Advertisement

What actually _is_ normal steering?

JavaRunner

Member
First Name
Mark
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
11
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Sahara
Hi All,

Yes, groan, another steering question, and for my first post too.... suppose i should go post on the Welcome thread first.

Anyway, it was my wife's dream from when she first learned to drive to own a Jeep, and now finally some 30 years later we've got the opportunity! Picked up a 20 Sahara Altitude a little over a week ago, Sting Grey with Sky Touch. It is a thing of beauty. Found it on a dealer lot about 2 hours away, it had just came off the truck, build date of 7/20, had 5 miles on it!

We take it for a quick test drive, all seems well, we sign the papers and we are off, heading back home. I'm in my Ram 1500, she's following in the Jeep. After stopping for dinner, she says that the drive was frankly terrifying. She felt like she was all over the road and had no control. We were driving back from Baltimore area, through lots of road construction and traffic. It was an unfamiliar area, with an unfamiliar car, so we chalked it up to that.

I drove the remainder of the way home and it really wasn't a fun experience. I don't think it was terrifying, but really wasn't all that enjoyable.

I checked the tire pressures when we got home and realized that yes, as a lot of others reported, they were way too high. Over 50, actually. Lowered to 38, per door panel, and eventually down to about 35.

The Jeep drives better now, but it still wants to wander, and the question is how much is normal for a solid axle, and how much would be considered a defect. My wife indicates that the way home from work is far worse than the way to work. Its been super hot here in the Philly area lately, in case that has anything to do with it.

But now I find myself obsessed with the steering, ready to swap out the track bar, install some magic stabilizing brace cause i saw a few youtube guys promote it (further reading on that Synergy brace makes me realize i do not want to go down that route) and do whatever else i need to make it acceptable to drive, when it occurs to me that I shouldn't have to do that for a brand new 50k vehicle.

So, what should normal steering on the JL feel like? I loathe taking a car to the dealer for them to tell me nothing is wrong, so if there is something wrong, how can i defend/prove my position? Never had a solid front axle before, and I currently drive a 2016 Ram. The Ram ride/steering is light-years better/different than the Jeep.

(sorry, long winded)

IMG_1455 2.jpg



Advertisement



 

TEXGOAT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
1,598
Reaction score
1,234
Location
Texas
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU
A Jeep Wrangler JLU that is working correctly requires no special skills or training to drive on ordinary streets and highways under any ordinary, legal circumstances. Anyone with ordinary driving skills and average physical fitness ought to be able to drive one without any concern except perhaps visibility, although that's as good or better than most of todays's beetlecar crossovers. As for the solid axle, it's not an issue 95% of the time, if ever. I currently drive a small fleet of 5 assorted vehicles, from a few months old to 48 years old, and I have owned literally a couple of hundred diverse vehicles in every condition from junkyard buys to brand new, with about every kind of suspension used in the last 90 years, and my JLU rides, tracks and handles well above the average. I am currently running 2 solid axle 4X4s, 2 IFS 4X4s, an HD 2WD pickup (IFS GMC) and an ancient Twin I-beam Ford F250 along with a 1/2 ton long wheelbase 4X4 chevrolet pickup with rack and pinion steering. The Jeep is the most fun to drive of any of them, and the ride and handling and tracking is as good or better than any of them. It is NOT normal for a JLU to shimmy, shake, roadwalk or vibrate excessively.
 
Last edited:

oceanblue2019

Well-Known Member
First Name
John
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
1,564
Reaction score
1,969
Location
Maryland
Vehicle(s)
2019 JLUR 2.0L Auto
What was the wife driving previously?

My wife has been driving my JLUR lately as her SUV is in getting hail damage sorted. She says the Jeep drives like shit as the steering is darty. I have all the Synergy stuff, lift kit, yada, yada. Only thing left is a new PSC steering kit.

But I don't mind the Jeep and drive it long distances without fatigue doing so.

So a lot of "what is normal" depends on what you've been driving for the past 6+ months regularly that has conditioned you to how something should drive.

A solid axle vehicles will steer different. It is the nature of the way the steering works versus a modern rack and pinion setup. Does that make it bad? Nope - just different.

