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Good morning, everyone. My youngest daughter recently followed my middle daughter ('06 TJ) into the Jeep world by purchasing a '13 JK. I had really tried to talk her into a 4 door but she ended up with a 2 door that was set up as a previous owner's hunting/crawling toy. After she bought it, I drove it on the freeway and it literally scared the daylights out of me. I don't know that I'd call it death wobble or severe bump steer or what, but there's no way I want her driving it at freeway speeds until we get this figured out. In all my research, I've got a few ideas about what the problem may be, but to keep my old mind organized, I'd like to address them in a couple of threads rather than trying to throw a bunch of solutions to different issues into one thread. I get confused easily, lol.

I'll start with this. I've got a fair amount of automotive experience, but not much dealing with suspensions in Jeeps. I did install a 3.25" lift on my middle daughter's TJ, and have replaced obviously bad tie rod ends, ball joints, half shafts, etc, but as far as diagnosing suspension issues, especially Jeep suspension issues, I have no experience. So, in order to put my mind at ease, we took the JK to the local Four Wheel Parts (4WP) on Thursday to have them do an inspection/evaluation on the suspension, given the description of my experience. They supposedly test drove it, inspected everything and came back with the determination that the passenger side ball joints may need replacing soon (though not necessary at this time and $800 for Terraflex ball joints installed when the time does come) and that we should get rid of the dual steering stabilizers as 4WP felt that they were fighting against each other. I specifically asked about the tie rod ends and the TRE on the end of the drag link connected to the pitman arm. 4WP assured me that they were fine.

Yesterday I crawled under the Jeep and pulled the steering stabilizers. While under it, I noticed rotational looseness in both the tie rod and the drag link. I also noticed that it appears that the boots have some rot going on. I've never experienced this on any previous vehicle and don't think it's normal; however, given 4WP's "all's good" assessment, I thought I'd ask you all as a group. Please check out the videos and offer me your opinions...

Thanks,

Doug

Tie Rod
Drag Link
 

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I went through that bump steer issue for ten months before solving it a few weeks ago -- at least I think that was the fix, we ended up doing a few things that day so it could have been an confluence of actions that fixed it. For me it was the addition of geometry correction brackets. Although I only have a 2" lift on mine, it would appear that it was enough to do it.

That said, you made no mention of having a lift on your JK so I would assume that's not the issue for you.

At any rate, I know your pain. I threw a lot of money and time in trying to fix the issue -- new adjustable track bars, tie rod and drag link, driver's side ball joints, steering stabilizer (which ended up faulty and needed to be replaced), alignment, and stuff I can't remember at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I went through that bump steer issue for ten months before solving it a few weeks ago -- at least I think that was the fix, we ended up doing a few things that day so it could have been an confluence of actions that fixed it. For me it was the addition of geometry correction brackets. Although I only have a 2" lift on mine, it would appear that it was enough to do it.

That said, you made no mention of having a lift on your JK so I would assume that's not the issue for you.
Thanks. I'm in the process of starting another thread about what I think may be the problem and, much like you, I'm pretty sure that it has to do with the geometry.
 

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Thanks. I'm in the process of starting another thread about what I think may be the problem and, much like you, I'm pretty sure that it has to do with the geometry.
If you haven't had an alignment, try it. The numbers in the front could be illuminating. That's what eventually got me to try the correction brackets. Turns out that out of all the games of parts darts I played, that was the cheapest fix.
 

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If you haven't had an alignment, try it. The numbers in the front could be illuminating. That's what eventually got me to try the correction brackets. Turns out that out of all the games of parts darts I played, that was the cheapest fix.
She replaced the old 37" Toyo Mud Terrains with 35" Nitto Terra Grapplers G2. After that she took it up to the local Firestone for an alignment. The JK has a Rock Crawler tie rod and apparently they didn't know how to handle the tie rod ends. In any case, I figured that we'd wait until we replaced anything that may end up need to be replaced before having the alignment done. Here's the numbers that they provided her though. They were concerned about the thrust angle in the rear. 4WP found one of the rear control arms to be extremely loose. I haven't had it checked again, so I don't know if that corrected the thrust angle.
4417780
 

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She replaced the old 37" Toyo Mud Terrains with 35" Nitto Terra Grapplers G2. After that she took it up to the local Firestone for an alignment. The JK has a Rock Crawler tie rod and apparently they didn't know how to handle the tie rod ends. In any case, I figured that we'd wait until we replaced anything that may end up need to be replaced before having the alignment done. Here's the numbers that they provided her though. They were concerned about the thrust angle in the rear. 4WP found one of the rear control arms to be extremely loose. I haven't had it checked again, so I don't know if that corrected the thrust angle.
View attachment 4417780
Caster is way too low... That would drive like crap. If you are in AZ, I have a set of Rancho Geometry Brackets that will fix that right up. In the rear, it looks like you might be missing a track bar bracket. PM me for info if you are interested.
 

