Jeep Wrangler JL - Fox Steering Stabilizer Performance Series 2.0 TS

Discussion in 'Cars, Motorcycles, Boats, Airplanes Talk' started by purr1n, Apr 4, 2024.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Those who have driven Jeep Wranglers, especially the 2 door with the shorter wheelbase, know how wobbly they can get a highway speeds. Of course there is also the risk of the "death wobble", where the front wheels oscillate from side to side uncontrollably where the only recourse is to completely stop the vehicle. Supposedly the Wrangler JL models released in 2018 did away with the issue, but there are still reports of this occurring. I think there have even been a TSB released regarding this, with Jeep replacing a the steering stabilizer, which is a shock that mounts horizontally to the front axle that dampens steering movement. Evidently the death wobble doesn't just affect Jeeps. I spoke with my neighbor (he's retired but still works on cars) and he mentioned that the Ford F150s were affected by this, and that a change to a better shock fixes the issue. Worn bushings among many other things can also be the cause of the death wobble, but I digress.

    [​IMG]

    I don't have that many my miles on the JL 2-door, but it's been driven off-road quite a bit in demanding terrain. Couple that with bigger 33" tires (285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers), and we can count of that the stock steering stabilizer shock being kaput. My JL 2-door is the Willys model with the red Rubicon shocks, which still seem good. However, I don't think Jeep/Chrysler/Stellantis/Daimler/Whatever ever gave a crap about the steering shock regardless of model / trim.

    I figured this was a good time to replace this part given that I never felt comfortable with the wobbly feel on the highway, and that I got bigger wheels with less offset to push the tires out further that would strain the parts more. I didn't want to go crazy like some people I see in town. However, I did want to get more stability and lower the risk of rollover with a wider track and feel safer with the high winds here in Corpus, especially going over tje JFK causeway / bridge to the Island. The Method Racing MR305 wheels pushed out the tires about 1.5" out from the fender (they used to be flush) for wider track of about 3". That 3" made a huge difference in stability. Finally, the MR305s are 8.5" wide, which is an 1" wider than the stock wheels. This allows the 33" tires to seat better with a firmer less squishy feel. I was tempted to get 35" tires (315/70s will fit), but I figured I would wear these current set of tires down first.

    IMG_1738.jpg

    Oh, by the way, I am on vacation, that is taking time off work to recharge.
     
    • Like Like x 6
    • Epic Epic x 2
    • List
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Here is a comparison of the parts. The stock is on the top with the mounting bracket to the axle. The Fox Performance Series 2.0 TS is below - it comes with its own mounting bracket. The stock part was essentially non-functional. I could very easily compress or extend the stock at quite a decent rate with my arms holding the ends. (This shouldn't happen - as only forces in the hundreds of pounds should be moving it this fast). The Fox shock in comparison needed about 10-15 seconds of consistently applied force to get it to move maybe half an inch! Fox stuff is pricey, so I expect this part to last the lifetime of the vehicle (I would be curious how long the upgraded Rubicon Red shocks from the manufacturer last).

    IMG_1730.jpg

    If I had to do it again, I would get the Fox part that is a direct mount replacement instead of the one with the mounting bracket. The reason is that two bolts to the mounting bracket are a serious pain in the ass to get to unless the vehicle is on a lift with the wheels hanging down. (Jacking up the car with the jack stands on the axle will not work). Having the wheels/axle extend down will drop a suspension piece that would normally be in the way of those bolts, where I could use an impact wrench to loosen them. Instead, I had to borrow my neighbor's flex-head 13mm ratcheting wrench and use the old mechanics two wrench trick to get more leverage to loosen (and tighten back) the bolts.

    IMG_1735.jpg

    Anyway, the feel is now fantastic. The steering feels more accurate, is less rubbery, and doesn't wobble around at highway speeds. The steering is a tiny bit on the overdamped side, there is some feel you are working against the shock, but I am fine with this because I prefer some steering effort (my first two cars were fully manual steering Toyota Corolla and Honda CRX). The Fox part isn't adjustable (we would need to pay much more to get the adjustable damping version).

    This below is what I am talking about. Those two bolts holes on the bracket are right behind one of the steering bars if the Jeep is not on a lift with the wheels extending down. Yes, a serious pain in the ass. If I had to do it again, I would have gotten the Performance Series 2.0 IFP (without the bracket) that just bolts into the factory bracket (no need to remove it).
    PIA.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Epic Epic x 2
    • List
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2024
  3. JK47

    JK47 Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2022
    Likes Received:
    2,280
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Surf City USA
    Awesome write up, I replaced the stock steering dampener on mine a few years ago with a Bilstein. Definitely a noticeable, worthy, low cost upgrade.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    I feel dumb that I didn't replace the steering dampeners sooner. I should have gone with the Bilstein (it would have been easier to install*). Bilstein makes good parts that last. The Fox stuff comes at a premium because of the strength of the brand.

    *Oh I know why I didn't. I got scared off because on some Jeeps, the carriage bolt is squared, necessitating another trip the auto parts store and possibly drilling. Just extra stuff I didn't want to deal with. Not that it mattered because the Bilstein would still have been an easier install.
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2024
  5. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

    Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,848
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shocks are pretty beat on my 2012 two door JK but have thus far been hanging in there. I expect they'll be a replacement in the future as she's rounding 100k miles
     
  6. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    10,003
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Texas and California
    Home Page:
    I need to do this on Lisa's JL 2-door. It steers like a 400K mile 1985 mini-truck with a pile of 16 mattresses lashed to the bed.
     
  7. JK47

    JK47 Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2022
    Likes Received:
    2,280
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Surf City USA
    Saw 5 of those on the I5 today
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    It will still drive like a Jeep. Like a 100K mile 1985-mini-truck with 3 matresses instead of 16.

    This is the part without the bracket - uses the stock bracket. Much easier install, unless you have a lift.
    https://www.extremeterrain.com/fox-...es-20-ifp-steering-stabilizer-985-24-173.html

    It feels a bit overdamped the first day or two, then normal afterward. May be worth seeing if you can get a degree or two increased caster. (No idea on alignment yet).
     

Share This Page