Some people have more trouble dealing with the "just different" part than others. A Jeep comes with some very real compromises that can make it not an ideal daily driver for many people -- but they end up still buying them because they think they are "cool" or whatever. Then they are not happy, come on here, bitch and moan about the steering or ride quality, and we are where we are.
 

Dkretden

Well-Known Member
First Name
David
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
1,498
Reaction score
1,521
Location
Denver, CO
Vehicle(s)
2020 JLUR 3.6L
OP:

mine drives perfect at freeway speeds. It’s no sedan but I do not need to constantly correct. A 16 hour drive from Texas to here was no issue. Does it handle like a race car through twisty, bumpy freeway construction zones? Hell no. Does it get blown all over the road with wind? Hell yes. But, what does all that mean To you and your question? It’s only words and doesn’t help you.

the best idea that I can offer is this: do you have a buddy or two that have a JL and if so, do they like the way it drives? If they do, see if you could drive one of theirs and they should drive yours. Then compare notes.

perhaps someone of this board in your area might be willing to do this for you as well.
 
OP
JavaRunner

JavaRunner

Member
First Name
Mark
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
11
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Sahara
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for the feedback. Neither of us were expecting it to drive like a sedan, its obviously not. My wife was driving a 2014 Subaru Forester XT (damn fast sleeper car, btw), so we know it wouldn't be the same. But I guess we didn't anticipate feeling like she was gonna get pulled over for being a drunk driver as she pinballs from one line to the other. Hoping it is just a matter of re-learning some muscle memory, and applying the correct amount of steering feedback.

It just felt different than the other JLs we test drove (both saharas, 1 4 cyl, 1 6 cyl, this one is a 6). But often times reading these forums tends to put problems in your head.
 

nerubi

Well-Known Member
First Name
Mike
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
Messages
3,591
Reaction score
4,094
Location
Nebraska
Vehicle(s)
2019 JLR, 2020 VW Tiguan
Occupation
Retired
Vehicle Showcase
1
Most drive fine with reasonable expectations like said before. And most drive fine without changing any steering or suspension components. I've seen videos people have taken of them driving saying that it is terrible and they barely make any corrections.
There is no single aftermarket "fix" because everyone disagrees what the problems are and there are no measured results just perceptions of what the "new" feel is.
 

entropy

Well-Known Member
First Name
Enrique
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
771
Reaction score
970
Location
Los Angeles
Vehicle(s)
Jeep Wrangler Sport JL 2-D
I have a 2019 sport S 2 door with a Rubicon suspension and mopar lift lower control arms. It does drive straight, it is not scary or difficult to drive on the freeway. I also have a 2020 Camry that I can compare the jeep with. The only major differences are obviously the center of gravity and quick turning.

Before the suspension install, when it was stock, steering was solid as well.

Steering Camry vs. Jeep, differences are not that noticeable. It is minor and you have to pay attention to notice them. Minor adjustments to the steering wheel cause steering reaction in my Jeep. I can drive the Wrangler with one hand, relaxed, at 70 mph. When it is really windy, then it can be tricky to drive the Jeep, but that's because of it being a brick and not steering.

What you experienced does not sound normal, and you might be in the group that got the unlucky bad steering.
 

Stormin’ Moorman

Well-Known Member
First Name
Michael
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
1,120
Reaction score
3,648
Location
Georgia
Vehicle(s)
2019 JLUR
Occupation
Forester
Vehicle Showcase
1
I ended up changing everything on my Jeep. Steering box, tie rod, drag link, track bar and steering shock. I even added the magic brace you spoke of (which is worthless). With everything but the pitman arm replaced, my Jeep drives pretty well. The biggest help was the Fox ATS adjustable shock, new steering box and the yeti track bar. Those made real differences in the driving, but I don’t think the steering box applies to your 20.

Good luck.
 

Dfideth

Member
First Name
Frank
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
Messages
14
Reaction score
12
Location
Southern California
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU Sahara 2.0L
My problem was/is tracking the vehicle in a straight line while traveling at 55 to 65 mph. It feels dead, where you have to bump steer to get it straight. Never had this problem in my 2 previous jk rubis. I bought the sahara for better road manners, did i f-up. it handles worse than the mud terrain tires did on the rubis.
More mad at myself, because if I realized it was going to handle like crap, I would have got another rubicon.
Oh, points like an arrow at 85 plus mph. to the limiter.
love that 2.0 turbo, best motor i ever had in the last 5 jeeps i've owned.
 