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Caster is way too low... That would drive like crap. If you are in AZ, I have a set of Rancho Geometry Brackets that will fix that right up. In the rear, it looks like you might be missing a track bar bracket. PM me for info if you are interested.
Thank you. I am in Arizona. Gilbert, to be exact. Please read my second post to see if these brackets will also help what I describe in it.
 

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Thank you. I am in Arizona. Gilbert, to be exact. Please read my second post to see if these brackets will also help what I describe in it.
I am in Gilbert as well... This could be easy. The tie rod and drag link will flop, that is the nature of tie rod ends. But depending on miles and use, they do wear and could be too loose. Proper caster will firm up a lot of what you are feeling. Caster forces both front tires towards each other, this creates the self centering effect, when you let go of the steering wheel, it makes the vehicle want to go straight.

Make sense?
 

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Like stated the tie rod and drag link are supposed to twist but yours do look a little to easy to turn.

Best thing to do is to have some one help you and they start the jeep and turn the steering wheel a little to the left and a little to the right while you watch every joint in the steering system and keep and eye for any slop back and forth to see if anything is worn
 

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From the receipts that came with the Jeep, it looks like all the suspension work was completed shortly after the Jeep was new in 2013. As far as I know, nothing has been replaced. Just out of curiosity, what is the average lifespan of the aftermarket tie rod ends and bushings (UCA/LCA, track bar). I know it's probably dependent on use. It only has 43k on it, but from the suspension, I'm assuming it did some fairly heavy duty off road time.
 

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From the receipts that came with the Jeep, it looks like all the suspension work was completed shortly after the Jeep was new in 2013. As far as I know, nothing has been replaced. Just out of curiosity, what is the average lifespan of the aftermarket tie rod ends and bushings (UCA/LCA, track bar). I know it's probably dependent on use. It only has 43k on it, but from the suspension, I'm assuming it did some fairly heavy duty off road time.
Really tough question to answer due to the unknown... The TRE's aren't super expensive, so if you wanted to freshen those up, it's probably worth it.

To know if they have play in them, have someone get in the Jeep and start it. You get down in front and watch the steering system while they move the wheel back and forth. If something has play in it, you'll see it.

As I said in the other thread... Get a stock Pitman back on and lengthen your lower control arms. We need to get your caster up to at least 4.5°.
 

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Looks like the rear axle is not straight, this would throw off the thrust angle. Could be the result of the loose bushing on the control arm. Are there any adjustable control arms on the vehicle? Some photos of the front and rear suspension would be helpful to see what is going on. I have found 4WD parts is a terrible place to go for finding suspension issues. They are about selling products not service. The front axle is also bent on both sides, the camber and caster can both be fixed with the installation of off set ball joints. Do not have regular ball joint installed!

find a shop that does alignments on 4wd vehicles and knows how to fix them. They will likely start by getting the rear axle where it needs to be then installing the off set ball joints, get that camber to 0-.1. You can gain some of the caster back with the offset ball joint but installing some drop brackets or adjustable control arms will be needed to get it up to the 4.5-6 degree range. Once they get everything set then they will set your toe. The tie rod is a bit loose but you need to look at up and down movement not rotational. It has to rotate since it is a solid axle and you have both caster and camber that changes the angles as you steer. Same thing with the drag link.

Get rid of the drop pitman like mentioned and any other drop frame brackets you might have. I assume the lift is a 3.5"-4" height. A raised rear track bar bracket will help with the ride and tracking and if you are 3.5"+ of lift, a drag link flip will improve your on road ride quite a bit.
 

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From the receipts that came with the Jeep, it looks like all the suspension work was completed shortly after the Jeep was new in 2013. As far as I know, nothing has been replaced. Just out of curiosity, what is the average lifespan of the aftermarket tie rod ends and bushings (UCA/LCA, track bar). I know it's probably dependent on use. It only has 43k on it, but from the suspension, I'm assuming it did some fairly heavy duty off road time.
Hey sunburn, was great to meet you. Bummer we couldn't get that joint to move in the rear arm. But our measurements confirmed the alignment readout you posted. The rear control arms on the driver's side are set longer than the passenger side. That would cause your thrust angle.

But great that we got your front lowers adjusted. I hope the drive home confirmed our initial conclusion of success.

Lastly, you have the stock Pitman and that will correct the bump steer. Can't wait to hear your feedback!
 

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From the receipts that came with the Jeep, it looks like all the suspension work was completed shortly after the Jeep was new in 2013. As far as I know, nothing has been replaced. Just out of curiosity, what is the average lifespan of the aftermarket tie rod ends and bushings (UCA/LCA, track bar). I know it's probably dependent on use. It only has 43k on it, but from the suspension, I'm assuming it did some fairly heavy duty off road time.
I went back and checked your alignment print and realize why we were talking about TOE in the front so much... The shop didn't adjust it because it didn't have a traditional tie rod. It's too high for sure. I like .08 to .10 per side for a total toe of .16 to .20. The shop we discussed can do that for you.

Cheers!
 
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