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Old 02-25-2011, 09:54 AM   #1
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Track bar bolt

Anyone know the specs for the bolt that connects the track bar to the axle tube?...its the one that used the flag nut. I'm going to have to cut it off due to rust and I'm going to replace it with a NON-TORX bolt. Just want to make sure I get the right length and width. Thanks!

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Old 02-25-2011, 09:59 AM   #2
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Strength-wise, I would go either Grade 5 or Grade 8 on that particular bolt and then tighten it to 50 ft-lbs. to keep the track bar from moving. I don't know its length off the top of my head but it's easily measured. Just take the part of the bolt you cut off with you to the hardware store to get the right diameter.

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Old 02-25-2011, 10:14 AM   #3
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As I remember it's not a regular bolt. It's got a much longer than standard smooth shoulder on it. If you use a regular bolt the threads will be in contact with the back of the bracket.
The rough threads will elongate the bracket's hole and cause it to be loose - like a file.

If that happens it's a real PITA - you can't get to that hole to re-weld it - the entire bracket, including the spring bucket has to be replaced - somewhat major surgery.


Jeep dealers stock that bolt - the custom bolt and nut with the tang are about $8.00/pr.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:30 AM   #4
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Yep I should have mentioned that the bolt should have a smooth shank on it for the part passing through the track bar bushing. I was lucky my local specialty bolt supply had them in Grade 5.

I don't like the OE bolt for that particular location for one reason... that that end of the track bar is prone to getting loose enough to allow Death Wobble to develop that I like to tighen that particular bolt to 50-65 ft-lbs. but the OE bolt will snap at that tightness.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:50 AM   #5
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That's good to know they are available. I tried Nutty Bolt in Hesperia - they said it had to be custom made.

BTW - I made some bushings to repair the damaged holes - holes that got warbled out. I repaired 5 or 6 with them successfully stopping DW. Since it's a common problem I put together some do-it-yourself kits - the drill, 2 hardened steel bushings, new bolts, nuts, and easy instructions - I made the steel bushings on my lathe, then hardened them. $30, free shipping.


I mentioned them on here and 2 other boards. The criticism I got was unreal! Too high a price, not needed, scam, etc. I gave up. If people are that stupid ---.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:03 PM   #6
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I installed my new track bar last weekend and got new hardware from lowes. I got an M12 1.5 pitch 90 or 100mm length class 8.8 (grade 5 equivalent). I couldn't find an english that fit as snuggly as metric.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb0108 View Post
Anyone know the specs for the bolt that connects the track bar to the axle tube?...its the one that used the flag nut. I'm going to have to cut it off due to rust and I'm going to replace it with a NON-TORX bolt. Just want to make sure I get the right length and width. Thanks!
front or rear? both are metric....

front is M10 x 1.5 x 75mm long. Get a Class 12.9 socket head cap screw, it uses an 8mm allen head. Use a 3/8" grade 8 fat washer and wallow the center out of a bit with a drill, till the M10 bolt just fits through. It can be torqued to 55 ft-lbs no problem.



the rear is an M12. Get a Class 10.9 for this application.

That combo will reuse the stock nuts & tabs.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:46 PM   #8
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Older TJs use SAE there, newer TJs use metric
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Older TJs use SAE there, newer TJs use metric
ah, i see.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:46 PM   #10
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Closest dealership that has one is in Mississippi, I'm in Florida. Will take a week before it arrives if I order from them, which is way too long. My luck I tell ya. I need to get this thing going again ASAP.

Dealer did verify the bolt specs for me though. M10 1.5inx75mm on the front.
(Edit: oh yeah, Unlimited just said that. Thanks)

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Originally Posted by PolloLoco View Post
I installed my new track bar last weekend and got new hardware from lowes. I got an M12 1.5 pitch 90 or 100mm length class 8.8 (grade 5 equivalent). I couldn't find an english that fit as snuggly as metric.
Pollo,

was your's for the front or rear track bar? Also if it was for the front, did you use the existing nut with the "flag" hanging off of it or are those easy to find also?

