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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Steering just feels lost and white knuckle going down the highway. Its very hard to explain but its borderline terrifying. I've checked everything and replaced a lot, also added support/relocation brackets as described below. I've played with tire pressures ( no noticeable difference from 28 -35 psi). I've made slight improvements with replacing parts and adding brackets but cant get it to feel right and am about to use this POS for target practice!!!!!

  • 2016 JKU lifted by previous owner. I am guessing 3-3 1/2"
  • 35 x 12.5 tires on 20" rims
  • Aftermarket adjustable track bars ( good shape and axles positioned correctly)
  • Front track bar bolt replaced and track bar brace and sector shaft brace installed
  • Factory control arms but Rancho upper control arm relocation brackets installed (RS82103) with upper control arm in the 3rd hole from the top...so caster is well within spec
  • 1/8" Toe in
  • New tera flex ball joints
  • New drag link
  • Falcon 3 setting steering damper

All joints checked for slop by placing my hand across the joint with someone cranking the wheel side to side and no deflection at any joint . Just did this again today

Whilst adjusting my toe I noticed that when I roared the tie rod ( rotation within the range of the joints) it causes both wheels to turn slightly (one direction when I rotate it up and the opposite when I rotate it down down).As stated above there is no deflection across either tie rod end and the only movement is what is designed into the ball. I have a great video but it wont let me upload it.......has anyone got and insight into this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Steering just feels lost and white knuckle going down the highway. Its very hard to explain but its borderline terrifying. I've checked everything and replaced a lot, also added support/relocation brackets as described below. I've played with tire pressures ( no noticeable difference from 28 -35 psi). I've made slight improvements with replacing parts and adding brackets but cant get it to feel right and am about to use this POS for target practice!!!!!

  • 2016 JKU lifted by previous owner. I am guessing 3-3 1/2"
  • 35 x 12.5 tires on 20" rims
  • Aftermarket adjustable track bars ( good shape and axles positioned correctly)
  • Front track bar bolt replaced and track bar brace and sector shaft brace installed
  • Factory control arms but Rancho upper control arm relocation brackets installed (RS82103) with upper control arm in the 3rd hole from the top...so caster is well within spec
  • 1/8" Toe in
  • New tera flex ball joints
  • New drag link
  • Falcon 3 setting steering damper

All joints checked for slop by placing my hand across the joint with someone cranking the wheel side to side and no deflection at any joint . Just did this again today

Whilst adjusting my toe I noticed that when I roared the tie rod ( rotation within the range of the joints) it causes both wheels to turn slightly (one direction when I rotate it up and the opposite when I rotate it down down).As stated above there is no deflection across either tie rod end and the only movement is what is designed into the ball. I have a great video but it wont let me upload it.......has anyone got and insight into this?
When I replaced my ball joints it was 500 miles of the most terrifying driving on the planet. I replaced my OEM's with Synergyl The directions stated it would take about 500 miles to properly seat. Not sure if this is typical of all ball joints. It was the worst ever!
I've heard that but have a couple of thousand miles on mine and honestly felt no difference between the old ones, the new Teraflex and the broken in Teraflex....Each of the listed mods from the front track bar bolt replacement to the end of my list had very little effect. The sector shaft brace was the most noticeable, but still didn't get there....The only logical conclusion I can come to is that even though the tie rod ends are "good"...the tie rod rotating up and down is the root cause. My latest problem is that I have no faith a brand new one wont do the same exact thing. I'm considering getting a bar built with Hein joints and bending to match the factory bar
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For some setups the "standard" 1/8th of an inch toe in might not work. I've seen instructions telling to use small amount of toe out to get proper ride quality.

