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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure I can't be the only one with this problem on a lifted CJ, so I'm again consulting the wisdom of the list. I can move my steering shaft laterally about an inch, and rotate it by hand (without turning the wheels) at least that much in either direction. I'm sure the tierod ends are shot, but that shouldn't make this big of a problem; I'm having to over correct my steering all the time when I go down the road. Also, the steering wheel doesn't come back to center anymore - I have to keep it a third turn to the right in order to go straight.
If I let go of the steering wheel, the Jeep immediatly veers to the left. Any ideas, or places to start before I dump lots of $ into a new shaft and steering box?
Thanks,


Jed
80 CJ7 258w/TR,Holley carb,5" lift,33x12.5's.
 

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Couple of ideas... I've had all the same problems. While the jeep is parked, have someone move the steering back and forth while you watch your shackles. Mine had almost 2 inches of flex back and forth in them. Also make sure that you have a good sturdy bolt attaching the shackles to the frame, etc. As for no longer returning to center, it could be because your lift altered your caster angle. The top of the steering knuckles wants to be pointed about 6 degrees towards the back of the jeep. There are three ways to fix this... If it isn't too badly out of whack, you can install some angled shims between the axle and the springs to tip the axle rearwards. If its too much, you will need to either torch off the spring mounts and move them (might still have driveshaft angle problems) or you will need to torch off the steering knuckles and rotate them. Either way can get a little expensive if you have a fab shop do it. The fab shop wanted 300 bucks to do it for me, my buddy did it for a case of beer.

 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply,
Wondered which way I'm supposed to install those angle shims? Does the thick part go toward the front or rear? Thanks. Also, I noticed my steering shaft has lots more play side to side than my friend's CJ. Wonder if this is the shaft or the steering box?
Thanks,

Jed
80 CJ7 258w/TR,Holley carb,5" lift,33x12.5's.
 

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If the goal is to tilt the knuckles towards the rear, the shims are installed with the thick part to the front. Unfortunately my problem was too exaggerated to be cured by this, so I will be cutting and re-welding the spring perches and steering knuckles in about a month. I'll have extra shims then if you still need them. as for the play, it is most likely in the shaft. Our steering shafts are old, and they tend to wear out, both around the splines, and at the joint in them. replacing with a new heavy duty aftermarket one may cure some of your steering woes, but almost certainly won't help with the return-to-center.

 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great,
Thanks for the advice. Maybe I'll see about getting a new steering shaft and some tie rod ends. Don't have a welder or $300 to pay a shop for the "return to center" problem, but I wonder if getting an alignment done would help? You know, like at sears or something -- the kind you get on a car after you replace the struts. Or do Jeeps not need that kind of alignment?
Thanks for your help,

Jed
80 CJ7 258w/TR,Holley carb,5" lift,33x12.5's.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Check your box attachment to the frame. You will be amazed at the amount of flex there with oversize tires, and the bolts can literally be ripped right out of the frame. Also, it just may be time for a box rebuild. When mine started leaking at the rear seal I had the whole thing rebuilt rather than just replace the seal...what a difference. I guess over time I had gotten used to correcting for the slop in the box.

Brad
ORC Land Use Section Editor
http://www.off-road.com/land
Vice-Pres. Rock Garden 4 Wheelers, Farmington, NM
http://rockgarden.rockcrawler.com
 

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You can also do a quick home alignment. This may help with the pull and to some degree the return to center.

Jack the front wheels off the ground. Make a mark on the out side edge of the tread half way up the front of each tire. Measure the distance in between. Rotate the tires 180 degrees and measure again. Adjust your toe by turning the tie rod until the measurement is the same.

I had the same problem with return to center and the pull to one side. Fixed it right up as it was way off.

BigHG
84 CJ7
 

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I agree with Brad, my steering box felt a little loose, I thought it was the Swampers being at 4 psi all the time, but I found out the hard way. I was turning into a friends driveway and ripped the box right off the frame, the mounts that hold it in place ripped off because the bolts loosened. It should be very easy to diagnose, just have someone in the jeep (with it off), and have them move the steering wheel side to side slightly. Now, with the hood open, see where the shaft is moving and the tires aren't. It should be noticeable.

JEEPN
Winter Harbor, Maine
'81 CJ-8 Scrambled, It's a Jeep, Chevy, IHC kinda thing!
'88.5 Zuki, 5" Calmini, Locked, Swamped, Rolled, and just generally broken in right!
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's part of the problem: I can turn the shaft way too much before the wheels start turning - about a 1/3 to 1/2 turn of the wheel before I get tire response!
Who rebuilds the steering boxes, or should I invest in a new one?


Jed
80 CJ7 258w/TR,Holley carb,5" lift,33x12.5's.
 
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