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View Full Version : Steering Confusion!


Niko1117
July 18th, 2017, 11:42
Im currently debating some steering upgrades. My vehicle :
2000 XJ Sport with RE 3.5 lift. RE adjustable track bar.
After installing the lift I can feel alot more play in the steering and plan to upgrade.
I have WJ knuckles with the spacers welded on already but was going to run those with ZJ v8 tie rods. I've read alot about using WJ tierods and there seems to be some confusion about needing an OTA track bar bracket. Is it necessary to run the TB OTA or only if the steering is OTK?
Has anyone ran WJ steering with the RE 3.5 lift and what setup did you use? I'm trying to do as little amount of fabrication as possible as my skills are lacking. I have a spare axle (HP 30) that I will be using. Any advice would be appreciated. I dont necessarily mind going UTK with steering if I can avoid an OTA TB (I'm not doing any serious offroading) Thanks! Oh and I tried searching but theres too many different forums that are unclear.

RCP Phx
July 18th, 2017, 11:57
I would look hard at the steering first! My 2k has been at 5" for 17yrs now with stock steering. I did upgrade to WJ knuckles for the brakes but I did not see any need for the steering. Which RE trackbar bar do you have?

old_man
July 18th, 2017, 11:59
If you didn't get your caster set correctly after your lift, you can experience problems. The vehicle will tend to not want to go in a straight line and it will feel like a steering problem. Before you spend $$$ on a steering upgrade, verify you have enough caster.

Caster and pinion angle are at opposition to each other. You have to find a happy medium between the two, or spend some real bucks and rotate your knuckles.

Niko1117
July 18th, 2017, 12:10
I would look hard at the steering first! My 2k has been at 5" for 17yrs now with stock steering. I did upgrade to WJ knuckles for the brakes but I did not see any need for the steering. Which RE trackbar bar do you have?

RE1600 with a ramcharger Moog tierod

Niko1117
July 18th, 2017, 12:12
If you didn't get your caster set correctly after your lift, you can experience problems. The vehicle will tend to not want to go in a straight line and it will feel like a steering problem. Before you spend $$$ on a steering upgrade, verify you have enough caster.

Caster and pinion angle are at opposition to each other. You have to find a happy medium between the two, or spend some real bucks and rotate your knuckles.

Think I'm going to get it professionally aligned today. I was trying to get by without an alignment until I was ready for the WJ brakes and axle swap.

RCP Phx
July 18th, 2017, 12:21
I would look at the hd trackbar/bracket and brace for a really firm feeling. Check your steering box spacer and the frame area also.

Niko1117
July 18th, 2017, 12:24
I would look at the hd trackbar/bracket and brace for a really firm feeling. Check your steering box spacer and the frame area also.

If it doesn't get better after alignment I will. I figured the RE1600 would be better than the factory. I picked it up for 50$ off of a facebook classified. Trying to get by as cbeap as safely possible.

burntkat
July 18th, 2017, 13:34
If you didn't get your caster set correctly after your lift, you can experience problems. The vehicle will tend to not want to go in a straight line and it will feel like a steering problem. Before you spend $$$ on a steering upgrade, verify you have enough caster.

Caster and pinion angle are at opposition to each other. You have to find a happy medium between the two, or spend some real bucks and rotate your knuckles.

This.

You can check caster easily by getting a cheap magnetic protractor from Harbor Freight (Lowes, et al) like this one:
http://tinyurl.com/ycjqfw6h (that's just a TinyURL to the Grainger part - the regular link was HUGE)

Find a reasonably level piece of concrete. Park on it. Put the level on the ground and take a reading. Zero out the pointer. Now put the magnetic part of the protractor under the flat part on the bottom balljoint. You should have in the neighborhood of 6 degrees positive, with the top balljoint being inclined toward the back of the car and the bottom ahead of it. This means your steering axis (caster angle) is set properly.

Great pic to show you a little bit about alignment. Pay particular attention to the far left image in this case:
http://www.ozzytyres.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/How-CasterAngle.gif

Using this method will not get you as precise a measurement as an alignment shop's laser table... but that's not needed. I align my vehicles in my driveway with a protractor, tape measure, and a few wrenches.

burntkat
July 18th, 2017, 13:36
Think I'm going to get it professionally aligned today. I was trying to get by without an alignment until I was ready for the WJ brakes and axle swap.