Thanks
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:59 PM   #11
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Older TJs use SAE there, newer TJs use metric
Making sure I read this right....So unless I find a nut with the tab on it to fit the metric bolt Unlimited mentioned, then I cant do what he suggested?
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by chrisb0108 View Post
Making sure I read this right....So unless I find a nut with the tab on it to fit the metric bolt Unlimited mentioned, then I cant do what he suggested?
the nut tab can be had at any junkyard. the HP D30 i pulled from a 1999 XJ had a metric M10 bolt on it...and now I've got two tabs, one from my LP D30, and one from the HP D30. If you've got a welder, you can tack weld a new nut right into the tab.

if you have a welder - a tab for the front or rear nuts is very easy to make...all you need is a bench vise, a hammer, an angle grinder, a drill. Basically buy some 1/16" or 1/8" plate from the local hardware store. Shape it with a grinder into a small long peice that you can tack weld the nut to and fit into the space available. Bend it with the bench vise & hammer, cut where ever needed and once it fits, drill a big hold in it. put the nut in the hole and tack weld it.

bingo two ways to make a new nut tab and not have to worry about fishing a wrench in the blind hole. in both cases it doesn't matter if you use a metric or standard bolt/nut...you're replacing the nut
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:51 PM   #13
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I did the rear. The flag only makes it easy to align, I used new nuts.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:08 PM   #14
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the nut tab can be had at any junkyard. the HP D30 i pulled from a 1999 XJ had a metric M10 bolt on it...and now I've got two tabs, one from my LP D30, and one from the HP D30. If you've got a welder, you can tack weld a new nut right into the tab.

if you have a welder - a tab for the front or rear nuts is very easy to make...all you need is a bench vise, a hammer, an angle grinder, a drill. Basically buy some 1/16" or 1/8" plate from the local hardware store. Shape it with a grinder into a small long peice that you can tack weld the nut to and fit into the space available. Bend it with the bench vise & hammer, cut where ever needed and once it fits, drill a big hold in it. put the nut in the hole and tack weld it.

bingo two ways to make a new nut tab and not have to worry about fishing a wrench in the blind hole. in both cases it doesn't matter if you use a metric or standard bolt/nut...you're replacing the nut
The only thing you mentioned that I don't have is a welder. My neighbor across the street does though. May have to trade his welding skills for the use of my big commercial mower or something. Thanks for the tips!!

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I did the rear. The flag only makes it easy to align, I used new nuts.
Gotcha, thanks!
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:39 PM   #15
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Making sure I read this right....So unless I find a nut with the tab on it to fit the metric bolt Unlimited mentioned, then I cant do what he suggested?
I don't know when they switched that bolt to metric but it was SAE on my '97. I tack welded a flag onto a replacement nut for it once and it worked but later figured out I could also hold a plain nut with just an angled open-end wrench. Also, tack welding a flag onto a nut is likely to weaken it due to the heat from welding it so I'm not a big fan of welding onto hardware like that. Especially if it is hardened like a Grade 8 or 12.9 is.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:07 PM   #16
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No welder? Make a flag, (even a piece of a tin can works) JB Quick it on the nut. It's just there to help it get started. Even if it breaks off when you tighten it, it did it's job.

There are several places on a TJ where flags on nuts are used - and a few that it would help if it had one. JB Quick is fast and easy.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:32 PM   #17
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No welder? Make a flag, (even a piece of a tin can works) JB Quick it on the nut. It's just there to help it get started. Even if it breaks off when you tighten it, it did it's job.

There are several places on a TJ where flags on nuts are used - and a few that it would help if it had one. JB Quick is fast and easy.
Good thinking on the JB, I'll just get all new hardware then...some normal shapes and sizes this time instead of stars and metrics. Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:18 AM   #18
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I replaced with all new hardware. An off-set box wrench worked perfectly when tightening down the nut since I didn't have the flag nut to reuse. I have a different problem now though...even when torqued down to specs the track bar still has some play in it at the axle bracket. Anyone know a secret or should I just take it back out and knock that mounting plate back in a little to try to close the gap and make that fit snug in there?
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:21 AM   #19
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There can't be any play between the track bar and its mounting bracket, not even a smidgen. Exactly what type of play? Side-to-side movement or is it loose fore/aft?
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:27 AM   #20
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There can't be any play between the track bar and its mounting bracket, not even a smidgen. Exactly what type of play? Side-to-side movement or is it loose fore/aft?
Side to side inside the mounting bracket. So when I grab the track bar and push back and forth the end with the bushing kinda wiggles alittle....almost like the bracket it's in needs to be squeezed together.

