Newbie - is this normal for a Jeep questions

Jeep_life123

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PLEASE HELP THE NEWBIE :)

Hi all. I am on an extended test drive of a 2018 JLU Sahara still under bumper to bumper warranty and noticed some things I have some questions on. :)


I realize this is a solid axle vehicle and will be a rougher ride. I am speaking from inexperience and wondering if the below is the “norm” and if so, what could I do to address it or make it better?

STEERING:
I am still getting used to the steering feel. I think it feels kinda numb and is hard to tell when the wheels move because of how light the steering is. I’d say the first 3 inches from each side is the lightest area. I’d say less then 1 inch of dead zone and is fine to drive on highway. Any suggestions I could have them try to help before buying? (Like flashing steering or an update?) or any mods that would help to create a heavier steering feel? I plan to keep it stock for a while so keep that in mind.

SHAKING STEERING:
Since I am new to jeeps and solid axle vehicles can anyone comment if your steering wheel/axle should shake for a second or two when you hit a bump like on an overpass bridge? It has done it a few times. I wouldn’t say it was dangerous, but coming from inexperience it felt weird and want to know If this is normal? If not, what should I have them address before purchasing?


WANDERING assessment:
I can hold it in a straight line on the highway and it does not wander much. Changing lanes it does wander a bit like I have to counter correct to get it back in the lane, but then stays pretty well straight. Would you say this is normal? I think this could also be because I am not used to a 4x4. I am not alarmed by this unless you think I should be lol.


Appreciate your insights on a potential new Jeeper.
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aldo98229

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Sounds on par with a lot of other posts.

Personally speaking, my JL seems to wander less than others on here report, and my steering wheel does NOT shake. But the steering does have a numb feel overall.

Feel free to search “wandering steering” on this forum and read to your heart’s content.

Welcome to the forum!

Good luck.
 
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Jeep_life123

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Sounds on par with a lot of other posts.

Personally speaking, my JL seems to wander less than others on here report, and my steering wheel does NOT shake. But the steering does have a numb feel overall.

Feel free to search “wandering steering” on this forum and read to your heart’s content.

Welcome to the forum!

Good luck.
Have you come to be okay with the numb feeling? Or has it taken away your appreciation for the Jeep? Also, have you done anything to make it better?
 

Revolution_322

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Not another one of these again.... I know you guys want to look cool but don't you people test drive the vehicles before buying?

people who drive jeeps since they were in highschool think the JL is the best handling jeep yet. Meanwhile the newbs coming from X5’s carolla’s, and range rovers do nothing but complain and mis diagnose normal driving characteristics.
 
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Jeep_life123

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Not another one of these again.... I know you guys want to look cool but don't you people test drive the vehicles before buying?

people who drive jeeps since they were in highschool think the JL is the best handling jeep yet. Meanwhile the newbs coming from X5’s carolla’s, and range rovers do nothing but complain and mis diagnose normal driving characteristics.
Hey sorry not trying to stir up anything or be one of those guys. I am very much new to this and like you said, I do not want to mis diagnose what is normal driving characteristics.
 

danotje

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I’ll share my first time Jeep owner experience from over a year ago when we bought ours and maybe that will help.

I test drove a Sahara with the 2.0 and loved it. It was a lot of fun to drive, but the steering did seem vague, and I found myself “thinking” about keeping it straight. Loved the drive overall, and nothing seemed dangerous, just different. Similar to how my ‘59 Beetle steering was years ago.

We wound up buying a Rubicon in Anchorage without a test drive (other than from the airport) and drove it 360 miles back to Fairbanks through Denali—definitely a bucket list kind of trip! The whole time I felt like you—having to put more input than I’m used to in the steering and actually pay a bit more attention due to wandering, which was more a factor of my inputs than bad steering.

Fast forward to today, and I don’t feel the same way. I’ve done nothing to the steering, but now don’t have any issues driving at 65 or so on the highway. It tracks straight, and I typically one-hand it.

Bottom line is I think there’s a difference from most other new vehicles, and I chalk it up to the off-road chops the Jeep still requires. Big tires, electro-hydro steering that I think isn’t rack and pinion, and the fact that you want some forgiveness in it while bouncing around off-road. I’ve been driving mine for over a year, and it’s easily one of the best driving vehicles I’ve ever owned.

Side note, it is weird hopping into our Grand Cherokee after driving the Wrangler. Steering in particular is super tight, but not necessarily better. Hope this helps and good luck!
 
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Jeep_life123

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I’ll share my first time Jeep owner experience from over a year ago when we bought ours and maybe that will help.

I test drove a Sahara with the 2.0 and loved it. It was a lot of fun to drive, but the steering did seem vague, and I found myself “thinking” about keeping it straight. Loved the drive overall, and nothing seemed dangerous, just different. Similar to how my ‘59 Beetle steering was years ago.

We wound up buying a Rubicon in Anchorage without a test drive (other than from the airport) and drove it 360 miles back to Fairbanks through Denali—definitely a bucket list kind of trip! The whole time I felt like you—having to put more input than I’m used to in the steering and actually pay a bit more attention due to wandering, which was more a factor of my inputs than bad steering.

Fast forward to today, and I don’t feel the same way. I’ve done nothing to the steering, but now don’t have any issues driving at 65 or so on the highway. It tracks straight, and I typically one-hand it.

