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Front Steering Geometry Woes

greaseorbounce

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Colorado
So I recently acquired another jeep, and I'm slowly going through the process of trying to fix all the problems the previous owners so kindly created. The entire mess has been a project, but we're getting closer. Every piece of rubber (control arm bushings especially) were toasted, transmission needed rebuilt, electrical was a disaster... Never ends. Currie arms all the way around, a full rebuild of the AX15, new trackbar bushings, and hours of electrical work and I am almost there.

My next order of business is the steering problems, and this is where I am a little bit stumped. It has been a number of years since I have owned a TJ, but I am remembering (maybe wrongly) that the drag link went all the way to the knuckle, and the tie rod attached to the drag link. Standard inverted Y. (Is this right or am I crazy?) On this particular TJ it is not set up that way. The tie rod runs from knuckle to knuckle, and the drag link attaches to the tie rod. T steering.

This is causing all kinds of wonkyness, including a dead-zone that I consider unacceptable. The entire tie rod twists a ton, resulting in a dead zone and vague steering feel.

Here is a picture:
Dkm445yXJXWbe5fHWyW9MNzKlvSHeE0dDonhT5NveH6g=w2400.jpg


Can anyone identify this steering setup? Is this setup salvageable, or should I take out a second mortgage and buy a real steering kit?
 

Steel City 06

TJ Addict
Joined
Mar 12, 2019
Messages
1,361
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Have you considered the ZJ steering upgrade? Stock style steering with moderately larger components and comparable price to OEM:
 
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greaseorbounce

greaseorbounce

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Colorado
The pictures AnteUp posted match my memory for the geometry I thought I should have.

I have heard of the ZJ upgrade, and that is a possible solution for sure. I also don't mind custom fabrication (I have a full machine shop at my house) so if other solutions are regarded as better, I am not afraid to put in some effort.

Jerry, sorry I only posted the attachment area because I thought it was the most clear way to depict the T vs Y steering conundrum that puzzled me. Here is a picture of the full system.

You'll also note what appears to me to be a dropped pitman arm. I don't really know why they did that. I don't think I really agree with that decision. Also the hack-job of u-bolting the dampener to the drag link is annoying. I plan to correct that too. My biggest confusion point was just my memory of the geometry not matching what I was looking at. If anyone can identify this whole cluster&$^@ I would love to hear it!

TJsteering.jpg
 

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
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Feb 3, 2017
Messages
9,893
Location
NorCal
Might want to opt for replacing those hard poly jounce bumpers for some factory ones, then bump from the lower perches. Should improve your ride some me thinks. Don't know who's steering that is, but the Moog ZJ tie rods and factory drag link is a affordable option.

 
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Ante_Up

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
80
Location
Oklahoma
Several companies sell that type of "HD" steering kit, like the Rugged Ridge for example. I'd go with the ZJ upgrade, or Curries set up... Ditch the drop pitman arm and steering should be squared away, assuming your other components are good. Night and day difference for me... Zero bump steer
 
OP
greaseorbounce

greaseorbounce

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Colorado
Thank you all. I have loved the currie control arms on every build I've ever done, so I imagine their steering system is top notch as well. It's a heck of a hit on the pocketbook though. Twice as good as the ZJ? Makes me wonder a bit. On control arms, johnnie joints are expensive, so I get it. But tie rod ends are not big ticket items, and it's just bent DOM. The fabricator in me wants to scream at the pricing.

The bump stops will go. And actually oddly, they are WAY more than needed. Full up travel against the stops I still have loads of tire clearance with the fenders that are on here, and shock travel left as well. I don't really know why those were done that way to begin with.

As I said before, there is a ton to do on this rig, but I'm trying to go in order of "what most negatively effects the drivability" so bumpstops are admittedly a couple notches down the list. Fixing the steering and then an SYE are first now that I got the AX15 rebuilt and all the control arms replaced. Meanwhile I am building a new rear axle with all the geometry fixed for the rotation without all the wonky relocation brackets. But bump stops will come lol.

Speaking of work... Are build threads appreciated around here? I have tons of pictures from the work I've already done, and there's plenty more to do.
 
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
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Feb 3, 2017
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Love good build threads with lots of pics! Proceed!
 

pagrey

TJ Addict
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
1,617
Location
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Looks like the same setup as a 2WD cherokee, I was just at the junkyard the other day and noticed they have that. I think it's called an inverted T or something.
 
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greaseorbounce

greaseorbounce

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Colorado
I know everyone loves a happy ending, so here's an update to help everyone sleep at night. Local shop was willing to price match the Currie setup, and it came in under $500. Couldn't say no. Now back to work.

IMG_20191012_150435.jpg