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Drastic steering issue

Old 02-08-2018, 09:39 PM
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Default Drastic steering issue

Hello all, I'm brand new to the forum so bear with me as I know this has been discussed many times. However there seems to be a lot of contrasting info searching through the threads for the answers I'm needing so here goes redundancy. Today I purchased a 2016 Sarah's Unlimited with 23k miles. The previous owner installed RC 3.5" lift and RC 2.2 steering stabilizer with 35" MT tires. I work for a dealership so had to purhase this vehicle sight unseen from another dealership wholesale. They had not gone through the vehicle yet and I knew there were risks involved but the deal was very good so I can afford to fix any issues. The problem is the alignment was garbage and the steering wheel is very off turned left of center. Combine that with the speed sensors being wrong due to nothing being programmed for 35's and I'm sure you can imagine how terrifying it was to drive 45 miles home on the interstate. I ordered a procal today and will have it tomorrow so that will fix one big issue. The extreme bump steer will be better when I get a proper 4x4 alignment done tomorrow. The biggest issue was the esc believing I was in danger today while going around a right hand curve at about 45 mpg and turning me back straight damn near directly into oncoming traffic. It literally took a good 5 or six seconds to get the jeep to turn again. The question is do you guys believe the procal and alignment will drastically help the situation or do I need to immediately fix something else first? Sorry this was so long and thanks in advance for your help. Let me know if pics are needed and I'll post in the morning. Ron
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:49 AM
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While I personally would go with a better lift, this is definitely a bad install. You need to find someone reputable in your area to go through everything, re-torque all the bolts, center the steering wheel, and re-align it.
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Old 02-09-2018, 05:13 AM
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Center the steering wheel and correct for tires will help, but a proper 4x4 alignment is a misnomer for a jeep unless you have adjustable control arms and adjustable track bars. The only thing that can be adjusted on a jeep (without the stuff I mentioned) is toe (via tie rod) and centering your steering wheel (via drag link).

Given the height of the lift, you may have caster that is under spec (spec is 4.2 degrees). This will cause the steering to be flighty. A couple ways to correct for that... adjustable control arms or control arm drop brackets (AEV makes some).

But, what Ryan said... that's not a great lift. Especially when you get above 3" of measured lift. That's generally accepted as the break-over point where steering/suspension geometry is affected enough to cause for subpar on-road driving experience.
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Old 02-09-2018, 05:33 AM
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I agree....center your steering wheel. Takes just a couple minutes and should resolve the ESC issues. As mentioned, your caster is probably really low, so correct that with either adjustable arms or at least control arm brackets. Next, you're probably a good candidate for a highsteer kit (drag link flip) at that height. Address those 2 things and you're going to see a drastic improvement in the jeep's road manners. The RE lift is what it is....not great, but mainly just because incomplete. You can easily build around it though.....no need to totally replace it or anything. Sounds like you got it at a good cost basis so addressing a few minor things won't be bad at all.

Congrats on the purchase.

Oh yah, programmer is going to help as well, but you may find you're still overgeared.....depending on what's currently residing in the diffs.
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Old 02-09-2018, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by resharp001 View Post
I agree....center your steering wheel. Takes just a couple minutes and should resolve the ESC issues. As mentioned, your caster is probably really low, so correct that with either adjustable arms or at least control arm brackets. Next, you're probably a good candidate for a highsteer kit (drag link flip) at that height. Address those 2 things and you're going to see a drastic improvement in the jeep's road manners. The RE lift is what it is....not great, but mainly just because incomplete. You can easily build around it though.....no need to totally replace it or anything. Sounds like you got it at a good cost basis so addressing a few minor things won't be bad at all.

Congrats on the purchase.

Oh yah, programmer is going to help as well, but you may find you're still overgeared.....depending on what's currently residing in the diffs.
What Resharp and everyone else said. The majority of the items you described can be fixed pretty easily with a drag link adjustment and some caster correction. It sounds like someone installed a lift on the rig that never installed one, or even bothered to read any instructions and just bolted parts on but didn't know how to make sure they were properly adjusted. Kudos to you for being able to get a good buy on it and more than likely be able to fix the majority of these issues for less than $200 if you get some geo brackets and have an alignment done which properly adjusts the drag link and the tie-rod for toe. You might want to check to see if the wheels on it are properly balanced as well, since if they hacked the other stuff...who knows about wheel balancing. Once you get that done and it still pulls while steering, take that steering stabilizer off, you don't need it and it may be causing more problems than it's fixing. If they messed up the rest of it like that, I have my doubts they got the SS properly installed.