Be sure to pick a reputable shop *that specializes in 4WD alignments, particularly lifted vehicles*.

Just because some yabo owns a few tools and a third-hand laser setup doesn't mean the system is working properly, or he has any understanding of how to use it. This has been a HUGE problem in my area- I took my wife's ZJ to 4 different shops in the area trying to diagnose a tire wear issue before I gave up on them and started aligning my vehicles myself.

burntkat
July 18th, 2017, 13:37
I would look at the hd trackbar/bracket and brace for a really firm feeling. Check your steering box spacer and the frame area also.

Concur.

Also, check the factory steering box spacer. I bet it's broken!

Niko1117
July 18th, 2017, 16:48
Well, can't get it aligned until next week. I may try it myself my next day off.is this steering box spacer between the box and the frame rail? Also, Im still curious if I can run WJ steering with the track bar mounted in the factory location under the axle.

RCP Phx
July 18th, 2017, 17:38
Re-read post #6, stock trackbar location (other than the trackbar drop bracket) and steering.

Niko1117
July 18th, 2017, 19:32
Re-read post #6, stock trackbar location (other than the trackbar drop bracket) and steering.

Ok, thanks. I may wnd up going this route. You have good experience like this?

VAhasnoWAVES
July 18th, 2017, 20:08
there is some... meh... info in here.

the 1600 track bar from RE, while intended for single sheer, can be run in double sheer. replace the tie rod style rod end you have with a heim from ruff stuff or barnes, and buy the RE trackbar bracket. their bracket is conveniently 2" wide, the same as misalignment spacers, but you can make almost any double sheer bracket work.

concerning the steering... and whether you need to run the track bar up high or not, is a bit of an arbitrary question. there are a lot of variables. with the ZJ steering, regardless of which knuckle you use, you should be ok with the factory axle side track bar location, as the steering horns on both knuckles (the ones intended for the tie rod on the WJ knuckles) are roughly in the same location. if you intend to simple run ZJ steering, i would recommend against installing the WJ knuckles. and if you feel braking is lacking, invest in good pads (black magic) and rotors. when it comes to the WJ crossover steering, how high you need to move the track bar is dependent on your drag link, pitman arm, and the double sheer bracket you end up purchasing for the frame side of the track bar. to run the WJ steering with the track bar in the factory axle side location... you will have to run the drag link and tie rod under the knuckle, and either go to a very flat pitman arm or drop the frame side of the track bar way down. both present their own set of problems. there is a reason everyone moves their axle side trackbar mount.

as for the issue you are trying to fix. i agree, start with an alignment. if you simply installed the lift and didnt adjust anything... your castor and toe are guaranteed to be out of spec. start there. the wandering associated with bad castor and poor road manners associated with bad toe can feel a lot like sloppy steering. if you are comfortable playing with it in your driveway, there are writeups on how to do it.

RCP Phx
July 19th, 2017, 03:00
Ok, thanks. I may wnd up going this route. You have good experience like this?

Re-read post #2, all the original, no changes or replacement parts!

Evan03
July 20th, 2017, 06:26
You guys running wj knuckkes would be silly nit to upgrade to 1ton tre's and 1.5x.25 dom tubing.

Niko1117
July 23rd, 2017, 21:02
Went to Pepboys, purchased a lifetime alignment for 150 (with coupon). Turns out they couldn't adjust my tierod with it being rusted. Said they tried a torch to no avail. Lookslike I'm replacing the tierod system like it or not. Now trying to decide which tierod to use. Probably ZJ v8 or rough stuff.

burntkat
July 24th, 2017, 06:20
ZJ V8 is good. RoughStuff is far better.

I'm running their tierod and drag link kit on my SAS S10, Extremely happy with it. I will use them for all such solutions going forward.

Niko1117
July 24th, 2017, 20:40
For the sake of convenience, I ordered completely new steering as well as damper from Rock Auto for a V8 ZJ. Including the Drag Link. All Moog. Should be here this week. I ordered 2 adjusting sleeves but apparently I only need 1?

comanche91
July 24th, 2017, 20:52
You need two; on on the left tie rod end (toe-in), and one on the left drag link Pitman arm end (steering wheel centering).

