Steering, missing suspension, and oil leaks

FROM STOCK SUPSENSION TO BRAKES, TO STEERING, TO WHEELS AND TIRES.

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WE7X
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Steering, missing suspension, and oil leaks

Post by WE7X » Thu May 10, 2018 5:35 pm

I recently had a new steering box installed and the sloppy steering, is MUCH improved; but is now a bit stiff, and self centering does not happen. The alignment was set with the Caster a bit to the higher side of tolerances, per my request. I still have a little bit of wiggle in the steering wheel, but that might get traced to some looseness in the upper steering linkage.
I was recently under the vehicle ( vehicle on ramps for safety ) looking for the source of a very small, but persistent, oil leak. I have been parking on cardboard recently, and the leak seems to be coming from something fairly high up on the motor or transmission. The fluid smells a bit like hypoid, but is very light weight and very light colored, so I an not sure just what it is yet.
I had a small seepage at the right CV axle seal previously, and recently found the factory manual states the front diff oil level is to be 3/8" below the threads. I had always believed it to be correct at the level where it just barely dribbles over the edge of the fill plug opening. That minor level adjustment seems to have helped considerably.
While under the van, I noticed something caught in a hole in a lower control arm. After removing it, I discovered it was a rubber sway bar link bushing. The lower sway bar link bushings and hardware were gone from both lower control arms.
That sway bar is HUGE! It will be interesting to see how much change I will notice in the suspension after I replace those links. I plan to use the van quite a bit on forest roads and I am wondering if that large sway bar might actually be a disadvantage on rougher roads. Might the suspension be more 'independent' without it?
I know on the highways and with the van being well loaded, it probably helps a lot.

Rod J
WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA

Astrophysics
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Re: Steering, missing suspension, and oil leaks

Post by Astrophysics » Thu May 10, 2018 7:50 pm

Hi,
Very interesting on sway bar end links. I wonder if a sway bar quick disconnect could be fabricated? The Jeep Wrangler does have sway bar disconnect on Rubicon.

I will look at my 2003 AWD front sway bar end links to see if a quick disconnect could be added.

AP

WE7X
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Re: Steering, missing suspension, and oil leaks

Post by WE7X » Thu May 10, 2018 9:04 pm

Oh, I am sure sway bar disconnects could be added, but at what effort?
On the 'real' Jeeps, without all that front end sheet metal, I suspect they are a bit easier to get to.
On our AWD vans they are pretty well buried.

My new links came today, from Rock Auto.

Rod J
WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA

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Re: Steering, missing suspension, and oil leaks

Post by WE7X » Fri May 11, 2018 5:13 pm

Astrophysics,
I just looked at a few pictures of some of the Jeep setups.
They use a link that has an eye on one end (fits over a horizontal stud), and a 90 deg. spherical rod end ( it looks like that at least) on the other end. Some of the more serious guys convert and use real Heim Joints on both ends.
The 'cheap' set-up is just a bracket assembly that allows the end to be un-pinned from a stud and swung up out of the way to be attached to the new frame mounted bracket, at a fixed location.
Something like this could probably be done on the A/S vans, with some modification to the lower control arms and a custom sway bar, but space is so tight that I cannot believe anyone would try such a thing. The bodies on our vans are just not configured for the kind of use where a sway bar disconnect might be all that useful. I think if one was planning a significant slow speed trip on very rough roads, it might be worth the trouble to just remove one sway bar link, and let the sway bar move freely with the one control arm that remained attached. The 'loose' end might 'clunk' on something occasionally, but I do not see anything it could damage.
The 'high-end' option seems to be an air operated disconnect in the middle of the sway bar itself, so both ends remain connected to the control arms, but the sway bar is actually split near the middle, by the disconnect. At $1200 and up, it is expensive and also rather bulky, and would never fit in our tight A/S setup.
That high end 'kit' appears to come with a custom 2-piece sway bar that mates with the interlock apparatus. I also saw a kit to uses the 2-piece sway bar idea, but converts it to a manual cable. In the environment some of those guys run, they might have issues with reliability of the air operated device, similar to the potential issue with the electric drives some have on our 2-speed transfer cases.

Rod J
WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA

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Re: Steering, missing suspension, and oil leaks

Post by WE7X » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:09 am

It has been over a year since I disconnected the front sway bar, and I recently decided to install the new links and try it with the bar connected.
After several trips to the local logging roads, I decided it made the ride a bit rougher on the potholes and rough roads. hat is a 'Seat-of-the-Pants' observation. I subsequently disconnected them again.
I like the ride better with the front sway bar 'loose', when on forest roads; but for the daily paved road use, the sway bar definitely helps reduce lean in the corners.
Rod J
WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA

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