Join Date: Sep 2002
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Re: Front end wander
1)Check steering column play (hold steering shaft and move steering wheel).
2) check rag joint (shaft to box) very suspect
3) check steering lash (play) (how far you turn wheel before tires budge). Should be minimal
4)You checked ball joints - make sure you do this with front end off ground - no load
5)Check all tie rod and drag link ends for wear, play and grease. Have someone steer with the tires on the ground, you will be able to see the joints moving around in their mounts slightly if they are worn.
6) Check your castor angle. I have to run 7 degrees on mine. You can safely use steel angle shims on the front. I run 3 degree shims. You may need this if you have non stock axles or especially longer shackles. To increase castor, put the fat end of the shim toward the front of vehicle.
7) check your toe in - most Jeeps I know of area about 1/8" with 33's
8) If you have a lift over 2" with no drag link you might have a minor amount of bump steer. You need a dropped pitman arm if that is the case
9)After all that, check your front wheel bearings. Get the front off the ground, and check the in/out play. Grab the top inside of the tire, and push in on the lower outside of the tire and try to rock it. Any play and your bearings need replacing.
That's all I can think of. Sounds like alot of work, I know, but you want to be safe with your family in the Jeep, right?
Here is the lash adjustment procedure I copied from this board a while back:
Vehicles with power steering require the engine running to check steering wheel lash. Do this with front end off the ground (properly supported with stands). Turn the steering wheel in one direction until the tires just begin to pivot.
Place a mark on the steering wheel at a fixed reference point. Turn the wheel in the other direction until the tires again start to move, mark the steering wheel at the same fixed reference point. Measure the distance between the two points. The amount of allowable lash varies with the diameter of the steering wheel. Generally Lash cannot exceed 2"
WHEW! I think that's enough. ALL of those things need to be sorted before you have stable steering.
If I had to guess I would guess castor. I tightened everything in my system, but it didn't mean anything until the castor was correct. Do you have longer shackles?