Steering/tracking problem - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Steering/tracking problem

Ok I need advice.....I have a JK unlimited X and a 2 1/2 inch coil lift running 35's that had a small rake in the front......... front was lower than the back by 1", so to bring the front up level with the rear I had a local shop add 3/4" spacers to the front along with adding a new front track bar bracket and JKS quick discos.

Now the problem....it seems like the steering has alot more play in it and it is harder to stay in line while driving. Before I had the spacers installed the steering was way more responsive and the vehicle didn't have the track problem wandering in the lanes.

From what I can tell the front track doesn't look right as the best of my measurement it looks like the right tire is sticking out from the fender at least 1" more than the left tire....could that be my problem why the JK feels loose in the front? Last thing the only way I can adjust the track is with a adjustable track bar....any recomendations on which track bar I should go with or is 1 inch worth trying to adjust out....any advice would be appreciated about the loose steering and adjustable track bar.

Oh and here are a few pics of the tires, track bar bracket and JKS quick Discos. Also looking at the right disco it looks like it's angled a lot more than the left.

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post #2 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 07:05 PM
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Not really sure why it's loose, except that bringing up the front end can make a vehicle feel a little more "flighty" in general.

Well they sure didn't skimp on the disco bushing grease huh? lol.

You really need to get an adj track-bar to bring the axle back under the jeep imo. I like Rubicon Express and Poly Performance track-bars, but any adj track-bar will get you closer than the way it sits now.

It can certainly throw off the feel of the tracking if the axle is shifted that far off......under braking conditions too. Not sure if this will lessen the loose steering issue at all, but regardless- I would get an adj track-bar at this point.

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post #3 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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adj track bar

I agree...adjustable track bar is kinda my way of thinking at this point. Just read another thread about steering issues and seemed like the general consensus that if your track bar (as well as other steering componets) is not adjusted right or not torqued down to the right specs you can have serious steering problems.

Anyone else have this problem due to the track bar being out of alignment?

JJ
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post #4 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 08:34 PM
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Ive heard more about adj control arms getting the alignment correct and fixing the flighty steering.
I have adj. track bars and my axles centered didn't help steering.
I too have 2.5" springs and 1" spacers and steering is crap.
I don't have the funds for adj control arms yet.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinjeepr View Post
Ive heard more about adj control arms getting the alignment correct and fixing the flighty steering.
Definitely could be the added lift affecting the caster angle. Adjustable control arms would help if this is the issue.

As I said though....regardless, I would plan on getting an adj track-bar also. Centering the axle will definitely help during braking and adverse road conditions.

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post #6 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 09:36 PM
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Here is where part of your problem lies...


You are running w trackbar relocation braket and don't doing anything else to correct the steering.

Here is a list of stuff I would do... Also, do you have the factory trackbar still...? If not, find it.

Synergy Steering Correction Kit. Get the cam bolt option.
Synergy From Cam Bolt Kit. Fix the castor angle.

Do these two things and your ride will be driving better than stock.


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post #7 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PIG View Post
Here is where part of your problem lies...


You are running w trackbar relocation braket and don't doing anything else to correct the steering.

Here is a list of stuff I would do... Also, do you have the factory trackbar still...? If not, find it.

Synergy Steering Correction Kit. Get the cam bolt option.
Synergy From Cam Bolt Kit. Fix the castor angle.

Do these two things and your ride will be driving better than stock.
They are also notorious for breaking the mount off the extremely weak stock track bar mount!

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post #8 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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good info

Haven't really read much about the adj control arms for the steering but looks like I need to look into it.......whats everyone running for the track bars and control arms?

JJ
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post #9 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 09:54 PM
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There's a few things going on here.

Judging from the pics the track bar bracket has actually moved your axle TOO far to the passenger side. Also, front track bar brackets tend to make the steering feel odd. Full traction brackets are notorious for it. I HATE them.

my .02 on that problem. Just ditch the bracket, straighten the steering wheel by adjusting the drag link, and see where you're at. it costs nothing other than some time. i bet you'll see an improvement.

