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Old October 23rd, 2006, 18:25
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Goatman Goatman is offline
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Location: Bakersfield, CA
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My steering wheel is not centered after my lift install, what should I do?

When you're vehicle is lifted, the distance from the body of the jeep to the axle is increased, and since the steering pitman arm is attached to the body, the length of the drag link must also be increased. The stock steering linkage (commonly refered to as the inverted "Y" setup) has two main components, the drag link and the tie rod. The drag link connects the pitman arm to the passenger side knuckle then the tie rod attaches the drag link to the drivers side knuckle. Turning the steering wheel moves the pitman arm, which moves the drag link, which moves the tie rod.

Increasing the distance from the axle to the pitman arm means that a longer drag link is needed. Jeep built the drag link with an adjusting collar to accomplish this. Locate the adjusting collar by finding the pitman arm and following the drag link down till you see some threaded sections and a sleeve with bolts and nuts on it. This is the drag link adjuster.

Get in your jeep and turn the wheels as straight as possible, and leave the key in the "on" position so the steering wheel is unlocked. Get under the jeep, loosen the two 15mm nuts on the drag link adjuster and spray some penetrant in there to make it easier to turn. With the nuts loose, the collar should be able to rotate (a pipe wrench might be necessary on some older jeeps), and with the threads on the linkage being opposite, rotating one direction will cause the drag link to get longer, and rotating the other direction will make the drag link shorter.

Since the drag link should be longer, rotate that way a little bit, then check the steering wheel and see how center it is, and adjust more as needed. It probably will be necessary to drive down the street a couple of times to get it perfect. Once you have found the center, tighten down the bolts to make them as tight as they were before and you are done!

After changing any lift amount, an alignment should also be done to increase tire life and make driving safer. If you have a professional shop do the alignment, they will also center the steering wheel.
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