VAhasnoWAVES
July 25th, 2017, 07:20
You need two; on on the left tie rod end (toe-in), and one on the left drag link Pitman arm end (steering wheel centering).
he should already have 1 on his current drag link.

used the two new ones. liberally apply anti seize. keep the old one as a trail spare.

old_man
July 25th, 2017, 08:09
Went to Pepboys, purchased a lifetime alignment for 150 (with coupon). Turns out they couldn't adjust my tierod with it being rusted. Said they tried a torch to no avail. Lookslike I'm replacing the tierod system like it or not. Now trying to decide which tierod to use. Probably ZJ v8 or rough stuff.
Not familiar with that tierod, but if it is hollow, drill a small hole in the top somewhere in the rod and put a couple of ounces of acetone AFT mix in it and run it a few days. It will loosen it up. when you get done, you can spot weld the hole shut or just put a some RTV over it.

As a note for others, always put an ounce or so of ATF in your tie rods before assembly and that way they won't rust solid.

VAhasnoWAVES
July 25th, 2017, 12:12
Not familiar with that tierod, but if it is hollow, drill a small hole in the top somewhere in the rod and put a couple of ounces of acetone AFT mix in it and run it a few days. It will loosen it up. when you get done, you can spot weld the hole shut or just put a some RTV over it.

As a note for others, always put an ounce or so of ATF in your tie rods before assembly and that way they won't rust solid.

i always just antisieze the piss out of the threads.

comanche91
July 25th, 2017, 12:25
i always just antisieze the piss out of the threads.

X2

Niko1117
July 26th, 2017, 17:29
Plan on using Antisieze as its more tacky, and I have had good luck with it. Anyhow I receiced me rock auto order and just primed everything for paint for rust prevention. I have a can of Magic Acrylic Enamel gloss I'll brush on everything. I just bought it to spruce up a rusty old Craigslist hitch I got for $20

burntkat
July 27th, 2017, 07:14
Plan on using Antisieze as its more tacky, and I have had good luck with it. Anyhow I receiced me rock auto order and just primed everything for paint for rust prevention. I have a can of Magic Acrylic Enamel gloss I'll brush on everything. I just bought it to spruce up a rusty old Craigslist hitch I got for $20

I'm not familiar with that paint. I usually use farm implement paint or Rustoleum hammered finish, depending on what's handy. Both work really well for me.

Niko1117
July 27th, 2017, 19:30
Its what the local mom and pops hardware store had when i went looking for implement paint

Niko1117
July 30th, 2017, 23:00
PB blaster didn't help get my tierod ends off the knuckles. Mixed up a batch of Acetone/ATF and they came off in minutes. Anyways I originally ordered a factory replacement stabilizer (moog ssd56) but decided I would upgrade to the ssd107 after reading some reviews. So waiting on another rock auto shipment. Rockauto has gotten my order here in two days the last two times I've ordered from them. They have a warehouse in Cleveland and I live in Youngstown. Wish I could just pickup my own orders.

volumeknob
August 3rd, 2017, 12:52
RuffStuff is doing 20% off for Dan's Birthday. I was going to run the ZJ setup but then I started looking at where my TRE's connect to the knuckle and my passenger side if loose lately (side to side), not up and down, so either the knuckle hole is wallowed out or the TRE is wore causing it to be loose like that. Seems like my only option is to ream them out for bigger TRE's at this point???

burntkat
August 4th, 2017, 07:17
RuffStuff is doing 20% off for Dan's Birthday. I was going to run the ZJ setup but then I started looking at where my TRE's connect to the knuckle and my passenger side if loose lately (side to side), not up and down, so either the knuckle hole is wallowed out or the TRE is wore causing it to be loose like that. Seems like my only option is to ream them out for bigger TRE's at this point???

No.

the only option is to pull the part off and find out what the issue is.

Most likely, the TRE is worn, not the knuckle. But you won't know till you get in there and see.

If the nut holding the TRE in place on the knuckle is tight, and doesn't move, I would say with 98% certainty the TRE bore in the knuckle is just fine.

volumeknob
August 4th, 2017, 07:38
No.

the only option is to pull the part off and find out what the issue is.

Most likely, the TRE is worn, not the knuckle. But you won't know till you get in there and see.

If the nut holding the TRE in place on the knuckle is tight, and doesn't move, I would say with 98% certainty the TRE bore in the knuckle is just fine.

Right, I'll get it torn apart this weekend and see what the story is. Hoping the knuckle is still in good shape.