Steering Wander

#1
Hi Everyone, Here are some pictures of our Scrambler.
I just finished a powerbooster install trying to get this Jeep civilized for the wife to drive.
The Jeep is super clean and as it sits it has 31 inch tires, a 2'' body lift and it appears the springs in front have a shim.

I am trying to improve on the steering as there is almost a 1/4 turn of the wheel before the tires respond. It makes for a floaty feel, wife is afraid to drive it.
I recently installed a power brake booster, had the tranny rebuilt and I am at the point of not wanting to go further if I made the mistake of buying the wrong Jeep.
We had a YJ back in the day and it handled like a sports car compared to the CJ.

I was eventually looking at YJ springs to soften up the ride but at this point need to investigate the steering response... Any ideas what to look at or see anything in this set up that would cause loose steering?
Thanks in advance!
IMG_5168.JPG IMG_5171.JPG IMG_5166.JPG
 

barrys

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
#2
Steering shaft joints could be worn out. Tierod end could be worn. Check to see if the steering box is mounted rigidly to the frame. Mounts have been known to crack. Not sure why the shims were added. Usually shims are used when a Jeep gets lifted
 

jammer1

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
#3
Pop the hood and have wife turn the steering wheel back and forth (with out running and only in the free play part of the turn). You look at steering shaft where it connects to the steering gear. How much movement in the steering shaft without it turning the steering gear (input shaft). That will tell you how much play is in the steering shaft and the steering column. If a lot have her hold the steering wheel in the center of the play. You try turning the steering shaft (steering gear and steering column not moving). That will tell you how much slop is in the steering shaft. If in the steering shaft, time for a new steering shaft. If there was little movement in the steering wheel (free play) with engine off but the movement is with the engine running have the wife (with engine on) turn the wheel left and right. You look down from the open hood and see how much movement the steering shaft has before the pitman arm (out put shaft of steering gear) moves. If you see the steering shaft turn and it take a 1/4 turn before the pitman arm moves there's your slop. Some of the guys may be able to help you tighten, usually it's wear in the gear and time for a new gear. It can also be some play in the tie rods and ball joints but start at the most likely ones first. Don't be surprised if it's a combination of all above.
 

don87401

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
#6
Mine wandered around for a while, it was the steering box itself, just worn out. replace the box with one from the auto part store.

The shim is a question if it is not lifted by springs it should not need a shim, the wander could be added to by the shim but be caused by something else worn out.
 
#7
Pop the hood and have wife turn the steering wheel back and forth (with out running and only in the free play part of the turn). You look at steering shaft where it connects to the steering gear. How much movement in the steering shaft without it turning the steering gear (input shaft). That will tell you how much play is in the steering shaft and the steering column. If a lot have her hold the steering wheel in the center of the play. You try turning the steering shaft (steering gear and steering column not moving). That will tell you how much slop is in the steering shaft. If in the steering shaft, time for a new steering shaft. If there was little movement in the steering wheel (free play) with engine off but the movement is with the engine running have the wife (with engine on) turn the wheel left and right. You look down from the open hood and see how much movement the steering shaft has before the pitman arm (out put shaft of steering gear) moves. If you see the steering shaft turn and it take a 1/4 turn before the pitman arm moves there's your slop. Some of the guys may be able to help you tighten, usually it's wear in the gear and time for a new gear. It can also be some play in the tie rods and ball joints but start at the most likely ones first. Don't be surprised if it's a combination of all above.
Steering looks tight from the box up to the steering wheel. Going to brink it over to a mechanic and have him evaluate the basics... he is willing to do it for free. He knows I have a small collection of old vehicles that eventually he will get paid to work on one, lol.
 

Kane

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
#8
If the preload was messed with on the steering gear box it could introduce wander. The is the bolt on the top with the jam nut holding it in position. You need to turn the allen screw clockwise about an 1/8 turn at a time. Tighten the lock nut and check the steering. If it is loose then do it again. It should tighten up unless the actual gears are trashed.
 

DirtyB

Crazy Cajun
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
#9
That is a shim that someone added to increase the caster on your front steering. Do what Jammer1 says.
 
#10
So thanks for all the replies. After a local Jeep guy pointed out that the shackle bushings are showing some play I also found the obviously loose steering box to frame bolts that I must have been blind to miss. We tightened those up and it’s better already. Now I got plans for replacement of springs when I do the bushings... leaning towards a lift w 33’s...
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
#12
I didn’t see where anyone said to just start the Jeep with a helper behind the wheel, keep brake on and just easily turn the wheel left and right to watch what moves around relative to one another. Jammer’s list is great as a start for steering shaft/box input but turning while running shows box brace, drag link ends, toe rod ends, spring bushings, etc.

dont have to actually move the wheels, just put a little stress on the steering one way while watching, go the other way and repeat until you find everything that’s worn/loose/broken.
 
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