I find that the JL and JT platform is far superior to the older JK platform in all aspects except one. The steering on the new model is atrocious and it only gets worse after a lift and bigger tires.
Why is it so bad?
It’s a good question. I have two theories on why the steering is so bad.
Theory number one centers on the heretical drive to lighten the JL platform. Hollow track bar, hollow drag link, crimped joints, and lightweight track bar frame mount all add flex to the steering.
Theory two is the electric steering instead of traditional engine driven pump. Stay stationary sometime and rest your hand on the wheel with a little pressure to one side. If you wait the pump eventually senses the pressure and kicks in allowing the wheel to move easily. It doesn’t seem to have enough sensor intelligence to differentiate between resting pressure and actual steering input.
This is further reinforced driving down the road. My wheel is generally never straight unless I let go and then it runs true. Put my hand back on it and I have to turn a little against the road camber because that bit of pressure causes it to want to steer with the road. You feel like you are captaining a schooner.
The prevailing fix right now is to install the Synergy Sector Shaft and Track Bar brace. After fighting with my steering setup, due to loose and broken factory joints, this was the final piece of the puzzle. You can read about the other parts here.
It takes about 90 minutes or less to install and the hardest part is removing the 42mm nut that holds the Pitman arm in place.
What does it do?
Made of 3/16″ plate steel it reinforces the factory frame side track bar mount and adds additional strength to the steering box mount. It also ties the snout of the steering box into the brace using a bearing on an extended nut to keep everything from moving around.
It did the same job on the JK for those that needed some extra beef. I tested that part as well and you can read about it here: “Synergy MFG Steering Fix for JK“.
When you combine the new sector shaft brace with my existing beefed-up front end parts you have a whole new experience; and an appreciation for how bad the stock parts worked. I’ll definitely be upgrading our JT with the brace.
What’s awesome cost?
The kit costs $200 from Synergy and other suppliers. I would highly recommend getting the matching track bar. It was designed to fit with the brace and is a significant upgrade over the stock bar.
The track bar runs $400. Trust me you will upgrade it before you know it anyway.