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adriaanvn99

1998 Jeep Cherokee XJ Build

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Here is a better side on comparison of the new 3.5” RE rear leafs. As you can see, there is quite a noticeable rake. It is not too bad, but I have few options on changing it if needed:

 

1) Leave it as it is - and hope that eventually the rear bumper and spare tire evens it out a little more

2) Buy front coil spacers to even it out (coil spacers aren’t my most favorable option)

3) Swap out the front for RE 4.5” coils

4) Leave front as is, and take out a spring in the rear and add back if needed (seems most sensible)

 

I’m going to leave it as it is for the moment, and hopefully take it out on the trail soon to see how it handles and then weigh out my options. So far I am very pleased with the ride. The rear is much more stiff and the new steering rod and Moog’s definitely evened out the front steering setup. I still have a RE pitman arm drop to install to drop my steering linkage and improve the angle ever so slightly.

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After driving the Jeep for a while (about 60 miles) around town and some i10 driving, I noticed something odd. I will try describe it below. I was running a RC 3" lift with full leaf packs originally, and the XJ was very tolerable on the road.

 

I had my whole front end rebuilt and a lunchbox locker installed. I had Richard (also a XJ owner) at Phoenix Rack and Pinion install the locker because I did not have the appropriate tools such as a carrier puller and the main reason was that I was worried about setting my backlash precisely. I also have all new bearings, inner seals, pinion seal, upper and lower balljoints and new axle shaft U joints. I also swapped out my RC lift with a RE 3.5" coil springs and full leaf pack, with CavFab adjustable upper control arms and an IRO steering rod. I also replaced my trans mount with a poly daystar one. Rotors, calipers and brake pads are all new too, with a full brake fluid flush.

 

I got the alignment done at the shop (Brakes Plus) to ensure that everything was within spec (and it was within .01, they gave me the sheet with caster/camber/toe values). Here is where things get odd. Whilst driving around 40 mph, the Jeep tracks as straight as an arrow and is very tolerable. When I am driving on the 10 around 60-65 mph, I start to get a little vibration and the Jeep starts to pull side to side, and I have to fight the steering a little bit to keep it straight. I haven't had any real issues turning or taking a curve with speed. When I take my foot of the pedal, there is a slight grind almost for half a second (bad rear U joint I am guessing). It is not there when driving normally or accelerating. When applying brakes the Jeep also stops dead straight and doesn't pull to any particular side.

 

So after this experience yesterday, I decided to jack it up and pull off the wheels and go back exactly over all the parts which were replaced to make sure they were within torque spec, but the steering issue is not resolved yet.

 

My main concern is that the shop that did the front end did not setup the backlash correctly (there was no marking compound on the ring gear when I got it back). I understand that it is just a measurement, but with all new components (Spicer U joints, Timken wheel hub bearings, XRF balljoints) I am struggling to believe that it could be something that is already failing. But then again could incorrect backlash be the cause for the side to side pulling?

 

If not, then I will need to address the tires for uneven wear, a bad driveshaft U joint (for the vibes), incorrect pinion angle (currently is not that bad), RC shocks which have possibly gone bad (its not really a body roll though), or even a steering stabilizer perhaps?

 

Any help/advice appreciated!

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I had gears done back in September, 3:55 to 4:56.

 

About 100 miles later I had the exact same thing happen to me. Turned out the rear pinion nut had worked loose. I could push up on the yoke and move it. The off the pedal situation, in my mind, is the give away its in the drive shaft or diffs for sure.

 

They torqued it down for me as good as can be without messing with the preload, staked it too. Said I need to have my drive shaft balanced since thats most likely the cause of said nut coming loose.

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I had gears done back in September, 3:55 to 4:56.

 

About 100 miles later I had the exact same thing happen to me. Turned out the rear pinion nut had worked loose. I could push up on the yoke and move it. The off the pedal situation, in my mind, is the give away its in the drive shaft or diffs for sure.

