What is the best steering for my Jeep Wrangler TJ?

Chris

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I figured this would be a useful FAQ since I see so many questions about crossover steering, steering upgrades, etc. For some reason there seems to be a rumor that started on the Internet, where people seem to think that crossover steering setups are superior to the stock configuration. I have no idea how (or why) that rumor started, but for the majority of us, it couldn't be further than the truth.

The truth is, the factory steering on the TJ does a great job of working the way it should. Unless you're running some sort of extremely custom aftermarket setup, then there's no reason at all to get rid of the stock steering system. The only thing you'd want to do ideally is upgrade it.

You have to ask yourself why all these people are trying to take something that works (the factory TJ steering) and replace it with something like a crossover system, when it's completely unnecessary.

What about crossover steering setups?
The following was taken from a post made by @mrblaine (who happens to design steering systems).

"There are pros and cons to all types of steering as well as many varied definitions for what styles there are. The Haltenberger (the type of steering the TJ uses) was developed to break the connection to both knuckles and not suffer the tie rod roll that is inherent to Inverted-T, which connects the draglink to the tie rod. Crossover connects the knuckles with a tie rod and the draglink attaches to another point on the knuckle like the JK and WJ.

If you were on the 'net when the TJ was introduced, (or shortly thereafter) and paid attention, you may have noticed that it wasn't until a few years before the JK was introduced that Death Wobble became a commonly discussed topic in the TJ world. Inversely, the DW issues with the JK showed up almost from day one and that's due to the crossover steering being much more prone to DW which is exactly why the TJ's steering was developed."


So again, unless you have some sort of very specific need, you really have nothing to gain from switching your TJ over to a crossover style setup. Especially when the Currie Currectlync exists.

Which steering systems should I stay away from?
The following are a few of the steering systems you should stay away from (assuming you're running stock axles and aren't some some sort of very special case):
  • Rusty's Steering Systems
  • Iron Rock Offroad Steering Systems
  • Synergy Steering Systems
There's probably others, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately. The bottom line is that you should stay away from crossover steering systems (both over-the-knuckle and under-the-knuckle) as you'll run into way more problems with those steering setups (not to mention I really question the quality of them).

What is the best steering system for the Jeep Wrangler TJ?
Best is a relative word. However, for 99% of us TJ owners, the best upgraded steering system out there for the TJ (and I can attest to this as I own one) is the Currie Currectlync.

It fits exactly like factory and probably takes an hour tops to install (mine took less). In addition to that, it keeps the factory style steering setup and won't give you any adverse side effects that you'll get with some of those other high steer setups.

The second best option (and undoubtedly the cheaper option) would be to upgrade to the ZJ tie rod, or purchase the Crown HD steering kit (which includes the ZJ tie rod as well as a new factory drag link). Both of those options bolt right in, utilize the beefier ZJ tie rod (with the stock drag link), and are definitely stronger than the stock steering setup.
 
BTW, I'd happily welcome additions to this post. Just trying to give TJ owners good info on why they should avoid most of these BS steering systems that are floating around there.
 
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I would just add that a very easy and inexpensive upgrade is the ZJ tie rod. Obviously, it's not the same type of upgrade, but certainly an option.
 
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I would just add that a very easy and inexpensive upgrade is the ZJ tie rod. Obviously, it's not the same type of upgrade, but certainly an option.

The Crown HD steering is basically the same thing but with a new draglink. Just a FYI...
 
@Chris, do you want to add information about which steering systems to stay away from as well (something like Rusty's)?
 
@Chris, do you want to add information about which steering systems to stay away from as well (something like Rusty's)?

Yeah, I was going to list the Rusty's, Synergy, and a few others (clue me in on any I might be missing).

They're pretty much all the same (over the knuckle crossover steering systems), just made by different brands.
 
How is the rust situation on the Currie assembly Part# CE-9701? does it Jam when the time comes to do the adjustments if ever we'll need to do an alignment after a few winters for example?
And when installing the assembly, will it be alright with the extended pitman arm, as i have a 4 inch lift kit on and had to replace the stock pitman arm with the extended one, or do i need to put back the stock arm?
 