Bottom line is I think there’s a difference from most other new vehicles, and I chalk it up to the off-road chops the Jeep still requires. Big tires, electro-hydro steering that I think isn’t rack and pinion, and the fact that you want some forgiveness in it while bouncing around off-road. I’ve been driving mine for over a year, and it’s easily one of the best driving vehicles I’ve ever owned.

Side note, it is weird hopping into our Grand Cherokee after driving the Wrangler. Steering in particular is super tight, but not necessarily better. Hope this helps and good luck!
I appreciate your response it helps :)
 

jeepdabest

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Not another one of these again.... I know you guys want to look cool but don't you people test drive the vehicles before buying?

people who drive jeeps since they were in highschool think the JL is the best handling jeep yet. Meanwhile the newbs coming from X5’s carolla’s, and range rovers do nothing but complain and mis diagnose normal driving characteristics.
Isn't he actually test driving it?
 

Revolution_322

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Hey sorry not trying to stir up anything or be one of those guys. I am very much new to this and like you said, I do not want to mis diagnose what is normal driving characteristics.
Yes but the problem here is 95% of people here have no mechanical experience or previous jeep ownership so its kind of an echo chamber... i can tell you that its normal, they drive unlike any car and even most modern trucks. Body on frame, 5 link setup and recirculating ball power assist steering. Its a bit crude but its a trade off for other capability. If you want a nice ride get a 12-14 range rover sport or something with ifs and unibody.
 

SportE

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Jeeps handle like crap. They corner horribly, and take a long distance to stop. There is no getting around it. It is the trade-off for being great off road. That being said, I find them fun to drive...after you get used to it. Automotive Maxim No. 3: It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast, than it is to drive a fast car slow. It takes a while to get to know it and I think part of it is becoming desensitized to the high center of gravity with the weight shifts from side to side. That and the numb steering makes you tend to overcompensate at first which is not fun. Give it 600 miles and see how you like it. The steering shaking does not sound right like a bit of death wobble. Ask your dealer to check the torque on your front end bits and ask them about the steering stabilizer.
 

jeepdabest

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Yes but the problem here is 95% of people here have no mechanical experience or previous jeep ownership so its kind of an echo chamber... i can tell you that its normal, they drive unlike any car and even most modern trucks. Body on frame, 5 link setup and recirculating ball power assist steering. Its a bit crude but its a trade off for other capability. If you want a nice ride get a 12-14 range rover sport or something with ifs and unibody.
Not trying to start an argument. The OP said he was on an extended test drive and is new to Jeep. I didn't sense he was trashing Jeep but just respectfully asking some questions about what is 'normal' with Jeeps, etc.
 

aldo98229

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Have you come to be okay with the numb feeling? Or has it taken away your appreciation for the Jeep? Also, have you done anything to make it better?
I have gotten used to it. But I test drove twelve (12) JLs before buying: a mix of 2018, 2019 and 2020, 4-cyl and V6, Rubicons and Saharas.

Only thing I’ve done to it was replace the original 32” Bridgestone Duelers with a set of 33” BFG KO2s. It’s gotten a tiny bit better.
 

aldo98229

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Hey sorry not trying to stir up anything or be one of those guys. I am very much new to this and like you said, I do not want to mis diagnose what is normal driving characteristics.
Don’t pay attention to them. It’s your money and you are correct in wanting to be informed before spending it.

Do test drive several JLs, though. You will likely find that not two drive the same, unfortunately.

Don’t let the dealer talk you into buying a JL you don’t like how it drives, under the promise that they will fix it under warranty. There are plenty of forum members on here sick and tired of going back to the dealer to try to correct something they have no idea how to. You will end up totally frustrated.

I’d refrain from factory ordering one, too. You may or may not get one that drives like the one you test drove. There are plenty of JLs sitting in inventory.

If you don’t find one you want nearby, don’t be afraid to expand your search.
 

Revolution_322

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Don’t pay attention to them. It’s your money and you are correct in wanting to be informed before spending it.

Do test drive several JLs, though. You will likely find that not two drive the same, unfortunately.

I’d refrain from factory ordering one, too. You may or may not get one that drives like the one you test drove. There are plenty of JLs sitting in inventory.

If you don’t find one you want nearby, don’t be afraid to expand your search,
Says the newb
 

The Fixer

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people who drive jeeps since they were in highschool think the JL is the best handling jeep yet. Meanwhile the newbs coming from X5’s carolla’s, and range rovers do nothing but complain and mis diagnose normal driving characteristics.
I have to agree. I've driven a few solid-axle vehicles over the years...my mom had an '87 XJ when I was in high-school and I learned to drive in that. Later on, she got a WJ that I borrowed occasionally when I needed to haul stuff and it wouldn't fit in my car. I also owned an '01 XJ when my kids were small (bought in '06, had it about 5 years and 50K miles). They all have a 4-link design up front with a track bar and steering stabilizer shock, same as the JL. Each one of those vehicles has had that bump-twitch characteristic when going over potholes and other bumps at speed, but this is known as bump-steer, and not death wobble. It's a normal reaction for a solid axle, because as one side is lifting up over a bump or falling into a pothole, the wheel at the other end of the axle has to follow. They will never drive like a vehicle with an independent front suspension. But as @Revolution_322 mentioned, this is by far the best handling Wrangler yet. My wife's has 13K on hers, and mine has just about 5K, and they are awesome IMO.

And @Jeep_life123 , the steering does feel a bit vague initially, but personally I think it's due to the electric assist. My previous car was a 2016 Charger R/T, and it had a similar feeling just left-and-right of center. They also have electric-assist steering.
 
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