Slight shake side to side in steering wheel - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-19-2019, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Slight shake side to side in steering wheel

Not sure if this has been asked before. I have done a lot searching and reading and havenít quite found an answer to my question.

I have a 4 in long arm suspension with Teraflex HD adjustable track bar, drag link and tie rod ends. I have noticed that while traveling in a straight line I can like something is moving side to side in the steering wheel. This does not feel like ďdeath wobbleĒ. The steering wheel doesnít actually shake.
Now when turn the wheel the side to side movement feels like it gets worse. You can almost hear it in the steering wheel. Feels kinda like a click.

I have checked the track bar the frame side hole looks fine and the bolt looks fine through the hole. The steering shaft feels tight not loose and even on the inside up the column feels tight. The steering does feel like it has a little play to it. But when I turn the steering wheel the Jeep goes where I tell it to. I donít have to constantly correct the direction.

The second part to this, about 2 weeks ago while driving the Jeep steering wheel randomly got stuck while turning right on 3 different occasions and then never happened again.

Any help and or advise would great!


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post #2 of 13 Old 08-20-2019, 06:01 AM
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picts of front links & steering turned to multi angles ( or video of you driving in circles =better) would be much more helpful if you seek assist by remote opinions.

also, this sounds like drag link or tierod flop.
I'd still suspect the bolt securing tracbar at axle is most likely culprit. even if it doesn't look egged out , even .5mm of play can hide until force of turn reveals it.

out of round or imbalanced tire can also produce symptoms as you described.

you don't run a dropped pitman arm, do you?





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Last edited by j3ff3ry_j33p; 08-20-2019 at 06:03 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-20-2019, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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No drop pitman arm.
There is up and down play in both the tie rod and drag link but no more than normal from factory was.


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post #4 of 13 Old 08-20-2019, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rcooper5 View Post
The second part to this, about 2 weeks ago while driving the Jeep steering wheel randomly got stuck while turning right on 3 different occasions and then never happened again.
This is your hint. It means something has changed/loosened/bent. Usually when I see wheel locks it is caused by the steering stabilizer. Maybe it got bent, or maybe the tie rod bracket loosened up and it moved somewhere else that gets into a bind. If your stabilize is bad it can cause this. True death wobble is not really caused by a bad stabilizer, but a slight wobble (usually from tire imbalance as the root cause) can definitely be observed when the stabilizer is broken or loose.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-20-2019, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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This is your hint. It means something has changed/loosened/bent. Usually when I see wheel locks it is caused by the steering stabilizer. Maybe it got bent, or maybe the tie rod bracket loosened up and it moved somewhere else that gets into a bind. If your stabilize is bad it can cause this. True death wobble is not really caused by a bad stabilizer, but a slight wobble (usually from tire imbalance as the root cause) can definitely be observed when the stabilizer is broken or loose.


Well it has only happened a about 3 times. And now has stopped and nothing has been removed or changed. Stabilizer hasnít moved nor has any of the bolts. Tires are properly balanced and all the road force values are below 20lbs of road force. Nothing appears to be bent either.


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post #6 of 13 Old 08-21-2019, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by j3ff3ry_j33p View Post



picts of front links & steering turned to multi angles ( or video of you driving in circles =better) would be much more helpful if you seek assist by remote opinions.

also, this sounds like drag link or tierod flop.
I'd still suspect the bolt securing tracbar at axle is most likely culprit. even if it doesn't look egged out , even .5mm of play can hide until force of turn reveals it.

out of round or imbalanced tire can also produce symptoms as you described.

you don't run a dropped pitman arm, do you?




Full lock right to left and straight ahead. Donít have a camera to video or else I would.





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post #7 of 13 Old 08-21-2019, 11:32 AM
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Well you could try taking off your stabilizer and see what happens to your symptoms. Pretty easy thing to do.

If it's also a slight clunking when shifting the wheel a little left / right back-and-forth from center, your steering shaft may have a little lateral play in it. There's a little kit out there to reduce it, just a couple of collars with a spring between them that helps keep the lateral shaft wiggle down to a minimum.

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post #8 of 13 Old 08-21-2019, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockystock View Post
Well you could try taking off your stabilizer and see what happens to your symptoms. Pretty easy thing to do.