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How is the rust situation on the Currie assembly Part# CE-9701? does it Jam when the time comes to do the adjustments if ever we'll need to do an alignment after a few winters for example?
And when installing the assembly, will it be alright with the extended pitman arm, as i have a 4 inch lift kit on and had to replace the stock pitman arm with the extended one, or do i need to put back the stock arm?
Anything will jam with enough rust on it. I would put some fluid film before winter. As far as the Pittman arm is concerned I would put the stock one back on. I have all Currie steering and it made a HUGE improvement in driving.
 
Anything will jam with enough rust on it. I would put some fluid film before winter. As far as the Pittman arm is concerned I would put the stock one back on. I have all Currie steering and it made a HUGE improvement in driving.

X2 to this. With that being said, I don't live in a rust prone area, and it's been 3 years almost with mine, and no rust at all.

You should NOT be running a drop pitman arm, that is a huge, huge mistake (though in all fairness it is a mistake that many first time Wrangler owners make). Whoever sold you that lift should be shunned for including a pitman arm with it at only 4". Put the stock one back on immediately, you'll thank me for it!
 
I'm a big fan of my crossover steering, but for personal experience reasons. I had a Dodge Ram and the tie rod adjustment sleeve slipped off while I was pulling onto the highway. I lost all my steering. Luckily it was late and I got the truck to the side of the road.
So I personally feel better knowing there's no sleeves holding my steering together.
 
Currie's instructions specifically state not to run a drop pitman arm with their steering.

My setup was subjected to 6 salty winters and i had no issues adjusting it before i recently sold it. I did coat the threads heavily with anti sieze and that is recommended for any adjustable parts exposed to the elements.
 
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The only reason whatsoever to be running a drop pitman arm, would be if you had a different style steering setup (i.e. crossover steering) as oppose to the stock Haltenberger design.

The only point you'd need to be running a drop pitman arm on the stock TJ Haltenberger style steering, would be if you were at a very excessive amount of lift (I'm talking probably 6" or more).

At 4" of lift on the stock TJ steering, you need to be running the stock pitman arm. If you run a drop pitman arm, you will run into all sorts of drivability issues.

And @Ahoragi is correct, with the Currie Currectlync, you should not be running a dropped pitman arm.

Like Jerry said at one point, it's all about simple geometry.

I think we may need a pitman arm FAQ!
 
Wish I had seen this earlier, but hope that what I'm doing will work out ok. Took my "new" jeep by a local shop just for a check to see if anything needed repair. Advised it looked great but that my '98 had original stock steering components and they looked pretty shot. They recommended repair with a new Moog front track bar and a Crown Automotive steering kit. Since they wanted about $240 for labor, I ordered the parts and am awaiting the track bar. I also ordered a steering stabilizer while I'm at it. I've watched a few videos on youtube and, although I'm no mechanic, it looks fairly easy to do this work. Hope so!
 
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I should have added that I have a pretty good wobble going on. I don't think it's a DW, but it's very noticeable and starts at about 56 MPH and lasts until 60 mph. I'm hoping that this update and a new alignment will take care of that.
 
Google for Stu Olsen's jeep site. He has alot of fantastic write ups on how to do repairs and mods to your TJ. There is one about performing an alignment and you can save a bunch of $$ by doing it yourself.

Oh yeah get your tires balanced. Wobbles are mostly causes by unblanced tires and worn components.
 
I should have added that I have a pretty good wobble going on. I don't think it's a DW, but it's very noticeable and starts at about 56 MPH and lasts until 60 mph. I'm hoping that this update and a new alignment will take care of that.

If you're interested in aligning it yourself, there's a great write-up here on how to do it:
https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/how-to-align-your-jeep-wrangler-tj.85/

Hopefully the new steering takes care of it for you. It may very well be improperly balanced tires though. That's usually what it ends up being 9 out of 10 times.
 
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Just got the Crown Automotive HD Steering Kit- I’m kind of concerned, the reviews are only 3.5 of 5 on Amazon. I’m stock now with 31” tires- planning on a 2” OME lift in the next couple months. Am I going to be happy with this steering kit?
Also- should I install now or wait for lift, I’m guessing an alignment is nessasery after each upgrade?