Replacing front suspension parts - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-22-2017, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
Hanzo
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Replacing front suspension parts

I've had some death wobble lately and took it in today have the tires balanced and the alignment done hoping to at least delay the inevitable. Repair guy who claims to have worked under a Jeep guru for years is pretty confident it's the front track bar (not surprised) and in addition, couldn't do the alignment because the tie rod is seized up. They want around $600 for the parts and labor. I'm trying to determine if I should just do it myself.

Here's some info:

I can turn a wrench and have done some work on my Jeep (lifted it, replaced transmission mount, motor mounts, a few other things) but am not an expert.

It's a 2006 TJ with a 2" MML, 1" BL, and 2.5" BB on 33x12s. The front suspension (minus the BB and shocks) are stock.

I get free alignments from the place I mentioned, so all I need to do is get the parts fitted close enough to drive the roughly 15 miles to get it back to the shop.

This is my daily driver and sadly I don't take it off road, so the parts only need to be strong enough for road use. If HD parts are the same price or only a tiny bit more, great, otherwise, I am on a budget.

So, with that in mind (and feel free to ask more questions if need be), what are the thoughts of the experts?

A) Is this a job I can do myself? YouTube videos make it seem like it's not too bad, but, we all know how that goes sometimes.
B) Which parts do I need/should I get? For the tie rod, I'm thinking all new tie rod and ends, but just the basic set since I don't offroad it. For the track bar, since I have the lift, do I need an adjustable or should I just stick with a stock one?

I'd appreciate your help.


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post #2 of 11 Old 07-22-2017, 07:24 PM
elb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
So, with that in mind (and feel free to ask more questions if need be), what are the thoughts of the experts?

A) Is this a job I can do myself? YouTube videos make it seem like it's not too bad, but, we all know how that goes sometimes.
B) Which parts do I need/should I get? For the tie rod, I'm thinking all new tie rod and ends, but just the basic set since I don't offroad it. For the track bar, since I have the lift, do I need an adjustable or should I just stick with a stock one?

I'd appreciate your help.
Dunno if I'm an expert, but I rebuilt the entire front end of my LJ two years ago to cure death wobble. (I'd had it long enough that a LOT of parts were shot, so I wound up replacing ~everything while I was there.) If you've put on a lift, you can do your steering linkage.

Tie rod ends are not hard to replace at all. The tapers can be a bear to get out, but with a suitable application of heat and the right tooling (which you can rent from a local auto parts store), they will give it up. The track bar is a very similar story. If you're comfortable hitting bits of your Jeep with a drilling hammer and playing a propane torch on various parts, you can do it.

As far as what you need to replace, it depends on what's bad. If it's just one seized tie rod end, it may be that that's all you need to replace. However, if you've had DW for a while, there's probably other bad parts under there. Depending on how long you can afford to be down, you could find the seized end and knock it out, then check the other bits, or you could just plan to replace the tie rod / drag link / stabilizer. (If you have experienced DW multiple times, I'd lean toward the latter! Others may differ.) There are two parts you probably don't need to replace; the drag link has a short adjusting sleeve that is probably fine, and the tie rod itself is probably fine. (It's just a metal bar w/ threaded holes in each end, a couple of feet long.) If you choose to shotgun it, you'll need inner and outer tie rod ends and both ends of the drag link (one of which is most of the length of the link) as well as a steering stabilizer. None of these parts individually are particularly expensive, but all together they're going to run you a couple hundred bucks. A steering stabilizer is another $50 or $75. I would get a beefier stabilizer than the OEM stabilizer.

Then the front track bar is another $50 or $75. You're probably in it for $300-350 to replace the entire steering linkage and track bar with OEM equivalents. I'm not sure what your shop is offering to do for $600; if it's just one tie rod end and the track bar, you're definitely better off doing the complete job yourself (or even just the one end and the track bar), in my opinion. If it's the whole shooting match, it's up to you -- I'd do it myself (and I did), but it's certainly a few hours rolling around under the Jeep and probably a bit of cursing and beating on things.

