Poll: Steering problems on the 2018 Wrangler JL

Poll: What do you think will fix the current steering problems on our Jeep Wrangler JLs?


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jeremyjeep

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As documented in the many steering threads on the JL Wrangler Forum and the NHTSA website, many of us are having steering problems on our 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, JLU - Sport, Sahara and Rubicon with loose steering, dead spot in the steering wheel, drifting, excessive steering wheel corrections to keep it in lane, sometimes outside temperature related sometimes not, etc. etc. etc.

Many have posted videos showing the steering problems in the threads listed below. Some have had their JL completely replaced as a result of the steering problems, some have buy-backs as you will see in the threads. Dealerships have confirmed and documented the issue, but no fix yet. Some state it is a safety issue for them and others say it is a nuisance.

Sometimes tire pressure, tightening loose ball joints, steering box adjustments and/or the current Steering TSB fixes the problem, but most of the time it doesn’t. FCA has many open cases and is aware of the steering problem. Hopefully there is a TSB or Recall in the near future. What do you think will fix this ongoing steering problem? Please select your choice in the survey / poll. If you have another idea of what will fix it, select 'Other' and add your comment in this thread and I'll add it to the list of choices.

Note: If you are experiencing these Jeep Wrangler JL steering issues / steering problems too, please report it to @JeepCares, Jeep Wave at 844-533-7928 and to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/2018/JEEP/WRANGLER/SUV/4WD%2520Later%2520Release#complaints

Here are just some of the existing and active threads on the steering problem:

Loose steering feels like it has play and drifts: https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/fo...ering-feels-like-it-has-play-and-drifts.3691/

Major steering issue problem with JL Wrangler: https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/fo...e-problem-with-jl-wrangler-please-watch.6723/

Search Google for Jeep Wrangler JL steering problem and you will find other Jeep forums with more information on steering issues.
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IPvFletch

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I'm starting to think it's the crappy stock tires, tbh. I'm hopeful new tires will fix it. My wife's Ford Explorer has a little play too, but it holds track a bit better.
 

Kevin8086

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I think the preload on the steering box needs to be adjusted. Deflate your tires to the proper psi since jeep fills them to 44 and have a proper alignment done. Maybe add a tiny bit of toe in.
 

WranglerAz

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Just picked up my JLUR, drove it 1800 miles, and have no steering issues, not sure why there is so many posts about this. I have read some have the settings for the Turbo steering, and once adjusted, all was good, Is this the real solution?
 

jmcdtucson

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I have one inch play in either direction on the steering with engine off. No other vehicle is like that. Seen lots of complaints and how-to-fix videos on JK/TJ with same issue so it's not normal.
And mine is one of the good ones from what I've read.
 

Kevin8086

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I have one inch play in either direction on the steering with engine off. No other vehicle is like that. Seen lots of complaints and how-to-fix videos on JK/TJ with same issue so it's not normal.
And mine is one of the good ones from what I've read.
I have same play with it off. I have the 2 door code in my 4 door. Just feels like a truck with Big Tires. Seems fairly normal
 
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jeremyjeep

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I think the preload on the steering box needs to be adjusted. Deflate your tires to the proper psi since jeep fills them to 44 and have a proper alignment done. Maybe add a tiny bit of toe in.
Mine has been to 2 dealerships, they both checked alignment, toe-in, tires are at 37 per the door jam, they adjusted the steering box, one of the dealers replaced the steering box, checked torque on the appropriate areas, etc. etc. etc. Same steering problems - drifting all over the place, constantly having to turn the steering wheel drastically to keep in lane - feels like driving in a major wind storm, can end up in another lane easily. The problem in my case, and several have indicated, it happens only when it is hot outside high 80s, especially noticeable in the low and mid 90s. Drives fine when the temp is mid 70s or lower. The severity is matched to the higher temperature. In other words, 95+ really bad, 83-87 bad, but not as bad as 90+, 78 - drives better, 70, drives almost perfect. So those who aren't in high temp areas may not see this particular version of the steering problems. FCA has confirmed the temperature related steering issues to the dealership. Here is a summary of what others have said who had the temperature related steering problem (source: The other steering threads):

