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List of repairs in order of importance to improve steering?


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Hey All,

I of course know, the steering components in my MJ are 21 years old, and thus worn. I was wondering if anyone had a list of what to fix/change in order of importance to improve the steering stability, Obviously I can't afford to do it all at the same time. I did a basic check of ball joints/tie rod ends, and they are solid. There is minimal play in the pass side wheel bearing, but from what I read in the manual, thats normal. The goal is to make the truck able to do long(er) trips without worry about the front end. Keep in mind, its a stock truck, no lift.

-Erin

 

p.s.- Where is everyone getting replacement parts for all the linkage/bushings, etc?!?

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Grab an extra person, have them turn the wheels side to side while you stick your head under there, and visually look at the components move. That's the best way to find out what is worn. Your steering stabilizer is a $20.00 part that you can replace with a 3/8" ratchet in no time at all, replacing that will help with the death wobble and bump steer. You can also go in for an alignment, that will help with tire wear and tracking straight. Even a tire balance/rotation could help.

 

How did you check tie rod ends and ball joints? out of curiosity...

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My truck has been lightly used but the steering stabilizer was shot a couple of years ago. The steering wheel vibrated above 50mph. I replaced it with an OEM version. It eliminated the shake/vibrate and it drove fine. Later, I decided to put an OME stabilizer (Old Man Emu) in. I was amazed at the difference between the OEM verses OME.

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Also, between the gear box and frame there's an aluminum spacer. They tend to disintegrate over time in corrosion maximus areas such as yours. :( This could explain why the box mounting bolts are loose. Check it out, along with the uniframe bolt areas as Paradise mentioned.

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Hey guys...my offending creak has turned into a CLUNK. I tightened up the steering box (top bolt was loose) spacer is there, and in good shape. NO CHANGE!!! Grr! I also did a chassis lube to everything I could see with a grease fitting. NO CHANGE! I did the classic wheel check, and nothing seems oddly loose, and I could not make anything "clunk" When I'm inside with the truck running If I make hard turns I can hear it clunk inside the cab. It almost feels like its in the steering column, even though I know things can radiate. I am officially stumped. I am done for the night. Any suggestions on what next would be great.

-Erin

 

Edit: I also posted a specific thread on the problem I'm having.....

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by doing the standard 12/6, 9/3 position wiggle when the tires were up in the air. That at least told me they are not falling apart. Is there another way?

Yes. You can't check anything with the tires off the ground, unless the parts are falling aapart.

 

Tires ON the ground, steering straight ahead. You need an assistant. Turn the key to unlock. Don't start the engine, just unlock the steering column.

 

Now -- have your assistant turn the steering wheel back and forth through the range that ALMOST turns the tires, but not quite. The idea is to not actually move the tread patch on the ground, but to load the various tie rod ends, pitman arm, track bar, etc. While your helper wiggles the steering wheel back and forth, you crawl underneath and put your hand on each fitting in turn. Wear nitrile exam gloves. You can FEEL a tie rod end flexing against the part it fits into even if your eye can't see the movement.

 

Check tie rod ends (inner and outer), upper and lower end of the track bar, the TRE end of the pitman arm, and also feel for lateral flex of the steering box output shaft (the spline that the pitman arm attaches to).

 

You can use the same method to check (visually, this time) for excess over center free play in the steering box. Again, move the steering wheel back and forth while standing outside the vehicle and watching the left front tire. Do NOT actually turn the tire -- just turn the wheel through the pre-move-the-tire range. There should be almost zero actual "free" (as in loosey goosey) play across center. It should transition from slight resistance left to slight resistance right almost instantly.

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I just went through this ordering parts from the idiots at the parts store. No matter how many times I told them what I needed they still tried to give me the wrong part! It is called inner tie rod AT pitman arm according to there computer.

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