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Old 02-11-2013, 04:06 PM   #1
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Greetings from snowy Russia

So that's the situation: I've just purchased a 97 tj. On a pre-purchase examination in a local service they have pointed out that the front axle was shifted 2 inches to the passenger side. I payed no attention to that as the car behavior on the road was good, and the servicemen assured me that it is not that crucial. I was able to get a decent discount though. Anyway the problem itself became visible later on - I have 31' tires on stock TJ so, when I try creepy, the movement is almost blocked and that edge wears out extremely fast. I tried another service - not an authorized dealer ofc - they replaced the front track bar - still no improvements. The car is completely intact and never been in an accident - still the axle is shifted. I tried to ask about it on our Russian wrangler forums - the advice was to either install the adjustable track-bar or just lift a car. I tried to free the front wheels and axle by just raising the car with a jack - axle slightly goes back but still the shift remains visible. May be 1' instead of 2'.
I don't want to invest into a suspension and/or body lift until the problem is solved.
And another issue - after a small offroad drive that Sunday (rough country road with some mud and snow) I noticed, that my rear axle also shifted on the opposite (driver) side. The shift is almost neglible (half a centimeter) but it does exist.
I attach the set of pictures for the front axle - wasn't able to do the same with the rear one. Sorry for messing with the order of them - first two and the last show the axle with the car grounded, others - with the car lifted on a jack till the wheels don't touch the ground.

Thanks for any help in advance)

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Old 02-11-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
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Welcome to another Russian friend! Hey wait a minute, are you sure you are really Russian? Your English is far better than most of the native English speakers here on this forum.

It looks like the problem is your track bar is bent which is positioning your axle too far towards the passenger side. The axle will shift to the passenger-side whenever the track bar is bent. Either partially straightening the track bar (some of that bend is supposed to be there) or replacing the track bar should fix the problem.

Here's a photograph to identify the track bar, click on it to make it big enough to read. Good luck and I hope you're staying warm there in Russia where I know it's really cold now!!

Good luck with it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:30 PM   #3
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Those front springs look strange. Or is it just me... They aren't coiled as tight as front springs normally are; more like rears, but rears would be too short. Also, the front axle appears to be shifted to the right side of the Jeep, which is the reverse of what the axle does when a lift is installed.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford
Welcome to another Russian friend! Hey wait a minute, are you sure you are really Russian? Your English is far better than most of the native English speakers here on this forum.

It looks like the problem is your track bar is bent which is positioning your axle too far towards the passenger side. Either partially straightening the track bar (some of that bend is supposed to be there) or replacing the track bar should fix the problem.

Here's a photograph to identify the track bar, click on it to make it big enough to read. Good luck and I hope you're staying warm there in Russia where I know it's really cold now!!

Good luck with it.
Thx for reply, kinda surprised that my mediocre English counts to be acceptable ^^. Are you sure it is bent, cause I ordered the track-bar and it is brand new. I want to stress that it was recently (two weeks ago) replaced, and the situation didn't change a bit. And an extra question - can it be a wrong spare part (although I ordered by vin-number) or just a poor installation?
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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I am not 100% sure of anything without being able to see it with my own eyes.

But... the track bar has sole responsibility for the proper left-to-right positioning of both the front and rear axles. If the axle is not properly centered, the problem has something to do with the track bar or one of its two mounts. Both of your mounts look fine, my guess is your track bar has too much bend in it or is somehow the wrong model.

You can see in my photograph that its track bar is not nearly as bent as your track bar is.

And your English is much better than mediocre!
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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That track bar in the pic Jerry posted isn't a stock track bar, so I'm not sure it's a good comparison, but I agree, that track bar appears to have a lot of bend .
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:54 PM   #7
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Then another question appears - where can I get some info about the TJ track-bar geometry (I.e. length, size, specific on-part marking, etc) just to compare with the current one. Spare parts online shops (quadratech dot com for example) just show the picture without any scale and a compatibility range, nothing more.

And an extremely noob idea - could've they just installed the rear track-bar to the front. Again they are pretty similar judging by the online shops images. Jus want to mention that it's my first "build it urself" car - before that I just handed the car to the local dealer's - and now I want to investigate and get knowledge
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redarmyfraction View Post
Thx for reply, kinda surprised that my mediocre English counts to be acceptable ^^. Are you sure it is bent, cause I ordered the track-bar and it is brand new. I want to stress that it was recently (two weeks ago) replaced, and the situation didn't change a bit. And an extra question - can it be a wrong spare part (although I ordered by vin-number) or just a poor installation?
If anything just get an adjustable track bar, then you can dial it in as close to perfect as you can get it. Remember to adjust your draglink after you pull the axle back to the proper placement.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:16 PM   #9
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I don't have a stock track bar but so far as I can tell, it is supposed to be 31.24 inches or 79.3496 cm long bolt to bolt. Your best bet however is to just get an adjustable length track bar. That way you can center the axle without the track bar in place, adjust the track bar's length so it fits, and then mount it... leaving the axle well centered.