1. As soon as it warms up to 75F and higher outside temperature I must use two hands and pray that it stays between the lanes. Drifting and darting like I'm driving my all-wheel steering John Deer tractor. Everything feels loose and sloppy. Build date June 2018

2. I live in Florida, its been 95 during the day. Its a nice night and 75, i drove the Jeep and it steered decent. What can heat effect?

3. I drove 145 miles from the Washington coast to Tacoma this morning with 63F outside and its like driving a different vehicle.

4. Lower temperatures hardly any steering wheel play and can drive with one hand or finger at 60mph+ speeds. Higher, especially 90 degree+ weather it wanders, drifts and has slack or play in the steering wheel. Darts unexpectedly.

5. Warmer temperatures, sloppy with lots of steering play. Cooler temperature feels tighter with less steering play.

6. Not sure who lives where and what the average outside temperature is but I live in the Pacific Northwest. We've had unusually hot weather here since June of this year. The Wrangler was purchased in July and here is where it's interesting. The morning temperature is 55-60 on average. No steering issues.

7. When it seems to be cold out....some of the dead spot seems to be gone and there is also some resistance on turning the steering wheel through the dead spot. I wouldn’t say the steering is tight compared to any car I’ve ever driven...its still more loose than any car but it is noticeably tighter when its cold out with less of a dead spot.

The comments above were posted by different people at https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/fo...ering-feels-like-it-has-play-and-drifts.3691/ and https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/fo...e-problem-with-jl-wrangler-please-watch.6723/. There are several other temperature related comments in these threads as well.

Search using Google for steering ambient temperature, several results show how the steering systems change the voltage to the steering system based on ambient temperature to protect it from burning out. If the sensor is malfunctioning (failures don't trigger a failure code 100% of the time) or if the ambient temperature threshold is off, it can cause steering issues when the weather is hot. I'm not saying that is the case here, but that is yet another possibility based on research. Other brands have had ambient temperature affect steering as well, so it isn't unheard of.
 
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Kevin8086

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Wow. Really seems they should have just left it all hydraulic and left out the electric assist. This seems like it’ll be a long while before they will get it right.
 

WXman

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This thread proves why it's so difficult to get a solution to this problem. Everybody and their mother thinks it's something different that "fixes" it.

As a result, there is a rumor that FCA has been changing the specs on the steering boxes at the factory to try and cure it, when in fact the steering boxes were never the problem to begin with.

Tires also have nothing to do with it. All of the 5 brands/types of tires used on JL exhibit the same issue, and at any tire pressure. This, too, has been documented.

The steering stabilizer has zero effect on this, as all it does is dampen the shock loads to the steering. It has nothing to do with directing the vehicle down the roadway.

As was discussed starting in June, many JLs were leaving the factory with improper calibrations for the electronic steering controls. If FCA had left everything else alone, and simply had updated the PCM, they would have solved the problem. Instead, now we've got people screwing with their steering box settings, etc. and it's turned a simple problem into a rat nest.
 
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jeremyjeep

jeremyjeep

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This thread proves why it's so difficult to get a solution to this problem. Everybody and their mother thinks it's something different that "fixes" it.

As a result, there is a rumor that FCA has been changing the specs on the steering boxes at the factory to try and cure it, when in fact the steering boxes were never the problem to begin with.

Tires also have nothing to do with it. All of the 5 brands/types of tires used on JL exhibit the same issue, and at any tire pressure. This, too, has been documented.

The steering stabilizer has zero effect on this, as all it does is dampen the shock loads to the steering. It has nothing to do with directing the vehicle down the roadway.

