Loose steering feels like it has play and drifts

cosmokenney

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Anyone just joining this forum with loose steering, file a complaint at https://www.nhtsa.gov/
Report the problem to the Vehicle Safety Hotline 888-327-4236.

Nothing will happen on FCA's end until we collectively report the issue to NHTSA.
Done.



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VWE

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I went straight to the highway near my house on the way to work and for the few miles the Jeep drove GREAT! I was surprise and thought the dealer maybe did something and didn't tell me. The steering got looser as I continued to drive -- but for those first few miles it was perfectly tight. This is new information for me and I think that has got to be some data point that can help us figure out the exact problem.
All signs point to defective steering boxes.
 

df007

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l
@JeepCares

It is clear and factual that many dealers are letting us know that the vehicles are driving and operating as designed / intended. It is assumed that this statement comes after some diligence in checking the torques, alignment, parts spec, parts conditions for any obvious fixes and all recall work has been applied.

Can we that have been told this please have some clarity on the parameters for "operating as designed"?

1. What are the limits for steering play that are intended as part of the design of the vehicle? Degrees or inches of wheel play along the arc are acceptable. This would help clear up the confusion when a customer's car is compared to a new vehicle as we all seem to have varied experiences with the steering play in new vehicles.

2. Are dealers quantifying this by taking a measurement so that FCA can agree that the vehicle is within the design parameters? This would make sense so that FCA agrees to close a star case even if a customer is still not happy.

I know that JeepCares is not mechanical/engineering department, but a simple call to a different division of the company should be all it takes to answer these questions.

Thank you! This will greatly help me understand if my Jeep is operating normally.
@JeepCares: Bump
 

powelld353

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Yep when it's cold it drives pretty well until it warms up. Same thing with mine and a lot of others. Not sure what that means but it's widely pointed out. Now if FCA could figure something out.....wait...what am I saying they couldn't figure anything out. Hell the dealerships don't even want to take the issue on anymore. JeepCares is a joke and were all stuck either driving as is, loosing money on a trade in or getting denied a buyback. Remember to file a complaint with the NHTSA
 

df007

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I had my JL in for the 7th time to get Jeep to fix the play and was told that since they have replaced the track bar and steering stabilizer and did an alignment to the new specs it was as good as they could get it. I do have to say the track bar reduced the play in the steering by about 1/2 but it still has 1 inch of play. The alignment fixed the wandering left to right where I used to not be able to drive it in a straight line. However in this case I had taken it to a different dealer to see if they could do anything else. They said no. I was out of town on travel so my wife picked up the Jeep and told me she thought it was worse on the drive home. It sat for 3 days and the weather here got cold. I drove it before 6 AM yesterday when the temperature was 35 degrees - meaning all of the steel/aluminum would have been at or near 35 degrees. I went straight to the highway near my house on the way to work and for the few miles the Jeep drove GREAT! I was surprise and thought the dealer maybe did something and didn't tell me. The steering got looser as I continued to drive -- but for those first few miles it was perfectly tight. This is new information for me and I think that has got to be some data point that can help us figure out the exact problem.
Same as me. 1" of play. About 0.25" less when cold and feels more vague through the play. Once fully up to temp it's nice and free in the play region, but I'd say the total play is still a touch less.

I think the PS fluid viscosity makes is it feel more vague when it is cold when going through the play region. I think the gearbox it self sets the total value of the play and IS temperature sensitive too.

My "idiot" check is simple. I open the hood and grab my steering column near the gearbox and wiggle it back and forth. I can't really apply much torque like this so I get a good feel for the "ends" of the play. Pretty simple to see where the play is. In my case it's the same with the car on or off.

I just hope they come up with a real fix and all this goes away.
 
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I also filed a complaint a couple months ago. check the site for info - https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/2018/JEEP/WRANGLER/SUV/4WD%2520Later%2520Release it shows 940 complaints with 723 being steering related - that's 76.9% of all reported problems are steering related. In reviewing the complaints on steering I found many that have the problem I am experiencing with loose play in the steering. If you have not filed your problem with NHTSA please do so today as it only takes a couple of minutes. We need everyone to file so NHTSA can force FCA to fix the problems.
 