The 35x12.5 on a 20 inch wheel are basically just asking for trouble... Huge tire with low sidewall will be very tricky to dial in.
Thanks, I hadn't considered that as I would have expected to identify that issue as I was doing the joint integrity checks .What's the name of the video?. Having less sidewall will do nothing but improve highway handling over say a 17" rim. The same logic as high performance cars having larger rims/shorter tire walls. There were 33's on 17's before this package and it was worse
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you are asking about my video... I am Jeep Momma on YouTube.
Top 5 Jeep Suspension Fails [How To Detect]
At first I thought the issue was the tie rod ends. I call Steer Smarts as I have the Yeti Steering system. They said no way it was their tie rod ends and for me to check the knuckle. They were spot on. I posted a picture of the steering knuckle on another post. I can't find it now.
Tammy....I went to your you tube page and there are probably 100 videos'
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah... 400 ish...

Here's the link...
Tammy....good video, thanks. Not my problem though. I performed all those tests yesterday (for about the 8th time) and only when tweaking my toe did I notice the tie rod flop and subsequently how the flop causes a slight left/right steering input as I rotate it through its ark. I have considered loosening the adjusting collar and clocking the TRE's in opposite planes such that it would limit flop, just not sure how long the TRE's would last with that particular loading applied to them
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The thing with low profile tires and wranglers is, that the double straight axle setup really is not something one would go by if handling is of importance. Especially a straight axle up front plain and simple sucks. Add high lift, draglink and track bar not beign fully aligned, and the low profile tires no longer are an advantage.

The vid I saw the instruction on toe out was one of the light brite nation product plugs. That couple is a handful, but I still kinda like to watch their stuff 😂

I'll try and find the exact episode and I'll drop the link here.

Edit: here you go:
I get your point on the not being a handling vehicle, but the same logic still applies, less sidewall will create a harsher ride, but also more precise in terms of less sidewall flex. With my 20 x 35 set up I still have 7 1/2" of sidewall. This isn't my problem. I wish I could figure out how to attach the video I took yesterday of the wheel reacting to me rotating the tie rod.....Its either this or the steering box. I was hoping to find others that had narrowed down their steering issues to the same issue. I would appreciate the video if you can find it
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm still gonna say the low(ish) profile of the tires does not help. To get the load rating it has, the sidewall will need to be pretty stiff. That will, of course, relay the road "feel" much better to the steering wheel, but only if the steering components are engineered for good handling. Wranglers' are not...

Consider this: even the F1 engineers were really up to a challenge when for this season they went from 13" ro 18" wheels. The high profile tire used to be a major componen of the suspension, and taking that away ment a lot of re-engineering.

Suspension on Wranglers is not designed for low profile tires. I do realize 35x12.5 on a 20 is "only" about 315/60R20 in euro size, but it is relatively low profile for a Wrangler, so whatever it is that is off in your setup, will be magnified by the wheel/tire combo.

