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Modified Jeep specialist garage


eastbournesmiths

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eastbournesmiths

I am having issues with road bumps causing steering shake and having read up on 'death wobble' and 'bump steer' on lifted Jeeps I wanted to find a garage that understood suspension and steering dynamics on a Jeep and could help diagnose what is 'out of alignment'.

Jeep Main Dealers in my area have very little Wrangler understanding (now that Horsham Jeep have sadly gone) and having modified the Jeep I doubt they will want to deal with steering and suspension issues.   

I have today driven to Hampshire to try Alton 4x4 but having charged me for an inspection stated that from December 2022 they no longer do Jeeps, because they cannot get parts. Their list of problems following the inspection seem a little 'over the top' and some like lack of grease on the Terraflex sway bay quick release drop links don't seem to relate to the steering issues I am wanting to resolve.

Before taking the drastic step of re-fitting all the stock springs, shocks and lower control arms (so I return to something Main Dealers may understand) I wanted to reach out to Club Members to see if they know any garages who understand modified Jeeps and could help me sort this? In terms of location I would be happy to consider anywhere in England if they have good reviews from Members.

Thanks for your help with this.    

JK (2).jpg

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I can recommend Buzz Special Vehicles ( Alex ) and Jeepey/Storm Jeeps ( Andy) both know what they are talking about. Buzz would be nearer for you I would guess, neither are close though. You could always wait ( as I am ) for @V our very own Vince to open up his Jeep suspension and drivetrain specialist repair shop.....expert advice right there!

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Wildjeeper62

No offence intended but unless it's a camera effect, doing just the Tracking woud be a good start because your left and right wheels seem to be pointing in the opposite direction on that picture. 

 

Might be a big drive for you from Eastbourne but I use Sunderland 4x4 in Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire. Top man !

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14 minutes ago, Wildjeeper62 said:

No offence intended but unless it's a camera effect, doing just the Tracking woud be a good start because your left and right wheels seem to be pointing in the opposite direction on that picture. 

 

Might be a big drive for you from Eastbourne but I use Sunderland 4x4 in Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire. Top man !

 

....That has to be a camera effect surely? That would be almost undriveable if it were out that much wouldn't it? 

 

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eastbournesmiths
2 hours ago, TimC said:

I can recommend Buzz Special Vehicles ( Alex ) and Jeepey/Storm Jeeps ( Andy) both know what they are talking about. Buzz would be nearer for you I would guess, neither are close though. You could always wait ( as I am ) for @V our very own Vince to open up his Jeep suspension and drivetrain specialist repair shop.....expert advice right there!

Andy at Jeepey has kindly offered some things to check which commonly cause steering issues. Ball joints are starting to appear as a common issue as Alton 4x4 mentioned they were part of the problem so may look to get some Terraflex HD replacement ball joints. Just need to find a garage willing to try and fit them 

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eastbournesmiths
1 hour ago, TimC said:

 

....That has to be a camera effect surely? That would be almost undriveable if it were out that much wouldn't it? 

 

I used a wide angle setting on my phone camera so hopefully that is why they looked odd. I think the are both pointing in the same direction but will double check.

20210221_082246.jpg

20210221_082246.jpg

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I was suspicious Alton 4x4 were out of the Jeep game.  They showed little interest in my enquiry last Autumn.  I am suspicious it may be as much about having the skilled people as the parts.

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5 hours ago, eastbournesmiths said:

Ball joints are starting to appear as a common issue as Alton 4x4 mentioned they were part of the problem so may look to get some Terraflex HD replacement ball joints.

Be aware that some after-market ball joints have knurled casings. If you ever have any of these fitted you cannot easily go back to the stock Spicer parts afterwards. The knurled ball joints are a useful problem solver if your knuckles have already been butchered and ball joints are so loose that they fall out. I think It is best to stay away from knurled ball joints until you really have no other option. Your axle may only accept one set of knurled ball joints after the first set.

 

I don't have any first hand experience of ball joint eliminators but I don't think they are necessary unless you are running tyres larger than 37".

 

When was your last MOT? Your MOT inspector knows how to test for ball joint wear if you can't do this yourself.

 

Checking the tracking on a Wrangler is easy if you have a couple of good straight 3ft+ spirit levels, some clamps to hold them on to the brake discs and two identical good quality steel tape measures with identical measuring accuracy at 60". Search on YouTube for a video howto.

