What does a Steering Stabilizer do? - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-20-2003, 12:54 PM
KenTheJeepGuy
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What does a Steering Stabilizer do?

i am just thinking about the nature of a shock absorber. and it made me wonder.. when in the heck would your steering ever need something along the lines of a shock absorber?
I have never had my steering wheel yank uncontrolably out of my hands and bounce back and forth like a spring.

are stabilizers similar to shocks? or do they only look the same but are totally different in opperation.

the only thing i can think of a stabilizer doing for me is making it harder to steer.

like what are some symptoms that would be helped by a stabilizer?

are they designed to help more for road use or off road?


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-20-2003, 03:52 PM
 
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Re: What does a Steering Stabilizer do?

Yes, they work exactly like a shock absorber, by providing hydraulic friction to resist rapid movement. I've ran without one and it doesn't make a large seat of the pants difference in the way the steering feels or the jeep handles. However, as the factory installed one, you should probably keep a working one in place. It would dampen the shock load caused by the tires hitting irregularities in the road surface (ruts, bumps, holes) and signifantly reduce the chance of an oscillation occuring. It might reduce wear and tear on steering components by absorbing some of that shock energy. That said, there are a lot of things it doesn't (or shouldn't be relied upon to do), such a reduce bump steer, centre the steering, make up for improper alignment of geometry or worn and loose components.

I have power steering on my CJ, and find there is little feedback from the road surface to the steering wheel, even on offroad terrains. That said, I wouldn't even consider mounting a dual one.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 08:45 AM
 
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Re: What does a Steering Stabilizer do?

You will know it is missing the first time you are wheeling on a trail and your front tire hits a root or rock the wrong way. The steering wheel will rotate with such force where it is possible to break your thumb or finger off. The stabilizer will reduce the speed of this action.

This is of course the most extreme case, but I also agree that it will soften many small jerks to your system.

Even a trail only machine I would still use one. My 2 cents.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 09:22 AM
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Re: What does a Steering Stabilizer do?

I don't have one and don't miss it.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 09:31 AM
 
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Re: What does a Steering Stabilizer do?

while I totally agree, go drive without on a manual steering 5... I have busted of my thumbnaim (entire thing) on both hands from my grant wheel hitting me after the jeep hits a rock or something big enough to turn tires.

BTW I was hanging on to the wheel, but it rips it right out of your hands (and I got some decent hands on me....)

Power steering you might not care too much to go without, but manual is a definite!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 09:38 AM
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Re: What does a Steering Stabilizer do?

I took mine off once and found out what death wobble was, cost me a good pair of pants!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 12:02 PM
KenTheJeepGuy
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Death Wobble? Oscillation?

What is a death wobble?
and what is "oscilation"

I am curious... because i just recently put a suspension lift and shackel reversal on my jeep.
and the first time i drove it it seemed fine.
the next day i was on a rather crappy road with ruts and potholes and bumps every few feet. and as soon as i got on that terrain my whole car started wobbling from side to side slowly at first and got worse as it went.

It felt almost as if my u-bolts busted off on one side of my front axle. but upon pulling over and inspecting, everything was perfectly fine.

so i drove on. everything was back to normal. untill the next set of bumpy terrain. then it started all over.
this time i thought maybe it will stop on its own. but i found it just got worse as speed increased, like it got more violent at first, the steering wheel started skaking back and forth. Just not a good feeling.

Well i went and installed a dropped pitman arm... and i thought it cured the issue. but just the other day it did it again to me... but just the once in almost a week. before the pitman arm it was several times a day.

is this what you guys are talking about?
would a steering stabilizer fix this?
I do have power steering.
but my gearbox is old and kinda loose and crappy.
post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 12:54 PM
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Re: Death Wobble? Oscillation?

When I removed my steering stablizer, I drove about 100 yards down a nice paved road and when I got to about 40 MPH the Jeep suddenly started to VIOLENTLY shake in the front. I thought I was going to rip a tire off the bead. I did lose the oil filler cap and the battery that was bungied down came out of the tray. My experience was a pants crapper. You sound like you had a similar experience but maybe not as bad. I would guess that a steering stablizer would eliminate your problem. If you do a search on death wobble you will find more experienced views.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 01:29 PM
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Re: Death Wobble? Oscillation?

If you remove your steering stabilizer and have wobble problems, it means something is wrong. The stabilizer is masking it.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 10-21-2003, 04:45 PM
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Re: Death Wobble? Oscillation?

Agree - Death wobble, oscillstions, wandering etc aren't cured with a stabilizer. If you have any of those symptoms you need to fix them first.
Then with everything working right, adding a stabilizer makes a pleasant difference. It's not a huge difference, but noticable - even with power steering. You don't really feel any more resistance turning, but it sure takes the shock out of bumps.

Not having one and not missing it is like not missing chocolate cake if you've never had it. Hmmm, I can think of a few other things like that too!!!!!!!!!!!
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