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Steering wheel shenanigans


NAXJA Forum User
Saturday I had to move my old J10. Since I live on a hill, I pretty much had to use 4L. I had the J10 with a tow bar on the front and the xj hooked up to it with my hitch. So a fair amount of stress was seen by the xj, but it did the job.

I didn't drive my XJ until this morning on the way into work. I pull out on the main street and start going straight and noticed that the steering wheel is now crooked to the left by about 45°.

My immediate thought was that I bent the track bar. It still drives straight, doesn't pull to one side, and no vibrations or anything at all. I crawled under to check it out once I got to work, maybe expecting to see a pretzel for a track bar or a bent tie rod... maybe a bent drag link. Nope. I even had a friend of mine park beside it and we went through it with a measuring tape and did all sorts of measuring to see if anything is bent. To the naked eye, nothing looks bad. Now I'm sure something could be bent, maybe a lot of things are bent, I don't know. But I can tell that my toe looks farther out than it should be if I drive straight, and if I straighten up the wheel the passenger side wheel is pretty far out. How it drove smooth, I don't really know. Anyway, I'm assuming that the clamp for the tie rod is loose and has slipped, but it doesn't seem to rotate by hand.

I did find this thread, and interestingly enough there were a couple of people I saw in other threads that said that the alignment seems to have fixed itself over time. Kind of a terrifying thought really.

Any thoughts? I'm going to go out and set the toe before heading home. I have a lifetime alignment as well, so I'll have the shop do it when I get the time. I just really don't want my frame (sheet metal body) to be bending like that. If it was just a loose adjusting sleeve, I'll be relieved... but probably a little upset at the alignment shop too.

98, stock steering, stock track bar (relocated by means of drilled hole), 3" lift, stock control arms, 31" tires. Nothing crazy, just a little RC lift.

(Also the rear axle looks located to the center as well)