Great deals on TJ parts on Amazon!

Looking for parts for your Jeep Wrangler TJ? Checkout the selection of TJ parts Amazon has to offer, many with 2-day Prime shipping!

Click the image below to browse TJ parts on Amazon.

Jeep Wrangler TJ Parts on Amazon

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Steering issues (SOLVED!)

Mike_H

Favorite mushroom
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
9,286
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
I'm having a bit of an issue that is making me pull my hair out (what little I have left). Just so everyone is up to speed, I have a 4" lift, Currie control arms, JKS front trackbar, Currie steering, Factory steering box (with about 65,000 miles) and 35's. My jeep feels a bit like it has bump steer, but its not a consistent pull one way or another. That crosses bump steer out in my mind. Doing a dry steer test, I can feel a subtle clunk in the steering, right off center (like ± 10°). It almost feels like its coming from one of the intermediate shaft U-joints. The clunking noise is emanating from the general area of the U-joint on the end of the steering column. I can feel something in the trackbar and the drag link as well. Watching the front of the jeep, it seems steering input wants to shift the body just a little bit, side to side, like something in the trackbar is loose, but its nothing I can see. There isn't any perceptible play in any of my TRE's.

I have a suspicion about my intermediate shaft bearing...so I ordered a used one to tear apart and see if I can match it up with something readily available. I've never heard of a steering shaft u-joint going bad, but I guess its possible.

Anything else I should be focusing on before I tear the steering links and trackbar all apart? It really is bothersome and kind of ruins the driving experience of an otherwise well behaved jeep.
 

someguysjeep

simple guy
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
5,370
Location
ohio
I've never heard of a steering shaft u-joint going bad, but I guess its possible.

mine seems to not be not have been made with the tightest tolerances (toy maker parts). i have heard of some having issues with them and the Borg (may not be correct, but it's what comes to mind) part being a not so satisfying replacement.

and that shaft is commonly over looked when the body is raised, i put a 1" riser under my support to match what i raised the body. not sure it's really needed but it seems to have no ill effects.

doing a stand still test will place more force on your joints and could shift the body some as well, it's all brute force no roll to aid or ease the action. you can put the wheels on a few pieces of cardboard that'll get the rubber off the pavement and allow it to turn a tad easier. i use UHMW pads for this. same when cycling an axle with a tire on the other side, it needs to slip and slide if your working from stands.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Mike_H

AndyG

TJ Guru
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
12,755
Location
Alabama
Track bar bushings can get soft-

The shaft can really make some noise if everything isn’t just right- pay close attention to every detail.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike_H

pagrey

TJ Guru
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
7,726
Location
Los Angeles, CA, USA
My jeep feels a bit like it has bump steer, but its not a consistent pull one way or another.
I'm not going to be much of any help but do you mean when you hit a bump it pulls a random direction in the steering wheel or changes direction? Is it otherwise generally tight steering? A really good description of what's going on might help somebody around here pinpoint it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike_H
OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Favorite mushroom
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
9,286
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
It pulls the steering wheel, mostly. The Jeep can change directions on a really bumpy road. It's hard to describe specifically because it's so vague. It's almost like a little bit of rotational play in the steering and a little bit of looseness in the track bar are combining to create a tendency to wander...

It's still a one handed driver, so whatever it is, it's fairly minor. It's just something I notice and would like to fix.
 
OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Favorite mushroom
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
9,286
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
mine seems to not be not have been made with the tightest tolerances (toy maker parts). i have heard of some having issues with them and the Borg (may not be correct, but it's what comes to mind) part being a not so satisfying replacement.

and that shaft is commonly over looked when the body is raised, i put a 1" riser under my support to match what i raised the body. not sure it's really needed but it seems to have no ill effects.

doing a stand still test will place more force on your joints and could shift the body some as well, it's all brute force no roll to aid or ease the action. you can put the wheels on a few pieces of cardboard that'll get the rubber off the pavement and allow it to turn a tad easier. i use UHMW pads for this. same when cycling an axle with a tire on the other side, it needs to slip and slide if your working from stands.

I have a riser on the intermediate shaft.
 
  • Like
Reactions: someguysjeep

someguysjeep

simple guy
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
5,370
Location
ohio
It pulls the steering wheel, mostly. The Jeep can change directions on a really bumpy road. It's hard to describe specifically because it's so vague. It's almost like a little bit of rotational play in the steering and a little bit of looseness in the track bar are combining to create a tendency to wander...

