Over the last couple of weeks, I have had to deal with Jeep dealers. My mission was to diagnose a steering wobble, replace the damaged part, and move on with my life.
What actually happened.
Diagnosing a steering wobble takes time, patience, and knowledge. It cannot be done without driving the vehicle, looking at the parts on the vehicle, and you definitely cannot deliver a solution based on the problem of another vehicle.
That’s what the dealer tried to do.
The process began well enough, my case was given to an apprentice mechanic. I do not have an issue with that. Their work gets inspected by a senior tech, and diagnosing problems help them be better technicians.
It started to go off the rails pretty quickly after that. Because my Jeep is lifted, the first argument was over aftermarket parts. As of this article, there are no aftermarket steering components on the Jeep. I did have the stabilizer recall done. Still a factory part.
Once we established that my steering parts are still mother MOPAR. The dealer changed course and decided that a stronger steering stabilizer was needed. They made this decision without driving the vehicle, without a visual inspection of the current parts, and without checking to see if parts had failed.
The dealer solution to my steering wobble was to install a stronger steering dampener without ever actually looking at the Jeep or attempting actual diagnoses of the issue. For the record, I, with help from Rick at RnR Auto and Off-Road, had already determined that the drag link upper rod end had failed.
The real problem is I left the dealer with a Jeep that is unsafe to drive, without a concrete solution from them, and no other avenue.
The rod end in question, part number: 68258760AE, has gone through 4 revisions since the JL release. My JL was purchased in January 2018 and was one of the first ones delivered on the East Coast.
This would lead a reasonable person to believe that part had issues that have been addressed with revisions. On top of multiple revisions, the part is on national backorder.
What’s the plan?
To prove that my steering wobble is caused by the failed rod end, I am going to swap the drag link. Since I can’t get a factory one, I am going to install the Synergy drag link. It’s not direct proof that the rod end was the failure, but it approximates it well enough.
After that is tested, I am going to throw on a few more Synergy parts. Ole Red is going to get a new track bar and tie rod to go with that fancy new drag link. We might even change out the steering stabilizer. 😉