Loose Steering is NORMAL for the JL

GeeBee

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So here's my PURELY SPECULATIVE theory on what's going on with the slack JL steering boxes:

Things expand when they're hot. The steering boxes on a JL are made from aluminium which has a higher coefficient of thermal expansion (roughly double) than steel. This means that the aluminium parts in them would get bigger than the equivalent steel parts for a given increase in temperature. They would also get bigger quicker then any adjacent steel parts - not always good if you want a close-fitting gear mechanism made out of mixed steel/aluminium components to work well across a large temperature spectrum.

If the initial design didn't adequately compensate for changes in size due to temperature then perhaps this is why early JL's had problems with the steering boxes locking up or getting hard to turn (when they got hot during extended runs in a hot engine bay?). This might also explain the YouTube videos of people's steering locking up on the freeway and the steering only becoming manageable once they slow down, as the power steering could be programmed to provide greater assistance at slower speeds.

So my guess is that part of the fix to prevent steering lock up at temperature is that the steering boxes are being purposefully set up with enough play at cold temperature to allow for everything to tighten up when it's hot. If this is the case, it seems that not everyone is getting the same amount of deliberate play dialed into the steering box at the factory and therein lies the issue............

It doesn't help that Jeep apply permanent threadlock compound (Loctite) to the factory-set steering box adjustment screw, as it strikes me that a lot of JL owner's dead-spot issues could be resolved by an 1/8 turn to this screw instead of replacing the whole box due to safety concerns related to breaking the threadlock.

Here's the equivalent fix to a JK (don't try this at home kids):

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Bernard

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OK, now me.

Got the 2019 JLU Rubicon about 2.5 months ago – came from factory with those off-road tires and I didn’t do anything with the suspensions nor the steering.

I have Read all the “issues” with the JL beforehand and was well aware of it AND I owned, for many years, a solid axle off road vehicles.

On my way home, from the dealership in Maryland to NJ, I immediately noticed the loose and wandering steering.
The +3 driving hours was consisting of correcting and over-correcting (and over correcting and…) and drove me crazy.

After about a week, after the wife also complained about it (it’s her daily drive), I called the FCA “complaints line” and opened “a case”. They told me to go to a nearby dealership to solve it, and even sent me the dealership details.

Drove to the dealership and left them the Rubicon.
Got back a week later, on a Friday (the wife was away so didn’t need it).
They said they checked all the bolts and Re-balanced the wheels (they said it was way off… from factory – I didn’t notice anything in that regard but, well…) at their shop AND replaced the steering dumper - they said it was bad and replaced it with a Fox one… one thing off my list).

I was happy just until my drive home (15 min drive) – the same wandering and the need to correct and over-correct (it is present even at 30 mph).

Back home, I had a friend slightly rocking the steering wheel from side to side – I could feel a knocking from the drag link and/or the tie rod.

Went back to the dealership on Monday.
Left the Rubicon for another 10 days (the wife still away… at list one problem avoided).
The dealership said it took so long because the Rubicon was sent to a specialized alignment shop and they re-aligned EVERYTHING and everything is within specs and working “as it should!”.
They also said that they also could feel the knocking but by comparing to other JLs in the dealership, they are all the same – therefore it is OK…

Drove back home (15 min) – same thing but now the steering wheel is not centered and there’s a slight (but noticeable) pull to the right.

Next day got to the dealership… again.
Got the workshop manager for a drive.
He saw and felt the off-centered steering wheel and the pool-to-the-right and the wandering and said... there is nothing else he can do.
He suggested I go back to the Maryland dealership and get the Rubicon replaced…


Now I have a stock 2019 JLU Rubicon (only about 900 miles on it…we only drive it to the dealership), with a Fox steering damper (courtesy of FCA), with an off-center steering wheel (i can do fix that one myself but don’t dare, so they won’t blame me for…something), loose and wandering steering and a soon-to-be very angry wife…
 

Bernard

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...
Back home, I had a friend slightly rocking the steering wheel from side to side – I could feel a knocking from the drag link and/or the tie rod.

Went back to the dealership on Monday.
Left the Rubicon for another 10 days (the wife still away… at list one problem avoided).
The dealership said it took so long because the Rubicon was sent to a specialized alignment shop and they re-aligned EVERYTHING and everything is within specs and working “as it should!”.
They also said that they also could feel the knocking but by comparing to other JLs in the dealership, they are all the same – therefore it is OK…

BTW.
The dealership says they could feel the knocking from the steering box, and that it was the same with, at list, 4 other JLs (no Rubicon - they didn't have any Rubicon there at that time).
 
