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Author Topic: Wandering Jeep  (Read 633 times)

Kevin Means

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Wandering Jeep
« on: March 28, 2017, 03:14:26 PM »
I've got a towing "issue" that I was hoping others could help me with. We've been towing an Acura MDX with a Blue Ox tow bar for years. The Acura has always tracked smoothly and straight behind the motorhome.

A few months ago I picked up a 2006 Jeep Rubicon LJ (a slightly longer version of the TJ) and I had it set up for off-road use. It had less than 39,000 miles on it, and according to the mechanics at the shop where I took it, there were no signs that it had ever been driven off road. I still had them go through the entire suspension system and replace anything that they felt needed to be replaced. I also had them install 35" Toyo Mud Terrain tires, a 3 & 1/2 inch Currie suspension lift, a 1" body lift and a Currie Anti Rock swaybar.

I installed a Blue Ox tow bracket kit on the Jeep's front bumper, so I could tow it with my Blue Ox tow bar. It's rock-solid with the bolts going right through the bumper to the frame. When the Jeep is hooked to the MH on level ground, the height of the tow bar at the Jeep's front bumper is about 2" higher than where the tow bar hooks to the motorhome's receiver. The Jeep's tires are inflated to 32 psi when towing.

Here's the issue... About 75% of the time, the Jeep tracks directly behind the MH, just like the Acura. For some reason however, which I haven't been able to determine, the Jeep will occasionally wander a bit - wobbling laterally left and right, and then it stops. It's not like a "death wobble" - it's not violent at all. I can't even feel it, but I can see it dancing around a bit on the camera monitor.

I travel at 65 mph but I've noticed it - to a lesser degree - at slower speeds. I can't corelate it to anything. It happens on smooth roads and bumpy roads, and bumps don't seem to set it off or make it any worse. It just kind of wobbles laterally for a few moments (very slightly) then stops. The Jeep sits slightly nose-high, and I was wondering if that, combined with the tow bar's slight down angle, could be causing it. Could it simply be that the big meaty tires are gripping flaws in the road? Any ideas/suggestions?

Kev
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 03:22:21 PM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

grashley

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 07:42:44 PM »
Is it possible there is an off road loving ghost on board who likes to drive now and then??!?!!   ;D
Preacher Gordon
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS - not yet received
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Kevin Means

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2017, 08:02:11 PM »
You know... I never thought of that! ;)
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

taoshum

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 09:12:35 PM »
Hard to know... nonetheless something must be going on.  Can you tell how far it goes when it wanders...?  I'm thinking it might be in the Jeep steering set up... you could jack up the front passenger side wheel and check to see if there's any play; then the other side... if all the linkages are tight then it might be in the steering box or the steering damper... it wouldn't take much in the way of friction there to cause some hysteresis.  Also, you might rotate the tires front to rear just in case it's the new tires.   I guess you're sure it's not some play in the B'Ox/receiver hitch?

There must be some Jeep suspension guru's on here!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 09:14:14 PM by taoshum »
07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

SargeW

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 10:58:24 PM »
The tow bar sitting higher may be the key Kev. I would pick up a 2" drop receiver and flip it over so the drop is up. I would also pick up a "hitch clamp" to put on the 2" drop to lock it tight with the MH hitch. The wander of the toad is normal to some extent, but a significant amount is an issue.  The larger tires and lift kit will contribute to Jeep "floating" a bit back there.  However, the tow bar being higher at the toad is an unsafe condition for the vehicle in tow. Under a hard brake the Jeep can actually "vault" towards the back of the MH.  2" lower is not as much of an issue, but 2" up can be.
Marty--
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Old_Crow

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 09:28:47 AM »
I've been checking out the death wobble while towing for the last couple of weeks since we took delivery of our TJ.  Towed our YJ for over 10,000 miles with no problem, but I'm new to the coil spring Jeeps and was concerned when I saw mention of the wobble.

Most of what I have found ties the wobble to lift kits and big tires, and the Jeep being out of alignment after installation of these.

Some said they solved the problem by installation of a bigger steering stabilizer, but I'm of the camp that thinks that's just masking the real problem.  Another suggestion was to check the torque on the track bar bolts, and to also check the track bar bushings(maybe replace with poly bushings to reduce play in bushings?).

Me, no problem so far, but I'm sticking with stock height(except for a spacer to make up for the weight of the winch), and the stock 30" tires anyway.  I have enough trouble getting into a stock Jeep, much less trying to jump my fat @$$ up an extra 4".
Wally Crow
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'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Kevin Means

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 11:45:04 AM »
I think those are all good suggestions. Taoshum, it's hard to tell for sure, but it looks like it's moving a total of maybe 4 inches (or so). The suspension is tight, with steering dampers and new heavy duty components, so I don't think that's the problem, but I'll double check. Alignment is good, by the way. I already have a 6" riser at the hitch (I needed that for the Acura) but the tow bar angle was my first thought too. I think I'll get one with an 8" riser. I also like the hitch clamp idea - certainly couldn't hurt.

Thanks you guys.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Kevin Means

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 11:36:54 AM »
Update: I went from a 6" riser to an 8" riser, and I installed hitch clamps on the riser and tow bar, and my Jeep's "wandering" problem seems to be solved. I was surprised at just how much slop was in the riser/tow bar assembly without the hitch clamps. Now there's no slop at all. The tow bar now has a slight down-angle (front to back) compared to the slight up-angle it had with the 6" riser. Thanks to all for your suggestions.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

SargeW

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Re: Wandering Jeep
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 02:33:14 PM »
Good news!  No sense wearing out those big tires too early.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

 

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