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Unread 03-12-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
BigRodney
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Ball joints and tie rod ends

Hi all, I’d like to get your advice on replacement suspension/steering parts. I have a 1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport with a 5.5” Rubicon long arm lift kit and 35” tires and about 120,000 miles. I want to tighten up the front end. I don’t rock crawl, I run in snow mostly and sometimes some rough steep forest service roads but nothing to hard on my rig. I would like to replace the ball joints with something that will stand up to the tall tires better and also some stronger tie rod ends and drag link end.

I read an article about Dynatrac Pro Steer Ball Joint Upgrade at 4wheeloffroad but they run $350 to $600, not sure the site isn’t working properly right now but seems like more than I need for my purpose. http://www.4wheeloffroad.com/techart...ade/index.html

http://www.4wheelparts.com/Axle-Ball...37&t_pt=101151

Quadratec has Synergy Suspension Ball Joint Set for $250, I don’t know anything about them so any input is appreciated.
http://www.quadratec.com/products/56100_3011.htm

On the tie rod ends, I don’t think I need a big beefed up set of components here but on the other hand it looks like the one end of the drag link isn’t replaceable so I have to replace the entire drag link if I want to replace that one end. Again looking at Quadratec I see a couple options. One they call the Heavy Duty Steering Kit, no brand name listed is $225 with the steering damper, the other Currie CURRECTLYNC® Heavy-Duty Tie Rod System is $450.

http://www.quadratec.com/jeep-replac...j-steering.php

http://www.quadratec.com/products/56118_0104%2007.htm

http://www.quadratec.com/products/56116_200.htm

So folks I could use some advice, links to products would be helpful, anything you want to tell me is great. Thanks in advance, have a great day.

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Unread 03-12-2012, 12:45 PM   #2
hallsofstone
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I just bought a Heavy Duty kit from Rugged Ridge. Very complete, really impressed. Install is this week. The no-name is a Crown product according to Qtec's reps. PM Joe from over there if you have any questions. I think you will be happier with the RR kit. From where I stand, my original setup is bent and has all shot ends making my play as wide as a football field. For what I would spend replacing the stock setup, the RR solution looks cheaper and much better quality. Keep in mind that you will need to buy parts for it from RR though.

Ball joints are kind of a pain no matter how you go about it in my opinion. I hate doing them and usually mess it up when I try so rather than buy 2x parts for my stupidity while renting tools for install, I'd rather pay someone. You may be in a similar boat.

Don't look past unit bearings. They can cause a similar wandering and sometimes some noise. While you're into them, do the U Joints and tube seals just so that you know right where you're at.
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Unread 03-12-2012, 12:47 PM   #3
Garza
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The dynatrac ball-joints are legit, but a lot of $
Synergy hasn't been out long enough IMO for a true longevity test (BUT I would give them a shot)

If you just want to replace ball-joints as a regular maintenence item and don't care to upgrade, you can't go wrong with Spicer..stay away from Moog crap!

The Currie steering set-up is hands down the best replacement/upgrade steering you can put on your Jeep be it for on or off-road... I'd contact www.savvyoffroad.com for the Currie stuff.

Be sure your trac-bar is in good shape if it is a Rubicon Express unit. If that is worn at all, you can benefit from a better one. This will make the most impact as far as "tightening up" the front end.
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Unread 03-13-2012, 11:52 AM   #4
BigRodney
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Thanks for the input guys. I’ll take a look at the unit bearings as you suggested hallsofstone. Anybody else? Any more suggestions? Thanks again all.
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Unread 03-13-2012, 01:03 PM   #5
DINOsaurusJEEP
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Originally Posted by BigRodney View Post
Thanks for the input guys. I’ll take a look at the unit bearings as you suggested hallsofstone. Anybody else? Any more suggestions? Thanks again all.
These are all great suggestions. I'm slowly rebuilding my original stock front end that recently turned 156k miles. I'm still deciding whether to do the ZJ V8 steering swap or bite the bullet and go with the Currie setup. A couple of tips; go with the Dana Spicer ball joints and u joints. I found some good prices through 4wd.com and Denny's Driveshaft. Also, shop around for unit bearings. I bought one Timken bearing from Rockauto, and the other from my local AutoZone. Surprisingly there wasn't a big difference in price after shipping costs were calculated. Good luck.
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Unread 03-13-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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you can't go wrong with Spicer..stay away from Moog crap!

