time looking for tools, lol, I drove the jeep down to the store and back. I got up to 60 mph and still felt the same issues, except maybe the jeep was tracking slightly straighter. I still had a loose steering wheel, not a lot of play, but enough to be very annoying and the jeep still wanted to wander a tad (the brackets did seem to help that some)

I had planned to go get an alignment tomorrow, since the insturctions said to get one after install and I figured it couldnt hurt since i have not had it aligned since I bought it a couple months ago. Will the alignment, coupled with my newly installed brackets help my problems? Or will I still need something else after to fix the play in the steering wheel and wandering? I've read about adjusting the steering wheel nut, but I do not really want to mess with that, especially if it will not solve my issue, but at this point I'm about ready to try anything to fix it. The jeep has a 2.5 inch spacer lift with geo brackets now and 315/70r17s.

If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it!

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Old 12-05-2019, 10:51 PM   #2
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Lower your tire pressures... Try 26 psi. When you get the alignment, have them set the toe at .10 per side for total of .20. Move the control arms to give you between 4.5 and 5.0 caster.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:21 PM   #3
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I just installed a set of brackets too. I'm not sure how you could do the whole job in an hour. It took me 2 hours and had to call a buddy at the very end to help me torque the lower control arms. Did you loosen and torque all the control arm bolts with the weight of the jeep on the axle? (It makes a difference as it sets the bushings in a neutral position at ride height)
Beyond that, what is your trackbar situation? Have you inspected the mount holes to make sure they haven't swallowed out, done the big bolt upgrade?
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:04 AM   #4
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What's your tire pressure, & caster?
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:10 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies.

I have already addressed tire pressure to make sure it is not the issue, it is currently set at 26 PSI.

I have not checked to see my caster, I figured I would get those numbers from the alignment, plus I do not really know how to measure that (I know the basics, i just don't have an angle tool) Pressurized mentioned something about adjusting my control arms to give between 4.5-5.0 caster, but how would I go about this? the upper control arms only fit in the top hole out of the three holes in the brackets.

I installed the brackets with the weight of the jeep on the ground, I did one side, then switched to the other. So yes, I torqued them with the jeep on the ground, however I can always go back and re torque just to rule that out.

As for the track bar question, that is a good one, and I honestly have no idea, I will have to check that out when I get home from work today. I know I have not done a big bolt upgrade and I doubt the previous owners did either, as they seemed to cut every corner when it came to lifting this jeep.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefOsceola View Post
Thanks for the quick replies.

I have already addressed tire pressure to make sure it is not the issue, it is currently set at 26 PSI.

I have not checked to see my caster, I figured I would get those numbers from the alignment, plus I do not really know how to measure that (I know the basics, i just don't have an angle tool) Pressurized mentioned something about adjusting my control arms to give between 4.5-5.0 caster, but how would I go about this? the upper control arms only fit in the top hole out of the three holes in the brackets.

I installed the brackets with the weight of the jeep on the ground, I did one side, then switched to the other. So yes, I torqued them with the jeep on the ground, however I can always go back and re torque just to rule that out.

As for the track bar question, that is a good one, and I honestly have no idea, I will have to check that out when I get home from work today. I know I have not done a big bolt upgrade and I doubt the previous owners did either, as they seemed to cut every corner when it came to lifting this jeep.
try putting the upper control arm in the lowest hole on the brackets. the highest hole has the least amount of caster and could be attributing to the flighty steering.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:04 PM   #7
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Make sure the alignment shop knows about the brackets, as normally caster is not adjustable on our Jeeps. You may have a loose or worn component.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:14 PM   #8
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If you have too much or too little toe in you will get the same effect. Once the alignment has your toe dialed in you can work from there.


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Old 12-06-2019, 02:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefOsceola View Post
Thanks for the quick replies.

I have already addressed tire pressure to make sure it is not the issue, it is currently set at 26 PSI.

I have not checked to see my caster, I figured I would get those numbers from the alignment, plus I do not really know how to measure that (I know the basics, i just don't have an angle tool) Pressurized mentioned something about adjusting my control arms to give between 4.5-5.0 caster, but how would I go about this? the upper control arms only fit in the top hole out of the three holes in the brackets.

