1996 Jeep Cherokee 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 145000 miles
my '96 jeep grand cherokee with 145,000 miles has developed excessive play in the steering. Do you have any idea what the problem(s) could be? Tires are good and have only 20,000 miles on the so I don't think that is contributing to the problem.
What I would be checking first is mechanical components of the front end. Jack the vehicle up and have a friend turn the steering wheel left and right fast while you feel the ends of the inner tie rods, outer tie rods, ball joints, etc.
And what are you considering excessive play? Have to move the steering wheel 1 inch each way inorder for the wheels to move? Or just sloppy like swerving on the road not keeping straight?
April, 14, 2008 AT 12:24 PM
The excessive play is troublesome when driving. I estimate 2-3" of turn in steering wheel necessary to keep it on a straight line when driving at any speed.
April, 14, 2008 AT 12:51 PM
Go to an alignment specialty shop and have them adjust the steering box. Sector shaft is out of adjustment, or worn out completely.
April, 14, 2008 AT 12:58 PM
Yes take it in thats alot of play.
Dont even bother checking for worn front components, they will not give you that much play.
April, 15, 2008 AT 7:39 PM
What should I expect to pay for a new Sector shaft or to have it adjusted (if that were possible).
Given that I'm a Minnesota farm boy with a mechanical background, I embarassed to say I don't know what a Sector shaft is.
April, 16, 2008 AT 4:17 AM
The sector shaft runs top to bottom and the steering part called the pitman arm attaches to it. An adjustment shouldnt be too expensive. A new box is! A used one may be an acceptable alternative.
April, 19, 2008 AT 6:55 AM
Tks, final question. Should I be going to an alignment shop for the adjustment/fix or take it to the dealer? I guess I feel like the dealer is more likely to try to sell me a new steering box than the alignment shop? Thoughts?
April, 19, 2008 AT 7:05 AM
Either place can do it, but you can only tighten it so much...if it's tightened too much the shaft can actually be sawed in half, at which point you loose steering! Make sure whereever you go they know thier stuff! You might want to think about a junkyard for this part...look for one that has no evidence of leaking...