OP
OP

ArchAngel

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OK, now me.

Got the 2019 JLU Rubicon about 2.5 months ago – came from factory with those off-road tires and I didn’t do anything with the suspensions nor the steering.

I have Read all the “issues” with the JL beforehand and was well aware of it AND I owned, for many years, a solid axle off road vehicles.

On my way home, from the dealership in Maryland to NJ, I immediately noticed the loose and wandering steering.
The +3 driving hours was consisting of correcting and over-correcting (and over correcting and…) and drove me crazy.

After about a week, after the wife also complained about it (it’s her daily drive), I called the FCA “complaints line” and opened “a case”. They told me to go to a nearby dealership to solve it, and even sent me the dealership details.

Drove to the dealership and left them the Rubicon.
Got back a week later, on a Friday (the wife was away so didn’t need it).
They said they checked all the bolts and Re-balanced the wheels (they said it was way off… from factory – I didn’t notice anything in that regard but, well…) at their shop AND replaced the steering dumper - they said it was bad and replaced it with a Fox one… one thing off my list).

I was happy just until my drive home (15 min drive) – the same wandering and the need to correct and over-correct (it is present even at 30 mph).

Back home, I had a friend slightly rocking the steering wheel from side to side – I could feel a knocking from the drag link and/or the tie rod.

Went back to the dealership on Monday.
Left the Rubicon for another 10 days (the wife still away… at list one problem avoided).
The dealership said it took so long because the Rubicon was sent to a specialized alignment shop and they re-aligned EVERYTHING and everything is within specs and working “as it should!”.
They also said that they also could feel the knocking but by comparing to other JLs in the dealership, they are all the same – therefore it is OK…

Drove back home (15 min) – same thing but now the steering wheel is not centered and there’s a slight (but noticeable) pull to the right.

Next day got to the dealership… again.
Got the workshop manager for a drive.
He saw and felt the off-centered steering wheel and the pool-to-the-right and the wandering and said... there is nothing else he can do.
He suggested I go back to the Maryland dealership and get the Rubicon replaced…


Now I have a stock 2019 JLU Rubicon (only about 900 miles on it…we only drive it to the dealership), with a Fox steering damper (courtesy of FCA), with an off-center steering wheel (i can do fix that one myself but don’t dare, so they won’t blame me for…something), loose and wandering steering and a soon-to-be very angry wife…
So are they all like this, or are there JLs out there with “tight” steering? I think it’s the former. A few are really bad with real problems, but I can’t tell if yours is one of those from the description. I can tell you I would describe all four of the JLs I’ve owned and the ones I’ve test driven the same way. Obviously I haven’t driven them all, but at this point, I would like to see proof of tight steering. Any videos from members with tight steering with the back and forth wheel motions from the “loose” videos showing a different response??
 

jmcdtucson

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"specialized alignment shop"
They're just lying to you there. Alignment on these is as straightforward as it gets.
 

Bernard

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"specialized alignment shop"
They're just lying to you there. Alignment on these is as straightforward as it gets.
Tell me something I don't know.
One of them even tried to convince me that the off-center steering wheel was done on purpose and that's the way it should be.
They said it was at the alignment shop three times - Yah, sure. And that is what they come up with...
 

Kamman

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So... let’s assume that the steering is somewhat slack by design. The theory that it has a lot of play so your hands aren’t ripped from the steering wheel when going over objects does make some sense. Given that, doesn’t it seem like a Jeep would be an even better candidate for adjustable handling modes than many of the cars and SUVs that have had those features for a while. Let’s call comfort, sport and sport + modes; street, off-road and rock climbing for Jeeps and give the driver the ability to make the electronic steering and suspension adjustments consistent with those activities to improve the driving experience. I want a JLU and have driven a 2019 Rubicon and Moab and I noticed the “wander/frequent steering input corrections” issue immediately on both of them. I’m having a lot of trouble getting past that issue and I’m afraid I’ll end up hating it. I’m holding out for the ‘20 model year hoping they’re going to act on the complaints and feedback they’re getting regarding this issue.
 

californiajeeping

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Source: https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/fo...-loose-and-or-wander.28197/page-3#post-764799

TSB # 02-003-19 Vehicle wanders and requires constant small steering corrections.
GROUP: 02 Front
Suspension
DATE: June 21, 2019

OVERVIEW:
This bulletin involves replacing the front track bar.

