Rocky Road OTT Highsteer Kit... Had to repair it, is it safe? - JeepForum.com
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Unread 04-23-2011, 11:06 PM   #1
Apollo12227
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Rocky Road OTT Highsteer Kit... Had to repair it, is it safe?

Sooooo.......... Its hard for me to write this thread and not be irriated with Rocky Road Outfitters. I have talked up their highsteer kit for over a year now and must finally come to terms with a flaw in their design. This issue be specific to my own experience as mean Max and others have had zero problems with them.

Overall I love the setup, however about 6 months after installing the kit, the bracket on the driver's side grew a huge crack on the lower most mount. The part that droops down and allows the steering knuckle bolt to pass through it for support. Basically the lowest mounts on the bracket cracked in half.

Well I welded it the first time while it was on the jeep... I had a few months of success with the new weld before it cracked again. This time I figured I would let it sit until I got around to it. Well today I was changing my brake caliper and discovered this...




Here is a comparison to the passenger side which hasn't cracked since I put the kit on...

.

Rocky Road is closed today so I will be calling them monday to see if they want to do anything about this. The entire red bracket was loose to the touch when I pulled my tire off today. You could literally grab it and shake the entire bracket. It oval'ed every bolt hole on the steering knuckle it could get it's hands on so now my steering kuckle is ruined as well.

Here are some pictures of my repair... would you trust your life to this? I am very frustrated that this happened. I do MODERATE offroading here in Florida, I asked RR when I bought the kit if it could stand 36" tires and they said they were fine up to 38"... I dont know why the bracket broke on my jeep. It started out as a crack, I welded it, it cracked again, and then total failure today... Cant help but wonder if it would have failed while doing 70mph near downtown Orlando.

MY REPAIR:



(Passenger side, think of it as a "before" picture concerning how much metal was bracing the system before, and after I added gussetts.





Its hard to see what I did with the primer laid on as thick as I did... Basically I took a small piece of angle iron and gussetted the bracket as best I could AFTER welding it back together. Will these angle iron gussets hold up? You can see the difference between the passenger and driver bracket now.

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Unread 04-23-2011, 11:09 PM   #2
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Reading over the thread my question isn't very clear... So i'll write it very simply here lol.

1. Would you trust your life to this repair? I heated the metal before welding but the bracket is VERY thick I think close to 1/4" at the part that broke...

(and i'm not asking if you would trust your life with my welds lol... I am asking if the way I gussetted the bracket would prevent it from cracking or failing again if welded properly. We used flux core with the thinnest/hottest wire we had after pre-heating the metal and air cooling).
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:29 AM   #3
instg8tor
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It will be interesting to hear what RR has to say.

"1. Would you trust your life to this repair?" - No, if the bracket is 1/4" thick and it managed to crack twice, there must be some tremendous forces there. I wouldn't feel safe with it welded a third time even if welded by a ticket.

Maybe it would be different if it was a trail rig only.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by instg8tor View Post
It will be interesting to hear what RR has to say
.

"1. Would you trust your life to this repair?" - No, if the bracket is 1/4" thick and it managed to crack twice, there must be some tremendous forces there. I wouldn't feel safe with it welded a third time even if welded by a ticket.

Maybe it would be different if it was a trail rig only.
no **** I have htis kit on order... about a week away still, hurry and find out, maybe Isa cancel mesa order.....

and ya its steering man, it failed twice so far without a .. dont take this the wrong way... half assed repair... something is putting strain on that part somewhere is my guess, so if it broke BEFORE being weled and after welded, and now its welded again.... I see a trend do you?....
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Unread 04-25-2011, 10:01 AM   #5
Joe Dillard
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I wouldn't trust my life on it.

I do have a couple quick questions.

The area where the bracket rests upon the top of the knuckle....is the knuckle ground flat in this area so that the bracket sits down flat & more securely?

Who initially installed it?

Were the two verticle mounted knuckle bolts showing signs of deflection and/or were the bolt holes wallowed out?

I have seen other manufacturers brackets crack/fail in the same mounting location as yours.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Dillard View Post
I wouldn't trust my life on it.

I do have a couple quick questions.

The area where the bracket rests upon the top of the knuckle....is the knuckle ground flat in this area so that the bracket sits down flat & more securely?
Per the instructions that came with the kit I grinder down that ridge and got it as flat as I could. Good thought though, that ridge would definitely cause more stress in the lower half.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Dillard View Post
Who initially installed it?

Were the two verticle mounted knuckle bolts showing signs of deflection and/or were the bolt holes wallowed out?

I have seen other manufacturers brackets crack/fail in the same mounting location as yours.
I installed it originally then had a professional alignment done. The only bolt hole which wore into an oval shape (wallowed out) was the one on the actual knuckle where the stock tie rod used to bolt to the knuckle. The two vertical bolts were backed out 65% of the way but the threads were still ok inside the knuckle, only the bracket wallowed out alittle in this spot. Also, the wheel bearing bolts (2) were alittle loose when I took the bracket off.

I used a small piece of angle iron and a piece of flat stock as gussets. I couldn't weld a gusset to the back as anything above flat will impact the knuckle. I re-welded the piece back on and actually preheated the metal first with a torch... The last repair I did was only welded on one side and not preheated.

I am thinking the gussets and preheating will get me a lot further than my last repair. I kinda half assed the last weld because only one part actually cracked and the bracket had never become loose before, even with the crack.