OP
JavaRunner

JavaRunner

Member
First Name
Mark
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
11
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Sahara
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Everything else about the car we absolutely love, so hoping we can either get used to this feel if it is right, or get it resolved. I can bring it into the dealer to look at it, but I am not expecting much. Anyone know a good FCA shop in the Philly Western Suburbs?
 

Sydwaiz

Well-Known Member
First Name
Mark
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
52
Reaction score
47
Location
Torrance, CA
Vehicle(s)
73 CJ-5 soon to be JLURD
Are the roads grooved in your area? Some tires love to follow the grooves and will literally drive themselves. My daily driver is a Volvo wagon and even in that car on some freeways with grooved concrete, the car will follow and wiggle and shimmy back and forth. It might be the tires. But first you should have the dealer check the alignment and give you a printout.
 

blnewt

Well-Known Member
First Name
Brad
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
2,302
Reaction score
2,071
Location
New Mexico
Vehicle(s)
2019 Jeep JL Sport S, 03 Toyota 4Runner, Infiniti G37, Toyota T100 (Retired 74 CJ-5, 80 CJ-7)
I have a 2019 sport S 2 door with a Rubicon suspension and mopar lift lower control arms. It does drive straight, it is not scary or difficult to drive on the freeway. I also have a 2020 Camry that I can compare the jeep with. The only major differences are obviously the center of gravity and quick turning.

Before the suspension install, when it was stock, steering was solid as well.

Steering Camry vs. Jeep, differences are not that noticeable. It is minor and you have to pay attention to notice them. Minor adjustments to the steering wheel cause steering reaction in my Jeep. I can drive the Wrangler with one hand, relaxed, at 70 mph. When it is really windy, then it can be tricky to drive the Jeep, but that's because of it being a brick and not steering.

What you experienced does not sound normal, and you might be in the group that got the unlucky bad steering.
This is exactly my situation too, with the exact same parts swapped. And my wife who has driven quite a few vehicles but never a solid axle 4x4 hasn't had an issue w/ the steering either (although I do all the interstate driving).
 

TEXGOAT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
1,598
Reaction score
1,234
Location
Texas
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU
What was the wife driving previously?

My wife has been driving my JLUR lately as her SUV is in getting hail damage sorted. She says the Jeep drives like shit as the steering is darty. I have all the Synergy stuff, lift kit, yada, yada. Only thing left is a new PSC steering kit.

But I don't mind the Jeep and drive it long distances without fatigue doing so.

So a lot of "what is normal" depends on what you've been driving for the past 6+ months regularly that has conditioned you to how something should drive.

A solid axle vehicles will steer different. It is the nature of the way the steering works versus a modern rack and pinion setup. Does that make it bad? Nope - just different.

Some people have more trouble dealing with the "just different" part than others. A Jeep comes with some very real compromises that can make it not an ideal daily driver for many people -- but they end up still buying them because they think they are "cool" or whatever. Then they are not happy, come on here, bitch and moan about the steering or ride quality, and we are where we are.
Darty and wandery is not normal.
 

daveprice7

Well-Known Member
First Name
Dave
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
255
Reaction score
309
Location
Junction City, OR
Vehicle(s)
2019 JL Sport 2DR
Occupation
Nerd
I had a similar experience as you driving a few hours home from the dealer when I purchased mine a year ago. I think the majority of my steering issues come from a dead spot in the steering, which leads to overcompensating, which leads to driver-induced swerving. After a year of driving it, my muscle memory jerks the wheel to take up the "slack" before applying normal steering pressure. So, I don't really have any problems steering now.... Until I drive another vehicle and then I'm all over the road.

BTW, my wife won't drive my Jeep at all.. I'm still undecided if that's such a bad thing.
 

oceanblue2019

Well-Known Member
First Name
John
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
1,564
Reaction score
1,969
Location
Maryland
Vehicle(s)
2019 JLUR 2.0L Auto
Darty and wandery is not normal.
My point is to me it isn't - no issues driving it. Down the highway no issues with darty or wandering when I'm driving. So I chalk it up to it being different so therefore she doesn't like it.
 

Advertisement






Advertisement




Top