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Old 05-05-2013, 02:48 PM   #1
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Trackbar & draglink length

Long story short, When I replaced my steering gearbox I replaced the tie rod end on my DL and just eyeballed the depth when I screwed it in (I had cranial-rectal syndrome). I also replaced my front trackbar with a stock (non-adjustable) trackbar. Toe-in set & steering wheel straightened.

I'm having a LOT of darting left & right when driving but steering is pretty tight. It doesn't necessarily happen when I hit bumps & does it randomly even on a smooth, straight road, There is no dead spot in the steering wheel and I can mostly run straight with the steering wheel at 12:00 but sometimes the steering wheel has to be held at either 11:00 or 1:00 to run straight, also. However, I don't have to steer back & forth to hold a straight line like I did when my gearbox was shot.

Hours of reading these forums makes me think that at least one of my problems is that I got the DL length wrong when I put on the new tie rod end. As I understand it, the DL & TB must be the same length.

What is the tolerance on this relationship? For example, can I be off by 1/8" or 2"?

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Old 05-05-2013, 03:02 PM   #2
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The drag link & track bar must be at the same angle, not the same length. And with a stock Pitman arm and stock track bar mount, they will be at the same angle so no worries there.

The tie rod length is set first by adjusting the tie rod length so the front edges of the tires are 1/16" to 1/8" closer together in front than they are in the rear. Then the drag link length is adjusted to center the steering wheel.

Here's a good basic guide to the TJ's alignment procedure... Basic Jeep Front End Alignment

And while a tape measure can be used to measure between the tires when setting the toe-in, the below indicates a more precise/more repeatable way of measuring. It only requires two pieces of 1" square aluminum tubes & two spring clamps. Mark the tubes at the two points to equal your tire diameter & measure between them at the marks.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
The drag link & track bar must be at the same angle, not the same length. And with a stock Pitman arm and stock track bar mount, they will be at the same angle so no worries there.
Thanks, Jerry. I originally learned how to set my toe-in from your info 2 years ago. You have been a huge source of info for me since I joined here then.

I have the same angle on the TB & DL so I guess I'm good there. I never stopped to think that as long as my pitman arm was pointed to the rear, the lengths should be the same.

I guess all of that I read about only applies to adjustable TBs. Knowing that the lengths are OK with the angles being good would be great news except for the fact that I was hoping that the length issue I had read about was the source of my problem.

Dry steering test seems good so unless it is the ball joints at the wheels (as recently suggested on "another" forum where I've been documenting my woes as they have changed - that thread title is now very misleading), I'm stuck.

Thanks again for your help today & in the past!
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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The darting is why I suggested checking/setting the toe-in. I think one of my edits to that post accidentally deleted why I was talking about setting the toe-in. And when is the last time you had your caster angle measured? An out-of-whack caster angle can make the steering less stable.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
The darting is why I suggested checking/setting the toe-in. I think one of my edits to that post accidentally deleted why I was talking about setting the toe-in. And when is the last time you had your caster angle measured? An out-of-whack caster angle can make the steering less stable.

I set the toe-in after installing the gearbox 2 weeks ago. I double checked the toe-in last week when troubleshooting before ordering the new trackbar. I WILL triple check it Monday since I'm off work part of the day.

I never have had the caster angle checked. I have stock CA's so I thought it was set & couldn't be adjusted.
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