Getting the programmer will be good for the larger tire to adjust the tire size so trans shift points and speedo are correct. I would just mention, if you work for a dealership....you know that you can also get that done at the dealership of reprogramming the tire size without having to buy the programmer? Most of us get charged for that and is one of the reasons we get the programmers. The other reason is if we re-gear to be able to reprogram for the different gears but I don't think you need it for that. There's nothing with a lift or adding larger tires that impacts the wheel speed sensors, so those should be good unless one or more has been damaged during the lift install. The ESC light coming on is a common problem for those that either didn't install a drag-link replacement correctly, or have lifted their Jeep and didn't re-adjust the drag link for the lift. That can also cause the Jeep to go into limp mode. Essentially, what seems like big problems can be fixed rather easily.

Last edited by Rednroll; 02-09-2018 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rednroll View Post
What Resharp and everyone else said. The majority of the items you described can be fixed pretty easily with a drag link adjustment and some caster correction. It sounds like someone installed a lift on the rig that never installed one, or even bothered to read any instructions and just bolted parts on but didn't know how to make sure they were properly adjusted. Kudos to you for being able to get a good buy on it and more than likely be able to fix the majority of these issues for less than $200 if you get some geo brackets and have an alignment done which properly adjusts the drag link and the tie-rod for toe. You might want to check to see if the wheels on it are properly balanced as well, since if they hacked the other stuff...who knows about wheel balancing. Once you get that done and it still pulls while steering, take that steering stabilizer off, you don't need it and it may be causing more problems than it's fixing. If they messed up the rest of it like that, I have my doubts they got the SS properly installed.

Getting the programmer will be good for the larger tire to adjust the tire size so trans shift points and speedo are correct. I would just mention, if you work for a dealership....you know that you can also get that done at the dealership of reprogramming the tire size without having to buy the programmer? Most of us get charged for that and is one of the reasons we get the programmers. The other reason is if we re-gear to be able to reprogram for the different gears but I don't think you need it for that. There's nothing with a lift or adding larger tires that impacts the wheel speed sensors, so those should be good unless one or more has been damaged during the lift install. The ESC light coming on is a common problem for those that either didn't install a drag-link replacement correctly, or have lifted their Jeep and didn't re-adjust the drag link for the lift. That can also cause the Jeep to go into limp mode. Essentially, what seems like big problems can be fixed rather easily.
Thanks for the help guys. I work for a Chevy dealer so we're not able to reprogram the speedometer on the Jeep and I feel the programmer may be useful in the future as well if I decide to change other things. That being said, I'm getting the alignment corrected as much as possible right now, then will order the other items needed to make it better. I do believe I will be removing the steering stabilizer this weekend as it feels like it may be fighting against me more than helping. I'm trying to at least get it driveable to get it out a bit this weekend, then will work on caster next week. Thanks for all the info and if anyone has a quick link to what would be best to correct my caster issue is appreciate the help. There a lot of options out there and I only want to have to do it once if possible.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:48 AM
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Actually I went with the aev drop brackets so link isn't needed. There seems to be overwhelming positive things to say about them. Thank you guys, I'll get those installed Tue hopefully and will see what changes.
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:01 AM
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[QUOTE=16blackUS;4314154] I feel the programmer may be useful in the future as well if I decide to change other things./QUOTE]

y, a programmer will be handy to have regardless. If you ever regear you'll need one, and besides changing your tire size to get the speedo right, there are some other features you can tweak as well. Most of them can be used to pull OBDII codes as well, doubling as a scanner.

You lose some clearance with the drop brackets, but they are an economical option, and perform well for on road purposes. If you ever get into heavier offroad things and playing in big rocks, you might find yourself scraping them a bit, but for $100 or so, they'll fit the bill.
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:54 AM
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That kit should have come with new fixed arms to correct caster.
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDirtman View Post
That kit should have come with new fixed arms to correct caster.
I just looked underneath again. He definitely did the cheap 3.5 lift as the control arms are factory still. Rough country does offer the more expensive kit that includes them but this was not that kit. I ordered the aev and the shop doing the alignment this morning told me they can' help my issue at all until those brackets are installed.
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