 

Worn track bar joints/bushes can cause death wobble, particularly if the trackbar axle bracket hole has worn sloppy.

 

I have also had a failed rubber engine mount create a similar effect.

 

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eastbournesmiths
6 hours ago, V said:

Be aware that some after-market ball joints have knurled casings. If you ever have any of these fitted you cannot easily go back to the stock Spicer parts afterwards. The knurled ball joints are a useful problem solver if your knuckles have already been butchered and ball joints are so loose that they fall out. I think It is best to stay away from knurled ball joints until you really have no other option. Your axle may only accept one set of knurled ball joints after the first set.

 

I don't have any first hand experience of ball joint eliminators but I don't think they are necessary unless you are running tyres larger than 37".

 

When was your last MOT? Your MOT inspector knows how to test for ball joint wear if you can't do this yourself.

 

Checking the tracking on a Wrangler is easy if you have a couple of good straight 3ft+ spirit levels, some clamps to hold them on to the brake discs and two identical good quality steel tape measures with identical measuring accuracy at 60". Search on YouTube for a video howto.

 

Worn track bar joints/bushes can cause death wobble, particularly if the trackbar axle bracket hole has worn sloppy.

 

I have also had a failed rubber engine mount create a similar effect.

 

Thanks for that.

I noticed that Jeepey sold both types of ball joint and indicated the knurled version for when the 'hole' was worn.

I will look at the trackbar but it is only two years old with one weekend at Slindon off road so hopefully not worn but I will also check the fixing to the frame.

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BLUE STAR

Just wondering if it  started after fitting the tyres ?

What size are they ?

Have you had the tyres rebalanced ?

Have you got many miles on them ?

I've found the stock Mopar Ball Joints good enough, (sealed no greasing to do) & I've been running a 2.5" lift & 315/70/17 tyres for 10 years

 

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eastbournesmiths
27 minutes ago, BLUE STAR said:

Just wondering if it  started after fitting the tyres ?

What size are they ?

Have you had the tyres rebalanced ?

Have you got many miles on them ?

I've found the stock Mopar Ball Joints good enough, (sealed no greasing to do) & I've been running a 2.5" lift & 315/70/17 tyres for 10 years

 

Tyres are only slightly different to stock being 265/70R18 Radar Renegade+ RT compared to original 255/70/R18 Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685. Overall wheel diameter has only increased from 32" to just under 33" but tyre profile is more chunky and performs better off road.

I will look at getting them rebalanced but steering shake only occurs on impact with pot holes or bumps, setting off a tremor effect. I my mind this seems to suggest something is loose/worn causing the steering linkage to shake from side to side.  

Not ruling anything out though and thanks for all the very helpful comments

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  • 3 weeks later...
eastbournesmiths

Thanks to everyones help on this chat. To update you all before travelling to one of the garages in Portsmouth & Southampton that @Caroline12kindly mentioned I first tried a local family run garage here in Eastbourne that we have used for other cars.

Although not Jeep specialists they are good mechanics and were happy to look.

Despite Alton 4x4's long list of apparent problems with my Jeep our local garage couldn't see any problem with the ball joints and as they are also MOT testers I trusted this view especially with the helpful comments from @BLUE STAR on the age of their ball joints.

Only element of concern the mechanic had was one of the huge list Alton 4x4 mentioned, namely the amount of play on my Teraflex quick disconnect sway bar link connections to the axel. This was probably due to them not being checked at a previous service or greased to tighten the bushing onto the pin. 

The play was now too great to just resolve with grease so I ordered a replacement set of links and some spare bushings. These were fitted yesterday and in travelling to cars and coffee at Unity Automotive today I aimed for as many pot holes and ruts as possible to see whether changing the sway bar links really would stop my steering shaking after hitting bumps. Happily it has and thanks again to everyone for their thoughts and inputs which helped rule out some of the wilder (and more costly) issues Alton 4x4 suggested.

The lesson of the exercise is don't go to Alton 4x4 if you have a Jeep and also use the wealth of advice JOC members are able to provide.

Thank you.   

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Really pleased to hear it was all sorted for a lot less than feared.  Love the comment about aiming for all the pot holes this morning 😂

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BLUE STAR

I've still got the original longer sway bar links that came with the 2.5" AEV kit 10 years & 60,000 miles ago.

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