Steering problems after PR44 install. - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-18-2018, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Steering problems after PR44 install.

Greetings all.

Long time lurker here who's run into an issue I can't find a solution for by searching.

2008 JKU Sahara, 35's, 1.75" spacers, PR44U, drag link flip, no SS, stock track bar on a raised bracket, and plenty of other mods but nothing else custom in regards to steering yet.

After installing the PR I'm starting to feel resistance when steering to the right at idle. Resistance starts at less than a full turn of the wheel, closer to a half turn. Sounds like I'm triggering pump relief at this point but letting off the steering then trying again a few times without forcing it, I can eventually get to full right by getting further and further with each attempt. (Again, this is at idle. When driving down the road it seems fine.)

While diagnosing this issue I also realized that at full lock in either direction, I'm about 1/2" to 3/4" from making contact with the steering stops. The steering gear itself is limiting my steering, or so it seems.

Tires aren't hitting anything and when cycling from lock to lock I can't identify anything making contact, binding, or hitting anything up front. Steering wheel is straight.

The only thing that even looks close to hitting are the 12 point hub assembly bolts and the larger axle shaft ears. However, if these were making contact I'm sure I would have felt feedback when making tight turns on the road.

A simple solution to the steering stops would be to get some longer bolts (rather than stack up close to an inch of washers) but I feel like this shouldn't be an issue to begin with and don't want to just put a bandaid on a larger issue somewhere.

Besides these issues I have no leaks at the steering box or pump, fluid levels are fine, and steering feels like it always has. No new slop or looseness in the steering.

Apologies for the long winded first post, just wanting to give as much info up front as I could think of.

Any ideas or thoughts are appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-18-2018, 07:09 PM
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Definitely don't fix it by increasing the steering stops, that's not fixing it at all and is just masking a real problem.

Unless your power steering just happened to die simultaneously with installing the axle, which is extraordinarily unlikely, something on the new axis is binding. I'd probably jack it up, take off the tires, remove the drag link, and try to steer it manually with the link removed. You'll probably be able to figure it out from there. If it does bind and you can't figure it out, maybe take off the tie rod from one side and see which side is binding.

One thought that comes to mind is that maybe the tie rod and/or drag link ends are clocked such that they're almost in bind when going straight and are going into a bind at that steering angle.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-18-2018, 09:30 PM
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Pics would be a big help.

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post #4 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 05:30 AM
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you set frame up front on jackstands and had someone cycle steering ? I’d look at ball joints or tierod ends but prior to that I’d grease every zerk fitting on the front half of the rig. It just sounds like balljoint to me.

Video of whole front end while someone is cycling it is imperative to diagnosing this .



( edit: psst...it’d be good netiquette to go hit the Welcome Room and introduce yerself and yer rig to the forum so we don’t feel like your Jeep repair one-night-stand, fwiw )



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Last edited by j3ff3ry_j33p; 07-19-2018 at 05:33 AM.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ff3ry_j33p View Post
( edit: psst...itíd be good netiquette to go hit the Welcome Room and introduce yerself and yer rig to the forum so we donít feel like your Jeep repair one-night-stand, fwiw )

What? You dont like to fix it and nix it?
Diagnose and dash?
troubleshoot and shoot?
repair and run?
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
Definitely don't fix it by increasing the steering stops, that's not fixing it at all and is just masking a real problem.

Unless your power steering just happened to die simultaneously with installing the axle, which is extraordinarily unlikely, something on the new axis is binding. I'd probably jack it up, take off the tires, remove the drag link, and try to steer it manually with the link removed. You'll probably be able to figure it out from there. If it does bind and you can't figure it out, maybe take off the tie rod from one side and see which side is binding.

One thought that comes to mind is that maybe the tie rod and/or drag link ends are clocked such that they're almost in bind when going straight and are going into a bind at that steering angle.
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Originally Posted by Rb6700 View Post
Pics would be a big help.

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Good idea. Ill jack it up this weekend and will take some photos then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ff3ry_j33p View Post
you set frame up front on jackstands and had someone cycle steering ? Iíd look at ball joints or tierod ends but prior to that Iíd grease every zerk fitting on the front half of the rig. It just sounds like balljoint to me.

Video of whole front end while someone is cycling it is imperative to diagnosing this .