Whatever you decide, good luck. DW is the pits. Check your ball joints while you have it off the ground, DW can take them out (or be caused by a bad ball joint), too. I had (at least) two bad ball joints when I got to fixing mine.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-22-2017, 10:18 PM
TheBoogieman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
I've had some death wobble lately and took it in today have the tires balanced and the alignment done hoping to at least delay the inevitable. Repair guy who claims to have worked under a Jeep guru for years is pretty confident it's the front track bar (not surprised) and in addition, couldn't do the alignment because the tie rod is seized up. They want around $600 for the parts and labor. I'm trying to determine if I should just do it myself.

Here's some info:

I can turn a wrench and have done some work on my Jeep (lifted it, replaced transmission mount, motor mounts, a few other things) but am not an expert.

It's a 2006 TJ with a 2" MML, 1" BL, and 2.5" BB on 33x12s. The front suspension (minus the BB and shocks) are stock.

I get free alignments from the place I mentioned, so all I need to do is get the parts fitted close enough to drive the roughly 15 miles to get it back to the shop.

This is my daily driver and sadly I don't take it off road, so the parts only need to be strong enough for road use. If HD parts are the same price or only a tiny bit more, great, otherwise, I am on a budget.

So, with that in mind (and feel free to ask more questions if need be), what are the thoughts of the experts?

A) Is this a job I can do myself? YouTube videos make it seem like it's not too bad, but, we all know how that goes sometimes.
B) Which parts do I need/should I get? For the tie rod, I'm thinking all new tie rod and ends, but just the basic set since I don't offroad it. For the track bar, since I have the lift, do I need an adjustable or should I just stick with a stock one?

I'd appreciate your help.
I think you meant you have a 2" BL and a 1" MML. Spray the tie rod threads and bolts with PB blaster or kroil oil, let it soak and break the adjustment sleeve loose (2 bolts).I usually use a large pipe wrench if they're seized up. I've never had a stock track bar bushing go bad, but it's possible. Mine have come loose and caused DW. You can check it yourself and see if it just needs tightening or not. Most people on here would give you their stock track bar if you need one. You can replace the track bar (2 bolts) if needed and do the alignment yourself in under an hour. Very easy DIY project.
p.s. A $600 quote? I would never go there again. If you were nearby, I'd do it for you for a 12 pack.

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post #4 of 11 Old 07-23-2017, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
Hanzo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBoogieman View Post
I think you meant you have a 2" BL and a 1" MML. Spray the tie rod threads and bolts with PB blaster or kroil oil, let it soak and break the adjustment sleeve loose (2 bolts).I usually use a large pipe wrench if they're seized up. I've never had a stock track bar bushing go bad, but it's possible. Mine have come loose and caused DW. You can check it yourself and see if it just needs tightening or not. Most people on here would give you their stock track bar if you need one. You can replace the track bar (2 bolts) if needed and do the alignment yourself in under an hour. Very easy DIY project.
p.s. A $600 quote? I would never go there again. If you were nearby, I'd do it for you for a 12 pack.
Regarding the MML, you're right, it was only 1", not sure why I wrote that, but the BL was only 1" or 1.25", I can't remember.
As for the tie rod, the shop did hit it with some 'penetrating oil' and tried to bust it loose, but couldn't. No idea how much PB they used, how long they waited, or what they did to try to bust it loose, but that's what they tried. He suggested using heat but said that they weren't allowed to do so.

So, the good news is, it sounds like a pretty straight forward job. All of the stuff on YouTube seems to stress that the biggest problems with the tie rod ends are getting them off (I have no problem using a pickle fork and replacing the ends) and getting the length perfectly matched. The good news about that is that if I'm replacing the whole thing, I can just pull it, lay it on the ground, adjust the new one to the same length and toss it back in.
As for the track bar, it seems to be about the same thing. But I'm not sure if I need an adjustable or not. Guy at the shop said no, but...the shop doesn't sell adjustable track bars, so I'm not sure if I believe him.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-23-2017, 09:42 AM
toximus
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If you have a lift you need an adjustable track bar.

It sounds like this fix is something you can do yourself.

Look into buying the ZJ tierod. It's about the same price and stronger.


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post #6 of 11 Old 07-23-2017, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
Hanzo
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Okay, so I ordered the parts, now a couple questions regarding installation (my wife says I over think things, I like to think I'm just mentally preparing myself)

First, In replacing the tie rod, ends, and track bar, so I need to pull the wheels and tires and/or jack it up? It doesn't look like I need to, but in the various videos I've been seeing, everyone does.

