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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Earlier this week I was coming back from a farm late at night and was adjusting my radio...I looked up and a previously-hit deer was right in front of me. :censored:

At 55 mph, all I could do was to straddle it and hope for the best...the left wheel ran over the head and the right wheel ran over the arse (nice, big corn-fed deer). I stopped and looked underneath, but couldn't find any damage or gore.

Since then, I noticed the front end wander around more and shimmy going over hwy. expansion joints (death wobble?). It isn't bad, but I did have to slow down from 60 mph once. There was also about a 30 mph side wind.

I checked the suspension components again today (everything appeared tight, but I didn't take the weight off the front end. Is that the next step?

All stock 2003, NO lift, 31x10.5 tires (about 50% tread left), 122,000 miles. OEM shocks and stabilizer.

TIA. :)
 

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I would suspect damage to the tie rod (link between the main link that goes to the passenger side wheel and the driver's side wheel). The factory units are weak and a hit like that probably has caused damage. I've seen them bend to the point of knocking the toe out and have also seen them break so I would check it all good or have it checked before driving again. Good luck.
 

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Inspect your tires for obvious signs of damage along with the more likely scenario of your alignment being off that's causing your highway shimmmy and wandering. You can easily check and set your alignment within 15 mins with a tape measure and tires on the ground using this method:
Basic Jeep Front End Alignment
 

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Probably knocked the front out of alignment, toe is easy to check with a tape measure, should be a small amount toe'd in, check the specs for sure but probably about 1/16 of an inch or so.

The last deer I ran over, I was towing a trailer and the tongue jack was down just far enough to split the deer wide open and spray his guts all over the bottom side of the trailer and car that was sitting on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the help. It is so busy at work, I may run the Jeep over to a local alignment shop to check things out.

Another question...does someone make a suspension upgrade kit for someone who is happy with factory ride height (I am getting older and my wife is short :) )? If some pieces are bent, etc. from my deer jumping; I would like to upgrade if it is possible.
 

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Thanks for the help. It is so busy at work, I may run the Jeep over to a local alignment shop to check things out.

Another question...does someone make a suspension upgrade kit for someone who is happy with factory ride height (I am getting old and my wife is short :) )? If some pieces are bent, etc. from my deer jumping; I would like to upgrade if it is possible.
As far as new suspension or steering parts, most quality control arms like Currie and Metal Cloak will be available for stock height and will be a major upgrade for your suspension. For any damaged steering parts I would either just replace with stock parts or do the ZJ tie rod upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks JeepWayofLife,
Getting use to all the professional usage of acronyms on this site...what does ZJ mean?
 

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Thanks JeepWayofLife, Getting use to all the professional usage of acronyms on this site...what does ZJ mean?
They are the newer grand Cherokees. No idea what upgrade he's talking about. I'd lift it and carry a stepladder. :)


Edit by newer I mean 93' 98' grand Cherokee not the XJ square headlight Cherokee classics but not brand new. They made he new and old Cherokees the same years for a long time.
 

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Thanks JeepWayofLife,
Getting use to all the professional usage of acronyms on this site...what does ZJ mean?
Like the TJ wrangler, the Cherokees were also given a code (ZJ in this case). The ZJ tie rod and tie rod ends are much beefier than the stock tj parts and are available from most parts store for around the same price.

Here is a nice writeup on it: http://www.stu-offroad.com/steering/zjtie/tierod-1.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again, I appreciate the help. I will definitely check out the links provided.:thumb:
 

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Make sure you you take it to shop that deals with Jeeps. Secondly, I would make sure they don't charge just to "check things out" especially alignment. This is something you can do yourself because it's extremely easy and not worth the cost of paying a shop. You can only adjust the "toe-in" on your TJ with the stock setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was able to snag my Mopar neighbor and run my jeep into his shop...shop costs total = 3 Budweisers. Whether running over Bambi caused it or not, the upper ball joints are loose. The driver's side just a hair and the passenger side very noticeable. We are going to start with new upper ball joints and then follow Wattapunk's advice and do a basic front end alignment.

Everything else appears real good, so we'll see. Thanks again everyone. This site is awesome.
 

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I was able to snag my Mopar neighbor and run my jeep into his shop...shop costs total = 3 Budweisers. Whether running over Bambi caused it or not, the upper ball joints are loose. The driver's side just a hair and the passenger side very noticeable. We are going to start with new upper ball joints and then follow Wattapunk's advice and do a basic front end alignment.

Everything else appears real good, so we'll see. Thanks again everyone. This site is awesome.
Do both uppers and lowers, not just one. You have to remove all that stuff plus the knuckles to get to the uppers so you might as well do the lowers while you are at it. Alloy USA has some nice BJ's on Amazon.com (i just installed em).

You mentioned you have over 100k miles on your rig. Have you serviced or replaced any of the steering components yet? It might be wise to replace the steering joints and t-bar since they are most likely on their last leg at that mileage. Never hurts to be safe! (and this will guarantee a true and lasting alignment)
 

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Words of wisdom: Don't take your eyes off of the road to jack with the radio, especially at night. That might be what the person who hit the deer when it was alive was doing too!

:doh:
 

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ZJ is early year Grand Cherokee not Cherokee which is XJ

ZJ = 93 Grand Wagoneer and 93-98 Grand Cherokee in 99 grand was a WJ

XJ 84=01 Cherokee and 84-90 wagoneer

The ZJs with a V8 have the tie rod ends that will swap for more beef
however as you increase strength one place if you hit another deer you may move impact damage somewhere else that may be for expensive and involved to repair

weakest link is what gives first
 
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