I need some help. I drive a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo AWD. I love this Jeep and it is a phenomenal ride, except for one thing. It pulls to the right and will randomly jump to the left. It’s also really touchy and sensitive to the changes in the road surface, whether it be ruts in the road, to the pulling away from the crown in the road, or even the grooves in the road from previous tires.
We took it in to our mechanic and they replaced the steering damper and gave it a front end alignment, figuring that was the issue. Well, we drove it away from the mechanic’s and it handled much, much better, but it’s still pulling around.
So we took it back to the mechanic and they’re currently trying to figure out what could be wrong with it, they just finally got it up on the lift today. So I thought I would come to the Car Talk community and see if anyone on here had any ideas.
Now, this particular make of Jeep doesn’t allow you to turn off the 4 wheel drive. You have 3 choices, 4High, 4Lo, and neutral. There’s no normal 2 wheel drive. My dad thinks it may be the 4 wheel/AWD on this vehicle but I’m not sure. The Jeep only really starts to pull at speeds of 50 and over, but on some roads, it will spazz out and pull me all over the place. In order to go in a straight line, you need to turn the wheel about 15/20 degrees to the left.
I really love this Jeep and I’m hoping whatever is wrong with him is fixable. I hope all of this made sense and you can help me figure out what’s wrong with it. Has anyone else experienced this problem with their Jeep or worked on a Jeep with a similar issue??? Thanks so much!
Apparently 2001 - 2004 Grand Cherokees Have Non-Adjustable (Fixed) Caster And Camber Angles In The Front-End Making An Alignment To Get Rid Of Pulling Virtually Impossible.
That’s why Jeep came out with replacement “offset” ball-joints (three different ones) allowing adjustment of alignment angles of up to 1.5 degrees. This is all outlined in a Chrysler Technical Service Bulletin written for technicians and includes the alignment specs that go with the new ball joints.
Before jumping into this conclusion though, they give a check-list of things that should be inspected and tried, first.
You should be sure you’ve got OE matching wheels and tires set to correct pressure, tires not worn unevenly, no damaged or worn steering/suspension components, wheel bearings/hubs, no brake drag, etcetera.
Have the front tires been swapped, right for left, to see if anything changes ?
Have a technician pull up Chrysler’s TSB and have a look at it.
P.S. On second thought, If this was my Jeep that I loved, I’d make phone calls until I found a Jeep mechanic with modern alignment equipment and familiar with this whole Grand Cherokee alignment enchilada. In some cases a Jeep Dealership could be your best bet.
Are the wheels original and are the tires the recommended size? Has the Jeep been modified to raise or lower it? Does it sit level front to rear?