Edit: Also, I ended up using an M10 x 1.5 x 75 because the closest size in SAE was too big for the hole. The new bolt doesn't fully fill the holes on the mounting brackets. Should I go with a larger bolt and try to drill it out some and make it fit snug. If I do this though I'd have to drill out the tube inside the track bar bushing also. Tried it yesterday with the bigger bolt and everything would have to be drilled out some. This has become quite the headache for me, however it would be an even bigger headache without the feedback here. Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:32 AM   #21
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Figure out the largest diameter bolt that will fit through the bushing inside the track bar and then if that means you can use a larger bolt, drill the bracket to accept it.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:36 AM   #22
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It should fit snug, then when you tighten the bolt it shouldn't move at all.

But - the usual problem is the holes get warbled out. Drop the bar out of the bracket, put the bolt in through the holes - it should fit tight in the holes. If it's loose no matter how tight the bolt is, it will still move back and forth causing DW. The forces it sees on the rad is far greater than you can put on it yourself.

You can try welding up the front hole and redrilling it, and you can even weld a thin plate or washer over the hole as a repair, but it won't last long. The rear hole you can hardly even see, much less repair it. Fixing only the front hole is only a temporary stop gap. You cannot use something thick without a tie rod clearance problem.

Eventually you'll have to cut off the bracket and fab a new one.

That's why I made up those hardened bushings as an easy fix for both holes. But as I said ---.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:40 AM   #23
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Ever try drilling the trackbar bushing? It's hardened steel. It will create so much heat it will ruin the rubber or plastic around it - then it's useless.

Yes, I've tried it - even with a constant flow of water cooling it.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:49 AM   #24
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Whether or not reinforcing the front of the track bar bracket creates interference depends on several factors and not everyone will have the problem, I personally did not. I welded a new full-size piece of 1/8" steel onto the front of the bracket plus a hardened washer over the top of that for a double-reinforcement onto my '97 TJ and it worked fine without creating an interference problem. Once I got my Grade 8 nut and bolt installed and the snot tightened out of them, that track bar was not going anywhere. I may have gotten lucky from how my front-end was set up but it worked for me.

You are certainly right about not being able to drill out the bushing, that just ain't gonna work. That's why I suggested just finding the largest diameter bolt that will fit through the bushing and then, if needed, drilling the bracket slightly bigger to accept it.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:10 AM   #25
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Whether or not reinforcing the front of the track bar bracket creates interference depends on several factors and not everyone will have the problem, I personally did not. I welded a new full-size piece of 1/8" steel onto the front of the bracket plus a hardened washer over the top of that for a double-reinforcement onto my '97 TJ and it worked fine without creating an interference problem. Once I got my Grade 8 nut and bolt installed and the snot tightened out of them, that track bar was not going anywhere. I may have gotten lucky from how my front-end was set up but it worked for me.

You are certainly right about not being able to drill out the bushing, that just ain't gonna work. That's why I suggested just finding the largest diameter bolt that will fit through the bushing and then, if needed, drilling the bracket slightly bigger to accept it.

Thank you Jerry. The guy at the counter got my bolts for me, I'll look through them myself this time and try to find one a tad bit bigger that will fit more snug inside the bushing.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:55 AM   #26
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I think it must be the slight variance in production. I plated several with 3/16 plate without a clearance problem - I think one or two I had to trim the bolt head down a little. Then I encountered one that was still totally stock that the bolt actually was already wearing from hitting. That's when I came up with the bushing idea.

Those may have all been the later TJ's too, and mostly Rubis - I never saw any with SAE bolts - news to me.

I wonder if when ordering a new trackbar do you have to specify Metric or SAE? Using the wrong one will cause problems.

Sometimes just tightening that bolt gorilla tight does the trick, sometimes not. It's certainly worth the try.

My Currie system wouldn't clear the bolt after I plated my Rubi - the Zerk hit. I had to go with the flat Zerk plug - even then I had to grind the both the bolt and the Zerk plug's heads down a little.