It's still a one handed driver, so whatever it is, it's fairly minor. It's just something I notice and would like to fix.

how is the TB to drag relationship? and mine likes to follow or drift if the roads not level, but so does my 2020 ram. a tire just a couple pounds over or under the rest can have the same effect.
 
OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Favorite mushroom
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
9,286
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
how is the TB to drag relationship? and mine likes to follow or drift if the roads not level, but so does my 2020 ram. a tire just a couple pounds over or under the rest can have the same effect.

Trackbar and drag link are in factory locations. The tires do follow, but this is independent of that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: someguysjeep

AndyG

TJ Guru
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
12,755
Location
Alabama
A few track bar experiences I've had-

Failing bushing-

- had to noticeably counter steer against road crown both ways

- had to alternately fight drift

- had to constantly correct , especially on rough roads




Think of a shopping cart- watch the wheels when you move the front left or right- they go opposite the direction the axle drifts - now imagine if it had a steering wheel what it would do? You would have to hold pressure on it to keep it centered.

On the TJ, When the axle drifts the wheels do that and you end up steering against it -
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Mike_H

williambmac

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
3,887
Location
Fucktard state of NJ

Gizmo

Member
Joined
May 17, 2017
Messages
37
Location
South Jersey
Do you have an alignment sheet, post it . To do the dry steering check you don't need to turn the wheel stop to stop . Just turn the steering wheel back and forth rapidly enough to take the play out of the steeing so to speak. If you cant tell what is moving or is loose put your hand on it and feel while someone is at the wheel . Any play in anything needs to be addressed. It all adds up. Control arm bushings front and rear can contribute to your tracking issue. Some times its a process of elimination if you can't isolate any one component .
 
OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Favorite mushroom
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
9,286
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
I used one of these to get rid of the popping/clunk in my steering.

https://mountainoffroad.com/collections/wrangler-tj/products/jeep-steering-riser-bracket-1

Did you check to make sure the steering shaft bolt at the steering box is tight.

Did you check to make sure the rear track bar is tight with no play.

I haven't checked rear trackbar... Good call. I have checked both pinch bolts on the shafts and they are tight.
A few track bar experiences I've had-

Failing bushing-

- had to noticeably counter steer against road crown both ways

- had to alternately fight drift

- had to constantly correct , especially on rough roads




Think of a shopping cart- watch the wheels when you move the front left or right- they go opposite the direction the axle drifts - now imagine if it had a steering wheel what it would do? You would have to hold pressure on it to keep it centered.

On the TJ, When the axle drifts the wheels do that and you end up steering against it -

I have Johnny joints everywhere and they only have 10k miles on them, at the most. I've also replaced the bushings on the axle. The trackbar is probably 15k miles old. Last time I had it off, it didn't look bad... But I'll put it on the list to check.
 

AndyG

TJ Guru
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
12,755
Location
Alabama
I haven't checked rear trackbar... Good call. I have checked both pinch bolts on the shafts and they are tight.


I have Johnny joints everywhere and they only have 10k miles on them, at the most. I've also replaced the bushings on the axle. The trackbar is probably 15k miles old. Last time I had it off, it didn't look bad... But I'll put it on the list to check.

Cool, it is likely something very minor -
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike_H

williambmac

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
3,887
Location
Fucktard state of NJ
I haven't checked rear trackbar... Good call. I have checked both pinch bolts on the shafts and they are tight.


I have Johnny joints everywhere and they only have 10k miles on them, at the most. I've also replaced the bushings on the axle. The trackbar is probably 15k miles old. Last time I had it off, it didn't look bad... But I'll put it on the list to check.

How old are the JJ’s? The reason i ask is because my rear uppers started binding and popping. They were about a year and a half old with about 12k on them. I removed my upper to find the joints were frozen.
It was my fault because I never pulled the apart to lube them. The grease zero is useless.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike_H
OP
Mike_H

Mike_H

Favorite mushroom
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
9,286
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
How old are the JJ’s? The reason i ask is because my rear uppers started binding and popping. They were about a year and a half old with about 12k on them. I removed my upper to find the joints were frozen.
It was my fault because I never pulled the apart to lube them. The grease zero is useless.

I grease my Johnny joints quite a bit, due to the clay base mud I generally wheel in. At least 2x a year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: williambmac