If that brings it too far driver side then you can invest in a front adjustable track bar. I always recommend that over a front track bar bracket.



ok lastly, for castor

DO NOT do cam bolts. they're worthless. if you need some i'll give you some brand new ones that came with the AEV lift back in the day. you can have em! That being said, i put these on my wife's 2 door and i was really impressed with the results.

http://www.quadratec.com/products/16502_4300.htm

better ride and it fixed the flighty steering. they're 100 bucks vs 200ish for rustys arms. i figured i'd give them a try. adjustable control arms will also fix your castor but you won't get the improved ride quality. HOWEVER, adjustable arms are generally beefier and you'll keep more ground clearance.


But your first step should be ditching that track bar bracket.
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post #10 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 10:00 PM
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ALSO, i'm not bagging on poly performance, But for 100 bucks more you can do a REAL drag link with ends that are just pure beef:

http://www.currieenterprises.com/ces...t.aspx?id=3576

you can take the tie rod end apart and flip it so you can run it either over or under the knuckle! the pics don't lie. we installed this on jeepnick's 09 rubi and it's unreal how much BETTER it is than stock sized tie rod ends.

again, not bashing poly, but for 100 bucks it's a no brainer for me.
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post #11 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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The track bar I'm running is the factory bar, it's just the add on track bar bracket that I had installed. Should I take off the add on bracket and get the Synergy Steering Correction Kit with the cam bolt option and just run the factory track bar or should I get the adj track bar also?

JJ
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post #12 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjbooth View Post
The track bar I'm running is the factory bar, it's just the add on track bar bracket that I had installed. Should I take off the add on bracket and get the Synergy Steering Correction Kit with the cam bolt option and just run the factory track bar or should I get the adj track bar also?

JJ
first thing you need to do is take that bracket OFF and just put your factory track bar back to stock. that bracket looks to have moved it WAY too much. do that, adjust your drag link to straighten you steering wheel and drive it and see how it is.

if you're still "flighty" you want to look into control arms or that bracket kit i posted. cam bolts are shit. i have a brand new set you can have if you want them, but they're garbage man. i wouldn't put them on my wife's JK EVER!

ok, as far as the drag link kit. the reason for doing the drag link flip kit is so that the drag link and track bar are parallel. that minimizes bump steer and often helps with pulling on the road crown. My .02 is i'd spend the 100 bucks more for the currie. it's just a way better product for only 100 bucks difference. you will need either a tapered bit or an insert to run it flipped though.



ok so all that being said:


Step 1: ditch track bar bracket, reinstall stock bar back into stock bracket
Step 2: straighten steering wheel by adjusting drag link.
Step 3: drive it and see if it's better. if it is and the axle is centered, AWESOME, if it's better and the axle isn't centered, just buy an adjustable track bar and you'll be good.


after that, if it's still driving odd diagnose further. Don't just throw $ at it.

my $ is on the trackbar bracket.

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post #13 of 31 Old 07-11-2010, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info looking......back even with the 2 1/2 inch lift steering was good. The two main things different was the track bracket and the spacers, I don't think the JKS discos are the culprit. First thing I will do is pull the bracket off and center the whelel and take it for a ride. I probably won't get to it till thursday hopefully sooner but I'll post back and let you guys know. Again good advice from this site.

JJ
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post #14 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 06:49 AM
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your going to need adj trackbars. You can take your bracket off but it will still be off center. Look around in the for sale section you can pick up a used one fairly cheap.
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post #15 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinjeepr View Post
your going to need adj trackbars. You can take your bracket off but it will still be off center. Look around in the for sale section you can pick up a used one fairly cheap.
ya he might, but it might not be far off. I've seen wierder things happen. he's not lifted that much either. either way it'll diagnose the problem. if everything was fine then he put a 3/4" spacer and a track bar bracket on and now it's driving odd, it has to be one of those things.

