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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2002, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
 
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CJ7 Caster?

I have a problem on my 83 CJ7 with the steering wheel not returning to center after a turn, it has all stock supension with no lift and 31" tiers. Could it be the caster and if so how can check the caster for myself?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2002, 08:08 AM
 
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Re: CJ7 Caster?

Caster is permanently set by the angle that the inner knuckle is welded to the axle tube in relation to vertical (specifically, on a line drawn through the centers of the upper and lower balljoints). There is no adjustment from the factory. You can check caster with a protractor and straightedge. I can tell you that it's going to be between 6-8*.

You should have no problems with caster if your suspension is stock. I'd start looking at your steering components (tie rod ends, stabilizer, steerng box, etc.) to see if the parts are worn. I'd also recommend taking the vehicle to a reputable alignment shop - the ones at the parts stores pretty much suck. Their technicians aren't trained properly, and they usually don't know what is causing the problem in the first place. Toe-in can also affect return-to-center.

BTW, power or manual steering?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2002, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: CJ7 Caster?

Thanks for info Nate, I think you are right about the worn parts in the front end. I just got this Jeep Wednesday and it does have a lot of slack in the steering. I had a YJ in great shape, I had fix everthing on it, now will start on the CJ, and slowly rebuild everthing on it.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2002, 08:49 AM
 
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Re: CJ7 Caster?

Let us know how everything works out.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2002, 08:57 AM
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Re: CJ7 Caster?

On my '78, caster was about 2* stock. Return was weak, and I never relied on it. When I did a D44 upgrade, I made it about 6*. Return was better, but still not strong enough that the wheel would spin back to center.

Also important to self centering is another angle; kingpin inclination. That is the angle from upper to lower balljoint as seen from the front, where the upper is considerably inboard from the lower. That places the kingpin axis close to the center of the contact patch, which reduces the load on the steering linkage. It also causes the axel to rise as the tire steers. The weight of the vehicle then tries to return the wheel to straight ahead. There's no way to adjust it other than bending the housing, but it's important anyway.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2002, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: CJ7 Caster?

Will do, I well post after I change out the tirerod ends. I just went out and looked at the tirerod ends and two look bad, I will replase all four of them.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2002, 12:36 PM
 
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Re: CJ7 Caster?

If your suspension is stock, and steering wheel is not returning to center, I'd suspect worn ball joints.

Since it's an '83, you can pretty figure on replacing most of the wear items anyway:
Ball joints, TREs, inner/outer wheel bearings, spindle bearings, inner seals, steering shaft rag joint, ...
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