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Old 03-03-2010, 12:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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TOTM: Panhard Bars (Trackbar)

Welcome to the next contribution to the
The Official Pirate4x4.com Jeep Talk Bible

Topic of the Month Panhard BArs

This includes Panhard bars upgrades also known as Trackbars, frame and axle mounts, rod end types, length, link material, angle with respect to the steering drag link, this is for fabrication typically needed for axle swap upgrades and high steer upgrades

This does not include other suspension links or steering links. This does not include bolt on kits.

A panhard bar is the horizontal suspension link that locates the axle left to right. The factory suspension 5link uses two upper control arms, two lower control arms and the Panhard bar. It is important to make the panhard bar parallel with the drag link or you will have bump steer. Secondly the panhard bar should be close to the same length as the draglink to prevent bump steer.
A steep angle on the panhard bar and drag link is not desirable, Competition Rockcrawlers typically have negative angle on the panhard bar for added stability.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I do not have pictures here at work, but my trackbar is made from 7/8" chromo Hiems from Ruff Stuff. 1.75" OD 1.25" ID DOM.

Frame and axle mount is all 1/4" steel. Frame mount was welded to the unibody because it would flex regardless of of tight the 4 bolts were. Since welding I have had no problems with any of it. Even with a week of thrashing at KOH.

It will be relocated and lengthened when I switch over to coilovers in a couple months.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Competition Rockcrawlers typically have negative angle on the panhard bar for added stability.
Can someone post a picture that shows an example of this? Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Can someone post a picture that shows an example of this? Thanks.

This is all full compression but the bar will be just about parallel with the ground at ride height. But you get the idea.

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Old 03-03-2010, 01:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've been running flex joints on mine for quite some time and I'm tired of rebuilding/replacing them. Because of this, I've been thinking about running a good solid poly bushing at both ends. I figure it's simple and it'll keep everything nice and tight but still allow a bit of movement.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadman 94 xj View Post
I've been running flex joints on mine for quite some time and I'm tired of rebuilding/replacing them. Because of this, I've been thinking about running a good solid poly bushing at both ends. I figure it's simple and it'll keep everything nice and tight but still allow a bit of movement.

Thoughts?
What joints are you running? And how long do they last?
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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RE superflex. They usually last a few months. I grease and tighten them down before install. I'm just wondering if the joint in this application is really that necessary.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I wouldn't run any bushings in a panhard bar application. IMO it makes the steering vauge and unresponsive.
Heims have always worked for mine.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I wouldn't run any bushings in a panhard bar application. IMO it makes the steering vauge and unresponsive.
Heims have always worked for mine.
Good point about them being unresponsive. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Mine is just a JKS bar with bushings at both ends, but I can comment on its angle and length vs drag link. When I built the front axle I didn't have high steer, and I had the track bar and drag link identical length and angle. Broke the steering, went to high steer but didnt change the track bar. I've had it this way for a few years (and I'm still on it's FIRST set of bushings) with most of it DD duty. The steering is still very bearable, but I do have bump steer and you have to let the steering wheel float through bumps in the road. It's something I hardly even notice anymore but to someone hopping in for the first time it might be a suprise. I have plans to lengthen it to match the drag link here in the near future.

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Old 03-03-2010, 04:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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This is all full compression but the bar will be just about parallel with the ground at ride height. But you get the idea.
Thank you sir. It is clear to me now.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Bumping March Topic...

Running Heims on both ends of the track bar while better for zero plan in the front end side to side movement...
What is the likelihood that it will promote faster frame cracks in that area due to lack of bushing absorption? I want to brace it regardless even though it is slightly unnecessary in my application
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm rebuilding mine with balistic 2" flex joints at both ends. 1.25" OD DOM with adjustablilty at one end.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Bumping March Topic...

Running Heims on both ends of the track bar while better for zero plan in the front end side to side movement...
What is the likelihood that it will promote faster frame cracks in that area due to lack of bushing absorption? I want to brace it regardless even though it is slightly unnecessary in my application
I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jes View Post
I wouldn't run any bushings in a panhard bar application. IMO it makes the steering vauge and unresponsive.
Heims have always worked for mine.
I like this idea...if I'm running a RE heavy duty, should i replace the axle side bushing w/ a heim? Actually just ordered a replacement bushing from RE, but if i confirm this heim idea, I'll send it back and do something stronger.

Thanks

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Old 03-09-2010, 04:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Getting rid of bushings everywhere in my suspension - the trackbar especially - helped a ton towards making the truck feel more solid. Honestly it ain't even that bad driving on the road with all rigid joints.
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Here's my setup. Tubing is 1.25x.120 (a little skimpy, I know). 3/4 heims on both ends. I do not know the exact length of the panhard bar.

Here's how it sits at ride height.


This image best shows the axle mount.


And here's the frame mount.


And a quick pic of it wheeling.



I think I will upgrade to a 1.5x.250 tube sometime.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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The 1.25" should work out fine. I have an equal length piece of 1.5" I was going to use but it's overkill, IMO, with the little 2" joints. Not to mention the clearance issues in my application.

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Old 03-10-2010, 05:48 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xjcrawler736 View Post
I do not have pictures here at work, but my trackbar is made from 7/8" chromo Hiems from Ruff Stuff. 1.75" OD 1.25" ID DOM.

Frame and axle mount is all 1/4" steel. Frame mount was welded to the unibody because it would flex regardless of of tight the 4 bolts were. Since welding I have had no problems with any of it.
sounds much like mine. same heims, same material, uses 9/16" bolts at each end.

mine below, tnt customs at top

nevermind the coat of ps fluid

the tb mount is just some class 3 hitch tubing welded to a piece of 1/4" plate. the frame has been plated on the outside and below since this pic, and the tb mount welded to it.



If I were to do it again:
-went with heims years ago
-played with the axle end mount, so I could run a straight trackbar= easier adjustment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vetteboy79 View Post
Getting rid of bushings everywhere in my suspension - the trackbar especially - helped a ton towards making the truck feel more solid. Honestly it ain't even that bad driving on the road with all rigid joints.
my jeep is still a daily driver, and fairly mild on radial 35's. I was expecting a great increase in road noise and a crappier ride, but all i noticed was a tighter handling suspension. i will never run a rubber bushing in my front end again.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:00 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I just made a new one. I had a 2" JJ with a 7/16" bolt on the frame side. The bolt bent inside the joint. I was a pain in the butt. I swapped it out for a 3/4" heim. Axle side is a bushing from rod end supply. No problems with that or responsiveness.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:09 AM   #23 (permalink)
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KTMracer, what size coils are those in the first pic?

Hadfield, was it a grade 8 bolt? In double shear? If so, that doesn't seem right. I thought even a 7/16" grade 8 still has something like 100,000 ksi in shear strength.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:13 AM   #24 (permalink)
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You can get the 2" JJ with a .50" through bolt. It's an option you have to call for FWIW. I just decided to go with these over the ballistic joints, given my experience with adjustables...

The bolt he's probably talking about is the 7/16" greasable, which has a somewhat hollow center to allow the grease through. I never trusted them either.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
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given my experience with adjustables...
Please elaborate....
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