Since he's not describing flighty steering i'd put $ on the track bar bracket.

when i made (yes made) my first lift for my jk in 06 i left the stock track bar and despite having over 3" of lift the axle was centered and i didn't have to recenter my steering wheel! it was really wierd. But later on when i put a 2" lift on it i did... beats me why.
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post #16 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 08:46 AM
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I would pull the bracket off and your axle will likely pull back over
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post #17 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2k2wranglerx View Post
ya he might, but it might not be far off. I've seen wierder things happen. he's not lifted that much either. either way it'll diagnose the problem. if everything was fine then he put a 3/4" spacer and a track bar bracket on and now it's driving odd, it has to be one of those things.

Since he's not describing flighty steering i'd put $ on the track bar bracket.

when i made (yes made) my first lift for my jk in 06 i left the stock track bar and despite having over 3" of lift the axle was centered and i didn't have to recenter my steering wheel! it was really wierd. But later on when i put a 2" lift on it i did... beats me why.
I'm just speaking from my experience with the same lift 2.5" springs and 3/4" spacers. It was a noticable difference in driving when i added the spacers.
My axles were off center with just 2.5" springs.
I also do not run a bracket just the adj track bar for 3.5" lift.
helped a little....I agree with taking the bracket off.
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post #18 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by austinjeepr View Post
I'm just speaking from my experience with the same lift 2.5" springs and 3/4" spacers. It was a noticable difference in driving when i added the spacers.
My axles were off center with just 2.5" springs.
I also do not run a bracket just the adj track bar for 3.5" lift.
helped a little....I agree with taking the bracket off.
and i'd bet you're right. he might end up needing one. it might be just as far to the driver side when he takes it off as it currently is to the passenger side. but if it fixes the dead steering problem then he at least knows the cluprit. the axle being off center alone won't cause steering issues.

what difference did you notice with the spacers added to yours?
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post #19 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 01:21 PM
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The following is a quote from AEV's "12 Things to Know about 'Lifted' Suspension Engineering" document.

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Originally Posted by AEV
Steering precision is just what it sounds like, but often the importance of the track-bar to achieving it is overlooked. On some vehicles such as Jeep TJs, the stock track bar frame-end mount is highly leveraged and actually twists the frame rail under load, which gives the steering a 'compliant' reference point, resulting in vague steering.
From your photos it appears the bracket extension you had installed is nothing more then a small piece of metal that extends the mounting location up from the axle a few inches. This bracket, with it's lack of structural support may be flexing under load causing your steering issues.

To remedy the situation you may want to install a proper track bar relocation bracket like Poly Performance's or AEV's. These brackets are engineered to distribute the stress loads in a manner that DOES NOT cause failure to the frame or axle mounting locations. You could also install an adjustable track bar.

Both of the above solutions will work and more then likely solve your steering issues.

Good luck.

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post #20 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MaloCS View Post
The following is a quote from AEV's "12 Things to Know about 'Lifted' Suspension Engineering" document.



From your photos it appears the bracket extension you had installed is nothing more then a small piece of metal that extends the mounting location up from the axle a few inches. This bracket, with it's lack of structural support may be flexing under load causing your steering issues.

To remedy the situation you may want to install a proper track bar relocation bracket like Poly Performance's or AEV's. These brackets are engineered to distribute the stress loads in a manner that DOES NOT cause failure to the frame or axle mounting locations. You could also install an adjustable track bar.

Both of the above solutions will work and more then likely solve your steering issues.

Good luck.
Ya that thing isn't tied into the spring perch or anything!

Just FYI, the AEV bracket was really weak. as in we could bend it with our hands!

it's on jeepnick's jeep. we were prying it out to install a new track bar (because his stock one's bushings went) and i was able to just bare handed, grab the bracket and bend it back with one hand and really not that much force.

the stock stamped bracket on the other hand we had to pry the SH!T out of to widen it enough to get the new teraflex track bar into it.

either way, ditching the bracket will diagnose if it's the bracket that's causing the vague steering.

if you do end up needing a track bar, we've run these on a few jeeps with good results

http://rustysoffroad.com/mm5/merchan..._Code=SUS_TRAC

there are beefier ones out there, but the pricepoint on rusty's is pretty good.

