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What actually _is_ normal steering?

nostatic

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FWIW I have found there is something to the “getting used to it.” When I drove the JL home from the dealer (about 90 miles, mostly freeway), I felt like it was moving quite a bit. The next day the wife and I drove down to retrieve my (now her) GTI she drove the Jeep back home. I asked her she liked it and she said it felt exactly like her old Taco TRD - which she liked a lot until she went electric about 6 years ago.

now about 3k miles into the JL, I have no issues and use a lot less steering input. The short wheelbase and high CG make for a different feel than the VW. That isn’t to say the OP doesn’t have an issue, but it certainly is a different feel than a tight handling passenger car.



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4xFUN

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My 2020 Rubi 2-door rode, drove and handled great during the short time I was on the OEM 33" BFG KO2's (just one day) and rode, drove and handled the same after installing 35" KO2's on on stock Rubi wheels the second day after delivery.
I did a mild (2 inch lift) but very methodical build using a variety of aftermarket suspension and steering components, lots of trial and error, in order to try and maintain my original OEM ride and handling characteristics...Very happy with results!
Now, does it ride and handle the same as my 145" wheelbase 2019 Ram Longhorn 4x4? Of course not, nor do I expect it. However, 85mph on the highway is still a one handed affair with no abnormal corrections needed.

For those who are truly experiencing legitimate handling problems and not having success getting them resolved through your dealer, I would first suggest getting in contact with the regional manufactures rep and seeing if they could recommend a dealer with a top-rated service department. Should this fail, I would try contacting some of the top-tier aftermarket suspension / steering vendors (Teraflex, Steer Smarts, Metalcloak, etc.) and ask them which of their local dealers they would recommend for service...Ideally with in-house alignment services.
 

aldo98229

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Joe98

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I learnt to drive on cars manufactured about 1968 or so, that is 10yo cars. The steering on all cars at the time were loose. With some cars you needed to begin the turn about a mile before the corner.

As we moved into the 2000's I noticed the steering has been getting sharper and sharper. My wife has a recent model Mini Cooper. If you move the steering wheel even a tiny bit the car goes there. Its great!

My Jeep's steering has a small dead spot in the centre. I just need to turn it a bit more than the Mini to face the right direction.

The dead spot, in a car park seems to provide me with a fabulous turning circle! An unexpected benefit! Driving off road, the steering is fabulous! We all know it was designed for off road so there you go.
 

rubileon

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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.
Doesn't that answer your question about what's normal?
 
OP
JavaRunner

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Doesn't that answer your question about what's normal?
Maybe, but the brain is a powerful thing. And maybe if the tires were not at 50+ when I picked up the Jeep, I would have never questioned it. Cause it drove like shit at that tire pressure, but now the doubt is cemented in my head!
 

rubileon

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Maybe, but the brain is a powerful thing. And maybe if the tires were not at 50+ when I picked up the Jeep, I would have never questioned it. Cause it drove like shit at that tire pressure, but now the doubt is cemented in my head!
One thing I have noticed is those who mention wanderings issues aren't those coming from a JL or even a JK. Solid axles are an attack on all sense when going over bumps. You couldn't call it a Jeep if it didn't have them though.

Have you tried loading it up with some weights in the back to see how it handles?
 
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JavaRunner

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Have you tried loading it up with some weights in the back to see how it handles?
For, um, research purposes, how many cases of beer should I try? “But honey, the internet said I had to put 15 cases of beer in the back to see if it helps the steering”
 

Kluk Ztopolovky

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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
If there is one huge factor that has an effect on the steering it would be tire pressure . I ended up going down to about 32 psi in the front and 35 in the rear and I can't say I have any issues with wondering wheels.
 

jdubya421

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My 2020 rubicon drives like crap too... I’ve improved it with adding a bunch of castor via adjustable lower control arms... it has helped. Next I’ve adjusted the steering box .. that too has helped a bit... next is the synergy bracket and also heavier track bar.
That Synergy bracket is a big pain in the ass to install for absolutely no benefit.
 

DwnSth

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One thing I have noticed is those who mention wanderings issues aren't those coming from a JL or even a JK. Solid axles are an attack on all sense when going over bumps. You couldn't call it a Jeep if it didn't have them though.

Have you tried loading it up with some weights in the back to see how it handles?
I'm coming from a TJ, ZJ as well as having driven/rented multiple JL's. The wondering is not something I've ever experienced on a solid axle vehicle. My TJ with a huge lift is not the greatest on road, but it doesn't wonder like the JL's I've driven. I have a JLURD on order, however I won't accept delivery if it wonders like I've experienced.
 

Fusilli Jerry

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And you've got the 4dr, 2dr kicks that up a notch or two :(
But you won't fall asleep at the wheel that's for sure!
DEFINITELY. I was getting heart palpitations that day. Getting blown 4-6 feet into the opposite lane, then having to hard correct back to the right and hoping I didn't go off the road into a ditch.
 

BamaJeep

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For, um, research purposes, how many cases of beer should I try? “But honey, the internet said I had to put 15 cases of beer in the back to see if it helps the steering”
To truly dial it in, you will need a step-down weighted scientific process to study all the levers at play here. Start with the back filled to the brim with cases. Slowly "take away" cases over time. Best to have a driver who is outside of the experiment help with moving the vehicle so you can "make proper notes". Pro-tip: switch to voice memos after about halfway done. Notes will become illegible.
 

Foggy47

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I have a '20 JLUR and got it in December. I felt a bit more of a need to correct a slight darty feel at freeway speeds and need to focus on my driving in multiple lane driving at freeway speeds in Phoenix. Reducing the air pressure helped a lot. Now I am running 35" Ridge Grapler tires and am relatively satisfied with the ride. Still.....I need to correct the Jeep a bit more than I would like. It's not "effortless" driving as in a sedan or as in my "old" Grand Cherokee. Some of this may be doubts in my mind from reading too many forums?? I'm satisfied......but always reading.

I plan to get another Jeep owner that has driven a wrangler for some time to drive mine and compare the handling to his, etc. if I KNEW I could improve my freeway handling a bit.....I'd likely add the components to do so. I drive it for recreation only.....so it's fine for my purposes.
 
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Aceman

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Start documenting all correspondences and repair orders just in case it's not you that is the problem but the actual jeep. Many mods and buybacks being made for faulty steering boxes.
 

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