If it's also a slight clunking when shifting the wheel a little left / right back-and-forth from center, your steering shaft may have a little lateral play in it. There's a little kit out there to reduce it, just a couple of collars with a spring between them that helps keep the lateral shaft wiggle down to a minimum.

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Yep! Dunno about the binding, but the little clicky-clunk is harmless but annoying free play in the slip splines of the intermediate steering shaft. If Borgeson or Flaming River made a replacement I'd buy it, but every time I've checked they haven't yet made one for the JK

About every 2-3 years, I remove the intermediate steering shaft, disassemble one boot clamp, work some open gear lube into the slip splines, reassemble and reinstall. It's a PITA but works every time (for about 2-3 years ). If you remove the steering shaft, immobilize your steering wheel first so it doesn't freewheel and wreck your clock spring. I just loop a motorcycle tie down around the rim of the steering wheel and cinch it off to the cage.



EDIT: actually, on the binding issue I have one question: has anyone ever adjusted the backlash on your steering box? If so, that could be the source of the binding. A steering box adjusted too tight will bind at/near full lock. Fix = back off the backlash adjustment screw a tad (and don't fuck with steering box backlash unless you understand it).
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Last edited by ExWrench; 08-21-2019 at 01:57 PM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-21-2019, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ExWrench View Post
Yep! Dunno about the binding, but the little clicky-clunk is harmless but annoying free play in the slip splines of the intermediate steering shaft. If Borgeson or Flaming River made a replacement I'd buy it, but every time I've checked they haven't yet made one for the JK

About every 2-3 years, I remove the intermediate steering shaft, disassemble one boot clamp, work some open gear lube into the slip splines, reassemble and reinstall. It's a PITA but works every time (for about 2-3 years ). If you remove the steering shaft, immobilize your steering wheel first so it doesn't freewheel and wreck your clock spring. I just loop a motorcycle tie down around the rim of the steering wheel and cinch it off to the cage.



EDIT: actually, on the binding issue I have one question: has anyone ever adjusted the backlash on your steering box? If so, that could be the source of the binding. A steering box adjusted too tight will bind at/near full lock. Fix = back off the backlash adjustment screw a tad (and don't fuck with steering box backlash unless you understand it).


To my knowledge no one has done anything. Iím the 2nd owner. I installed the lift and all the front end parts because it was having the same symptoms prior to lift. But the steering wheel locking up while only turning to the right has only happened 3-4 times and hasnít happened since. It only started when I shortened my front LCAs and now itís all good.


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post #10 of 13 Old 08-21-2019, 04:51 PM
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Yeah I adjusted my steering backlash while the front end was apart during the engine swap. Followed the procedure in the FSM rigorously. The procedure is well-written and easy to follow. The only thing I had trouble with was finding a pound-inch torque wrench with enough accuracy - I ended up getting a nice beam-style wrench, but it goes all the way up to 75 lb-in when the procedure only involves around 10-15. My steering gear was loose after 110,000 miles; but I DID NOT adjust the set screw any more than the procedure called for. Messing with critical $h!t like that is not for me lol.

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Last edited by rockystock; 08-21-2019 at 05:07 PM.
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post #11 of 13 Old 08-22-2019, 04:31 AM
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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?

hmm...
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.
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-27-2019, 04:57 PM
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Some more ideas:

Check for uint bearing play and also worn ball joints for both issues. I had the same issue on my full-sized Chevy truck. Turned out to be the passenger side upper ball joint. So I just replaced them all. If nobody has done anything to it, and you are the 2nd owner, I would suspect those two things as possible causes. If it turns out to be the case, let me know if you want pricing on ball joints. Or anything else for that matter.

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post #13 of 13 Old 08-27-2019, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetCJ7 View Post
Some more ideas:

Check for uint bearing play and also worn ball joints for both issues. I had the same issue on my full-sized Chevy truck. Turned out to be the passenger side upper ball joint. So I just replaced them all. If nobody has done anything to it, and you are the 2nd owner, I would suspect those two things as possible causes. If it turns out to be the case, let me know if you want pricing on ball joints. Or anything else for that matter.

Allen


I know the bearing isnít bad as I have recently replaced both. I pretty sure I have pinned this down to the drag link. I feel a slight pop in side to side movement in the steering wheel. Just havenít had time to take it out check the joints regrease and reinstall.


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