tireman9

Any tire problems with 2007 Jeep Liberty Sport?

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tireman9   

Trying to help a fellow Rv owner who flat tows a 2007 Jeep Liberty Sport with their new to them 2007 Holiday Rambler Ambassador 40PDQ .

They suffered a tire failure (belt separation) on the LF and some damage to the tread on the RF.

My read on the tire damage is that the steering was turned way to the right and would not re-center resulting in the tire being dragged sideway with the resulting belt & tread being partially torn off.

 

Comments or ideas appreciated

 

Jeep LF.pdf

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jleamont   

The only time I have ever come across that was the steering wheel lock was engaged and the vehicle was dragged down the road. 

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I am with Joe on this. it was at a pretty good angle to wear like that. I would do a search as I think there is a recall/problem with the steering locking when it isn't supposed to. 

Bill

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I would think dragging a tire sideways would leave a significant trail of rubber. If they were at speed that would make me believe they had a LF blowout which in turn cased the steering wheel to turn to the left causing the tread damage to the right tire. Did they have a TPMS?

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campcop   

I agree, sounds like the steering wheel was locked. I don’t know when Jeep stopped locking the steering wheels however I think it was after 2007. I don’t recall any problem with steering during that time frame either.

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tireman9   

The owners think they had the steering unlocked. I will agree they could be mistaken.  Both tires were rotating because the damage was 360 degrees around the tread.

I think the tires turned sideways to the right when the Jeep was pulled around a corner but when the RV went back to straight the tires on the Jeep did not go back to straight ahead but remained turned to the right.  The left front suffered the most damage on its outer shoulder and the right tire had less overall damage due to weight transfer. The RF also suffered its greatest damage but on the inner side which is in line with the idea the steering was turned right. In the picture, it can be seen that the outer shoulder of the RF tire shows almost no signs of being dragged which also lines up with the tire being stuck turned to the right while the Jeep was being pulled straight ahead.

Most vehicles have what is called "self-aligning torque" which is supposed to bring the tires back to straight ahead if you let go of the steering wheel. I am wondering if this force is lower on Jeeps.

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10 minutes ago, tireman9 said:

The owners think they had the steering unlocked. I will agree they could be mistaken.  Both tires were rotating because the damage was 360 degrees around the tread.

I think the tires turned sideways to the right when the Jeep was pulled around a corner but when the RV went back to straight the tires on the Jeep did not go back to straight ahead but remained turned to the right.  The left front suffered the most damage on its outer shoulder and the right tire had less overall damage due to weight transfer. The RF also suffered its greatest damage but on the inner side which is in line with the idea the steering was turned right. In the picture, it can be seen that the outer shoulder of the RF tire shows almost no signs of being dragged which also lines up with the tire being stuck turned to the right while the Jeep was being pulled straight ahead.

Most vehicles have what is called "self-aligning torque" which is supposed to bring the tires back to straight ahead if you let go of the steering wheel. I am wondering if this force is lower on Jeeps.

If you do a search like I said there are numerous people posting about the steering wheel lock engaging and several other steering column problems. 

Or they just messed up and left it locked.

Bill

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jleamont   

I'm betting it seemed unlocked, when the wheels turned in a corner it re locked at 10 or 2. We have only ever towed Jeeps with 4 down, stock, lifted with oversized tires, never experienced a problem with the wheels not returning to center. 

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manholt   

I had it happen on my 2009 Jeep Wrangler, it had the "do not lock " and a construction zone in FL. popped it into lock.  A nice Teen waved me down, it had just happened & not much rubber burn.  Brand new (700+/- miles) Firestone tires!  2 weeks later, I had a 2012 Chevy Colorado 4x4, V8.

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campcop   

I recall our 94 wrangler had to be left unlocked. Sort of a chintzy setup and with the key in the ignition, especially if you have several keys on the key ring, It was easy to lock the steering column.

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dianahc   

I'm the owner of this unfortunate Jeep - I met Tireman9 on another forum - I don't think he knew I was a member here when he helpfully posted here looking for input into what happened.

We're as certain as we can be that the steering wheel was unlocked when we took off - I stand outside the Jeep while my husband puts it into towing mode, and I watched him unlock the steering column and turn the steering wheel in both directions to make sure it moved freely. We made a right turn out of the RV resort, a more gentle right a couple of hundred feet later onto the highway and then drove straight until the blowout alarm on the TPMS went off.  We had the rearview camera on the Jeep (from the hood up and back), and never noticed anything wrong. When we stopped, the front wheels were facing forward, and after the tow truck driver removed the fairing (and we picked up the blown-off fender and driver's door trim up the road a bit) and changed the tire, my husband double-checked that the steering column was still unlocked - it was. By the way, we had had our mechanic install the TPMS just before we left on this trip.

In retrospect, I'm sure SOMETHING was visibly wrong - at least two people honked at us as they passed us - and we thought they were just being friendly - not a mistake we'll make again!

