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Is this normal steering shaft movements?

Breto31

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Been chasing some steering wheel play for a while. Need to know if movement like this is normal for a steering shaft.

This feels to be ROUGHLY the same amount of play I have in my steering wheel, so I’m assuming this is not good.

Thanks!
 

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Ante_Up

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Maybe I'm not thinking about this correctly, but I believe you'll need to have someone hold your steering wheel still and check for play. Right now I bet your steering wheel is also moving so would be hard to determine play. I would think determining play would be more about how much the steering moves before the tires move
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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Maybe I'm not thinking about this correctly, but I believe you'll need to have someone hold your steering wheel still and check for play. Right now I bet your steering wheel is also moving so would be hard to determine play. I would think determining play would be more about how much the steering moves before the tires move
Yes, the wheel also moves when I twist the steering shaft. The problem I’m having is that the jeep seems to “dart” on smaller, uneven roads. The little bit of play in the wheel from doesn’t make things any easier. It’s fine on flat/larger roads, but the backroads near my house make me want to grip the wheel a little tighter.

I’ve done alignments, tie rods, ball joints, steering gear box. Still has the darting issue. Caster is at 5 degrees, which is a little low, but not terrible.
 

Ante_Up

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Do you have a drop pitman arm or drop bracket for your track bar? I'd also recommend you to post a pic of your steering set up
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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I’ve had some other posts on here about the darting issue, but I never got it solved. No DPA, no drop brackets. Dry steering tests don’t yield any visible results.

The video of the steering wheel is from this morning - it’s the inside view of the wheel as I move the steering shaft by hand…. The video of the steering test is from a few months ago (before I removed the DPA).
 

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Ante_Up

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Mine moves just like that which I assume is normal since obviously the wheel is going to move. I'm not sure where the play would come from if you've replaced all that. Someone more knowledgeable will have to chime in. One thing I can promise is that you're going to be asked for pictures of your steering set up! You're experiencing bump steer and the typical culprits are the drop arm, drop TB bracket or alignment to get the toe in correct
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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Mine moves just like that which I assume is normal since obviously the wheel is going to move. I'm not sure where the play would come from if you've replaced all that. Someone more knowledgeable will have to chime in. One thing I can promise is that you're going to be asked for pictures of your steering set up! You're experiencing bump steer and the typical culprits are the drop arm, drop TB bracket or alignment to get the toe in correct
The DPA has already been replaced to a stock arm, the video was just old. It was just aligned about 2 months ago, and they had it on the alignment rack Friday to check the caster angle, so the toe-in should be fine. It tracks straight on the flat/larger highways, but the backroads with the higher crown is where I get the “darting” feeling.

Just tired of all of these various shops telling me “that’s just how keeps drive when you lift them”.
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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So I called a somewhat local custom vehicle shop and asked some questions - they specialize in lifting and lowering custom vehicles. They have a few Jeeps on their page that they’ve done.

Just from the phone conversation, they mechanic said that if your track bar, and drag link are not the same degree (or at least within 1 degree of each other), then they will “walk” all over the road. They said that when the angles are not the same, the drag link and track bar are not acting in unison, and that will cause the darting issue because they’re fighting against each other.

It should be noted that they said that the angles are corrected by either drop pitman arms, or track bar brackets - which seem to be a no-no based on the feedback I’ve seen on this forum.

I guess my question would be - how can I correct the angle differences without a DPA or track bar bracket?
 

AndyG

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I’ve had some other posts on here about the darting issue, but I never got it solved. No DPA, no drop brackets. Dry steering tests don’t yield any visible results.

The video of the steering wheel is from this morning - it’s the inside view of the wheel as I move the steering shaft by hand…. The video of the steering test is from a few months ago (before I removed the DPA).
Make sure your track bar bushings in good shape and the bolts torqued properly.
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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So I checked my angles (drag link and track bar) with an angle finder, and they’re -12.4 on the drag link (stock pitman arm), and -9.4 on the track bar.

Based on what the shop said, these need to be within 1 degree of each other, otherwise it will cause “walking” in the suspension…. Meaning that the drag link and track bar geometry are off, and against each other due to that, causing the darting.

It’s not “pulling” - my steering wheel doesn’t move at all, and I’m not fighting it. It just seems to really take to the dips in the road.
 

AndyG

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I went through that
So I checked my angles (drag link and track bar) with an angle finder, and they’re -12.4 on the drag link (stock pitman arm), and -9.4 on the track bar.

