Reader Question: Gladiator Looseness?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mark asks: I got a new Jeep Rubicon, a top of the line, sticker $63,000 and the steering is all over the place.

I bought it without driving it and who would have expected the vehicle would have steering issues that are dangerous? There was a FCA recall on the JL’s 2018 to 2020 over the steering that wanders all over the road. I took mine in and it has many of the same parts no matter the power steering pump location has been relocated. But it being a 2021 it wasn’t in the recall, no kidding and the service writer acknowledged that fact, it’s a year not included and must be exactly in the recall years.

Lowered the air pressure to 35 psi and tightened the sector gear 1/8 of a turn. That was a bit of an improvement but a  far cry from any kind of fix. Yes, the Jeep is dangerous at speeds over 45 mph and when the wind is up. I’m going to have a brace installed at about $550 to help the steering but it’s only a bandaid until the aftermarket steering company up in Fort Worth get the steering big bore kit figured out with the new for 2021 location on the PS pump and generator to set up a location for a fan belt to spin the PS pump. That will be out in the first quarter of 2022.

Not all the Wranglers are having this steering issue which to me is clear one of the vendors is making bad parts or when assembling the vehicle the steering is being damaged then we have the computer programming for the steering. Computer programming for steering, what an oxymoron and a dangerous one at that. By the way, the complaints on the 2021’s steering are rolling in with the NHTSA on the 2021 Wrangler’s steering issues. Online forums are seeing unhappy owners of new Wranglers posting about the very loose steering.

Any chance you can make some noise on this issue to help keep some Jeep owners from injury and death? Because the bums at FCA are hiding behind the “inc” to keep from spending any money on fixing the 2021 dangerous steering defects.

My reply: I spent a week in a Gladiator about three months ago and didn’t notice abnormal steering/controllability issues beyond the usual in a vehicle of this type in the test vehicle they sent me, so I can’t say anything about this from personal experience – other than that 4×4 vehicles with knobby tires, raised high off the ground and with aerodynamic profiles that make them vulnerable to wind buffeting at speed do often require a firmer hand on the wheel; preferably, both.

That said, there is a Technical Service Bulletin out (see here) that acknowledges customer complaints and which indicates there may be an issue with the gear – and the software (yes, indeed). Like many new vehicles, the Jeep has computer-controlled electric/hydraulic steering and I personally dislike the often numb, imprecise feel of these setups.

I will look into this some more and see what  can dig up… meanwhile, you may have recourse to Lemon Laws in your state and I would look into this. I would also try having a chat with the dealership’s manager – ideally, owner. You spent $63k on a new vehicle and aren’t happy. If the dealer is savvy – and isn’t a dick – he will try to make you so.

Keep us posted!

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  1. eric, I’ve experienced the same thing on vehicles and simply changed the tires. It was the difference between night and day. I bought a used 82 K2500 Chevy pickup with bias ply mud grips on it. It was horrible. I bought a new set of radial tires(it came with radials)and it drove like it was made to run hard.

    I’ve changed tires on other vehicles that were a bit obnoxious but the premium brand tire I replaced the originals with fixed the problem toot sweet…as the French would say. Yeah, I know it’s not toot sweet but I love to use that term, especially for those who would correct me.


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