NOTE: If the vehicle symptom/condition is described with a sustained shake or shimmy in the steering wheel, as in the V41 recall, this bulletin should not be performed. Please refer to any open CSN’s, RRT’s, and other service documentation for that concern.

MODELS:
2018 - 2019
(JL) Jeep Wrangler
NOTE: This bulletin applies to vehicles within the following markets/countries: NorthAmerica, APAC and EMEA.

NOTE: This bulletin applies to vehicles built on or after October 15, 2017 (MDH 1015XX) and on or before January 22, 2019 (MDH 0122XX).

SYMPTOM/CONDITION:
The customer may describe:
Vehicle wanders and requires constant small steering corrections.

DIAGNOSIS:
If the customer describes the symptom/condition listed above, perform the Inspection Procedure.

INSPECTION PROCEDURE

NOTE: A test drive is required to verify that the symptom/condition listed above is the customer concern. If a shake or shimmy is felt on the test drive this bulletin does not pertain.

1. Does the vehicle wander and require constant small steering corrections?
• YES>>> Proceed to Step 1 of the repair procedure.
• NO>>> This Bulletin does not apply. Normal diagnosis should be performed.

PARTS REQUIRED:
Qty. Part No. Description
1 (AR) 68394087AA Track Bar LHD
1 (AR) 68394094AA Track Bar RHD
 

californiajeeping

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The AE version of the new JL steering gear box is now out - 68250506AE / 4 door. Previous versions where 68250506AC and 68250506AD. Confirmed with a Jeep dealer's parts department today. The 2 door steering box, which is different than the 4 door steering box, hasn't changed since last year.
 

Mark7411

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It is a common fact at this point that some JL's have a steering issue. I was unlucky enough to be one of those. I am old enough to have driven many different vehicles including old worn out trucks, and yes Jeeps, and know the steering was not right. It took 4 appointment and 30 days in the shop to get it repaired. First time of course the dealer told me "its a Jeep thing, its how they steer", and did an alignment. The second they re-torqued all linkage. The third visit they replaced the steering damper and front track bar. On the 4th trip in, the dealer changed out the steering gear box. Called me and said that gear box was also bad, so they had to order another. With the second gear box installed the issue has finally been resolved. It made a world of difference. You can drive it without constantly fighting to keep it on the road. It is now what it should be, fun to drive.
Those of you that do not have this issue with your JL, your fortunate to not go through this hassle.
So the steering box was the fix?
 

chadtboston

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It is a common fact at this point that some JL's have a steering issue. I was unlucky enough to be one of those. I am old enough to have driven many different vehicles including old worn out trucks, and yes Jeeps, and know the steering was not right. It took 4 appointment and 30 days in the shop to get it repaired. First time of course the dealer told me "its a Jeep thing, its how they steer", and did an alignment. The second they re-torqued all linkage. The third visit they replaced the steering damper and front track bar. On the 4th trip in, the dealer changed out the steering gear box. Called me and said that gear box was also bad, so they had to order another. With the second gear box installed the issue has finally been resolved. It made a world of difference. You can drive it without constantly fighting to keep it on the road. It is now what it should be, fun to drive.
Those of you that do not have this issue with your JL, your fortunate to not go through this hassle.

So I had a JK Wrangler 2 Door Sahara before my current 2019 JLU Wrangler Sahara and the dealer didn't even document my complaint of the constant correcting and wandering of the steering. They told me that for them to look at it they would need the factory rims and tires put back on the car because of my 33's
 

tk2fast

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ArchAngel... You have to be out of your mind and just irresponsible to say something like that!

I have a 2018 JLU and it had extreme wandering issues because the factory alignment was way off plus a good amount of play that is NOT normal. I have had several other Jeeps including a JK and did not have these issues.

You have greatly insulted the many JL owners here having problems.
 

STG01

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The AE version of the new JL steering gear box is now out - 68250506AE / 4 door. Previous versions where 68250506AC and 68250506AD. Confirmed with a Jeep dealer's parts department today. The 2 door steering box, which is different than the 4 door steering box, hasn't changed since last year.

Get a cost on it?

What labor is entailed to swap this out?

I would assume this part may firm up the loose steering?

Parts by Steer Smarts are better suited for the wobble, and responsiveness?

Thanks for the info!
 

californiajeeping

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Get a cost on it?

What labor is entailed to swap this out?

I would assume this part may firm up the loose steering?

Parts by Steer Smarts are better suited for the wobble, and responsiveness?

Thanks for the info!
It is warranty, so no cost if you can get the dealer to agree that it is the steering box.
 
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