Front end help - identification - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-26-2021, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
SonOfAnakin
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Front end help - identification

Hi folks. New to the Jeep Life and trying to make sense of what needs to be done to fix the Jeep I just bought since it was lifted by the PO. I've been reading a lot and watching a lot of videos, but I'm new. Hopefully I'm learning fast.

In the attached picture you can see the red and blue lines, which I think I drew correctly to check the parallelism of the drag link and the pitman arm. Would appreciate if someone would check this for me. I notice a tiny bit of bump steer, but more pulling to one side when accelerating and the other side when decelerating.

I also see two bars, in yellow in the pic, that I don't see referenced in any video or pictures I've been reading. On the driver side they are connected to the anchor point of the track bar and they seem to be adjustable with bolts on the passenger ends. I can't figure out what they are called or what their purpose is. I'm thinking they allow for changing the angle and distance (pivot) of the track bar mount point from right to left, but that seems like an overkill way to achieve that goal.

The Jeep also wanders like crazy. It's downright scary to drive on the freeway. The PO did not replace the control arms when they lifted it so I'm expecting I have a caster issue and will need to replace them with adjustable.

You might be asking, 'why did you buy this thing?'. Well, price, options, rebuilt motor, less rust than most here in Michigan, and the suspension steering issues seemed surmountable. And I don't mind a few projects to learn even more. Seemed like it had good bones and would be fun to tinker with and learn on. Time will tell. I do need to get through the winter before taking on a big project. i hate working on a car with frozen hands. So I'm trying to get her stable for the winter. Right now the steering is likely to be dangerous on slippery roads.

I have an appointment at the dealership to have them take a look at this tomorrow, but I wanted to be at least a little informed before I go in. I don't trust dealerships much. There are a few gems out there. Then there are the rest. Do folks think a Jeep dealership can handle this kind of issue? I have no experience with Jeep dealerships. Or do I need a 4x4 specific shop for this kind of thing?

Also, I haven't even looked at the rear yet. I probably have control arm and caster issues back there as well.

At what point on a 2 door TJ is a lift just too high to have a good balance of caster and pinion angles?? This Jeep is on 33's and I suspect a 3.5-4 inch lift, but I'm not sure. Am I just going to trade caster issues for pinion issues??

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post #2 of 17 Old 10-27-2021, 01:05 PM
Andy-WhiteTJ
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Not sure why there are two bars (highlighted in yellow) but some put a bar there on lifted Jeeps to prevent the track bar mount from ripping off the frame. Large tires on a lifted Jeep without hydraulic assist will cause havoc on the track bar frame mount. I've seen them rip completely off the trail.

Regarding the other items; even though the lines look parallel, it looks as though you have a dropped pitman arm and a stock track bar and mount. If that is correct, I would put in an OEM pitman arm and that should help with your steering. Also, check all steering contact points for wear.
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-27-2021, 02:10 PM
Jonny Jeep
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Those two bars highlighted in yellow are stabiliser bars for the track bar drop kit used on 20 year old Pro-Comp four inch lift kits. The drop pitman arm on the steering gear matches the drop on the track bar. It's ****. Except for the springs, they are actually quite good.


The wandering you are feeling is probably due to the track bar drop bracket shifting about. Looks like the lower control arms are the Pro-Comp arms. The uppers remained standard with their kit. Adjustable upper and lower arms would be best if you replace them.


Remove the drop track bar assembly, and either reposition the track bar by drilling another hole for the axle side mount about 3/4" inboard of the original hole, or get an adjustable track bar. When you do that, you would also need to get rid of the drop pitman arm on the steering gear and fit a standard pitman arm in it's place.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-27-2021, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
SonOfAnakin
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Not sure what you mean by "It's ****. Except of the springs, they are actually quite good." Can you clarify?

