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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)


So I finally got a chance to upgrade my track bar and steering components this past week. I was basically using stock parts and they were very worn out. I had bent and re-straightened the track bar several times and it was to the point it would bend every time I hit a little something sideways.

These kits are first rate and a nice upgrade for any moderate or hard core wheeling. Check them out at the link below. 7/8" Heim Joints and 1.5" X .250 wall DOM.


Great parts available from Ruff Stuff Specialties.


I was in quite a hurry and made a couple mistakes that I will fix later. My welding is a little rough in spots but nothing is coming off thats for sure. This XJ is strictly used for off road wheeling but I do have it licensed and insured just in case I have to drive on a public road.

Track Bar frame bracket. Dropped steering arm and Heim Joints



Frame bracket.



Axle Bracket for Track Bar and steering components. The kits come complete with everything you need. The only thing you have to purchase separately is the two bolts for the steering knuckles. The Track Bar kit comes with grade 8 fine thread bolts.



Notice how the track bar and steering bar are almost parallel. They travel in the same basic plane so bump steer is minimal.



New Neoprene cover for my winch. This is the one Warn sells for the 9.5TI but it fits my little M8000 perfectly.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
38.5 X 15 X 16 Boggers

I cut the small lug off my brand new boggers. It's incredible how much of an improvement it made. I knew it would be huge but i didn't realize how much it would help.



I used a hot chisel bit on an air hammer. It was simple and safe and made for a perfect cut every time with no damage to the tire anywhere else. I left about 1/8" of the lug to help if be more puncture resistant.



This is only about 4" of mud but the tires cleaned out like this in all the mud I have thrown at them. Even soupy mud with lots of organic matter they clean out perfectly. I ran the tires uncut on the same trail a couple days before and they just balled up and spun. I can just crawl right through mud that I had to stand on the throttle to get through before. I am super happy with the boggers now.

 

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Looks good! Did you have any clearance issues on your diff cover with the steering? I've got the same kit sitting in the garage and have yet to put it on cause the tie rod contacts the diff at full lock. I'll probably have to put some bends in it, but wanted to ask someone who's already installed it.
 

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The track bar mount dosent look good. you welded a 1/4in thick bracket directly to the sheet metal unibody. The Unibody will ripoff along the edge of your weld. you need to first plate the unibody over a larger area before welding brackets to it. The OEM bracket had a better chance of surviving then how you welded that on.
 

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The track bar mount dosent look good. you welded a 1/4in thick bracket directly to the sheet metal unibody. The Unibody will ripoff along the edge of your weld. you need to first plate the unibody over a larger area before welding brackets to it. The OEM bracket had a better chance of surviving then how you welded that on.
X2, that was the first thing I though when I saw that mount. That's going to rip right off
 

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Intent was good, execution is lacking a bit.

You have been told, but whether you're willing to listen and make the changes will determine how the rest of this thread will go... could be entertaining if nothing else.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The track bar mount dosent look good. you welded a 1/4in thick bracket directly to the sheet metal unibody. The Unibody will ripoff along the edge of your weld. you need to first plate the unibody over a larger area before welding brackets to it. The OEM bracket had a better chance of surviving then how you welded that on.
You're right and I have no worthy excuse for welding it on this way except I was in a hurry. I will wheel it like this for the summer and see how things go.

Thanks for the comments and I will keep a close eye on the mount as the summer progresses.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Looks good! Did you have any clearance issues on your diff cover with the steering? I've got the same kit sitting in the garage and have yet to put it on cause the tie rod contacts the diff at full lock. I'll probably have to put some bends in it, but wanted to ask someone who's already installed it.
The front axle is a Dana 44 High Pinion circa '79 F250. The tie rod clears the diff cover by almost a 1/4". I will try to get a picture of it at full lock.
 

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So I finally got a chance to upgrade my track bar and steering components this past week. I was basically using stock parts and they were very worn out. I had bent and re-straightened the track bar several times and it was to the point it would bend every time I hit a little something sideways.

These kits are first rate and a nice upgrade for any moderate or hard core wheeling. Check them out at the link below. 7/8" Heim Joints and 1.5" X .250 wall DOM.


Great parts available from Ruff Stuff Specialties.


I was in quite a hurry and made a couple mistakes that I will fix later. My welding is a little rough in spots but nothing is coming off thats for sure. This XJ is strictly used for off road wheeling but I do have it licensed and insured just in case I have to drive on a public road.

Track Bar frame bracket. Dropped steering arm and Heim Joints



Notice how the track bar and steering bar are almost parallel. They travel in the same basic plane so bump steer is minimal.

how much travel do you have left in that heim on the pitman arm? does it bind you up when the Pass side is drooped and turned to the right?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
how much travel do you have left in that heim on the pitman arm? does it bind you up when the Pass side is drooped and turned to the right?

The pitman arm end has plenty of clearance and doesn't bind at all. On the passenger side steering arm end I had to massage the misallignment bushings some to get all the parts to fit and not rub on my wheels.

I just ordered a set of drilled and tapped, flat topped steering knuckles and High Steer arms to make the upgrade complete and provide more clearance for wheels, heims, tie rods and the like.

