Jeep TJ Wanders After Lift?

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Wandering is characterized by a driver’s difficulty to keep the vehicle straight, without continually adjusting the steering wheel. When a Jeep TJ is lifted, it can cause changes in the suspension geometry and may alter its center of gravity.

However, when done improperly, the Jeep TJ wanders after a lift.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes and signs of your Jeep TJ wandering after a lift. We’ll also guide you on steps you can take to prevent this from happening.

Causes of Jeep TJ Wandering After Lift

When your Jeep TJ starts wandering after installing a lift kit, it can cause a lot of inconvenience on your part. Moreover, imprecise steering can also pose risks to the driver and passengers, which may lead to accidents.

Improper Alignment

When the lift kit is installed improperly and the gears aren’t adjusted correctly, it can affect the caster, camber, and toe. These are the angles at which the wheels come in contact with the road.

Changes in Suspension Geometry

Lifting your TJ affects its center of gravity, which can cause changes in vehicle handling. 

Depending on the height of your vehicle lift, it can affect your vehicle’s suspension geometry as well.

A miscalculation on the lift with the suspension geometry can also impact different components of your vehicle. These include the control arms, sway bar links, track bar, and driveshaft angle.

Inadequate Shocks and Springs

When you lift your Jeep TJ, it should accommodate the added weight and height of the vehicle too. It means that the stock shock and springs may not be sufficient enough to support the lift.

These two components play a vital role in your suspension system. Shocks reduce the vehicle’s up-and-down movements while traveling on uneven ground, while the springs support the wheels.

Inadequate shocks and springs can impact stability and vehicle control, which may cause jolting, wandering, or excessive bouncing.

Signs of Vehicle Wandering After a Lift

When you notice your Jeep TJ wandering after you’ve installed a lift kit, it shouldn’t be ignored or taken lightly. There are several signs to watch out for, and we’ll discuss them in this section.

Firstly, the vehicle may feel difficult to control. It can be characterized by the vehicle veering left or right without moving the steering wheel. Additionally, excessive turning may also happen even with the slightest adjustment of the steering wheel.

Secondly, minimal vibration on the steering wheel at high speeds is normal. However, if you sense the car shaking, it can be a sign of misaligned wheels, loose or worn steering components, or unbalanced tires. If left unaddressed, it may lead to more severe issues.

Lastly, as an off-road vehicle, it travels a lot through uneven terrain, which may cause components to become loose. 

If you ever notice knocking sounds when you drive through bumps and ridges, it may be a sign of damaged suspension parts, such as the control arms. Using inadequate shocks or springs during the lift installation may also contribute to this problem.

How to Address Wandering on Your Jeep TJ After a Lift

Jeep TJ owners should be vigilant and watch out for signs of wandering after installing a lift kit. 

By knowing what to watch out for and identifying the root cause of wandering, you can take prompt actions and prevent more serious problems.

Proper Installation of The Lift Kit and Suspension System

Before going ahead and purchasing a lift kit for your Jeep TJ, it’s essential to consider a few factors. These include how much lift you’re aiming for, what size tire you want to install, and your vehicle’s axle gear ratio.

After determining these, it’s best for a professional mechanic to install your lift kit. They would have the tools and knowledge to ensure that your lift kit is set up according to the manual.

A skilled mechanic also guarantees that the suspension systems and wheel alignments are balanced and done correctly.

Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Another essential step in preventing wandering with your lifted TJ is regular vehicle maintenance and inspection, especially on the steering system

There are a few steps you can perform to ensure the steering system performs as it should:

  1. Ensure that the steering system is aligned correctly and have it adjusted if necessary.
  2. Regularly grease the steering components to prolong their lifespan.
  3. Inspect the steering components for wear and tear, such as the tie rod ends, idler arms, and ball joints.
  4. Check the fluid levels of your vehicle at least once a month and check for any fluid discoloration that may indicate problems.

Use High-Quality Shocks and Springs

It’s vital not to compromise on shocks and springs when adding lift to your Jeep TJ. Upgrading to high-quality shocks and springs can improve handling and prevent wandering after a lift. 

Disregarding this may lead to excessive wear and tear on your suspension system, steering system, and vehicle tires. Keep in mind that the shocks and springs should be compatible with the lift you want to achieve as well.

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