Well the boot on my drag link end, with 49K miles on it, blew out. Time to replace. The stock end is a sealed unit (not greasable), so I started looking into other options. At the suggestion of JLC08JK, I ordered a MOOG part # ES3624, meant for a 1-ton Ram, but suitable for the JK application.
Here is how to properly replace your drag link end.
You will need the following tools:
15mm socket and impact wrench or ratchet
Tiny wrench (6mm?? for zerk fitting)
(2) vice grips
Pry bar (optional)
BFH (steel hammer)
Pickle Fork (can be done without pickle fork...it only does so much) optional
Needle nose pliers
Step 1 - measure distance from the end of the turn buckle sleeve (side closest to pitman arm) to the center of the joint on drag link end. Write this measurement down. Be as accurate as possible, to try and keep your steering wheel as centered as possible when you're finished. It most likely WILL NOT be centered, but an accurate measurement will leave you with only minimal adjustments to re-center after installation.
Step 2 - remove nut from drag link end at pitman arm with 21mm wrench
Step 3 - remove drag link end from pitman arm...harder than it sounds in most cases. A lot of guys will use a pickle fork, which never seems to work well for me. I thought using a pickle fork attachment with an airhammer might make quick work of the task...I was wrong
I pryed some with the pry bar, but it's a tough angle to get to with a big enough pry bar.
This is where your big steel hammer is your friend. Turn your wheel all the way to the left so you have room to swing, and give several hard, fast blows to the PITMAN ARM (not the drag link end). Watch out, it has a tendency to come rocketing out!
Step 3 - loosen turn-buckle nuts with 15mm socket and remove drag link end from turn-buckle. I kept the nut furthest from the pitman arm a little snug to minimize rotation of the turnbuckle while removing drag link end. Also, I covered the end with a shop towel to avoid getting grease everywhere.
Use both of the vice grips here - on to hold turn-buckle in place, the other to spin the drag link end (sorry, pico nly shows one pair of vice grips).
Step 4 - Thread new drag link end into the turn buckle, using the measurement you took earlier...Tighten turn buckle nuts (15mm socket) when you have it to the proper length. Push threaded joint up through pitman arm and attach with new castle nut with 21mm wrench. Use pliers to bend cotter pin through the hole in the stud.
Step 5 - install zerk fitting and pump with grease until you feel a little resistance in the pump handle. Be sure to wip any excess grease from exterior of end - this just attracts dirt and grime. Grease any other fittings while youre under there (ball joints, control arms, tie rod ends, etc.).
Step 6 - take your JK for a quick spin to check how far off the steering wheel is. Pull back into your work space with the wheels straight, regardless of steering wheel position.
Step 7 - loosen 15mm nuts on turn-buckle, and spin the turn buckle, a couple of times. Get up and check to see that the wheel is turning in the proper direction. If you have the AEV procal, as I do, this is a good time to plug it in using the steering wheel centering mode. If not, keep turning, checking the wheel occasionally, and stop when it appears as centered as possible. If you took a accurate measurement, it shouldnt take more than a half of a turn to two turns at most.
Step 8 - drive JK and repeat if necessary.
Congratulations, you now have a beefy tie rod end at the drag link/pitman arm that is greasable! Hopefully a little less steering knock