My stock stuff was severely compromised and I needed to upgrade these components immediately. I spent the 4 day Memorial weekend wheeling every day. The improvements were very noticeable. As with any project of this kind when you make an improvement in one area you expose a weakness in another. As pointed out with the frame end of my track bar, I may have created a weakness that wasn't there before.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The track bar mount dosent look good. you welded a 1/4in thick bracket directly to the sheet metal unibody. The Unibody will ripoff along the edge of your weld. you need to first plate the unibody over a larger area before welding brackets to it. The OEM bracket had a better chance of surviving then how you welded that on.
After doing a bit more research and finding a few threads here I have decided to fix my frame side track bar mount immediately instead of waiting for the inevitable. It will be much easier to just fix it correctly now rather than wait for the frame to crack which will cause many additional head aches.

Here's what I am thinking. Purchase a new frame bracket from RuffStuff for $24. Fabricate a bolt on angle bracket that will tie in to all of the OEM mounting holes. Weld the frame bracket to the angle bracket and bolt the new assembly in place using factory hardware or the equivalent.

I should have about $40 in the fix.

Thoughts?
 

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That's pretty much exactly what I did. Instead of angle I used some 8" square tube and cut out the pattern I wanted.



It's worked out well so far.

While you're making a new bracket you should use it as an opportunity to fix that steering geometry too.
 

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After doing a bit more research and finding a few threads here I have decided to fix my frame side track bar mount immediately instead of waiting for the inevitable. It will be much easier to just fix it correctly now rather than wait for the frame to crack which will cause many additional head aches.

Here's what I am thinking. Purchase a new frame bracket from RuffStuff for $24. Fabricate a bolt on angle bracket that will tie in to all of the OEM mounting holes. Weld the frame bracket to the angle bracket and bolt the new assembly in place using factory hardware or the equivalent.

I should have about $40 in the fix.

Thoughts?
Smart move. Especially since it was never going to "crack off" it was going to "rip off" and where the unibody stopped tearing is anybody's guess. Yeah, that weekend would really blow! For you, and everybody on the trail with you!

As for the fix, I see no reason why you can't cut that bracket off and re-use it. Like Ashman said, just plate the unibody where the mount is. If you want to use the stock holes, that's cool, but weld it on too. I like stitch welds along with a few rosettes.

Good luck, and good for you for coming around,
Billy
 

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on top of all the work to re-enforce the trac bar mount on the frame, it wouldn't hurt to add a support from the pass side, under the engine to the trac-bar bar mount.
plate the pass side, bend a piece of tube, or cut/notch some square stock (to save $$) and have it reach across to bolt/weld to the trac-bar mount. providing it clears everything at full stuff, it would help tie both sides together and reduce a bit of body/frame flex.

steering box brace, and/or plating the area the steering box bolts pass through the frame wouldn't hurt either.

preventative maintenance is always cheaper.
 

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te bottom of the frame rail need to be bolted together with the stock tb bracket bolts or expect this to happen real quick



seen it happen several times to those who didnt use the bolts, theres several layers of sheetmetal there that are just spot welded together


i used the ruffstuff bracket conected to a piece of 1/4" plate bolted then stitch welded in place
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It's been a while since I've been on so I figure it was time for an update.

I fixed my track bar mount with a Rubicon Express 1665 bracket and RE 1670 brace. I can't thank you guys enough for pointing out the deficiencies with my original set-up. This has prevented serious and likely catastrophic failure of my frame.










I ordered the C-Rok Frame/Steering Box support kit and will be installing that as soon as it arrives.

Hydro Assist over the winter will take even more stress off my steering box and frame. I should be pretty set after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I picked up this roof rack from a guy I met at a local 4X4 Meet and Greet. To keep it as low as possible, I removed the sliding rails and bolted it directly to the fixed rails on the roof using 6mm x 85mm Allen head cap screws. I installed this 32" CREE light bar as well as a Shovel, Axe and Handyman. I also carry my spare tire up there



I sometimes wonder if it really makes sense to carry all that extra weight with me on every trip but I do like the security of knowing I have a spare tire with me when I am 10 miles from the trailer.



I installed a cowl snorkel to prevent water ingestion while splashing through water crossings. Some might be skeptical of it's effectiveness but after the mud race this fall I washed my jeep with a 2" fire hose and i sprayed water directly at the cowl opening at the base of the windshield. The motor was running and not even 1 drop of water got into the airbox. Total cost $28 and I don't have to worry about ripping it off when I rub up against a tree.





 

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Discussion Starter #19
I slapped in some Spicer u-joints into my steering axles. This should take care of me for the rest of the season until I get the RCV's procured over the winter.



I installed a lunch box locker in the front of my HP44. I have wheeled this thing pretty hard, 4 days a week for the last 3 months and it has not let me down yet. I'm impressed with how well it has held up. I will inspect it closely this winter when I upgrade my front axle and give an update but for sure this is possibly the best $230 I have spent on this rig.

 

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Discussion Starter #20
I cut and trimmed my front fenders some more to give me some extra tire clearance. I trimmed the sharp edge with some rubber split molding I picked up at a local rubber supply store. No more mud gets hung up in my cut and fold job that I had before.







I built a little trailer to haul behind my XJ for hunting or extended camping trips. We sometimes go camping out in the woods for a couple days so the trailer becomes the kitchen area of the camp. It has legs so it can stand on it's own, a propane bottle for cooking and a lantern and a back rack for carrying an action packer or extra fuel. 31" tires and a full suspension.





 
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