I installed the brackets with the weight of the jeep on the ground, I did one side, then switched to the other. So yes, I torqued them with the jeep on the ground, however I can always go back and re torque just to rule that out.

As for the track bar question, that is a good one, and I honestly have no idea, I will have to check that out when I get home from work today. I know I have not done a big bolt upgrade and I doubt the previous owners did either, as they seemed to cut every corner when it came to lifting this jeep.
The top hole will give the least amount of caster. But at your height, that is usually good. But if it's below 4.5deg, drop the upper control arms to the next hole down and that will increase the caster. If it's already above 6deg in the top holes, you'll probably need to remove the brackets and go with adjustable front lower control arms.

Unfortunately, it's a process. I like to tinker, others don't want to. But fine tuning is how you get what you want out of your Jeep.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pressurized View Post
The top hole will give the least amount of caster. But at your height, that is usually good. But if it's below 4.5deg, drop the upper control arms to the next hole down and that will increase the caster. If it's already above 6deg in the top holes, you'll probably need to remove the brackets and go with adjustable front lower control arms.

Unfortunately, it's a process. I like to tinker, others don't want to. But fine tuning is how you get what you want out of your Jeep.

i know when i got my 2.5" RK lift, it put me at 4" of total lift till it settled in. i had my uppers in the lowest hole on the geo brackets to get it to handle good. if he has more than 2.5" like i did, then dropping the upper control arms to the lowest hole will make a very noticeable difference.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
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i know when i got my 2.5" RK lift, it put me at 4" of total lift till it settled in. i had my uppers in the lowest hole on the geo brackets to get it to handle good. if he has more than 2.5" like i did, then dropping the upper control arms to the lowest hole will make a very noticeable difference.
He's running a 2.5 spacer lift... 2.5 in front and 2.0 in rear.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:33 PM   #12
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He's running a 2.5 spacer lift... 2.5 in front and 2.0 in rear.

missed the spacer part! LOL
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:51 PM
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I went and got under the Jeep and retorqued everything to make sure it was all to the appropriate specs, went for a drive and did notice a slight improvement in regards to the lane wandering, however that could have been all in my head at this point.

I am scheduled to get an alignment tomorrow, so hopefully that can fix my situation. Honestly, the jeep is tracking pretty straight, it's just the damn steering wheel play that is driving me nuts. I have read that this is somewhat inevitable on a lifted jeep with big tires, but what I am feeling while driving doesn't seem acceptable at all, especially not for only a 2.5 inch spacer lift.

Someone else in this thread suggested upgrading the track bar bolt. Upon researching, upgrading to a 9/16 (i think that is the right size?) instead of the 14mm that comes from the factory seems like an easy and worthwhile job even if it doesn't solve my problem, so I may look into that as well.

At this point, my main focus is the play in the steering wheel, It drives me a little nuts but it makes my wife not even want to drive the jeep at all, so if i could get this issue solved my chances of talking her into more fun upgrades will rise exponentially lol.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:59 PM   #14
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Doing a dry steer test will help track down exactly where the play is coming from.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:20 AM   #15
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How are your ball joints?
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:34 AM   #16
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If there is up and down play on the ball joints, then they are shot.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:06 PM   #17
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If there is up and down play on the ball joints, then they are shot.
even new ball joints have some up and down play. It is a common misconception but the word excessive is often left out. some up and down play is fine, excessive is not.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:43 PM   #18
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even new ball joints have some up and down play. It is a common misconception but the word excessive is often left out. some up and down play is fine, excessive is not.
All jeep uppers are supposed to have up and down play due to how they are made. The lowers are not supposed to have any movement since they are a ball and socket. If the spindle can move up and down, that means the plastic bushing in the lower joint is worn and you will have loose steering. When i got my new axle with stock ball joints, there was no play up and down on the spindle.
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:01 PM   #19
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All jeep uppers are supposed to have up and down play due to how they are made. The lowers are not supposed to have any movement since they are a ball and socket. If the spindle can move up and down, that means the plastic bushing in the lower joint is worn and you will have loose steering. When i got my new axle with stock ball joints, there was no play up and down on the spindle.
according to dana spicer lower ball joints can have
"Axial (up and down) movement in the lower ball joint should not exceed 0.050" (1.25mm)."