I have never compared the front & rear track bar lengths but I believe the rear track bar is about an inch longer so between that and its different mounting points, I don't think anyone accidentally installed a rear track bar into the front of your Jeep. And besides, that would have pushed the axle out to the opposite driver's side.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:03 PM   #10
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That track bar in the pic Jerry posted isn't a stock track bar, so I'm not sure it's a good comparison, but I agree, that track bar appears to have a lot of bend .
And it's also MUCH cleaner than the rest of the front end. I'm thinking it was replaced with the wrong bar.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:43 AM   #11
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I'll try to dismount the track-bar and post the image and size of what I have now. Can anyone tell me the codes for the original front and rear track-bars?

P. S. Ty all for advice
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:15 PM   #12
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Question - will a front track bar from a 97 grand Cherokee fit wrangler? Want to try it for test
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:18 PM   #13
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Question - will a front track bar from a 97 grand Cherokee fit wrangler? Want to try it for test
There are too many geometry and bracket location differences in the suspensions between a Grand Cherokee and a Wrangler for that to work.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:34 PM   #14
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MOOG-DS1235 Front Track Bar Made By MOOG

According to the info it fits all of the jeep family. Or its just a trap?
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by redarmyfraction View Post
MOOG-DS1235 Front Track Bar Made By MOOG

According to the info it fits all of the jeep family. Or its just a trap?
Those are all XJ-based vehicles (Cherokee, not Grand Cherokee) and I believe they are the same, yes.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:38 AM   #16
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Once again, greetings from snowy mother-Russia with some updated news about my car condition (if anyone still cares^^). So, after changing service company once again, I finally received an answer to my problem. Car's been into a good crush - with the corrupted geometry of the frame - difference in diagonal length is about 2cm. It was a definite hit to a driver's front wheel. The question remaining - ok, I'm a complete newbie in cars, I didn't notice it myself till I was pointed by the serviceman - and then everything just appeared and the welding scars came obvious and visible - but rly, wtf, 3 previous services didn't see a damn thing, blaming the track-bar instead. But that's off-topic.
The problem with the wheels not able to fully steer was solved by installing the arched control arms - and I'm completely satisfied with the result. But the shift still remains. That servicemen suggested to solve it by lifting the car 4-5' - according to them that will return the axle onto original position.
Question is now - will that rly work? I'm rly overcautious now cause everyone is suggesting different things.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:55 AM   #17
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Typically one would diconnect the track bar, then center the axle under the body, then reattach the (adjustable) track bar to hold the axle in the centered position.

One can center the axle after removing the track bar by bouncing the body up/down on the springs, or shoving the body/frame to one side. I've heard of some folks using ratchet straps to center the axle and hold it until the track bar is installed. The track bar will then hold/maintain the centered position.
I'm sure the axle could be centered by lifting the vehicle by the frame and shoving the axle, holding it in position until the track bar is installed to hold/maintain the centered position.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:40 AM   #18
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That servicemen suggested to solve it by lifting the car 4-5' - according to them that will return the axle onto original position.
Question is now - will that rly work? I'm rly overcautious now cause everyone is suggesting different things.
While it is a possible solution, it's a strange way to go about "fixing" the problem. As the frame is raised in relation to the axle, the track bar begins to swing the axle toward the left of the vehicle, so you would find with a track bar that's not the correct length, that there is likely an amount of lift where it becomes correct.
In looking at your pictures, I believe the possible culprit is your frame side track bar mount. If your Jeep was hit hard in the front left wheel, that mount is taking a lot of the force of the impact, as it handles all the lateral axle positioning. It looks to be bent inward. Look at the picture Jerry posted, at how flat the bar's mounting surface is, then at yours, at how it is turned downward. Check thoroughly the frame around that bracket for stress cracks. If it is in fact bent, I would suggest replacing your OEM track bar with an aftermarket adjustable one. This will allow you to center your axle both now, and later if you do decide to add suspension lift to it.
Hope that helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
I don't have a stock track bar but so far as I can tell, it is supposed to be 31.24 inches or 79.3496 cm long bolt to bolt. Your best bet however is to just get an adjustable length track bar. That way you can center the axle without the track bar in place, adjust the track bar's length so it fits, and then mount it... leaving the axle well centered.

I have never compared the front & rear track bar lengths but I believe the rear track bar is about an inch longer so between that and its different mounting points, I don't think anyone accidentally installed a rear track bar into the front of your Jeep. And besides, that would have pushed the axle out to the opposite driver's side.
Jerry - I believe a longer track would bar push the axle to the passenger side.
Similarly, a bent bar would shorten it, moving the axle toward the driver's side.
I guess one point needs clarified - steering is on the left in Russia? From the location of the steering box, it appears so.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:14 PM   #19
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They say I need a much shorter track-bar, may be 2' short of stock one. Can an adjustable one handle this, i. e. can be shortened without cutting and welding.

Is it possible to correct the geometry, better to say reduce the effects of corrupted geometry, by suspension lift? Or something will still come out sooner or later?

And driver is on the left side in Russia^^
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:14 AM   #20
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Very late to the conversation. Patrict H hit the mark...the front springs are incorrect. They appear to be rear springs. Track bar is probably correct if the correct springs are being used. Rear springs are shorter and will not hold the weight of the front end. The compression along with the shorter rear springs would cause the track bar to shift the axle toward the passenger side.

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