Jeep Wrangler Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of JUNE's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took my TJ in for an alignment yesterday and along with it they recentered my steering wheel as it had been a decent bit off center. On the way home the airbag light starts coming on and off, and now it just comes on and stays on (which is kind of better I suppose, as I don't need to keep hearing the ding). Called them when I got home and they said they wouldn't expect it to be the clockspring since the recentering was only around 1-2 inches (which is suspicious in the first place since isn't the spring supposed to line up in a way with the wheel? And it doesn't take into account that just taking the wheel off in the first place potentially damages it).

Nevertheless, they had me bring it back today to see if they could read a code, and they told me the code they were getting was that the squib "thinks it had already blown", I think they didn't have an actual code reader that could read any more on that code. But because it's that, they say it must have been a coincidence that it happened immediately after I got it back and never before (yeah right). It seems like a bad clockspring could cause these kinds of errors too. Anyway, I'm not going to be getting anywhere with them and will try calling some higher level customer service to see if I can get some kind of refund at least on the alignment, but I want to try to get this fixed nonetheless.

I plan on taking a look at it tomorrow to see if a connector is loose or something, but assuming I need to get a new one (if it sounds like I do)... where can I find one for an 03? Dorman doesn't seem to have one for this year, and I found this one here, but since I don't have cruise control will it still work? And is that an okay price for it?
 

·
Knows a couple things...
Joined
·
49,417 Posts
The steering wheel is not removed to center the steering wheel, the steering wheel is centered only by adjusting the short link between the two bolts you can see below on the drag link. No one should have messed with the steering wheel itself at all.

If Sears removed your steering wheel to center it, they screwed up. Even a beginner mechanic should have known that.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Perhaps they did it correctly, it may have been my misunderstanding what centering the steering wheel involved. It's still so frustrating that it started happening quite literally as soon as I got back in the Jeep after the alignment. Anything that their work may have entailed which could have affected it?

Edit: By "it" I mean my airbag light, not necessarily the clockspring.
 

·
Detail Oriented
Joined
·
3,174 Posts
Explosively said:
Perhaps they did it correctly, it may have been my misunderstanding what centering the steering wheel involved.
Yes, you misunderstood. I, too, remember being surprised to find out how this is done on a TJ.

Explosively said:
It's still so frustrating that it started happening quite literally as soon as I got back in the Jeep after the alignment.
Yes. It happens and will piss you off and make you paranoid. Unless they did it intentionally to get more money out of you. But that is patterned behavior and they probably would have a bad rep if that were the case.

Explosively said:
Anything that their work may have entailed which could have affected it?
I don't think so. And don't mess with your airbag system until you understand it far better. It can go off in your face and badly hurt or even kill you.

Study a lot first. Know *exactly* how to disarm it before messing with any part of the system. Then know *exactly* how to install and rearm the thing before plugging stuff back it.

Be careful!

Best of luck, man! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,841 Posts
At the lease disconnect the ground wire on the battery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
This Is Not A Coincidence

Be Firm with Sears. When you gave them the vehicle, no Warning Light. When they returned it, Light. I can only think of 3 things that could have gone wrong here (Jerry, Please comment on #3 because I'm not familiar if the steering gear has internal stops or whethe you can rotate a disconnected Pitman Arm around 360 deg.
1. They did detach the steering wheel ignorantly thinking you could "clock" it and did not fully seat the airbag squib connecter (hence the intermittent every time you hit a bump). Those pesky things can be hard to fully seat.
2. They detached the steering wheel same lame reason as #1 but lost control of the Clockspring orientation. If its 180 deg off, the first time you go lock to lock it will get damaged.
3. They lost control of the steering gear Pitman when they disconnedted to adjust the alignment although I would think that would take so many steering wheel rotations all other clockspring circuits would have blown out as well (horn, cruise control, etc.)

Do your other Steering wheel functions work besides airbag. Also, didi the code they read refer to the driver airbag or passenger airbag ? (I've already forgot what you said and can't scroll up in the middle of this wordy response).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
I would:
1. take it to an auto parts store with a code reader and get the actual code and verify that its the DAB and not the PAB. 1 in million it could be the PAB and Sears is right
2. If the other Steering whell functions work without fail, remove the DAB and see if they just did not seat the connector all the way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks MI Smiley and everyone else.

Yeah I read all about the process to disassemble the wheel when I started looking into it. I know about needing to give the capacitor time to discharge, being careful with the clockspring, etc. I'm probably going to try #2 first (reseating the connections) since I can just go out to my driveway tomorrow morning and try it. I'll also see if I can inspect the clockspring for any visual damage, but I don't have a steering wheel puller so that might be annoying.
 