I contacted Dana Spicer because a local 4x4 shop tried to tell my buddy he needed new ball joints on a new jeep because the shop owner showed him a little up and down movement when he was checking out his new rig. I checked mine to compare and sure as shit I had a little too on my low mile rubicon so I called, I have found Dana Spicer is good at getting back with tech questions. When you actually use a dial indicator 0.050 movement at the joint looks like it is more than it really is.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:13 AM
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So I have now got an alignment (everything was within the correct range according to everything I have read, caster, toe, etc.) I have made sure all control arm bolts are torque to proper specs, i have replaced the trackbar bolts with the recommended upgraded bolt. Hell, I have even put on new sway bar end links front and rear to bring the bar back parallel or slightly above parallel, since they were previously stock.

I still have a loose steering wheel with a decent amount of play. After each "upgrade" I have noticed a slight improvement in the Jeep's straight line tracking and it does not wander nearly as much as it did. But the damn play is still there and it is driving me insane at this point.

What is the next thing to try? Ball joints? I really hope I dont have to replace those, because I know I cant do that myself and to get a shop to do it will be outrageous I'm sure (by my standards at least lol)

Again, I realize with 35s and a lifted Jeep it will be hard to eliminate all play, and given the steering setup on Jeeps, but there has to be a way to improve what I am experiencing now.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:24 AM   #21
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post your alignment sheet. How many miles do you have. What tires are you running? Could be ball joints, could be steering box could be tires.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:25 AM   #22
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Find a set of stock tires to try. Might be your wider tires are just following the rain grooves.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:25 AM   #23
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Tires over 10.50 wide will tend to wander with the road
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:42 AM
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The jeep has just under 74,000 miles on it and is a 2015. The tires are 315/70/17 nitto terra grappler G2s aired to 26 psi and they are relatively new. I understand what you all are talking about in regards to the tires just following the road and I understand that that is just part of what comes with running these bigger tires, but the steering play/looseness I am experiencing seems to be a separate issue.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:46 AM   #25
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with those miles it very well could be the ball joints...could also be the tires. Find a set of stock ones to try out. I run two sets of tires one set of 315/70-17 and one set of 255/80-17 Both fairly new and one set D rated and one E rated and the skinnier ones take zero fingers on the steering wheel to drive straight down the road the fatter ones take one finger.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:49 AM
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For example, I can be on a road near me where it was freshly paved (I like to use this as a good test road) and going straight at 45+ I can move the steering wheel left to right a good amount without anything happening, the jeep just continues straight. To me, that is an issue and not something that just comes with larger tires. Again, I am new to having a jeep with such big tires (my last one has stock 32s) so part of this may be me expecting something that is unrealistic with 35s, but I really think there is a larger issue, I just dont know what that is, I am not a mechanic or claim to be lol
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:52 AM
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I guess my next step will be getitng the ball joints looked at, because I myself do not know what I am looking for, or how to change them if there is an issue. It does not make sense to me to go out and pick up a set of tires that I will never use, however I do appreciate the suggestion, I just do not want to spend what I would consider useless money.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:53 AM   #28
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There's lots of good insights being mentioned which you definitely should consider. Another thing I did was to remove some of the play was to tighten the steering box a tad. Google Jeep jk steering box adjustment and you'll find a lot of information on it. Just don't go overboard with this adjustment (I only did 1/8-1/4 turn).

A lot of us have gotten used to vehicles that have a rack and pinion steering design which has immediate steering input whereas the old school Jeep steering box/gear design will likely never feel the same. I still feel a little "wandering" but it is fairly minimal and my best friend who has had 3 Jeeps say mine is no different than what he's experienced.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:14 AM   #29
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I would post your alignment sheet. The shop saying everything is "good" means little.
You can also do a test of your steering linkage. Have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you are under there looking at everything. Look for any looseness, any slop, in the system. Everything should move as one. If something shows movement without passing that movement on down the line that could be an issue. That movement, that looseness, be be in the steering box as proth0303 mentioned. If it is, it should be visible in the test.

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