Halstem1

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I had my JL in for the 7th time to get Jeep to fix the play and was told that since they have replaced the track bar and steering stabilizer and did an alignment to the new specs it was as good as they could get it. I do have to say the track bar reduced the play in the steering by about 1/2 but it still has 1 inch of play. The alignment fixed the wandering left to right where I used to not be able to drive it in a straight line. However in this case I had taken it to a different dealer to see if they could do anything else. They said no. I was out of town on travel so my wife picked up the Jeep and told me she thought it was worse on the drive home. It sat for 3 days and the weather here got cold. I drove it before 6 AM yesterday when the temperature was 35 degrees - meaning all of the steel/aluminum would have been at or near 35 degrees. I went straight to the highway near my house on the way to work and for the few miles the Jeep drove GREAT! I was surprise and thought the dealer maybe did something and didn't tell me. The steering got looser as I continued to drive -- but for those first few miles it was perfectly tight. This is new information for me and I think that has got to be some data point that can help us figure out the exact problem.
Some others, including myself, had mentioned in the suspension forum that heat and friction seems to effect how "lose" it feels. I associate that with bushings and balljoints, but I'm not mechanic. For what its worth, I replaced my track bars (front and rear) for 350$ with a rancho set and it definitely feels stiffer to drive. I would assume its the difference in how the bushing is made? I'm also swapping out my tie rod and drag link.

Tie Rod Ends.jpg
 

Htfan

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Good news, after yesterday's dealership service appointment to continue investigating my JLs loose steering, my steering play is dramatically reduced. I did bring a copy of the FCA publication (documenting loose steering diagnostics) I found on this forum and discussed it with the service manager before I gave him the key fob.

Their technician covered everything in the publication, however found the original steering box was not out of spec. They did apply TSB 08-092-18 (power steering recalibration) that seemed to have the most impact. Since, I already had the track bar replaced in a previous appointment.

I need to get more higher speed highway time (only driven 50mph since appointment) before I am completely sure we're out of the woods on this issue. But we are definitely heading in a positive direction!

NOTE - they also applied v41 during the same service, but I made it clear that it had nothing to do with the steering issues I'm reporting.
 

CherryWrangler

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Went 4th time to a dealership and the service guy came with me for a test drive, guess what "drives as designed". If it would have been his personal jeep he would be all over the looseness of the steering wheel.

I also went to another dealership to test drive a JLU Sahara, it also had the same play of about 1 inch (but less than what I have in my JLUS), it was cold, don't know how it would drive at highway speeds. I had to do the whole "I want to take it home today" game coz no dealership will let me take a test drive just to test/check its steering wheel to compare. So I parked my wrangler far away and told them I want to buy a new wrangler. :CWL::LOL:
 

BrandonB00

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Good news, after yesterday's dealership service appointment to continue investigating my JLs loose steering, my steering play is dramatically reduced. I did bring a copy of the FCA publication (documenting loose steering diagnostics) I found on this forum and discussed it with the service manager before I gave him the key fob.

Their technician covered everything in the publication, however found the original steering box was not out of spec. They did apply TSB 08-092-18 (power steering recalibration) that seemed to have the most impact. Since, I already had the track bar replaced in a previous appointment.

I need to get more higher speed highway time (only driven 50mph since appointment) before I am completely sure we're out of the woods on this issue. But we are definitely heading in a positive direction!

NOTE - they also applied v41 during the same service, but I made it clear that it had nothing to do with the steering issues I'm reporting.
this power steering calibration is what i'm super interested in. Of course until my dealer says that there is a problem they aren't going to calibrate anything. I can't believe that out of the three dealers that I took it to none of them will even reflash the PCM or calibrate the steering just to shut me the hell up. It's completely non-invasive. no tools other than the computer needed. Where did you get a copy of the loose steering publication?
 

Aceman

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this power steering calibration is what i'm super interested in. Of course until my dealer says that there is a problem they aren't going to calibrate anything. I can't believe that out of the three dealers that I took it to none of them will even reflash the PCM or calibrate the steering just to shut me the hell up. It's completely non-invasive. no tools other than the computer needed. Where did you get a copy of the loose steering publication?
I’m also eager to hear about the power steering calibration. I told my @JeepCares rep the same thing the other day. I said let’s reflash the pcm and see if there are any software updates just to check those off the list. But dealers wouldn’t do it. Don’t understand why since it’s not labor intensive.

I’m thinking out loud here:

I’m wondering if the issue is a combination of both the thermal expansion of the steering box in conjunction with the electronic assist. We’re all aware that the steering is tighter when cold and very loose when warm probably due to the aluminum case. How does the electronic assist adjust for this thermal expansion? How can the software determine the operating temp of the steering box at any given time without a temperature probe? It can’t. Software is binary and deals in absolutes but in this case, it’s interacting with a box that has variables built into it due to thermal expansion. This might explain why the steering is inconsistent from day to day. However, it doesn’t explain why other jl’s with the same steering box and electronic assist system don’t have this problem. Perhaps unaffected Jeeps have software that uses a median value between hot and cold operating temps while ours does not.

Could it be something as simple as the power steering fluid? Do some brands maintain consistent viscosity throughout a larger temp range?

Or does it all just come back to a bad batch of steering boxes?
 











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