Loose steering feels like it has play and drifts

chadc880

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A friendly FYI and or Review of the steering issues with the JL and soon to be Gladiator.

Check for loose steering components. Tie rod nuts, Ball Joint Nuts and Ect.

Check and correct your tire pressure.

Check for TSB Faulty Steering Stabilizer

Check your Track Bar for Play

Check your Draglink for Click Feeling when someone else is moving the steering wheel back and fourth.

The Steering TSB from 2018 increases the electric power steering pump pressure. Some say it helps and some say it fixed their problem.

In the end I have had everything done listed above. And my JL drives pretty darn nice. BUT and a big BUT!!!

I know for a fact the steering box is going to be the main culprit.

And I am just waiting for a newer version to be released when ever that will be.





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JimmyDoom

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A little clarification here...I apparently misunderstood my case manager (who has been great keeping in touch and informing me of the next steps). She apparently did not say they would replace the track bar and dampener, she just said there were new part numbers for those parts and it’s up to the dealer to diagnose and change what they think needs to be done. My case manager clearly understands there is a loose steering issue with my Jeep where there is play in the steering wheel and is communicating to the dealer. Hopefully when it goes back on the 30th they will change out the track bar and drag link, and possibly the steering box.
Here's one of the problems right here "it’s up to the dealer to diagnose and change what they think needs to be done". I still have steering issues but my dealer checked my track bar (I already replaced my dampener with a Falcon 2.2) and said it was fine so they won't replace it with the new one that was issued. Well if it really is fine, then obviously there is something else wrong. They did replace my steering box and that made a big difference but it still wonders on the highway. I figured at this point my only option is to buy some after market parts....maybe LCA or track bar might do the trick.
 

outlanderbz

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For what it is worth, I just got my 2018 JL Sahara back from the dealership. Here is a brief history of my steering, wandering and shimmy issues.

5/2018 - bought my jeep and drove it home, was awful, lowered tie pressure to 36 psi from 44 psi and it helped a little
7/2018 - cruise control recall and they updated the BCM with whatever TSB that was. This seemed to help with Wandering. Steering was still loose.
9/2018 - colder weather came to Chicago and the steering seemed better - not sure why. But still generally loose, floaty and wandering. I always adjusted tire pressure back to 36 when outside temps changed
12/2018 - experienced my 1st shimmy at 8,900 miles. They replaced the steering damper. That fixed, maybe masked, that issue. S1819000004
5/2019 - warmer weather came and you can tell the loose and floaty feeling got a little worse again. Wasn't great over the winter but warmer weather seems to bring it out more.

This week / today - Just picked up my Jeep from the dealer - they replaced the track bar, set toe in to .20 and checked for loose or binding components. All I can say is wow. My steering does not feel anywhere as loose as it did before. The slop has decreased by at least half.

When going down the highway I do not feel like the wind is lifting up the front end and moving it side to side. When I hit a road imperfection and need to correct with steering input it is not as pronounced of an adjustment that feels off - it can be done with 1 finger on the bottom of the steering wheel. I also felt like the jeep is not as affected by road crown and wind but I will see as I drive it more.

I wish it returned to center a little more and was a little tighter but for now, I feel pretty good for the 1st time in 1 year of ownership.

They also fixed the speaker rattle issue with S180800278.

I know not everyone's is having the same issue or perceived issue but might be worth replacing those track bars. Maybe a future steering gear box or software update will take it to 100% but for now, I am good.
 

californiajeeping

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I happened to run across a very experienced auto mechanic and we were discussing the JL steering issues. Mine was fixed by tightening the the loose steering component fasteners and changing the toe adjustment to the max spec limit. With your JL turned off, tires straight, stand next to one of the fender wells and rock the JL back and forth left to right. Notice how the tires "slop around". His truck was parked next to mine and there was hardly any movement in the tires at all. This could be due to the thinner sidewalls. I'm not claiming this is the issue for some with drifting issues, but it is noteworthy. If you have another vehicle, do the same comparison. Very interesting. When my tires wear out and need to be replaced, I'm going to go with tires that have a better sidewall rating. Nitto perhaps.
 
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richk225

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Hi, Could you explain what you mean by "My JL was fixed by loosening the half-tightened loose steering component fasteners"
Something was half-tightened and you loosened them up more?
 

jmcdtucson

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My steering journey.

