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Unread 08-03-2014, 03:39 PM   #1
PA_LJ
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Help me pick an adjustable front track bar...*update w/ pics pg2*

99 TJ 4 inch Skyjacker lift...front end is a sloppy mess...bump steer..wanders all over. No DW so far fortunately. PO never upgraded or relocated the stock track bar and the rod end is kinked at an awful angle. I am replacing the stock drag link and rod end and I have a zj tie rod upgrade on hand.

Cost is a consideration. I am well aware that I will get what I pay for and many would recommend the Curry TB. I simply dont have that kind of cash atm. This is not a daily driver but is almost undriveable as it sits. This is a wheeling toy needs to retain some utility for winter driving. I do not want to go bigger any time in the near future.

I have narrowed my choices to three options...
Rubicon Express 1600 with heim joint at frame.
Rough Country 4-6 inch with heim joint at frame.
JkS OG125 with johnny joint at frame.

All 3 use a rubber bushing at the axle.

I do not want to add a bracket at the frame. I do not want to add a drop Pitman arm. I am concerned about fitment issues or interference with the axle or steering components. I have atleast two inches of bumpstop extension. I have read good and bad stuff about each option and searched several threads here.

What is my safest bet and where is my money best spent? I am leaning towards the JKS because it seems to be the best compromise between cost and quality.

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Unread 08-03-2014, 03:42 PM   #2
Ironhead
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IMO, none of those options, look at MC and Currie

best clearance out there and very high quality

MC uses a heim joint at the frame and currie uses a johnny joint.
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Unread 08-03-2014, 03:46 PM   #3
Jwolfer
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I love my Metalcloak. It has the best clearance too.
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Unread 08-03-2014, 03:47 PM   #4
PA_LJ
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Currie is too spendy.

MC had fitment issues in other threads and uses a heim joint like the two cheapest options. Ive read JJ over heim all day every day. If thats true why spend the extra 100 bucks?
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Unread 08-03-2014, 03:52 PM   #5
Ironhead
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thats debatable. I have no complaints with my MC TB. it def has the most clearance
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Unread 08-03-2014, 04:08 PM   #6
PA_LJ
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Exactly why im so lost. I read one thread that sings praises for o ne option then the very next review or post contradicts everything. I realize rhat my cheap options are cheap for a reason. I also realize that im talking about 100 bucks one way or the other but its a cost to value thing. I will put less than 5k miles a year on this jeep with maybe 4-6 wheeling trips to Rausch Creek on mostly green and blue trails.

This thing is a bit of a pile...needed tires...new clutch and flywheel...possibly a rear main seal or trans input shaft oil leak that im still trying to diagnose...plus all the front end slop. Im already over budget and im just trying to get the thing driveable. Every penny counts here...
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Unread 08-03-2014, 04:57 PM   #7
Kostakigogos
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I heard great things about the Metalcloak track bar for clearance, but I thought I saw a post saying that under three or so inches of lift there were problems with it. I never thought the jks bar looked bad.
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Unread 08-03-2014, 05:10 PM   #8
rda616
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Of those the jks, but as already said metalcloak is the best bang for your buck. You will have no fitment issue with 4" of lift and a mc track bar. The problem exists with under 3" of lift and that isn't a clearance issue rather a matter of not being able to adjust short enough to center the axle.

A jj is great, but the one in the jks bar uses a 9/16 bolt rather than a 5/8 bolt like the Currie. The 9/16 bolt likes to come loose. I actually swapped in the 5/8 ball on my old jks 126. I am going with metalcloak this time around since I just swapped all my front suspension over to my xj.

A quality heim will give you many years of good service. Poor quality heim joints like found in the re track bar won't.
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Unread 08-03-2014, 05:20 PM   #9
rda616
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After thought. Do you have a DPA? If so that's the cause of your bumpsteer
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Unread 08-03-2014, 05:45 PM   #10
PA_LJ
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No drop pitman arm. Currently most of the front end with the exception of the wheel bearings and ball joints is worn out. I have play at both steering knuckle tre's, the stock pitman arm and the frame and axle side of the track bar. Axle does not appear to be off center but the tre at the frame is kinked hard to the passenger side and is obviously pulled about 3/4 of an inch to that side...its not even at all with the mounting bracket.

Jeep was previously owned by a young girl and maintenance seems to have been an after thought. She bought it lifted and drove it mildly for 4 years before it came to me. Now im trying to clean up the mess...fortunately there is virtually no body rust and the frame is solid. I see a diamond in the rough...
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Unread 08-03-2014, 05:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA_LJ View Post
Currie is too spendy.

MC had fitment issues in other threads and uses a heim joint like the two cheapest options. Ive read JJ over heim all day every day. If thats true why spend the extra 100 bucks?
And there's a reason for it. It's the last one you'll buy. There is nothing better than Currie steering, track bars, and JJ's
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Unread 08-03-2014, 06:52 PM   #12
Ironhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenyoujoint View Post

And there's a reason for it. It's the last one you'll buy. There is nothing better than Currie steering, track bars, and JJ's
Only downside is that the jj in the track bar is too large and requires extra bump stop extensions to keep it out of the diff cover
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Unread 08-03-2014, 07:10 PM   #13
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I've used both Currie and MC (JKS very early on). I now run the MC with no plans to remove it.
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Unread 08-03-2014, 08:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA_LJ View Post
99 TJ 4 inch Skyjacker lift...front end is a sloppy mess...bump steer..wanders all over.
wandering is most likely a caster problem. and considering the lift you have, I'm not surprised at all.

that said, 4" of lift is way too high for the stock track bar. To fix both problems you'll need at the minimum an adjustable front track bar and adjustable lower control arms with proper flex joints (Metalcloak or Currie).

Quote:
Originally Posted by PA_LJ View Post
Currie is too spendy.

MC had fitment issues in other threads and uses a heim joint like the two cheapest options. Ive read JJ over heim all day every day. If thats true why spend the extra 100 bucks?
this isn't hard. Do you want something cheap or something that actually works? You can't have both.

There's three track bars worth looking at - Currie TJS/TJJ models, Metalcloak or JKS #126. The JKS #126 is for those that have less than ~3.5" of lift, want a Currie JJ at the frame end, and are willing to run ~1" front bumpstop extension and V8 ZJ tie-rod for clearance. The Metalcloak is for those with 3"+ of lift and don't mind a heim end. The Currie is mostly for 3"+ of lift, and those that need at least 2" of bumpstop extension anyway.

There's many exceptions to the above...but you're not one of them.

Considering you're at 4" of lift your choices are Metalcloak and Currie. If you think the Currie is too spendy then get the Metalcloak and live with the heim. If you don't want to live with the heim, and Currie is still to spendy, then you'll need to build your own track bar. Careful with the complex bends around the diff - be aware many manufacturers with very expensive bending equipment have failed at this. Good luck.
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Unread 08-03-2014, 09:09 PM   #15
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Im running the RE 4.5 but have upgraded most of the kit by now. I just recently replaced both track bars with a JKS in the rear and a Clayton up front. I know you said no bracket but its very stout. I also have the Currie steering and no clearance issues.
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