Edit: I gotta say I like the look of 20" wheels on a Wrangler, if the tire is big enough like yours 👍
I appreciate your input and agree and your observations on low profile tires are logical especially in terms of the tire being an integral suspension component that will transfer more road feel and create a somewhat harsher ride. This however isn't my problem, I am looking to gain road feel and precise feedback so I can hopefully keep it between the lines on the highway. I had 33 x 17's on it last year and had exactly the same issue. (33 x 17 = 8" tall sidewall.....35 x 20= 7 1/2" tall sidewall). I know its not applicable with these POS's but another benefit of reduced sidewall is the reduction in un-sprung weight that is desirable in a performance scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I bought it with the lift and have identified that it came with aftermarket, adjustable track bars (front and rear), I've since replaced the drag link with an aftermarket unit, braced the front, frame side track bar mount and sector shaft, replaced factory frame side track bar bolt. I did get an alignment prior to adding the Rancho control arm relocation brackets and it was in spec. At that point it had the cam bolt caster adjustment which I just didn't like/trust....Its interesting you mention the rear track bar as because I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall with the front, I've started wondering is there is anything going on in the rear. Have you ever heard of the frame side track bar bolt reaming out the bracket hole like the front can?
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Whats the rear look like? The SS was a waste of good money. You have the factory pitman arm which is good. Check your steering box bolts and some good cleaning and painting would also be a good idea with the amount of rust showing already. If the rear track bar bolts come loose they can oval out the holes just like the front but won't give you death wobble like the front but will give you a wandering feel. Tires can also be an issue. Off road tires need to be rotated more than car tires do. A 3000 mile schedule or at oil changes is recommended. Poor quality roads can have an impact and will show up more on a jeep with wide tires.
Mods since the pics are....New drag link (there was a tiny bit of slop in the old joints), new ball joints, Rancho control arm relocation brackets (or caster gain), new aftermarket bolt, track bar and sector shaft brace (steering box was visually deflecting a little). All new hardware in control arms. Rear track bar hardware is tight, but I guess I will take apart and visually inspect. Next step is to play with steering box lash
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Dirtman asks a good question. How are the track bars mounted to the axles? Stock brackets or are there relocation brackets?
As far as mounting, both front and rear track bars are mounted in the factory locations. Aftermarket adjustable track bars The front is braced (combo track bar/sector shaft brace) on the chassis side and the factory bolt replaced with a shouldered bolt on the chassis side
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
You should have raised track bar mounts on both front & rear axles. The amount of raise should roughly correspond to the amount of lift, though generally the raise in the rear will be about 1" more than the front. The front track bar should be on the same plane as the drag link. If they differ you'll get way squirrely handling.

Post some pics of your track bars.
......Thanks........this is the old drag link, but they are pretty similar. I've always known this, but to me they seem pretty parallel, but they both have bends so it gets a little blurry. Would it make sense to run a string line for both (center of mount to center of mount) and from there adjust the track bar (axle side) end of the string to be fully paralell with the drag link string, measure up from factory track bar mount and determine bracket height requirement off that?....It looks as though the track bar is adjusted all the way in so a raised mount would probably require a new track bar. Do you recommend a supplier for the raised track bar mounts?
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
There's a steeper angle on the track bar than the drag link. They need to be roughly the same or it's going to bump steer a lot, which I suspect is your issue. A raised track bar mount in front would help cure the issue. (Never use a drop pitman on a JK.) Also, the angle on the front & rear track bars should be roughly the same as well, so if you install a front bracket you should install one in the rear, too. Synergy makes great track bar bracket kits for JK.
Thanks again, but regarding the angles, there is, and there isn't a huge difference in angle due to the bends in each link,. which is why why I consider the string line comparison from joint to joint to be geometrically correct in comparison
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
The bends are immaterial. The angles we're concerned with are the difference between a straight line drawn from the frame side mounting point to the axle mounting point on the track bar, vs the straight line drawn from the pitman arm to the steering knuckle on the drag link. Those need to be the same. There's quite a bit of difference on your rig. To reduce the discrepancy you need to raise the track bar mounting point on the axle with a bracket. the angle of the4 front & rear bars need to be roughly the same. All this has to do with raising the roll center of the vehicle to compensate for the lift.
This is exactly why I bought up the bends in the first place. In the picture I posted the track bar and drag link seem to be at different angles. The bends in both bars create a lot of that illusion. I will verify with the string method
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Have a reputable and experienced 4wd shop check your caster. Do not rely on the bolt position, but rather have them adjust it according to the lift. Typically, not the original specs.
I tried this over a year ago a place in Clear Lake Tx called the Jeep Slop Shop (specialize in jeep mods) and they didn't have a clue or the inclination to do anything but upsell me a set a of ball joints that weren't even bad to begin with. I agreed to let them do that simply because the ones in there were not greaseable and one was offset, as well as my assumption they, as Jeep specialist's would look deeper into my issues, sadly NOT. As soon as I get my angle gauge back I will check myself. The only reason I mention camber is I am certain I am well beyond recommended at this point and may infact have to back some out to prevent driveline issues ......Camber is not my problem anymore
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
I would expect you need a drag link flip up front and raised rear track bar bracket. Get an alignment at a good shop that specializes in 4x4's and get a print out. Camber is somehting that can get out of hand on a built jeep. Got any photos showing the front and rear set ups? Also something that is free is to loosen up all the control arms and track bars, shake the suspension up and down and then re-tourqe all the link bolts. You may also have an issue with your steering box. Do you have a drop pitman arm?
Quick question on this loosening all TB/CA bolts and re torqueing. What would this do?....Is there not sufficient articulation in the bushings that if torqued with the axles unloaded (on a lift) that when loaded there is basically a bind across those joints??.....does the inner metal insert in the bushings not rotate within the rubber??
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Steering just feels lost and white knuckle going down the highway. Its very hard to explain but its borderline terrifying. I've checked everything and replaced a lot, also added support/relocation brackets as described below. I've played with tire pressures ( no noticeable difference from 28 -35 psi). I've made slight improvements with replacing parts and adding brackets but cant get it to feel right and am about to use this POS for target practice!!!!!