 

They torqued it down for me as good as can be without messing with the preload, staked it too. Said I need to have my drive shaft balanced since thats most likely the cause of said nut coming loose.

 

Makes sense! I will definitely take a look at that. Thank you!

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i'd start with re-balancing your tires for the vibe... and swap them from left to right to see if the pulling changes direction.

 

your pinion angle has definitely changed some as well, that could be your vibe and grind.

 

also, even though the vibe and pulling start at the same speed, when troubleshooting it might be good to keep in mind that the 2 problems could still be unrelated.

 

you may also want to go ahead and remove a leaf in the back... that Camaro stance could cause some slightly weird handling in general. that would also affect your pinion angle.

 

good luck!

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Here is a better side on comparison of the new 3.5” RE rear leafs. As you can see, there is quite a noticeable rake. It is not too bad, but I have few options on changing it if needed:

 

1) Leave it as it is - and hope that eventually the rear bumper and spare tire evens it out a little more

2) Buy front coil spacers to even it out (coil spacers aren’t my most favorable option)

3) Swap out the front for RE 4.5” coils

4) Leave front as is, and take out a spring in the rear and add back if needed (seems most sensible)

I was going to suggest Option #3 earlier but agree removing a leaf is probably the best choice now that you have issues.

 

you may also want to go ahead and remove a leaf in the back... that Camaro stance could cause some slightly weird handling in general. that would also affect your pinion angle.

 

good luck!

Hey Dude!:D

79-camaro-2.jpg

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Thanks for the feedback theKsmith and scottL! Will try and see what I can figure out

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A little “throwback Thursday” as they would say. Just a few older pics of vehicles I’ve played with back in South Africa

 

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A 1956 CJ-5 which my dad fully restored. This was the vehicle I learnt to drive on when I was about 6. It was a 3 speed manual gearbox. Also learnt driving on the 2005 TJ, bought it stock and my dad and I started adding stuff to it. In South Africa you are very limited with aftermarket accessories, so back then we had to order everything from Quadratec and pay huge shipping and taxes. It was running a 2” OME kit, with 32” BFG mud terrains on 15” MT alloys. ARB front bumper and custom made rear bumper

 

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Just before I left in 2015, a 2011 JK Rubicon was mainly used for camping. Very capable vehicle but the SWB was a slight space limitation. Was running a 2.5” OME lift with 305/70R16 Copper STT Pros on 16” MT alloys

 

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And lastly a 1994 G280, fully customized. Replaced the sluggish 2.8 Diesel with a Mercedes M104 3.2 L6 Petrol engine. High performance cam, custom air intake with snorkel and free flow s/s exhaust system. Very capable vehicle with front, central and rear diff locks. The whole body was made of steel, so it was a very heavy vehicle, but was very nice for camping trips as it had tons of space in the back.

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I think I have finally pinpointed my wandering steering at higher speeds. The final culprit was my caster angle. When I installed my adjustable uppers, I calculated the length where the axle would be pushed a bit forward back to factory spec. Of course, to achieve this successfully you need adjustable lowers too. I am still running my RC Clevite fixed length lowers (advertised as suitable for 3-4.5 inch lifts). My caster was sitting at 3*, which is a bit off the spectrum. With the AW4, factory spec is 8* caster. According to most, 5-6* is acceptable for 33" tires. So I shortened my uppers to get right onto 5*. The result is much better handling now, in fact better than what it was when I got it stock. I could probably get away with 6*, but I am waiting to get new lower control arms before I adjust anything else!

 

Getting the caster and pinion angle seems like a tougher task on these XJ's or any solid axle vehicle. The actual caster is fixed into the C knuckle of the axle, and if you adjust the one your pinion angle changes, and when you adjust the other your caster changes. I am sure with a set of new lowers I will be able to get it perfect.

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thanks for posting the throwback pics - beautiful landscape there, especially the coast. that third photo looks just like some areas here in AZ!

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