I wonder if the Rubi has less room because the axle tube is thicker?

It's just a poor design, the bracket is too thin a material and warbles out too easy.

I think the aftermarket replacements are heavier steel - but that entails the spring bucket and all - I think it also includes the LCA mounts - major surgery!


Jerry have you done yours yet - before it has troubles?
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:52 PM   #27
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I think it must be the slight variance in production. I plated several with 3/16 plate without a clearance problem - I think one or two I had to trim the bolt head down a little. Then I encountered one that was still totally stock that the bolt actually was already wearing from hitting. That's when I came up with the bushing idea.

Those may have all been the later TJ's too, and mostly Rubis - I never saw any with SAE bolts - news to me.

I wonder if when ordering a new trackbar do you have to specify Metric or SAE? Using the wrong one will cause problems.

Sometimes just tightening that bolt gorilla tight does the trick, sometimes not. It's certainly worth the try.

My Currie system wouldn't clear the bolt after I plated my Rubi - the Zerk hit. I had to go with the flat Zerk plug - even then I had to grind the both the bolt and the Zerk plug's heads down a little.

I wonder if the Rubi has less room because the axle tube is thicker?

It's just a poor design, the bracket is too thin a material and warbles out too easy.

I think the aftermarket replacements are heavier steel - but that entails the spring bucket and all - I think it also includes the LCA mounts - major surgery!


Jerry have you done yours yet - before it has troubles?
Man getting a welder and learning how to weld is the way to go it sounds like. Wish I could afford one right now. I'm going to stop and check out some more bolts and try to find one slightly larger in diameter than the M10. Oh btw, I tried getting all gorilla on it yesterday trying to tighten it up good and I snapped the Grade 8.
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Old 02-27-2011, 03:05 PM   #28
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IJerry have you done yours yet - before it has troubles?
I haven't gotten around to that part of the Jeep yet, it's working so it's not high enough up on the list of priorities. But yep I will definitely reinforce that bracket and hole before too much longer.

Right now I have other problems like a CEL (P0432) from either a bad cat or 02 sensor and something is rattling like crazy (exhaust I think) since tucking the t-case up higher with the flatter skidplate. That bad rattle at idle at idle really has my attention but I'm too lazy right now to drop the skidplate to see if I can figure it out or if I have to pay pay a muffler shop $60-80 to move the exhaust pipe or catalytic converter around. I sure miss my old Jeep.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:07 AM   #29
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front or rear? both are metric....

front is M10 x 1.5 x 75mm long. Get a Class 12.9 socket head cap screw, it uses an 8mm allen head. Use a 3/8" grade 8 fat washer and wallow the center out of a bit with a drill, till the M10 bolt just fits through. It can be torqued to 55 ft-lbs no problem.



the rear is an M12. Get a Class 10.9 for this application.

That combo will reuse the stock nuts & tabs.
Thanks Unlimited! I was looking for this info to replace an incorrect bolt the PO used when he did 4 DC 4" lift. One side of the rear trackbar had the M12 X 80mm bolt that showed some wear from the bushing but was overall not too bad. The axle side however would bang around and you could hear a metal clunk. Pulled the obviously wrong bolt out to find that a 7/16 bolt had been used which was banging back and forth in the metal bushing ring for years. Ive got some deep lines in the bolt where the bushing was warping it away. I'm sure it probably lead to the tearing of the drivers side bracket off the axle too. Too much slop just hammering away at the bracket every time it was driven.

Anyways, the local ACE had the M12 x 80 x 1.75 bolts and nut in the same hex cap nut with flange that the original used.

I don't know when they changed to Metric but my TJ was built in Feb 96 and with the exception of the one bolt that was not the factory bolt, the rear trackbar and sway bar bolts are all metric....


Love finding my answers like this before I head out to the store. Makes it much easier to guess which section to start it.

Gracias
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:21 AM   #30
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No welder? Make a flag, (even a piece of a tin can works) JB Quick it on the nut. It's just there to help it get started. Even if it breaks off when you tighten it, it did it's job.

There are several places on a TJ where flags on nuts are used - and a few that it would help if it had one. JB Quick is fast and easy.
No jb, no welder...angle grinder works, now I don't worry about that stupid tab.

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