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Ford Bigot
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Discussion Starter #1
As many of you with the 2005+ Super Duties know, as soon as you add a suspension lift, you are running on borrowed time with the stock track bar. The 2011s have had some issues with a front end shimmy and the occasional spout of death wobble due to bushing failure.

I bought a Zone Offroad 4" suspension lift for my 2011 F-350 because I thought buying stock type tires wasn't enough of a challenge. But I digress. The kit came with a new track bar to keep the front axle pretty well centered, and to be honest it was pretty stout looking.

After a year and a half of driving it, I noticed a distinct clunk when cycling the suspension. I had GRMHick cycle the wheel for me and noticed the factory ball joint that was pressed into the axle had about 1/2 inch of plunge in it. The truck only has 25,000 miles on it. I knew I had to make this better.

I had done some searching for bars that eliminate the lower ball joint. I found some good track bar solutions for this, and some downright retarded ones

The Good:
Baja Customs Trac-Inator Ford SuperDuty F250/F350 Track Bar


Whoever designed this, clearly knows his shit. The price is good for what you get. The only issue I had with buying this is, I'm cheap and the custom machined uni-ball makes possible replacement in the future next to impossible. Also, there was a 7+ day lead time with it. I couldn't wait - I wanted to go wakeboarding and needed my truck back together

The Bad:
ReadyLIFT Ford Super Duty Anti Wobble Trac bar


This one (in addition to being wildly overpriced) creates a situation where there will be bump steer. If you look at the SD axle, the lower pivot point is the exact centerline of the balljoint. Moving that rotation point up with a simple bracket like RL's will cause bumpsteer. Someone clearly did zero engineering on this thing. An 8th grader with graph paper could figure this one out.

Parts list:
RuffStuff
  • 3 feet 2" x .250" wall DOM
  • 1.25 heim
  • 1.25 hex insert
  • 3/4" misalignment spacers (more on those)
Poly Performance
  • 1 inch uni-ball with carrier
Home Depot
  • 2 5/8 hole saw
  • 1 can WD-40

Total cost $225

My first order of business is getting the old shitty ball joint out. I rented a ball joint tool, keep in mind that you will have to cut the shaft of the original BJ to even have a chance of getting the tool to fit over it.



Side by side comparison:



Next I tacked a guide plate to the top with a 1/4" hole in it to guide my hole saw to keep it centered in the bracket. I made sure to keep an even amount of material on all sides. The pictures are deceiving: the bracket is cast steel welded to the axle tube and it's over an inch thick. Drilling it out sucked.





Next after cleaning out the hole, I mocked in the uniball cup. Keep in mind that you still have to press the uniball in and out of this, but it means you can just order a new one if this guy ever wears out.


 

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Ford Bigot
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Discussion Starter #2
Since I liked Baja Customs idea so much, I decided to let it be my inspiration.

First thing I needed to do was machine the misalignment spacers to fit the stock super duty track bar bracket. Stock Super Duties use a 20mm bolt, which is about .037 bigger than 3/4". I also had to narrow them down to fit in the 1 5/16 spacing of the stock bracket. The heim is approximately 1 3/16 wide on the ball. I have no pictures of this, but I chucked these guys up in a lathe and turned them down to the right dimensions.

The next order of business is to put the characteristic 15* bend in the track bar so it clears both the drag link and the front cross member. 2" 250 wall is some hard shit to bend. Fortunately my parent's neighbor had a bender capable of this operation.



Cutting this heavy bastard down to size:



No was to press brake some 3/8 plate to clamp the new uni-ball in double sheer. This is Pirate, double sheer is always necessary. Someone should have told the factory this.



Welding continues...



Bolted in and driving:



The clunk has gone away, and the truck drives great. Mission success. Did I mention this thing was heavy? It sucked to put in there alone.
 

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Ford Bigot
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Discussion Starter #3
Here's the bar next to my hand for size comparison. This track bar is massive.