As was discussed starting in June, many JLs were leaving the factory with improper calibrations for the electronic steering controls. If FCA had left everything else alone, and simply had updated the PCM, they would have solved the problem. Instead, now we've got people screwing with their steering box settings, etc. and it's turned a simple problem into a rat nest.
Agreed on the tires. The dealership did try to fix it with the updated PCM first, no change. They then tried to adjust the steering box, didn't fix it. Then they replaced the steering box with factory settings / no steering box adjustment AND cleared the PCM / flashed brand new verifying it was the correct one for the 4 door, not the 2 door. Steering problems still there. Summary: New steering box, proper calibration, same steering issues. Yes, they checked the ball joint nuts, control arm torque reset to proper specs, toe-in checked, tires rotated, alignment checked twice, changed the steering fluid when they replaced the steering box, no bends in any of the steering related metal. Problem goes away when the temperature is 75ish or below, problem is very noticeable in the upper 80s, white knuckle driving with two hands in the mid 90s.

It feels like you are in a very bad wind storm and you have to constantly move the steering wheel to keep it in lane. Sometimes slow drift - both left and right equally, some times jerking, just like when the wind changes speed in a storm. Happens at low and fast speeds, any road condition - flat, slightly curved, freshly paved roads, etc. People in other lanes sometimes honk because they think you are about to cross over into their lane. Someone in one of the threads with the same steering symptoms reported they were pulled over by the police because they thought they were driving drunk. Others are having the same symptoms in any outdoor temperature.

Since it isn't the PCM, at least with the newest update, what do you think it could be based on the info above? The dealership drove it and confirmed the symptoms above, had multiple people drive it as well.
 
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viper88

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I'm starting to think it's the crappy stock tires, tbh. I'm hopeful new tires will fix it. My wife's Ford Explorer has a little play too, but it holds track a bit better.
It's very possible. tires are part of the problem. I wonder how many pulling JLs have the same KO2 tires or if it's a combination of different tires? Some tires can be very difficult to balance. Unbalanced tires can cause pulling. I wonder if balancing the tires with a premium balancing machine would help? The Hunter RoadForce Elite is the machine to use.

Here is a link about pulling and tires.

https://www.hunter.com/wheel-balancers/road-force-elite#super-desc-drop-5
 
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Jlrut

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I don't know what the problem is. Mu guess is the steering box. I've had mine in, replaced the steering box and the problem is still there. Not sure about the heat because it's only been 80 - 95 degrees when I've been out. My latest with the dealer is to bring it in to check the tow, etc. and FCA is working on a fix. I'll bring it to the again (4th trip) but I don't expect this will produce the desired result. Here's why:

In the inch or more that we're talking about of free play, the steering is simply not engaging. Period. there is a gap where it's neither turning left nor right. sort of like that old bicycle with the loose steering. Until they get that figured out, no amount of tow or alignment will fix anything. FCA is simply trying to band aid this. Just my opinion. I hope someone comes up with a full solution. I'll be a buyer.

I just sent an e mail to my JeepCares rep asking if she was still going to call me...as she said she would on Monday.
 

jmcdtucson

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The darting issue shouldn't be the steering box. I can let go of the wheel at 70 mph and it goes straight. Wheel has a bit of play, but it seems like the wandering/darting issue is something different.
Very hard to troubleshoot if it's multiple things.
 

larrynjean

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My JL 2 door drives like I'm a drunk below 50 MPH...At 60 and above it goes straight down the road???
I'm old enough to remember driving vehicles with king pin suspension....And if you ever drove a vehicle with a rusted/corroded tight king pin it drive just like my JL.

Also in 2013 BRP had steering issues with their Can-Am Spyders...The problem was the ball joints were to tight in the sockets...The fix was replace all 4 ball joints...

I'm just putting this out there for a different view point to be looked at...

I'm sure, in time, FCA will get a handle on this problem and get a fix for it...The market will force this to happen...The government involvement will take longer...

larryd
 
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