( edit: psst...itíd be good netiquette to go hit the Welcome Room and introduce yerself and yer rig to the forum so we donít feel like your Jeep repair one-night-stand, fwiw )

I have not cycled the steering while up on stands yet. Just sitting on the ground. I did shoot some grease in the Dynatrac balljoints, but those are brand spanking new and didn't take much. Other than the balljoints there's not much to grease. I'm still running the OEM tie rod and the drag link end I got with the flip doesn't have a zerk.

Oh, here's my intro post:
https://www.jkowners.com/forum/welco...escott-az.html

2008 JKU Sahara on jack stands with suspension completely removed, engine completely exposed, crossmembers cut out, and wiring harness dangling by the firewall. Soon, IFS front suspension with trailing arm 4 link in the rear.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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I got under the front end this morning to check my steering stops again. We've had a ridiculous amount of rain the past couple weeks, so the new front axle still looks like I just pulled it out of the crate.

It's been dry enough the past day or so to get some dirt to stick though and it almost looks like the housing does have some marring on the stops. Like the bolts on the steering knuckle have made contact before. I've also not noticed an increase to my turning radius since the swap, this is leading me to believe I am hitting the stops while driving but can't while sitting still at idle. If this is the case, that would indicate either pump or gearbox failure no? Especially combined with the strain of turning hardly at all when idling.

I'm going to stick some duct tape on the housing where the bolts would make contact. If they are hitting while moving, that tape will get torn up. I'll report back when I have any updates.

Thanks to all for the suggestions.

2008 JKU Sahara on jack stands with suspension completely removed, engine completely exposed, crossmembers cut out, and wiring harness dangling by the firewall. Soon, IFS front suspension with trailing arm 4 link in the rear.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 11:13 AM
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Even if it can hit them when moving, you still have a problem if you can't hit them when at idle.

It theoretically could be the power steering, but from a diagnostic standpoint in just about any complex engineered system, I follow the principle that when you change one thing and something stops working, it's very unlikely something completely unrelated randomly just happened to break exactly simultaneously. It can happen, but statistically it's just unbelievably unlikely. I don't think I've ever had it happen. So basically what that means is I'd be tearing down all the steering, getting it down to just raw knuckles to see if they move freely, checking all your tie rod/drag link clocking, checking rod ends, etc. before I even started to think about checking on the power steering system.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 03:20 PM
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I had the same problems with my steering whenever I did my PR44 swap. I remember the only thing that looked like it could be causing that was the ends on the tie rod looked like they didn't want to allow any more movement due to being in a kind of bind. I kinda chalked it up to me not being 100% sure of the length I was supposed to set the CAs at and my caster being way off. Sure enough, after I had it looked over and aligned by a knowledgable shop, the knuckles turn to full stop both ways and no issues with my steering since.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
Even if it can hit them when moving, you still have a problem if you can't hit them when at idle.

It theoretically could be the power steering, but from a diagnostic standpoint in just about any complex engineered system, I follow the principle that when you change one thing and something stops working, it's very unlikely something completely unrelated randomly just happened to break exactly simultaneously. It can happen, but statistically it's just unbelievably unlikely. I don't think I've ever had it happen. So basically what that means is I'd be tearing down all the steering, getting it down to just raw knuckles to see if they move freely, checking all your tie rod/drag link clocking, checking rod ends, etc. before I even started to think about checking on the power steering system.
Oh I agree completely. I know that just because the steering stops make contact while driving doesn't mean I don't have an issue. Clearly something is up somewhere.

The only reason why I was suspicious of the steering pump or gearbox is because I had not closely analyzed my steering in a while before installing the PR. Something could have been going bad over time without my realizing it. Like I mentioned earlier, I cannot tell anything is wrong while on the road. I'm definitely going to rule out all the easy stuff first though.

I also confirmed that my steering stops are making contact while driving. In fact, it's not the RPMs that dictate if I can get to full lock or not. Even a small amount of rotation at the tires allows me to get to full lock again. Just letting off the break and coasting down my sloped driveway a bit and I can get the stops to make contact.

I'll be jacking it up and pulling the tires/drag link tomorrow to get a better look at things and try to manually steer. Hopefully Ill learn something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by du5tan View Post
I had the same problems with my steering whenever I did my PR44 swap. I remember the only thing that looked like it could be causing that was the ends on the tie rod looked like they didn't want to allow any more movement due to being in a kind of bind. I kinda chalked it up to me not being 100% sure of the length I was supposed to set the CAs at and my caster being way off. Sure enough, after I had it looked over and aligned by a knowledgable shop, the knuckles turn to full stop both ways and no issues with my steering since.
Interesting. Any idea what the shop did?