And finally one of the uni-ball side. I forgot to mention I pre-heated and post heated this guy and peened the weld. Seems to be holding up!

 

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Looks good. What was the time involved vs bolting in the Baja customs kit?
 

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That's a lot of work to stick with a stock style mount. I just cut mine off and bought a ruff stuff Trac bar kit.
 

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That's a lot of work to stick with a stock style mount. I just cut mine off and bought a ruff stuff Trac bar kit.
This.
 

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Ford Bigot
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Discussion Starter #9

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Step one cut off old one, step two weld on new one? No drilling or pressing or fancy stuff needed.

No pics. Some day.
 

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Not bashing what you did, just the factory mounting style limits travel and will wear out that joint quicker. The other option with the ruff stuff mount, you cut off the old mount, and weld on the ruff stuff offset mount and it moves the bolt centerline for the hiem joint parallel to the ground putting the joint in its strongest and longest lasting position and range of movement, plus the track bar is way simpler with just two hiem joints.
 

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Not bashing what you did, just the factory mounting style limits travel and will wear out that joint quicker. The other option with the ruff stuff mount, you cut off the old mount, and weld on the ruff stuff offset mount and it moves the bolt centerline for the hiem joint parallel to the ground putting the joint in its strongest and longest lasting position and range of movement, plus the track bar is way simpler with just two hiem joints.
Heims are nice, but on a road rig, will generally be a harsher/noiser ride.

I've got the Ruffstuff kit on my truck, and it's loads better than the factory. Pretty sure I had them swap out the heims for bushings though. (great guys to work with, btw).

Additionally, from my experience, Heims/johhny joints wear out faster. I have a set of Ballistic joints (from shortly before they went full retard) on my radius arms, and they're pretty noisy after 2 years/40K miles. I don't have weird bump steer or anything, just a little wandering. I suspect the Ballistic joints are the cause.
 

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Ballastic & johnny joints & ruff stuff heims are just cheap crap joints with shitty tolerances that are not worth the money. A set of EMF joints is what I would put in a street driven rig. Rebuildable & adjustable, best joints on the market, period.

Yeah bushing or heim will work just as well as the other provided the bolt centerline is parallel with the ground. With the bushing mounted this you will not be working the bushing material back and forth, which would cause excessive wear, leading to issues earlier on.
 

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Sorry that I don't have pics of something I haven't done yet? It's not rocket science. Look at the picture, only imagine a super duty axle welded underneath. It's like that.
 

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Pt_Ranger_V8;27257561I have a set of Ballistic joints (from shortly before they went full retard) on my radius arms said:
The ballistic joints are rebuildable.
 

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Thanks FordFascist, like they say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".
I would like to correct one of your statements though;

The only issue I had with buying this is, I'm cheap and the custom machined uni-ball makes possible replacement in the future next to impossible.
The only thing custom is the uni-ball cup (spherical bearing housing). The uni-ball itself is a standard size and is readily available should it wear out. Replacing the stock ball joint would actually be harder than replacing the uni-ball in our set up.
I have no qualms with you being cheap though. Haha

Pic of the cup and uniball assembly...
 

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This one (in addition to being wildly overpriced) creates a situation where there will be bump steer. If you look at the SD axle, the lower pivot point is the exact centerline of the balljoint. Moving that rotation point up with a simple bracket like RL's will cause bumpsteer. Someone clearly did zero engineering on this thing. An 8th grader with graph paper could figure this one out.
After reading this statement, if I understand you right, it would appear that you don't understand "Bump steer" completely.

In a trac bar/drag link system, you ideally want both bars equal length, parallel and horizontal.

In your case, the biggest problem I can see is you bars are not horizontal. I understand that it's probably not possible to make them that way, but you could get them closer by lowering the upper drag link mount with a drop Pittman and raising the lower trac bar mount. (That rotation point)

In my case, (full hydro steering) obviously the drag link is not a factor, but raising the lower trac bar mount will help me.
 
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