View Full Version : Steering Issue - 74 CJ5

07-01-2016, 03:26 PM
I recently broke a U Joint on the driver's side axle, Dana 30 with LockRite locker, 373's and everything else pretty much stock. So I ended up replacing the front axles with G-2's and in the process found the front wheel bearings to be toast and replaced those too. I finally got it back together and took it for a spin and it wondered, severely, from side to side. It drove straight and true until I replaced everything! I took it in and had an alignment done, the tow-in had to be corrected but everything else was good. The wondering persisted so a friend said to check the caster - it already had shims that are about 1/4" thick at the thickest part. I took it all apart and moved the shims back so they are straight with the perches and the caster is slightly toward the rear. The wheels feel tight and I think all the bearings and such are snug and done right. I adjusted the steering box (power steering) and all that did was make the steering tighter but did not stop the wondering from side to side.

I am at a loss! Anyone have any idea what might cause the wondering? Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas would be appreciated! Thanks in advance, Bob

07-01-2016, 03:36 PM
Did the front tires get switched around by accident kinda sounds like radial ware

Sent from my iPhone

07-01-2016, 03:48 PM
Nope, did one side at a time and placed the wheels under the frame on the appropriate side. The tires are MTR 33X12.50X15 with only 4K miles on them.

07-01-2016, 04:42 PM
What tire pressure are you running? ? ?
If to high you will be all over the road.
You have tightened everything up so it will drive different.

07-01-2016, 06:03 PM
I was at 21 lbs. when I started, raised that to 24 lbs. which is what I normally run on the highway. I kind of expected a change in the handling, a positive change:dizzy2: but this is down right dangerous. :( My thought process leads me to it has to be something that I did while replacing the axles or bearings......but that is as far as it goes. As it wonders back and forth down the road, it feels like something is lose somewhere but all the ball joints feel tight? Clueless? :banghead:

07-01-2016, 06:17 PM
I was at 21 lbs. when I started, raised that to 24 lbs. which is what I normally run on the highway. I kind of expected a change in the handling, a positive change:dizzy2: but this is down right dangerous. :( My thought process leads me to it has to be something that I did while replacing the axles or bearings......but that is as far as it goes. As it wonders back and forth down the road, it feels like something is lose somewhere but all the ball joints feel tight? Clueless? :banghead:

07-01-2016, 06:24 PM
I think that you are low on the air pressure. Just for grins, bring your air pressure up to 29/30 lbs.
Thatís where I used to run mine. You can always lower it..

07-01-2016, 06:30 PM
I guess it wouldn't hurt? Before I changed out the axle and bearings, ran at 24 with no issues, so it never crossed my mind to go that high. Heading out for the night, but I will give it a try as soon as I can. Thanks Rhino! :)

07-01-2016, 09:00 PM
IF you have TRULY changed nothing else, it sounds almost as if you may have worn/loose spring shackle bushings, or possibly worn/loose axle ball joints.

I'd bet even money that an increase to the tire pressure will have zero effect...

07-01-2016, 09:23 PM
Got brand new shackle bushings and bolts (greaseable) - when you say axle ball joints, are you talking about the ones on the knuckles?

07-02-2016, 08:46 AM
lift the front off the ground, have someone turn the wheel left and righ while you watch the steering parts, see if anything moving that shouldn't be.

Also, don't waste your money on an alignment shop, easy DIY IME!

07-02-2016, 09:52 AM
have the tires balanced. I have this issue from time to time. tires go out of balance when wheeling. air up to 25psi it wanders. at 15psi just fine. air down to 15 and drive it.

07-02-2016, 11:51 AM
Well, I lowered the air pressure to 15 in just the front tires and drove it, felt better but still wandered but not as severely. So, then I lowered the air pressure in the rear tires too and that made it worse. :( I know the linkage going into the steering box is a little sloppy, but it was that way before I did the work on axles and bearings - but, going to jack it up now and test the other components again.......

Thanks to everyone that has contributed and of course if anything else comes to mind, please feel free to let me know!

07-02-2016, 02:19 PM
Raising air pressure will make tires harder / more prone to follow / react to road irregulariti?es. While Lowering pressure reduces "bounce" ( think of putting pressure in basketball / vollyball), it exponentially increases heat / internal wear ( bend wire back and forth, it heats/up, fatigues and breaks). Excess heat from low pressure also will cause tread separation ( internal).

It is very easy to over tighten steering box... like ring / pinion, backlash is required.

"Caster shims"? Never put shims on front springs ( in attempt to point pinion up)- it destroys caster leverge, will trigger all kinds of bad things, death wobble.