Based on what the shop said, these need to be within 1 degree of each other, otherwise it will cause “walking” in the suspension…. Meaning that the drag link and track bar geometry are off, and against each other due to that, causing the darting.

It’s not “pulling” - my steering wheel doesn’t move at all, and I’m not fighting it. It just seems to really take to the dips in the road.

I had that happen

The best that I could determine was I had a track bar axle in bushing that was too soft

When the suspension would move the track bar would allow the axle to move more than it should and I was constantly adjusting

I put in a moog bushing and it went away completely

More caster will make a difference too. I had one TJ that had low caster in the steering wheel felt very light and when I corrected it it really felt good.

Not 2003 almost feels like it has rack and pinion.
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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Drudging up an old post here….. I’ve addressed/fixed my darting issue (it was bad sway bar links - they’ve been replaced), but I’m still dealing with some steering wheel play.

Steering wheel still has about ~1” of play either way (11:00 - 1:00) that doesn’t do anything with the wheels. When I turn the wheel in the jeep, the upper/lower steering moves with it, but the pitman arm doesn’t move. This is the case when it’s started, or turned off. Most of the time when I’m driving down the road, the wheel is either at the 11:00 or 1:00 position when driving straight.

I have replaced the steering box, and verified that all bolts are properly torqued. All tie-rod ends are new, as are the track bar, drag link, tie-rod, upper/lower front ball joints, and pitman arm.

Any ideas?
 

NashvilleTJ

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Drudging up an old post here….. I’ve addressed/fixed my darting issue (it was bad sway bar links - they’ve been replaced), but I’m still dealing with some steering wheel play.

Steering wheel still has about ~1” of play either way (11:00 - 1:00) that doesn’t do anything with the wheels. When I turn the wheel in the jeep, the upper/lower steering moves with it, but the pitman arm doesn’t move. This is the case when it’s started, or turned off. Most of the time when I’m driving down the road, the wheel is either at the 11:00 or 1:00 position when driving straight.

I have replaced the steering box, and verified that all bolts are properly torqued. All tie-rod ends are new, as are the track bar, drag link, tie-rod, upper/lower front ball joints, and pitman arm.

Any ideas?
There should be almost 0 play in the steering gear. What steering gear did you install?

Also, I read back a few posts and saw your stated angles on you track bat and drag link. How did you measure those angles?
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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There should be almost 0 play in the steering gear. What steering gear did you install?

Also, I read back a few posts and saw your stated angles on you track bat and drag link. How did you measure those angles?
I replaced it with one from Orielly’s. I know they’re not the preferred option on WTF, but I was really just doing it to see if it helped any - and it made no difference from the original one to the new one.

I used an digital angle finder I bought off of Amazon. It’s magnetic and just stick on the bar(s) and displays the angle.
 

NashvilleTJ

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I replaced it with one from Orielly’s. I know they’re not the preferred option on WTF, but I was really just doing it to see if it helped any - and it made no difference from the original one to the new one.

I used an digital angle finder I bought off of Amazon. It’s magnetic and just stick on the bar(s) and displays the angle.
If there is any play in the steering gear, well, there should not be.

Since the track bar is not straight, measuring the angle that way is not correct - that’s why your angle numbers appeared so far off.

The angle you need is the line that connects the pivot points at either end of the track bar. Run a string - or something like a yard stick if that will work - from bolt to bolt and measure that angle. Since the drag link is straight, measuring the way you did is fine. Those are the two angles which should be pretty close.

If you post up some better pictures of the entire front end, taken from directly in front of the jeep, we may be able to help some more.
 

Gollywomper

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If you are still using the factory mounting points in your steering drag link and on your track bar, then you are fine. Rebuilt steering gear boxes are a crap shoot. I can’t say I have ever got one that was not a little loose.
 

iamloganjames

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I got my box rebuilt about 6 months back. I probably have about an inch of play as well. Doesn't concern me too much. I assume its just luck of the draw with all the internal components and their tolerances. At least it doesn't torque steer and pull me off the road like my old camry did. :ROFLMAO:
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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I got my box rebuilt about 6 months back. I probably have about an inch of play as well. Doesn't concern me too much. I assume its just luck of the draw with all the internal components and their tolerances. At least it doesn't torque steer and pull me off the road like my old camry did. :ROFLMAO:
I’m not overly concerned with it - since I fixed the sway bar links it rides much better. I still feel safe when driving, but figure if I can get some insight on how to fix it, great!
 
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