well did ya? i read on the RE site that it was recommended so i got one and put it on. now my steering makes my jeep feel like i am in a rollar coaster. when you hit a bump, you never know which lane you are going to land in.
Dang, what shocks did you go with??? I only ask, becasue thats what TJ's do to a tee when the shocks get worn out. If they are adjustable, have you tried making them stiffer? Or what ever you do with adjustable shocks when you adjust them anyways. I have never run adjustable shocks, I went with OME's.
right now the steering is disassembled, as is the front track bar (so no pic available right now). you can tell its kinda wacky looking so thats why i am pretty sure the pitman is the culprit. i was just wondering if any one has had a NEED for one so far. looks like $55 down the drain for me.
i have brand new shocks. someone sid they really like their doestch shock so i said what the hell, for the price why not try them. i was only moderately impressed with the emu's on the jeep. i LOVED them on the land rover i had. the spring/shock combo gave the rover a smooth, lofty feeling when coming down off of bumps - withouth being squishy. i f'n LOVED that.
I have the 4.5 superflex kit with 3.5 springs, even though everyone tells me those are 4.5 springs since it sits so high up. Both my axles are centered. I didn't put in a drop pitman arm, but I got it aligned right away. I have the OME shocks. It drove like a drunk chicken (don't ask how I know) on the way to the alignment shop, every bump was torture and I even centered the steering wheel before I left. After alignment, no problems, nice and smooth.
The angle between the mounting points of the track bar needs to be the same as the angle between the mounting points of the drag link to avoid bump steer. The more difference between these angles the more bump steer you will experience. Check the angles using a piece of string between the mounting points - the angles of the actual bars doesn't matter, it's the angle between the mounting points that counts.
On my Jeep with the 4.5" RE long arm kit that meant no drop pitman arm. I have no bump steer at all. I also wasted the money on the drop pitman arm that I never installed. Anyone need one?
The lift does effect the toe. It causes Toe-in. As you drop the suspension away from the frame, the tie rod and drag link pull the tires in (toe in). Take a look at your front end, you will notice that the tie rod is connected to one tire, and the drag link to the other, they from kind of a Y. Now the connection points at the steering knuckles are going to stay at the same height, but the physical distance between them is going to get shorter while the distance between them and the last point (pitman arm) is going to get larger. This larger is just a physical measurement, the rod lengths never changed. The pit man arm moved over to compensate, that is where the additional length came from. Basically you are pulling on one end of the Y, the other 2 ends have to get closer to compensate for this.
Lifts create 2 main problems with the steering that can be addressed by steering adjustments. I'm not going to address the others (caster and camber). There are 2 adjustments one on the drag link (steering wheel) and one on the tie-rod (toe-in/out). We can adjust the drag link and make it longer thus centering the steering wheel, this will push the pitman arm back into its normal position, but doesn't move the tires. While this will be adequate to allow you to drive, it won't completely get ride of the bump steer. The other problem is that we will still have toe-in. For this we will need to adjust the tie-rod out also to length the distance between the tires again. If you were to drive around with out getting the toe-in adjusted you are basically driving and pulling your tires sideways along the road surface. Concrete and asphalt work very well as sandpaper. Example would be my friend who didn't get an alignment like I told him to and he scrubbed off half of his tread in 3,000 miles. Didn't make his wife very happy. The only problem left that I didn't mention is the higher the lift, the more extreme the angles are going to get and eventually they will not work with each other and you will not be able to make any adjustments to compensate. This is when the drop pitman arm comes in.
What a drop pitman arm does/ tries to do is lower the angle created by the lift. As you saw above we pulled on the one side of the Y, but if we put the drop pitman arm in, we lower the connection point reducing the angle, the distance of pull so we creating a more stable ride. Even with the drop pitman arm in you will need to get it aligned after doing a lift. Generally on 4" of lift manufacturers have been including a drop pitman arm. In the past this dropped arm increased the amount of torque on the steering box, since the force was now at a greater angle. With the new mounting on the TJ's and especially the new cast iron steering box for the 2003's I don't believe this is an issue any longer. If anyone has seen damage caused by this please let me know, so I can ammend any statements.
I actually saw a great steering conversion on a TJ the other day. A guy put Dana 30 ends from an old CJ on and put on an over-the-knuckle, straight across steering system. Looked awesome and it was really beefy. Well, for Dana 30 stuff. They don't make 'em like that anymore.
I did not get an alignment, (yet perhaps), the "pro" helping me, said not to bother, and it is running so sweet, I am almost afraid too..
I did use the drop pittman arm, but I am higher than you guys with 3.5" coils and 2" coil spacers. Interesting about the drag link and pittman angles being the same, my angles on them look virtually identical as it sits right now.
When you lift, your toe-in will increase some distance. I would at least get that adjusted. As for caster, pinion takes precedence so unless it is wandering all over, or shaking like a shopping cart wheel, forget the specification.
As a side note, I had mine aligned and then went home and made two alignment guages to use when my tires are at 29 psi.
I use a 16.25" long 2x4 as a guage to measure up the tire from the ground, and as a straight edge, then I measure 4" in from the wheel edge and mark a reference point.
Then I made a stick that was adjusted, cut to length and sanded, to just hold itself in place at these reference marks when toe-in is correct.
So when I tweek on the suspension, and it affects toe-in, all I do is mark my tire at the predetermined height and width, make sure my air pressure is correct, then adjust the tie rod to where it just holds my stick in place. Seems to work and saves a little money and doubt after tweeking.
You should tell them up front that is what you want them to do if you are adjusting caster. If you don't and then ask them to do it, they will almost certainly charge more. Also, tell them that if they take both arms off at once, the axle will roll forward if it doesn't have straps holding it.