A steering damper, also known as a spirit stabilizer or steering stabilizer is installed in a car between the center link and the chassis. Its purpose is to act like a shock absorber and inhibit movement and vibration from the vehicle’s travel over bumps and ruts from translating to the steering wheel. Jeeps come with a factory installed steering damper.
Like your shock absorbers, the steering stabilizer will lose effectiveness with long term use and will eventually fail. Driving a Jeep, even in normal everyday conditions could be uncomfortable without a working steering damper. Also, an ineffective steering damper will cause your Jeep’s handling abilities to suffer. Below are step-by-step instructions how to install a steering damper in a Jeep.
Step 1 – Prepare the Jeep
Your Jeep is elevated more than a regular car but you should still lift the vehicle on stands, a lift, or on car ramps, being sure it is stable and can not roll or fall. Keep the front wheels straight. It will make for easier work.
Step 2 – Locate and Remove the Existing Damper
The existing damper will be located on the passenger side near the coil spring. Remove the bolts holding it and remove it on both ends. There may be a cotter pin as well. Break this to remove it. If there is a collection of dirt and grime around the area, it can’t hurt to wipe this away before installing your new damper.
Step 3 – Installing the Damper
The new damper will be installed just as the old one was removed. Place the damper on the mounting bracket near the coil spring and tighten the mounting bolt. Tighten loosely until the other side is attached. You can use the same bolt you took out when you removed the old damper or a new one if it was included in the damper kit. You will need a torque wrench for the final tightening.
Install the bolt on the other end into the hole in the center of the drag link. Once it is installed you can tighten fully. Be sure to use a torque wrench to tighten as well.
Always check the instruction guidelines for proper torque settings. They will vary between the 2 bolts.
Step 4 – Cotter Pin
You will see a hole in the bolt and a slot in the nut. Turn the nut just far enough that these two align: the first hole in the nut and the hole in the bolt. Take the cotter pin that was provided in your kit and insert it into this opening. Using pliers, open the cotter pin and wrap around out of the way if necessary.
Your new steering stabilizer should now be fully installed. You will now regain lost control and your steering wheel will not jerk when you go over bumps and into ditches, allowing the Jeep to perform to its fullest intended purpose.