97 2.5 dives to the left heavy under moderate braking

97TjJessica

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97 4cyl manual all stock except some late 90s bumper and wheels. Had the Jeep since the fall, brought it into a mechanic who said overall it's fine and didn't notice anything that needed immediate replacement. Previous owner was an older guy who took pretty good care of it but didnt have service records. Jeep has 160k miles. Steering is a little loose but not bad. Brakes were at about 50% and always seem fine till you depress the pedal about 30-40% then it just rips it to the side. It's a very fine line. Doesn't seem to have gotten worse over the few thousand miles I've owned it. Where should I start replacing parts first? Steering? Bushings? Calipers? I'm a single mother who's in school so I cant just afford to replace everything all at once. I'd like to make a list of most likely culprits and start checking them off.
 
I would bleed the front brakes a little before I did anything else. Might have some air in one of the lines. Check your front brakes lines for damage. Then check the brake pads for uneven wear. Also check for mud or other stuff blocking the calipers from working properly. These things don’t cost anything to start with.
 
I've never had air in the system cause a pull to either side. Bleeding won't help.

Something is wrong with at least 1 side of your front brakes. A simple visual inspection will probably show what is wrong.

Right side is probably where at least part of the problem lies.
 
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Where should I start replacing parts first? Steering? Bushings? Calipers?

Start by diagnosing the actual problem(s) first. Keep it simple, and one thing at a time. If you have mechanical ability/knowledge, pull off your front wheels and brake pads. As others above have mentioned, I'll bet you have a sticking right side caliper, which will show up as uneven pad wear. This will likely be fixed by cleaning and lubing the sliding surfaces/pins.

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My bet is you have a caliper problem, as in its cylinder is probably clogged/dirty inside from changing the pads which can force dirt into them.
 
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