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post #21 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 05:02 PM
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ALSO, i'm not bagging on poly performance, But for 100 bucks more you can do a REAL drag link with ends that are just pure beef:

http://www.currieenterprises.com/ces...t.aspx?id=3576

you can take the tie rod end apart and flip it so you can run it either over or under the knuckle! the pics don't lie. we installed this on jeepnick's 09 rubi and it's unreal how much BETTER it is than stock sized tie rod ends.

again, not bashing poly, but for 100 bucks it's a no brainer for me.
That's a nice part and Currie is a great company but I forsee having to rebuild the TRE as a PITA. I new TRE is less than $30 and will swap right in in a few min. On a side note our drag link can be mounted in the factory location below the steering knuckle as well as on top for a high steer set up. Our drag link is also $225 cheaper not $100...


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post #22 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jjbooth View Post
The track bar I'm running is the factory bar, it's just the add on track bar bracket that I had installed. Should I take off the add on bracket and get the Synergy Steering Correction Kit with the cam bolt option and just run the factory track bar or should I get the adj track bar also?

JJ
Yea, take the braket off and reuse the factory unit, its good. No need to get a new trackbar, just get the bracket with the cam adjuster.


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post #23 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 06:53 PM
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and i'd bet you're right. he might end up needing one. it might be just as far to the driver side when he takes it off as it currently is to the passenger side. but if it fixes the dead steering problem then he at least knows the cluprit. the axle being off center alone won't cause steering issues.

what difference did you notice with the spacers added to yours?
It wanders a bit more and bump steer got a little worse.

Iknow i need adj control arms to adjust caster and the steering flip would help alot but i dont have the cash and its not terrible.
When i went from 33's and 2.5" to 35's and 3.5" its a totally different feel.
drove like a car with 33's. now its more like farm equipment!

Your right the axle being off center wont cause the steering issue but i want my stuff to be correct and i got a screaming deal from rustys on all lower control arms and front and rear track bars for $300

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post #24 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Man this reading gets better and better................just went outside and crawled under the Jeep to get a better perspective. After looking at the added track bar bracket and where the track bar is now I can see where it caused the track to push out of shape or over to the right. Correct me if I'm wrong, but taking the bracket off and lowering the track bar back down to it's original position should bring it back towards the left....correct? (Pics below)

Anyway with all this info/debate I am going to take it into work with me tomorrow and have a buddy at another shop remove the bracket, reattach the track bar and align also I'll have him check and make sure everything else is tight. I should have an answer for you guys tomorrow...

JJ
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post #25 of 31 Old 07-12-2010, 08:16 PM
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That's a nice part and Currie is a great company but I forsee having to rebuild the TRE as a PITA. I new TRE is less than $30 and will swap right in in a few min. On a side note our drag link can be mounted in the factory location below the steering knuckle as well as on top for a high steer set up. Our drag link is also $225 cheaper not $100...
i just looked again at the link you posted and i didn't realize that's the track bar. I didn't read the description and by glancing at it thought it was a drag link. and you have to admit, the small ass pic looks like a drag link, especially with only one side screwed in.

What TRE's does it take? Stock or something else?

As far as the currie, it takes 2 minutes to flip the TRE.

you use a big ass socket and get it started, hit it with the impact and backed the big "nut" out. everything then basically falls out.

Flip it over, toss the 3 pieces or whatever it was back in, zip down the "nut" with the impact gun, boom done.

Plus, NO WAY are you going to have to rebuild that sooner than a stock TRE. we replaced the AEV over knuckle steering that was junk after 20k miles.

for the pricepoint the poly draglink isn't bad though. if it was 300 it'd be a no brainer with the currie, but 175 is a lot more reasonable than 400


as far as track bars, i don't have any experience with the poly, but i was impressed with the teraflex. just another option. it also has a collar so that you don't have to pull the ends to adjust.
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