How to change (and upgrade) your Drag Link End - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
Mol
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How to change (and upgrade) your Drag Link End

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:

21mm Wrench
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
Grease gun
Needle nose pliers
Measuring tape



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

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post #2 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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This drag link end, by the way, cost me about $32 shipped, but can be found as low as $20-23 with shipping if you're more patient than I.
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post #3 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 09:23 AM
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Good write up. Note though, there is a torque spec for both the knuckle end not applicable for this install, but its 63 ft. lbs) and the pitman arm end is 77 ft. lbs. Additional note on Pitman arm end, I still haven't figured out how to get a torque wrench in there to actually do it properly....

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post #4 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArticRubi
Good write up. Note though, there is a torque spec for both the knuckle end not applicable for this install, but its 63 ft. lbs) and the pitman arm end is 77 ft. lbs. Additional note on Pitman arm end, I still haven't figured out how to get a torque wrench in there to actually do it properly....
Yeah...I probably torqued 30 lbs heavy because of this

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post #5 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 11:20 AM
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Great job Mike
I'm glad to see that the part number I gave is the right one
I have found that a regular "pickle fork" and a three pound hammer works with a good firm blow. If you are going to re-assemble the end you will need a new boot because the fork will destroy it during removal.
I like to measure the entire length of the drag-link from center to center so I can remove and clean the adjusting sleeve and install it with equal turns on both sides before putting everything back together.
I will add this to the F.A.Q.
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post #6 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 03:00 PM
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While it is tight to get it in there, I used a universal tie rod end remover (OTC 7315A) instead of the pickle fork. Was amazed at how much pressure it took to remove the end. I put all the torque I could on the remover then tapped the pitman arm with a 5lb hammer. Then it popped. I used the same Moog end and so far (10,000 miles) have been happy with it.
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post #7 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLC08JK
Great job Mike
I'm glad to see that the part number I gave is the right one
I have found that a regular "pickle fork" and a three pound hammer works with a good firm blow. If you are going to re-assemble the end you will need a new boot because the fork will destroy it during removal.
I like to measure the entire length of the drag-link from center to center so I can remove and clean the adjusting sleeve and install it with equal turns on both sides before putting everything back together.
I will add this to the F.A.Q.
You know, I really wanted to remove, clean, and paint the turn buckle, but time was short. The wife and I happened to have the same day off for once, so I opened up my service department at 8 this morning, and I finished up, locked up, and made it back home as she was pouring her coffee ill have to do this before too much longer...as you can see, my turn buckle is rusty and ugly. Sure would look good in red

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post #8 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 05:51 PM
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I worked on centering my steering wheel today. It was a serious PITA. Probably because I don't have the right tools. I managed to get it mostly centered and will work on it more when it's light again. Getting my tires put on tomorrow, can't effin' wait.

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post #9 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayres56
I worked on centering my steering wheel today. It was a serious PITA. Probably because I don't have the right tools. I managed to get it mostly centered and will work on it more when it's light again. Getting my tires put on tomorrow, can't effin' wait.
Chuck - its actually really easy, I promise! You just have to loosen those 2 nuts with a 15 mm socket (no need to wrench the back, they're squared and held in place by the buckle). After loosening, you can probably spin the buckle with your hand. Tighten back up and you're all done!

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post #10 of 26 Old 11-13-2011, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by molshove View Post
Chuck - its actually really easy, I promise! You just have to loosen those 2 nuts with a 15 mm socket (no need to wrench the back, they're squared and held in place by the buckle). After loosening, you can probably spin the buckle with your hand. Tighten back up and you're all done!

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I replaced the drag link with a synergy drag link flip kit so it was really tight and difficult to rotate up the threads of the stock tie rod end. The big problem that I ran into was that I COULD NOT get the tie rod end off of the pitman arm. So instead I disconnected the tie rod at the steering knuckle and with some help I was able to fight with the drag link and get it where it needed to be. I just need to get under there and adjust it some more.

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post #11 of 26 Old 03-25-2012, 12:27 PM
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post #12 of 26 Old 02-07-2013, 07:51 AM
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OK...Do you have a part no. for the Link that conects the Knuckle? I want to replace that end the Pitman one is good...But will probably do both...
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post #13 of 26 Old 02-07-2013, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stk-snd View Post
OK...Do you have a part no. for the Link that conects the Knuckle? I want to replace that end the Pitman one is good...But will probably do both...
There is no end at the knuckle...you would have to replace the entire drag link
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post #14 of 26 Old 02-07-2013, 09:29 AM
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I understand that the MOOG part # ES3624 is from the adjuster on the Drag link to the Pitman. Do you have a 1 ton part no. for the Drag link? My 2012 is failed with 18k miles on it with a 3" teraflex lift and dealer wont replace due to lift...Tereflex doesn't offer one, and I hear Poly has issue with theirs.
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post #15 of 26 Old 02-07-2013, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stk-snd View Post
I understand that the MOOG part # ES3624 is from the adjuster on the Drag link to the Pitman. Do you have a 1 ton part no. for the Drag link? My 2012 is failed with 18k miles on it with a 3" teraflex lift and dealer wont replace due to lift...Tereflex doesn't offer one, and I hear Poly has issue with theirs.
That Moog part attaches to the stock drag link
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