·
Mostly old school..!
Joined
·
12,149 Posts
Why not go back to sears and ask them what process they used to recenter the steering wheel? Once you have the answer to that question, you will know whether it's their fault or just coincidence.
But anyone familliar with alignments, would likely know how to recenter the wheel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
955 Posts
I work as a tech at a Sears Auto Center. Nothing in our training, nor nothing we do in our shop involves removing the steering wheel to center it(Way too complicated too, when a drag link adjustment works just fine). Additionally, neither of my managers would let us mess with removing a steering wheel since it's essentially an explosive.

However when i had my senior tech align my TJ, they did NOT use the drag link to adjust it. Rather, they just center the wheel in the cab, hold it with a clamp, and adjust the toe around that. Just goes to show that everyone has their different methods to align, but i'm certain that none of them involve removing the wheel.

I often hear from my managers about a customer calling corporate and getting their money back for basically any inconvenience. Even though i doubt it's due to the alignment, you probably could at least get your money back from it to help with fixing what the issue is. Alignments are horridly overpriced anyways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Thanks MI Smiley and everyone else.

Yeah I read all about the process to disassemble the wheel when I started looking into it. I know about needing to give the capacitor time to discharge, being careful with the clockspring, etc. I'm probably going to try #2 first (reseating the connections) since I can just go out to my driveway tomorrow morning and try it. I'll also see if I can inspect the clockspring for any visual damage, but I don't have a steering wheel puller so that might be annoying.
You could start with #2, but the purpose of #1 is to determine if you have to so step 2 at all. In Michigan, virtually all autopart stores have code readers they are happy to plug in, read the code, then go inside and look up exactly what is means. 5 minuetes and no parts dissambly that will tell you what part of the car does need to be dissaambled.

Good Luck.
 

·
Knows a couple things...
Joined
·
49,417 Posts
In Michigan, virtually all autopart stores have code readers they are happy to plug in, read the code, then go inside and look up exactly what is means. 5 minuetes and no parts dissambly that will tell you what part of the car does need to be dissaambled.

Good Luck.
The TJ has a built-in diagnostic code reader, it can generate its own diagnostic codes and display them in the odometer. Only the '98-00 model years lack this ability. Basically turn the ignition-switch on-off-on three times within five seconds and then leave it in the On position. Give it time, the codes don't display instantly. If you do it right, you'll always at least get a '55' code on early TJs or a 'Done' on newer TJs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
620 Posts
Oh yeah, forgot about that. Guess I'm spoiled (have my own code reader).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
645 Posts
Just messing with the tie rod/drag link can't break the clock spring. The steering box is the motion limitation. You would have to unbolt the column from the box to turn it too far.

And if you remove the wheel, you would then have to rotate the clock spring a full turn to get it too far out of time. It clocks itself to the wheel, so moving the wheel a few inches doesnt move the clock spring much.

I think you have a coincidence. As a tech i've been on the other end of that. Once had an ignition module burn out moving the car from the lot to my bay. Explain to a customer that the car they brought in for an oil change now doesn't run, but you didn't do anything to it. lol Also been accused of breaking someone's radio by repairing a flat. On a car that I didn't even enter, they drove it to the door. Stuff happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
However when i had my senior tech align my TJ, they did NOT use the drag link to adjust it. Rather, they just center the wheel in the cab, hold it with a clamp, and adjust the toe around that. Just goes to show that everyone has their different methods to align, but i'm certain that none of them involve removing the wheel.
Interested in hearing more about this method, because for the life of me, I can't see the connection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,235 Posts
Sears still have shops, And why would you take it there if they did?
You don't remove the steering wheel to do a aliment.
 

·
Knows a couple things...
Joined
·
49,417 Posts
However when i had my senior tech align my TJ, they did NOT use the drag link to adjust it. Rather, they just center the wheel in the cab, hold it with a clamp, and adjust the toe around that. Just goes to show that everyone has their different methods to align, but i'm certain that none of them involve removing the wheel.
And not all different methods produce consistently correct results, as that method would not.

Trying to get the Jeep to track straight by clamping the steering wheel in a centered position, leaving the drag-link as is, and adjusting just the toe-in is highly likely to end up in a grossly out-of-spec toe-in angle. Whether the toe-in angle will be correct or out of spec depends entirely on if the drag link is correct or not, something they're not adjusting. I wouldn't let the shop who does it that way vacuum out my TJ's interior, let alone perform an alignment on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
I work as a tech at a Sears Auto Center. Nothing in our training, nor nothing we do in our shop involves removing the steering wheel to center it(Way too complicated too, when a drag link adjustment works just fine). Additionally, neither of my managers would let us mess with removing a steering wheel since it's essentially an explosive.

This makes sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey folks,

First off thanks for your ideas so far, and the insight those of you more experienced have given me.

I got my code reader out and onto the Jeep tonight and pulled the code P1200 - Driver squib circuit open. So that lines up with what the guys at Sears told me their code was. I'm off the Sears hate train now, but still wondering if it's possible that a bad clockspring could cause this error as I have gradually lost use of my horn to the point now that it just won't work, much like how my airbag light gradually came on more and more until now it just stays on.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top