Really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and helping me out. I think your suggestions are quite reasonable for me to accomplish and not that costly, which is great. I was expecting I would need adjustable control arms as well. I might do them anyway to refresh things a bit, if in fact the lift kit is 20 years old.
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-27-2021, 04:34 PM
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Pull one way on the gas and the other way when off the gas is often a rear control arm problem. Check for bad bushings.
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-28-2021, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonOfAnakin View Post
Not sure what you mean by "It's ****. Except of the springs, they are actually quite good." Can you clarify?
Pro Crap springs are good. Everything else they make is crap quality, especially their shocks. I've used stock control arms with several lifts and never had any issues. My current Jeep included.
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Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
2003' Rubicon/Zone 4.25" combo lift with Rancho RS5000X shocks/ Zone hydro shocks/5.13 gears/35" Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tires/Black Magic brakes. Jeep #17 & 19.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-28-2021, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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I'm considering a Core 4x4 complete kit, including adjustable control arms all around, and adjustable front and rear track bars. If the lift kit is really 20 yrs old, I'm thinking this refresh and update could breath new life into the vehicle. What do you think? Worth it or overkill?
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-28-2021, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by SonOfAnakin View Post
I'm considering a Core 4x4 complete kit, including adjustable control arms all around, and adjustable front and rear track bars. If the lift kit is really 20 yrs old, I'm thinking this refresh and update could breath new life into the vehicle. What do you think? Worth it or overkill?
It depends on your needs. I have used the Zone combo lift on many TJs, since that crap moderator Wheelin98TJ made me buy their stuff years ago. For under $650 with Rancho RS5000X shocks, I would replace all your stuff and start from scratch. Sometimes it's cheaper that way.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
2003' Rubicon/Zone 4.25" combo lift with Rancho RS5000X shocks/ Zone hydro shocks/5.13 gears/35" Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tires/Black Magic brakes. Jeep #17 & 19.
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-28-2021, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonOfAnakin View Post
Not sure what you mean by "It's ****. Except of the springs, they are actually quite good." Can you clarify?

Really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and helping me out. I think your suggestions are quite reasonable for me to accomplish and not that costly, which is great. I was expecting I would need adjustable control arms as well. I might do them anyway to refresh things a bit, if in fact the lift kit is 20 years old.
Pretty much as Boogieman states, the springs are considered to be pretty good. The rest is crap. I fitted one of those kits to my TJ about 19-20 years ago. It was all that was available in the UK in my price range back then.


I soon got rid of the trackbar relocation bracket, and drilled another hole in the axle bracket, after the wandering I experienced. It meant I had to get a new stock pitman arm too as the original had been cut off. I went for their more expensive shocks when I bought the kit. They were very stiff, but the cheaper standard shocks are supposed to have been even stiffer.



Now I have currie control arms and fox shocks. Still have the pro comp springs though.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-28-2021, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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All new stuff on order. Hoping she's a dream to drive when I get it all installed. Appreciate the help. I would do a video of the install but I'm not sure anyone cares to watch a newbie fumble through the job. . Might be comical at least.
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-05-2021, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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I'm still waiting for some of my new suspension parts to arrive to tackle this project, but I did figure out one MAJOR problem that was causing the bulk of the wandering and scary driving and I want to share my absolute stupidity with everyone in hopes that it might save someone else the same embarrassment someday when their google searchers return this thread.

It is astounding how horrible a 2-door Jeep lifted 4 inches and sitting on 33s will drive and steer when the tires are very low on air. The more I drove it the more it just felt like it was 'sloshing around' as I said to myself. That's when it dawned on me to check the tire pressure. 20psi! In all 4 tires!

Pumped them up to 32psi and viola, it's not scary anymore. Still wanders a bit and still needs suspension work, but nothing like before. Wow, do I feel like an idiot for not checking that first. Let the laughing at my expense commence, I already did my share.
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post #12 of 17 Old 11-06-2021, 12:50 PM
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20 psi was too low but 32 is too high for 33" tires. The bigger the tire the less pressure it requires so the tire pressures shown on the door jamb sticker can't be used. 26 psi is appropriate for a lightly loaded TJ, 28 for when it's fully loaded.

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post #13 of 17 Old 11-07-2021, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
20 psi was too low but 32 is too high for 33" tires. The bigger the tire the less pressure it requires so the tire pressures shown on the door jamb sticker can't be used. 26 psi is appropriate for a lightly loaded TJ, 28 for when it's fully loaded.
Thanks! I’ll let some air out. There is no sticker on the door jamb so I was going off other posts I read after searching for the info.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-18-2021, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Wheelin98TJ View Post
Pull one way on the gas and the other way when off the gas is often a rear control arm problem. Check for bad bushings.
Tried for a while to do the front end control arm and track bar work but had to throw in the towel. I just don’t have the right tools and experience yet to get the old parts off.

The shop took a look. Turns out I don’t have a rear track bar. Or even mounts for one. Also, a rear lower control arm mount was corroded and broken away from the frame. ‘Well there’s your problem!’ Honestly I hadn’t even gotten to the back to inspect things yet since I was so worried about the front.

Anyway they are going to finish what I started and fix up the other problems they found and hopefully next week I’ll have a Jeep that is a joy to drive rather than a stress induced adventure of preventing the Jeep from suddenly and wildly deciding to play chicken with oncoming traffic and trees. 🙂 Keeps my reflexes sharp though.
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-19-2021, 12:08 PM
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No rear track bar or mounts? Maybe you have a 4-link rear conversion?
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