My control arms seem to be on point. I did not adjust the lowers at all and barely had to move the uppers. I'm sitting at 8į caster driver side and 7į passenger. After bolting in the axle I cycled it to full stuff on both sides individually and then both sides simultaneously. Bump stops are lined up perfectly and nothing makes contact at full bump. That's with the bump stop that Dynatrac adds to equal the perch height of the OEM axle removed. With the 35's and a whole lot of trimming done ages ago, it's a tight fit but fit it does.

When I was putting everything in the control arm bolts were a breeze to line up which was always a nightmare to do before. The drag link went in do problem besides screwing up my steering wheel which I corrected after the install. Drag link went in no problem as well, I didn't have to hammer it in or anything.

2008 JKU Sahara on jack stands with suspension completely removed, engine completely exposed, crossmembers cut out, and wiring harness dangling by the firewall. Soon, IFS front suspension with trailing arm 4 link in the rear.
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, something I thought of as I was submitting my response above.

Adjusting the steering wheel was one of the last things I did after a grueling day of installing the axle. I wonder if I could have adjusted it in the wrong direction and shortened it by mistake... but that can't be otherwise I wouldn't be touching the bump stops while rotating the tires. Never mind on that note.

However, I do remember being surprised by how difficult it was to rotate the knuckles by hand after bolting them up to the ball joints. I assumed it was because the OEM ball joints on the dana 30 (which were the originals btw at 105k miles, haha) were totally shot and loose as can be. I pulled up Dynatracs install instructions on their balljoints online to get the torque specs so they should have been installed to spec.

2008 JKU Sahara on jack stands with suspension completely removed, engine completely exposed, crossmembers cut out, and wiring harness dangling by the firewall. Soon, IFS front suspension with trailing arm 4 link in the rear.
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 08:46 PM
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Locker, limited slip, or open dif?
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-19-2018, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cjindna View Post
Locker, limited slip, or open dif?
Locker. ARB.

2008 JKU Sahara on jack stands with suspension completely removed, engine completely exposed, crossmembers cut out, and wiring harness dangling by the firewall. Soon, IFS front suspension with trailing arm 4 link in the rear.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-20-2018, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Small update:

I was parked in some gravel yesterday evening and decided to test my steering to see how it would do on some slippery gravel.

The steering still seemed to whine a bit going right, but I was able to go full lock to lock.

2008 JKU Sahara on jack stands with suspension completely removed, engine completely exposed, crossmembers cut out, and wiring harness dangling by the firewall. Soon, IFS front suspension with trailing arm 4 link in the rear.
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-20-2018, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by GetLost View Post
Hmm, something I thought of as I was submitting my response above.

Adjusting the steering wheel was one of the last things I did after a grueling day of installing the axle. I wonder if I could have adjusted it in the wrong direction and shortened it by mistake... but that can't be otherwise I wouldn't be touching the bump stops while rotating the tires. Never mind on that note.

However, I do remember being surprised by how difficult it was to rotate the knuckles by hand after bolting them up to the ball joints. I assumed it was because the OEM ball joints on the dana 30 (which were the originals btw at 105k miles, haha) were totally shot and loose as can be. I pulled up Dynatracs install instructions on their balljoints online to get the torque specs so they should have been installed to spec.
Being a little off center wouldn't cause this. The problem you could run into is if you clocked the drag link wrong so the ends are near opposite sides of their travel. Then it could go into bind as you steer. Basically, make sure both the tie rod and drag link have significant flop.

New ball joints are pretty stiff. Synergy joints are often so tight that you need to hammer the knuckles to get them to turn after installation. It can affect handling significantly, but the power steering should easily be able to overcome any ball joint stiffness even when sitting still. They'd have to be completely defective and not moving even when hammered for the power steering to struggle to turn them.

Regarding the discussion on control arms, they can't really cause your steering to bind. The only possible problem there is if you had a huge caster change all of a sudden you might need to clock the drag link differently from where it was before.

Last edited by christensent; 07-20-2018 at 08:28 AM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-20-2018, 04:56 PM
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Stupid question... Is the front locker engaged or somehow won't disengage?

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