I agree with the Spicer comment.

What's wit the Moog hate? (I'm seriously asking because I've never had any issues with Moog products.)
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Unread 03-13-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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I agree with the Spicer comment.

What's wit the Moog hate? (I'm seriously asking because I've never had any issues with Moog products.)
They just flat out don't last. I have tried them on F250's, both my Dodge 2500's, and a couple Jeeps before I realized they didn't last as long as Spicer's. I too like many, used to just grab what was available at the auto parts store and Moog was plentiful. I have sets literally fall apart after a couple thousand miles. Ball joints, steering components, and brakes are something I personally will not skimp on once I learned what true failures of cheap components cause.

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Unread 03-15-2012, 08:51 AM   #8
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Hi again, thanks for the input. So it sounds like I’m getting a strong recommendation for the Spicer ball joints. I just want to be sure here and get your opinion on the Synergy Suspension Ball Joint Set compared to the Spicer. I know Garza said that the Synergy ball joints haven’t been out long and maybe that’s the answer but just wanted to be thorough because this is a lot of work and expense. The factory ball joints have Teflon sockets that are prone to wear, especially with bigger tires, I’m not sure who makes the factory ball joints or if the Spicer ball joints have the same design. A set of Spicer joints are about $120 for both sides while the Synergy ball joints are $250, so about double. Any opinions?

thanks again
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Unread 03-15-2012, 09:02 AM   #9
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Synergy ball joints is what i an going to get i have heard all good about them
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Unread 03-15-2012, 09:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by BigRodney View Post
Hi again, thanks for the input. So it sounds like I’m getting a strong recommendation for the Spicer ball joints. I just want to be sure here and get your opinion on the Synergy Suspension Ball Joint Set compared to the Spicer. I know Garza said that the Synergy ball joints haven’t been out long and maybe that’s the answer but just wanted to be thorough because this is a lot of work and expense. The factory ball joints have Teflon sockets that are prone to wear, especially with bigger tires, I’m not sure who makes the factory ball joints or if the Spicer ball joints have the same design. A set of Spicer joints are about $120 for both sides while the Synergy ball joints are $250, so about double. Any opinions?

thanks again
I'll chime in another vote for the Spicer ball joints Stay away from the Rugged Ridge steering, mine only lasted about 5 tanks of gas before I started getting tie rod roll, which makes it really hard to keep my Jeep going in a straight line. Also the Rugged Ridge steering binds up at the steering knuckle and pitman arm, and will not allow full droop of the passenger side tire. If you're looking for something stronger than stock but not to expensive then check out the Crown heavy duty steering kit. If you want something much larger than stock then check out the Currie Currectlync steering system.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 09:55 AM   #11
BigRodney
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Hi all, I appreciate all the advice so far, I’m working on my plan and would like to get some more input on unit bearings. hallsofstone suggested that I check them out and I plan to do so when I get my jeep in my shop but also want to know what you think about the lifespan for the unit bearings. My jeep has about 130,000 miles on it and I doubt that the unit bearings have ever been changed. If they check out ok should I reuse them or do you think I should replace them anyway. On the one hand it looks like they cost about $165 each so $330 for two and that’s a good chunk of change, on the other hand it’s a fair piece of work getting it broken down to the unit bearings, which it will already be for ball joint replacement, so what do you think? And for a little background I’m planning to replace the ball joints and put in a drag link and tie rod, probably Curry, I could do it myself but I also have a great front end guy I’ve used on other rigs and since it would need an alignment anyway was thinking of having him do it all. Thanks again.
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Unread 03-29-2012, 07:14 AM   #12
BigRodney
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Hey I’m bumping my own thread because I didn’t get any response, hope that’s ok. The new question is in post #11. Thanks again.
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Unread 03-29-2012, 08:02 AM   #13
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Hey I’m bumping my own thread because I didn’t get any response, hope that’s ok. The new question is in post #11. Thanks again.
I'd go ahead & change them, but that's me. You can find Timken bearings online for under $100 each. I got a Napa one for about $70 a few months back.
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Unread 03-29-2012, 08:13 AM   #14
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There's a reason the stock ones last 10+ years
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Unread 03-29-2012, 08:16 AM   #15
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Check out rock auto for the best price on Timken Unit bearings. I think I payed right around $90 or $94 each.
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