Second, in terms of the adjustable track bar, how do I know how far to adjust it?

Third, the zerk fittings will need to be greased. I don't own a grease gun. Is that something I can borrow from Autozone or something like that? Do I need to buy one? Can I drive it the 15 miles to the shop for the alignment and have them do it?

Thanks again guys.

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-23-2017, 10:51 AM
JEK3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
Okay, so I ordered the parts, now a couple questions regarding installation (my wife says I over think things, I like to think I'm just mentally preparing myself)
I do the same thing myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
First, In replacing the tie rod, ends, and track bar, so I need to pull the wheels and tires and/or jack it up? It doesn't look like I need to, but in the various videos I've been seeing, everyone does.
I never have. Keeping the wheels on the ground helps keep the alignment to some extent, then I just adjust the length of the rod until it goes in the holes, then you're "pretty close" on the alignment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
Second, in terms of the adjustable track bar, how do I know how far to adjust it?
Actual length is not important. All that matters is that it fits your Jeep.

Before you put it in, bounce the front end up and down a bit, then look to see if your wheels look centered left-to-right. If not, push the body a bit until they are. Then, put the axle end of the bar in place and snug down the bolt finger-tight. Adjust the frame end until it goes in the hole all the way, tighten it finger tight. Step back, make sure your wheels are still centered, then tighten everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
Third, the zerk fittings will need to be greased. I don't own a grease gun. Is that something I can borrow from Autozone or something like that? Do I need to buy one? Can I drive it the 15 miles to the shop for the alignment and have them do it?
I've seen the mini ones go for about $15-20 with grease. Not optimal, but they work.

You can have the alignment shop do it, just make sure the ends look like they have some grease in them to begin with.

As for the alignment, you can do it yourself with basic tools. Here's a pretty good write-up: http://www.4x4xplor.com/alignment.html. If you don't feel comfortable with doing it yourself, do it anyway so you can at least be close so you don't hurt anything on your way to the alignment shop.

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Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
Thanks again guys.
Keep us posted!
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-24-2017, 06:45 AM
Ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
I've had some death wobble lately and took it in today have the tires balanced and the alignment done hoping to at least delay the inevitable. Repair guy who claims to have worked under a Jeep guru for years is pretty confident it's the front track bar (not surprised) and in addition, couldn't do the alignment because the tie rod is seized up. They want around $600 for the parts and labor. I'm trying to determine if I should just do it myself.

Here's some info:

I can turn a wrench and have done some work on my Jeep (lifted it, replaced transmission mount, motor mounts, a few other things) but am not an expert.

It's a 2006 TJ with a 2" MML, 1" BL, and 2.5" BB on 33x12s. The front suspension (minus the BB and shocks) are stock.

I get free alignments from the place I mentioned, so all I need to do is get the parts fitted close enough to drive the roughly 15 miles to get it back to the shop.

This is my daily driver and sadly I don't take it off road, so the parts only need to be strong enough for road use. If HD parts are the same price or only a tiny bit more, great, otherwise, I am on a budget.

So, with that in mind (and feel free to ask more questions if need be), what are the thoughts of the experts?

A) Is this a job I can do myself? YouTube videos make it seem like it's not too bad, but, we all know how that goes sometimes.
B) Which parts do I need/should I get? For the tie rod, I'm thinking all new tie rod and ends, but just the basic set since I don't offroad it. For the track bar, since I have the lift, do I need an adjustable or should I just stick with a stock one?

I'd appreciate your help.

Changing out the track bar and dealing with the tie rod are much simpler that the other work you have done. I have done both of these and I have minimal mechanic skills.

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post #9 of 11 Old 07-24-2017, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross View Post
I have done both of these and I have minimal mechanic skills.
You're being too modest.

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Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
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Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
Why also would he need a rare as hen's teeth Dana 44 out of another TJ which will eventually lead to him swapping in a POS 8.8 because he can't find one?
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-24-2017, 07:16 AM
Ross
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Originally Posted by TheBoogieman View Post
You're being too modest.

I can replace some parts (with the aid of You Tube) but I am not a mechanic. There is a big difference.
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-24-2017, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Ross View Post
I can replace some parts (with the aid of You Tube) but I am not a mechanic. There is a big difference.
Certified Youtube mechanic bud!
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