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 Soft Return to Center

NYC-TJU

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
96
Location
Charlotte, NC
04 LJ, ~4 inch lift, 33" Falken Wils Peak MTs at about 28psi

So got an alignment because the steering was all over the place, including not really returning to center. Now that its done the steering is mostly straight, but still not returning to center.

Is my caster too low? Based on other threads I thought around 5* would be enough? If it's too low, would the change from 5* to 6* be significant enough to make my steering return to center post-turn? I've just heard if its too high when lifted ill get driveline vibrations.

I just bought this LJ so I'm going through it and getting everything ship shape, and being that I drive it daily the steering is really bugging me. The PO has adjustable front lower control arms on it, so wondering if I should start extending them out.

Appreciate any insight!

20220109_172953.jpg
 

Breto31

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
326
Location
Kentucky
My steering RTC is crap too. I had/have been chasing this problem for the last year. I adjusted my caster from 5* to 6* and it made very minimal, if any difference to my RTC. Along the way (not all related to RTC issues) I’ve also replaced the steering box, and completely changed tie-rod ends and upgraded the track bar, tie-rods, and went back to a stock pitman arm. None of this improved my RTC.

My wheel has some slight play from about 10-2, maybe an inch either way. I suspect that has something to do with my RTC issue as well. It’s annoying, but not bad enough that I feel like I need to do anything major to address it. I don’t have any control issues or anything like that. My assumption is that it’s something in the upper steering equipment, and I haven’t had the gumption to attack that yet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: connor grimes
OP
NYC-TJU

NYC-TJU

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
96
Location
Charlotte, NC
My steering RTC is crap too. I had/have been chasing this problem for the last year. I adjusted my caster from 5* to 6* and it made very minimal, if any difference to my RTC. Along the way (not all related to RTC issues) I’ve also replaced the steering box, and completely changed tie-rod ends and upgraded the track bar, tie-rods, and went back to a stock pitman arm. None of this improved my RTC.

My wheel has some slight play from about 10-2, maybe an inch either way. I suspect that has something to do with my RTC issue as well. It’s annoying, but not bad enough that I feel like I need to do anything major to address it. I don’t have any control issues or anything like that. My assumption is that it’s something in the upper steering equipment, and I haven’t had the gumption to attack that yet.
Interesting you still have play after replacing all that. I have play as well and the guy who did the alignment said it looked like it was coming from my steering box. Honestly the play bugs me less though than the lack of RTC
 

Breto31

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
326
Location
Kentucky
Interesting you still have play after replacing all that. I have play as well and the guy who did the alignment said it looked like it was coming from my steering box. Honestly the play bugs me less though than the lack of RTC
If I let go of the wheel in the jeep, any dip in the road will turn the wheels/steering wheel, and it will stay there. In my other vehicles, even if the road pulls the wheels, the steering always corrects back to center. I’m assuming that my steering wheel play is the root of this.
 

freedom_in_4low

Sacred Order of the Coil Spring
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2019
Messages
4,599
Location
Edmond, OK
My impression of caster is that there is kindof a tipping point where below it, there's effectively no RTC, and once you get enough caster, then you get RTC.

I run a little under 6 (5.8 IIRC) and it's enough. You should be able to reproduce factory RTC with 5.5 or so with 33s. The bigger the tire the less you need.
 

Breto31

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
326
Location
Kentucky
You went back to the original Pitman arm, how is the track bar mounted? Does it have an aftermarket drop bracket at either end?
It’s standard mounting - no drop brackets or anything like that.

Am I off by suspecting the play around 10-2 in the steering wheel could be coming from my internal steering components (like the steering shaft)? It tracks straight, but it’s like the road can move the wheels if it dips and the steering wheel turns and doesn’t got back like a normal steering wheel in my other vehicles.
 
OP
NYC-TJU

NYC-TJU

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
96
Location
Charlotte, NC
It’s standard mounting - no drop brackets or anything like that.

Am I off by suspecting the play around 10-2 in the steering wheel could be coming from my internal steering components (like the steering shaft)? It tracks straight, but it’s like the road can move the wheels if it dips and the steering wheel turns and doesn’t got back like a normal steering wheel in my other vehicles.
This is pretty much identical to what mine is doing as well
 

NashvilleTJ

I miss the snow...
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
3,379
Location
Nashville
It’s standard mounting - no drop brackets or anything like that.

Am I off by suspecting the play around 10-2 in the steering wheel could be coming from my internal steering components (like the steering shaft)? It tracks straight, but it’s like the road can move the wheels if it dips and the steering wheel turns and doesn’t got back like a normal steering wheel in my other vehicles.
You don’t have to suspect. Do a dry steer test. If you have that much play in the steering - and that’s a lot - you should be able to find it pretty quickly. Look for any movement at all in all the steering components from the TRE’s all the way back to the firewall.
 
OP
NYC-TJU

NYC-TJU

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
96
Location
Charlotte, NC
@Jerry Bransford do you think increasing my caster from 4.9*/5.1* left/right (photo in original post) to closer to 6* each side would make the LJ RTC better? Or is that change not big enough to notice, ie something else is hindering my RTC? Appreciate your insight.
 

freedom_in_4low

Sacred Order of the Coil Spring
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2019
Messages
4,599
Location
Edmond, OK
@Jerry Bransford do you think increasing my caster from 4.9*/5.1* left/right (photo in original post) to closer to 6* each side would make the LJ RTC better? Or is that change not big enough to notice, ie something else is hindering my RTC? Appreciate your insight.

it's worth a shot. If you like how it drives after the adjustment, leave it. If it vibrates, back off a little.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NYC-TJU

connor grimes

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
246
Location
Los Angeles
i'm in the same boat, the only part that hasn't been replaced is the steering shaft both upper and lower. my steering shaft u joints have noticeable play side to side when i attempt to move it around . i attribute some of the my steering slop to the steering shaft