8/18 - picked up my order from the dealer. Tested before buying and seemed fine. I didn't notice till I drove it home. Steering wheel felt like it had a couple of inches of slop. Very tricky to drive on the interstate. Had already lowered tire pressure to 36 cold at dealer. I could move my wheel an inch or two to either side while parked and the tires didn't move.
11/18 - swapped out for Rubi takeoff wheels/tires. Strangely, this seemed to help. The tires were slightly responsive near the top of the wheel. Still, I wasn't sure if it was just the cooler weather. Now I wonder if a heavier tire was causing the power steering assist to kick in. No idea, but it still wasn't fun to drive on the highway.
1/19 - Finally took into the dealer for the steering as I was tired of it requiring all my attention just to stay in my lane. They said nothing is wrong (surprise!) but noticed steering wheel was off center and performed an alignment. They didn't give me numbers, but whatever they did helped. Maybe they increased toe, or maybe having the steering wheel centered helped the computer figure things out. It was still a bit flighty and also vague, but there is steering response.
3/19 - Someone on the forum said that the K02s did better at 32 psi cold with a good chalk test. I wowered the pressure to 32, and that took care of the flightiness. Today my steering is good. I still think it's a bit vague at times near top dead center, or maybe there is a slightly delayed response. Still, I can drive with one hand on the interstate and it's pleasant to drive in all conditions except heavy wind of course. I actually like the steering better than my old Toyota Highlander (which may just be because I'm used to the Jeep).

I may replace the drag link and track bar in hopes of improving further. I might also put on a new steering dampener. Mine is in the range. I've never had any shimmy though.

But for now I'm satisfied. Hope everyone else gets their issues taken care of.
 

Rdmitch

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Nice going, while it’s covered by warranty have the dealer upgrade the drag link and stabilizer.
 

Markham

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Nice going, while it’s covered by warranty have the dealer upgrade the drag link and stabilizer.
If you can get them to do it. They won’t replace either of mine. It’s going on again on the 30th. Hopefully they listen to what I told them last time regarding the star cases and just change them.
 

Rdmitch

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This is the perfect opportunity for Jeep cares to intervene with a call to your dealer.

My dealer was willing to change my stabilizer after the first visit and put in the new drag link after the 2nd time in. On time 3 I had made it very clear this was not acceptable steering and it’s going to get legal. They swapped the entire steering box which got me to a “tolerable “ point. Now I’m working to get from tolerable to mediocre.
 

callerys

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I just installed the LCA's from the molar lift kit (I have no lift, stock Rubicon). Wow huge difference. Wheel centers fine, drive with one finger now. Highly recommend doing this, parts are $60. I'm not a mechanic and it took me an less than an hour.
 

RagTopDeluxe

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I just installed the LCA's from the molar lift kit (I have no lift, stock Rubicon). Wow huge difference. Wheel centers fine, drive with one finger now. Highly recommend doing this, parts are $60. I'm not a mechanic and it took me an less than an hour.
Thanks for this report. It’s particularly helpful since you also have a non-lifted stock Rubicon.

Did you do (or need to do) an alignment afterwards?

I’m searching for the part numbers, do you have them handy? Where did you get them?

Thanks again!
 

callerys

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Thanks for this report. It’s particularly helpful since you also have a non-lifted stock Rubicon.

Did you do (or need to do) an alignment afterwards?

I’m searching for the part numbers, do you have them handy? Where did you get them?

Thanks again!
This is from another thread. I bought them online.

Mopar lift LCA is 68322798AA.(need Qty 2) If you want to use a new set of bolts and nuts, they are 6512085AA (bolt, M16-1.5x104mm) and 6104720AA (nut) (Need Qty 4). The torque specs are 190 ft-lb.
 

Dkretden

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I just installed the LCA's from the molar lift kit (I have no lift, stock Rubicon). Wow huge difference. Wheel centers fine, drive with one finger now. Highly recommend doing this, parts are $60. I'm not a mechanic and it took me an less than an hour.
If repeatable by others, This would mean that the root cause of the wander on an unmodded Jeep is caster angle?
 

RagTopDeluxe

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This is from another thread. I bought them online.

Mopar lift LCA is 68322798AA.(need Qty 2) If you want to use a new set of bolts and nuts, they are 6512085AA (bolt, M16-1.5x104mm) and 6104720AA (nut) (Need Qty 4). The torque specs are 190 ft-lb.
Thank you so much! I appreciate that info.

This seems like a good start for addressing my loose and wandering steering.
 

Markham

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This is the perfect opportunity for Jeep cares to intervene with a call to your dealer.

My dealer was willing to change my stabilizer after the first visit and put in the new drag link after the 2nd time in. On time 3 I had made it very clear this was not acceptable steering and it’s going to get legal. They swapped the entire steering box which got me to a “tolerable “ point. Now I’m working to get from tolerable to mediocre.
They are involved, but the dealers are the “experts”
 

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