Our mechanic was sure it was an alignment problem, although it was perfect when we had him check out the Jeep before we bought it from a private party in December - but it was still true, despite the stress it must have been under being dragged with the wheels sideways. We bought 5 new tires (and new metal valve stems), as we didn't trust the not-very-old Chinese tires (Sunfull - DOT 2316, and they were the right size) and the never-used full sized spare got us home, but it was original equipment on the Jeep. Amazingly, our mechanic was able to re-install the plastic fairing, fender and trim after buying new plastic clips and it doesn't look much the worse for wear.  We have a Garmin 760 GPS which we had paired with a rearview camera in our previous rig, which we did not take off when we sold it, so I bought a new rearview camera which we are going to mount much lower than the integrated camera on the back of the HR.

We even investigated having the mechanic remove the steering lock mechanism, but it would be very costly for labor due to the airbag - he talked us out of it, and doubted that that was what happened. There are no open recalls or reports on problems with the steering column on the Jeep Liberty, and the "death wobble" that has been reported in Jeep Wranglers and/or Cherokees (can't recall which) relates to a front end mechanical set-up that is not relevant to the Liberty (so I've been told).

But I am still uneasy at the idea that we may never know what caused the wheels to turn and for us to drag the Jeep that way for possibly 20 miles, or how to make sure it will never happen again. Next on the list of things to investigate - is it possible the Blue Ox tow arm didn't lock on one side? Could that have caused the front wheels to get stuck sideways after making the right turn out of the parking lot?

I don't like mysteries - I'm a scientist, and this is something that should be answerable, dammit! Now, I'm uneasy about our upcoming 5000+ mile summer trip.

Thanks to all who wrote in and helped, and especially Tireman!

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jleamont   

Can you attach a photo of the Jeep connected to the coach? perhaps that might show something.

 

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jleamont   

I do agree with your mechanic. Camber being off will cause the steering wheel not to return to center, however if that was off it would have been miserable to drive prior to hooking up to the coach. Combine that with it being dragged behind the coach would have forced it to return to center even if it was off. 

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wolfe10   
3 minutes ago, jleamont said:

I do agree with your mechanic. Camber being off will cause the steering wheel not to return to center, however if that was off it would have been miserable to drive prior to hooking up to the coach. Combine that with it being dragged behind the coach would have forced it to return to center even if it was off. 

Joe,

I believe you mean if there is insufficient CASTER the wheel will not return to center with as much authority.

Incorrect camber would cause wear on the inside or outside of the tire.

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campcop   

As stated, a good inspection of the tow bar may be in order. If one side did not lock, or jammed, the toad could be pulled at an angle.

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I flat towed a 2006 Jeep liberty limited with a diesel and used a dummy key to unlock the steering for about 40,000 miles.  One time I forgot and went only about 1/2 mile before noticing something wrong.  I got out at a stop sign leaving the campground .  I noticed the front tires putting load on themselves as well as the tow bar.  The steering was close to straight but would of cause major problems if I exited and went down the highway.  The SRX4 I tow now don't have a steering lock but you can smell rubber with long travel on highways.  That is because the coach is steering the car, not like normal driving.  If you feel the steering not returning to center, align with the caster set to maximum.  

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One time with a Jeep Wrangler. About 150 feet. Can be done but not one of my favorite things to do. I would have been better off unhooking.

Herman

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jleamont   

Almost did it on our 03 Wrangler, I rocked the wheel left and right missed the locks, sat in the coach and something didn't feel right, so I went back and muscled the steering wheel (Jeep engine off) just a little farther and it locked. Suspicions were correct, ignition wasn't sitting in the right spot. 

Bill I have backed up every Toad except when using the dolly. This Jeep tracks straight for about 100 feet when I see the wheels start to turn in the camera I stop. Sometimes you got to do what you got to do to reposition the coach. 

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manholt   

WBill.  Several times at truck stops for fuel, varying reasons to do so.  Backed up at Canada border in 1982, they would not allow me to make a U turn or to disconnect toad, my DW sat behind the wheel of toad...about a 1/4 mile!  Hope never to do that again!!! 

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dianahc   

Never backed it up (this was our second trip with this new coach and toad). 

"a good inspection of the tow bar may be in order. If one side did not lock, or jammed, the toad could be pulled at an angle." That is indeed next on the agenda. 

Will report back when that gets done (mechanic is busy and we're not in a hurry at the moment - next trip is not for over a month).

I don't have a pic of it hooked up, though it looked just fine, nothing was changed but the tire, including not touching the tow bar, and it was towed home without further incident.

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jleamont   

dianahc, when it was checked to see it if was unlocked how far was the wheel turned with the engine off in the jeep? The reason I ask...if it wasn't turned from 9 to 3 there is a high probability the column wasn't unlocked. I asked another member on here that has the same jeep as yours, that was how it was explained to me. 

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