at least after what appears to be a pretty solid looking steering setup picts , if
I were in OPs shoes , I'd probably try what was suggested a few comments up and
pull the teraflex SS , see what drives like undampened.
then , if symptoms persist , start closely inspecting the brackets that have not been
upgraded; that frameside trackbar bracket can hide & be weakened if not slathered in coating of grease from winter salt corrosion .I see a bit of rust in places so would really check that and the trackbar bracket on axle , too.
I've had the slight wear of one or two threads on my own trackbar bolt (9/16 upgrade to grade8) be just the right , perfect amount of small wear cause it to clunk before.
while tossing ideas , I have repacked my intermediary steering column shaft that runs from the steering gear with grease+ tightened it a little. I gotta say I'd be more likely to suspect that or maybe an under-torqued sectorshaft nut ,under pitman arm?
I'm obviously throwing out ideas here.
only other thing might be the the frameside trackbar bolt seems pretty excessively long. It has rust on its rear facing end ,on underside which tells me it's making contact maybe during compression stroke? I don't think that's causing the noise though.
lastly , you know ball joint & tierod ends can make noise & "pop" in near bind so have we done a leverage test against them? the ," locking in full lock " worries me a bit more.
pitman arm doesn't appear to be contacting anything visible in these...
no contact scratches at all on back of the draglink or tierod ,huh?
did you double-check the four critical stud bolts that run thru frame to secure the steering gear ?
I'd hunt each bracket & bolt.
fwiw, I have found over the years that setting myself on ground in front of these jeeps and having it parked-but-running w/ someone inside turning the full range , L&R, as I watch or ( if alone) I use tripod to hold mobile phone & film me turning full lock to lock repeatedly , upclose monitoring usually reveals the problem part moving incorrectly, revealing my trouble. just an idea.
hopefully some of those are ideas that might help. steering diagnosis is lame.
I've had more issues like the OP is experiencing than any other on this jk; the steering.
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Last edited by j3ff3ry_j33p; 08-22-2019 at 04:35 AM.