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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody,
Just bought a 1993 Suzuki SJ 413 (Caribian) here in Thailand as a run around for the wife. It has very vague steering (too much play) & lots of vibration. With the results from this forum & downloaded service manual, I have started off adjusting the steering box (after checking it had fluid) & it has stiffened up but still not right - where to next?
As stated in the subject, it seems to have a lot of vibration - maybe partly due to large wheels/tyres fitted? Again I would appreciate any help in troubleshooting. My first reaction is to check out the drive train fluid levels & replace. Is that the logical place to start & what next.
Not exactly a mechanic, so please try to keep it simple.
Big thank you in advance.
 

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You mention larger tires, has it been lifted? How many miles on it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You mention larger tires, has it been lifted? How many miles on it?
Thanks for the reply, I have attached 3 photos to better explain. Yes it has been lifted & all I can say about mileage is more than 99,999 Km as it is showing 10,000+Km now. I had the fluids changed yesterday, steering gearbox is full, power steering is full. The steering wheel is now quite stiff, but still play evident (difficult to drive in a straight line) & having to compensate all the time.
 

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I know this is not what you want to hear, but, I'm going to say it anyway - get your wife another car, maybe a small Toyota.

What you have there is a vehicle that has been modified for off road use, I can see non-standard springs, non-standard shackles, non-standard shocks, non-standard hi-steering - none of which is really a problem, but all of which contribute to the problem.

Don't get me wrong, that looks like a great little vehicle, the work looks like it's been competently done, if you were planning to off road it, I'd be saying excellent choice, but for the wife to run around in, no.

You have a solid axle, leaf sprung vehicle, with lift springs and longer shackles - all of which allow for sideways movement between the axle and the frame, which contributes to the vagueness in the steering, even if you went through the front end and replaced every bush, every steering joint, you would have difficulty eliminating it.

Lifted, solid axle, leaf sprung vehicles frequently have caster issues, unless whoever lifted it took steps to correct the caster angle - google "death wobble" or "wobble of death" - the first time your wife experiences that is likely to be the last time she drives that truck.

Where/when do you feel the vibration - in the steering ? See the paragraph above - the steering damper that has been fitted will suppress (or mask) wobble of death, but does not eliminate it.

Is it a drive-line vibration? When solid axle leaf sprung vehicles are lifted, the front axle "rotates" top to front (this is what causes the camber angle issues mentioned earlier), it also changes the pinion angle, which can cause the drive shaft UJs to run at different angles, which is one source of drive-line vibration.

The SJ413s were never the most refined of vehicles, and when modified, as your has been, they become less refined, so, unless your wife is an "off road" type and willing to accept the compromise of an ill mannered vehicle to gain the advantages that the modifications bring - get her a car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Fordem, I am the new guy here and appreciate what you have said. The vibration is mainly in the drive train & as you say quite possibly down to it being lifted. The points you make about the steering & difficulties in maintaining a caster angle are probably what I am experiencing. I will try to get that checked out along with whatever else can be wrong with the steering geometry. In Thailand the rural roads are pretty poor & the town is 15Km away so I reckon she [the wife] can handle that. My car is a Maserati 3200GT & it scares the crap out of her. So as long as she doesn't google wobble of death I reckon she is stuck with it - for now it chugs along at 60 Km/hr & at that speed it is within her capabilities. Will let you know how I get on & thanks!
 

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Hi I'm new to this forum but I thought I would give you my 2cents worth. I'm a Toyota tech of 28 years and soon to be shop owner forget the get rid of it post if your wife likes it than its time to get to work cause the wife is happy everybody happy! First start with a thorough check of the front steering and bushings if anything is questionable replace it . Two things besides the basic checks is the wheel bearings there should be 0 play second is kin pin bearings these have to be tight and within Suzuki specs too loose and this will lead to wobble and I'll handling after all that checks good get an alignment a good Ali


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Sorry phone went dead a good alignment a lot of times those longer shackles will kill caster which keeps front wheels going straight down the road . If caster is not within spec caster shims are available to correct that problem . I hope that helps !


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Thanks Jfournier, I appreciate any input & can understand Fordem's point of view. I am reasonably sure I can get to the bottom of the problem & make the jeep a normal roadworthy car - it was never intended to be a highway blazer, just a rural run about. I can also take onboard the death-wobble comment as I presume it was meant with good intention but it is not what I have experienced. I have the combination of boat -like steering & excessive [drive train?] vibration. Like I said, I will get to the bottom of it & let you know. Thanks for the comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well happy to say both you guys were correct. Managed to find a Suzuki 4 x 4 shop about a mile from where I live.
Guys knew what I was suffering & to make sure they took it round the block. So the corrective actions as follows: Replace front wheel bearings (shot), replace both rubber engine mounts, replace one UJ on drive train, replace track rod ends & torsion bar ends, add hub free locks. Drives like a totally different machine, OK it still floats on the steering because of the large tires but put a smile back on the wife's face (Banned her from driving it until it was fixed). All up cost $260.
So in this instance there were just so many things wrong it was really difficult to pinpoint it.
Thanks very much for your help.
 
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