  • 2016 JKU lifted by previous owner. I am guessing 3-3 1/2"
  • 35 x 12.5 tires on 20" rims
  • Aftermarket adjustable track bars ( good shape and axles positioned correctly)
  • Front track bar bolt replaced and track bar brace and sector shaft brace installed
  • Factory control arms but Rancho upper control arm relocation brackets installed (RS82103) with upper control arm in the 3rd hole from the top...so caster is well within spec
  • 1/8" Toe in
  • New tera flex ball joints
  • New drag link
  • Falcon 3 setting steering damper

All joints checked for slop by placing my hand across the joint with someone cranking the wheel side to side and no deflection at any joint . Just did this again today

Whilst adjusting my toe I noticed that when I roared the tie rod ( rotation within the range of the joints) it causes both wheels to turn slightly (one direction when I rotate it up and the opposite when I rotate it down down).As stated above there is no deflection across either tie rod end and the only movement is what is designed into the ball. I have a great video but it wont let me upload it.......has anyone got and insight into this?
UPDATE 4/21/22......
1)..I removed steering stabilizer just to ensure it wasn't masking/blurring my problem. Result was no improvement but slightly different steering feel. Now the steering wheel will react SLIGHTLY to very small bumps (NOT SUSPENSION TRAVEL INDUCED..aka BUMP STEER), but this isn't an issue as its momentary
2)..Adjusted the sector shaft with wheel at full lock left and got about 1/8th of a turn..Result, no noticeable improvement but here never was a huge amount of slop in the steering
3)..Increased tire pressure to 40 PSI (been at pretty much every 2 PSI increments from 25 PSI on up over the last few months)...Result....felt a little better, but still not right
4)..confirmed caster at the two flat points on either side of the differential housing and read "0" pinion so sitting at 6* caster (see pics)

I probably should have included this initially but there is a strange sensation in terms of some sort of body movement, very hard to explain, but just unsettling, even at very slow speeds, maybe the wind.??

I've also paid very close attention to what I experience and will try to explain. Driving an a straight and pretty flat road +/- 30 MPH and tracking pretty straight and all seems fine from time to time I just feel a slight direction change but there has been no movement (voluntarily or involuntarily ) of the steering wheel, I gradually/gently add steering input to correct and it feels like I have to hold that input against slight resistance then it seems to relax. As long as I dont add too much steering all is good for a while. With no apparent rhyme nor reason this keeps occurring to one direction or the other. This doesn't bother me on my local roads at 30 MPH, but this is what I'm
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feeling on the highway and everything is magnified at 70 MPH
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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
The metal center section is pinched when you tighten the bolts so if this is not done at ride height your bushing are in bind. The joint does not roatate inside the arm.
Damn....I assumed the rubber material rotated on the outside of the metal.....so basically I need to loosed=n everything and re-torque on my back on the driveway......cant wait. Are you aware of any aftermarket replacement bushings that do facilitate rotation?
 
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