You guys don't think a preheated flux core weld accompanied by an angle iron gusset and flat gusset will do the trick? You can compare the all red bracket to the one with the grey primer to see how much extra metal was added... The angle iron is welded all the way down the sides and attaching to the bracket at three major points. That lower end is pretty much one solid hung of steel now... I just have no idea if it will hold and I've never seen anyone else report a problem on JF with the RR OTT kit.

Thanks for the input guys, I'm calling them tomorrow.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 11:34 AM   #7
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I have the yjott setup on my jeep, I have not wheeled it at all and don't have that much drive time on it, so no issues yet. I thought the instructions recommended welding their brackets to the knuckles if usign 35+ tires and plan on doing much off-roading? did you put red locktight on the bolts that go in the newly tapped holes on top of the knuckle? or did they back out after the failure? something had to have worked loose to allow stress to be put on that part of the bracket. I replaced the grade 5 hardware with the kit with grade 8 and lock-tited the crap out of them.

I thought about it a little and on my brackets the way I had to re-drill the holes there wasn't any gap between the bracket and the big bolt in the old TRE hole so there isn't a big possibility that it could slide around under there since it is already interference fit against it. I'm sure that's why they recommend welding it once it is bolted down cause if you don't get all the possiblity of movement out of there the bolts will work loose and then start tearing things up as you can atest to.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 02:01 PM   #8
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I just installed this same kit on my '94. When I ground down the seam on top of the knuckles, I had to go a little beyond that to get a good flat surface and NO wobble from the bracket. When you marked, drilled, and tapped the two top holes in the knuckle, was that section that broke good and flat against the back where the original bearing bolt hole was after installing those two top bolts? I have 35s on now, so I just went ahead and welded the bracket at the top knuckle surface, and on the front of where the original tie rod was mounted. Maybe some additional welds in these areas would help your repair with gussets hold? I think I'd push for a replacement from RRO as it seems you followed all of their instructions. The welding for tires greater than 35s was a RECOMMENDATION not an instruction on my sheet.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 04:27 PM   #9
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Well guys thanks a lot for the posts!! I havn't called RR yet but I must have missed the part about welding the bracket to the knuckle. This would resolve my issue 100%. I didn't think getting a good weld to the knuckle it's self was possible so I never considered this. I'll be calling RR tomorrow but I have a feeling when they hear I was using 36" tires w/o welding to the knuckle they will tell me it's my fault lol.

Alas, in pretty confident with the repair I did if it's also gonna be welded to the knuckle.

Quick opinion question... Should I weld this thing all the way around? Meaning should I weld the bracket to the knuckle everywhere that I can reach on that thickest part that actually sits atop the knuckle? Or... Should I run 1" "tacks" down the sides every inch or so?

I only ask because if for some reason I want to replace my knuckle down the road I want to be able to get the bracket off.
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Unread 04-25-2011, 06:04 PM   #10
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Apollo12227 they should replace them with no questions asked. I have the same set up and had the same issue. The person that installed them for me didn't install them correctly and they eventually cracked. Called RR, they shipped out a new set no questions. They do want the old ones back though. They include a return shipping label on their dime. They want them back for quality control. I was told they check them to see where they failed and how they can improve the design.

Had the second set fail as well this time my fault, called them again no problem they sent out a second set. They have a lifetime warranty. This time I had a friend tack weld them and haven't had an issue since. It's been almost two years now and let me tell you I beat the **** out of this thing and their holding up well now since welded.

I know RR gets and has a bad rep as far as their customer service goes but as for me I have not had any problems with them. They've have always tookin care of any issues I have had in the past with their parts.

I also have their spring over kit.

Good luck
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Unread 04-25-2011, 09:06 PM   #11
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Thanks Chicago... I'm debating calling them but you've got me leaning towards calling them. The only problem is I HAD to drive my jeep that day so I had to make the rapir... I wonder if they will accept the return with my gussets lol... What do you think?

I will probably call them just to see, but I hate calling companies lol.

Thanks again,
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Unread 04-25-2011, 11:59 PM   #12
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you say the material is thick at a 1/4". im actually surprised its that thin, especially in what amounts to an tab with no gussets. if you compare any factory steering part (not even designed for heavy offroad) nothing is that thin by far.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 07:26 AM   #13
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Yeah I meant thick as in thick for what my welder can weld. It doesn't like anything bigger than 1/4" usually. It's a 180 flux core I believe.

I agree though, there is plenty of room for them to throw in a gusset or two... Hell the triangular gusset I made with the angle iron and flat piece make the bracket look beefy as hell and doesn't do anything but add weight to the bracket in terms of negatives. I'm thinking there is nearly twice as much steel down there now and the piece is no longer a 1/4" tab. Once it's welded to the knuckle I feel my fears will be layed to rest.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 07:46 AM   #14
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Apollo, I didn't weld the entire union between the bracket and the knuckle top for the same reasons you mention. These are the areas I chose to use. There are a total of three welds and I think they will work out just fine. These are untested at this point, so I guess I'll have to see.

You can see the welds at both "corners or ends" and on the front of the old tie rod mounting position. Sorry, but I didn't get a pic before I added the primer/paint.



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Unread 05-05-2011, 02:32 PM   #15
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So did you stick with the repair and add gussets or did you call them up? Just curious to see (hear) the outcome.
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