• Welcome to the new NAXJA Forum! If your password does not work, please use "Forgot your password?" link on the log-in page. Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] if we can provide any assistance.

Steering Wheel Slowly Getting Out Of Alignement


NAXJA Forum User
St Louis
I tried to search this sight and Google and found nothing on this.

About 2 months ago, I replaced all 4 tires (not sure if this is relevant). The steering wheel was aligned perfectly - Spokes at 8 and 4 o'clock. Within a month the wheel was 45 degrees Counter Clockwise from true when the vehicle tracks straight. Now, one month later, it is a full 90 degrees CCW so my steering wheel spokes are at 2 and 4 o'clock when the vehicle is tracking straight.

No wobble. No drifting. Wheel has a little play when changing directions from r/l or l/r but nothing disconcerting. Parked Jeep next to a curb and tried to crank the wheel to see if there was slipping or of the wheel would true itself. Nothing slipped and it didn't change anything.

Not really sure how to diagnose or where to start. A friend recommended adjusting the gear box but I could not find any instructs or write ups on it. I know someone else has seen this but my search skills are lacking. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks! jimmy
It sounds like the slip joint in the intermediate shaft. Look under the hood by the brake booster where the steering comes out of the firewall and while someone quickly turns the wheel see if there's any play in that joint.
Check the tightness of the two bolts on the adjustment sleeve on the draglink.

Good chance one of your tie rod adjusters is not clamped down tight and it's moving. Get a look at them right away. It is unsafe to drive with a loose adjuster.
Bad track bar. My '87's wheel was 1/2 turn to the left when I bought it and centered back up when I replaced the track bar.
Thanks all. Checked everything and it's tight. No signs of slipping or bent anywhere. I think the worm in the gearbox is jumping teeth. A friend told me it's adjustable (screw on top of the gear box) but I don't know to do it right. Anyone know how to do it? thanks again! jimmy
No way is it the gearbox. If it slipped a tooth, it would have to be totally cratered. Adjusting the box is a risky thing to do. Done improperly can lead to a box damaged beyond repair.

Have you wheeled it? It isn't uncommon to "flex" something in the steering. All you have to do to center the steering wheel is to loosen the adjustment on the drag link and twist it until the wheel is straight. This adjustment won't change your alignment enough to measure.

The most common things to check are

(1) track bar end worn. It takes two people to check. Trying to wiggle it by hand will rarely tell you anything.

(2) Track bar mount loose. The bolts holding the mount to the frame must be good and tight or the bracket can shift around.

(3) Frame cracking where the steering box mounts.

(4) Control arm bushings worn out.

Good Luck.
As your suspension ages(or settles) you will lose lift height which causes the steering wheel to change.
yikes! Bet you're glad you found that before it came all the way off.