07-02-2016, 02:26 PM
"Straightening" springs / sjackles- lift vehicle , support on stands to frame so axle hangs free remove tires)
Loosten u bolts
Use bfh to mske springs hang straight
Re- tghten ubolts ( nylock nuts / lock tight), do not over tighten

Shackle inversion ( putting to rear of springs) does wonders for driveability...

07-02-2016, 04:52 PM
The caster shims were actually used to increase the caster, by pointing the pinion down a few degrees. Roger on the tire pressure and and steering box! Thanks for the tips.

07-02-2016, 04:55 PM
I did the spring hanging exercise yesterday, but did not take the tires off, so am in the process of doing that again - having a devil of a time getting the shocks off as I figure that will help get the springs straight - having the tires off will make it easier to straighten the springs too! :)
Thanks, Bob

07-02-2016, 05:57 PM
OK - one quick question, in the process of changing the axles and bearings, is there anything that I could have done wrong between the hubs (including in the hubs) that would cause the "wandering" problem?

07-02-2016, 06:26 PM
Bearings seated properly? Wheel mate surface clean? What suspension?

07-02-2016, 06:42 PM
New bearings and seats (I think I did it right), Not sure what you mean by "Wheel mate surface", but I think I thoroughly cleaned everything in the hub assembly, and I am running ProComp springs and some aftermarket shackles with a 1" body lift. About 4" total lift.

07-02-2016, 07:06 PM
Hackles are new add?

07-02-2016, 07:16 PM
Assuming longer

07-02-2016, 08:06 PM
Yes, longer than stock - but total lift is about 4". They are the same shackles that I was using before breaking the U joint and replacing the axles and bearing, back when it drove pretty good! :|

07-03-2016, 07:15 AM
Assume you have lifted wheels, tested for play,( bearings not too loose), tested spin free (not too tight)

07-03-2016, 08:37 AM
Yes, spin free, no play - which brings up another question: You know the "locking" washer inside the hub that locks the outside bearing nut in place? What is a good way to bend that up - I was using a large blade screw driver but I am afraid I will bread the hub housing, how do you secure that locking washer?

07-03-2016, 09:39 AM
Just pry on it with a flat edge screw driver. The washer is thinner and weaker than the hub housing. Shouldn't be a problem.

07-03-2016, 10:09 AM
OK, thanks :)

07-03-2016, 11:15 AM
With the vehicle on the ground and not running, have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you look at the steering components. There should no play in any of them. Look at the pitman arm on the sector shaft of the steering gear box. Have the person working the wheel do long strokes, then short strokes. There should be no play at that pitman arm. You'll probably see the arm rotating and/or twisting at that point. I'm assuming you have a dropped pitman arm.

07-05-2016, 12:10 PM
A quick update: We think we have isolated the wandering problem either to a bad ball joint or a tight U joint, so I am in the process of pulling the axles again and will replace all the ball joints and all the tie rod ends. But, my wrenching time is a little limited so this might take a few days - also will need to find some of the parts. I have the new ball joints and the tie rod end for the pitman arm.......hopefully I can find the other two tie rod ends here locally or it will mean another trip to Reno at best! (the joys of living in a small town! :) )

Again, thanks to all for your comments and suggestions. I think if this fails I will up the insurance and then drive it back to Phoenix and park it in south Phoenix with the keys in it! (just kidding and no disrespect to any part of Phoenix - love you guys! :) )

NV Bob

07-14-2016, 02:08 PM
Update: OK, I have finished this project - new wheel bearings, new seals, new ball joints, new tie rod ends, new spindle bearings and seals, and increased the caster shim to 6 degrees from 4 degrees. Got the toe-in set this morning. It steers much better but feels a little tight. My sources tell me that the new ball joints take a little breaking in and it should be good to go after that. At least now the wondering is minimal (probably like most old CJ's) and not near as violent or dangerous.
Thanks to all of you who offered your suggestions and comments. Hopefully I will be able to repay the favor!
Time to go fishing............ :)
NV Bob

07-14-2016, 05:32 PM
Good to hear NV Bob... BTW, you have an invaluable Jeep knowledge and experience resource nearby you, in Yerrington. Name? Mosel Ludel, author of the "Jeep Bible", he has a shop in Yerrington, and is one who happens to know his stuff. Highly recommend consulting with him on future issues... ;)

07-15-2016, 09:56 AM
Thanks for the tip on Ludel, I will certainly keep him in mind. This past winter I completely rewired the CJ (Painless) and I thought that would be a challenge, which it was as I've never done anything like that, but this issue has really been a challenge!

07-25-2016, 10:06 AM
Update: I have been driving it around, some VERY light 4 wheeling, and it feels like it is getting better and better. I think that the new ball joints are "breaking in" and allowing it to come back to center. So, as long as nothing falls off.......... I think it is about as good as I am going to get it! Thanks again for all you help!

07-25-2016, 09:56 PM
Cool Beans... ;)