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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, this one's a little weird, so I'll try to describe as best I can. I was able to give my new Overland her first taste of dirt this weekend while we were out on an impromptu drive. Forest service road, gravel/dirt with a little mud. In truth, nothing that needed 4-low, or even a drive mode, but as the Jeep is brand new, wanted to test to make sure it was working right, and try out the Selec-Speed crawl mode.

So I dropped into 4-low, engaged the crawl and tested it going up and down a hill. Worked just fine (and as a first time is an interesting experience to boot). So at the bottom of the hill, I went to leave 4-Low. I was in a bit of a gulley, so I didn't have a lot of room to roll and get out of 4-Low. The first time, it didn't seem to disengage (after flashing, 4-Low light stayed lit). When I started to try again, a message flashed but was gone before I caught it, and I felt a tug on the steering wheel, almost like lane keep assist. It came out of 4-Low on the second try, but then I noticed that the steering wheel was putting up massive resistance. Imagine driving an old tractor with no manner of power steering in deep mud (the proverbial armstrong steering). It took a great deal of effort to turn the wheel.

Got to the end of the service road and back to pavement, but it was still stiff as anything. Finally found a place to pull off, turned off the engine and walked around just to see if I saw anything visible and hope it reset. Started up and everything was back to normal, with no resistance on steering, and as I noticed when back on the highway, lane keep assist was working normally as well.

I'll hopefully be able to test this again this weekend, but I was curious if anyone had any thoughts on what might have triggered that scenario? Not sure if it's something to worry about yet, especially as I'm not sure if I did something wonky trying to come out of 4-Low where I did, but figured I'd check if anyone had seen similar. The only thing I can think is something caused the steering wheel servo to engage, and in a way where it didn't release until I turned off the whole system.
 

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Well, off-road encountering some steering wheel bump or extra resistance is not unusual from the terrain, but you said you still had it on asphalt, so yea, its the surface causing it.

Steering wheel servo? Not sure what you mean by that?

In 2016, they switched to an electric steering rack. I've heard has adjustable steering boost, easily tailorable by electronics.

Perhaps something tailors the steering boost when you shift in and out of 4LOW and then the failure to get to the parameters to shift out 4LOW, and having to do a 2nd attempt, perhaps the steering boost didn't change properly.

You do know you can safely test the 4LOW on pavement, provided you have the road all to yourself. Only turning on pavement/asphalt in 4LOW is stressful (like it could break components stressful) on the drivetrain, as long as keep it slow and drive perfectly straight, you can shift into and out of 4LOW to test it out. I've done it myself several times just to exercise the system and test it out.

I have 2011 with the hydraulic power steering, no adjustability to it, so I have never encountered this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Steering wheel servo? Not sure what you mean by that?
I'm not sure what actual equipment is used, but as these vehicles are capable of steering themselves, I'm assuming some manner of servo motor is employed to turn the wheel. Something that is normally not engaged, or at least not active during normal use. The best way I can describe what it felt like is comparing to the lane keep assist. With that engaged, when you drift, you feel the steering wheel nudge to correct. If you try to resist the nudge (especially if the feature is set to high), it's much stiffer than if you're just normal steering. What I experienced was like an extreme version of that. The resistance to turn the wheel was very strong until I effectively reset the system turning the engine and electronics off (or as off as they go). So to an effect, it felt like whatever is used to turn the wheel automatically engaged and got stuck until I reset.
 

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The lane keeping with the steering bumps came with the electric steering rack in 2016 (at least I think). And electric motor rotates with the steering, and electricity energizes the motor so that it assists in turning the wheel. That electric current provided to the motor is computer controlled and thus can be tailored with settings to the computer. The lane keeping steering bump, just is the computer providing enough current to the motor to turn the steering wheel for a moment to bump it a little.

I don't think they had the lane keeping steering bump with the hydraulic power steering, this would require all sorts of valving and commanded valving changes via a computer, which I can easily see if something failed your steering wheel would pull hard to one side. i.e. simply to do with an electric steering rack with very little risk of something going horribly wrong, but very complicated and expensive to do with a hydraulic steering system with a risk of something going horribly wrong.

So there is no servo's in the system I am aware of, no decoupling or coupling, just an electric motor that spins while the steering wheel/rack is turning, and provides current to assist in the force to turn it or in the case of the steering bump enough force to drive it just a bit for a nudge of the wheel.

I'd be more suspicious the electric steering rack just turned off and you had no power steering until you reset it, or some sort of computer confusion turned down the steering assist down to its lowest level, so the steering felt stiff, i.e. it required more force to turn the wheel than normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, wasn't sure how they employed the automatic steering, just that I'm pretty sure that it was somehow engaged in a fluke. In this case, it was beyond just not having power steering. It took a pretty major effort just to turn the wheel. I've driven more than a few antiques with no manner of power steering, and this was much stiffer than anything I've ever driven.
 

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The WK2 is pretty darn heavy with pretty darn big tires, so no power boost to the steering would result in needing quite bit of force probably more than antiques that had steering boxes designed with more mechanical advantage to deal with the lack power boost.

Off road, did something get stuck in the steering gear and space.

Unless it happens again, I would just chalk it up as a fluke.
 
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