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Old 11-15-2015, 03:18 PM
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Rubbing on front diff cover.

I was tinkering under the TJ yesterday and noticed that my track bar has rubbed my front diff cover at some point. Please take a look at the photos and advise me what I need to do to correct this. I have a 4" SL with adjustable control arms and track bar. Not sure but I believe there is a drop pitman arm on here also.

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Old 11-15-2015, 03:55 PM   #2
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You can see the steering geometry angles are off.

1. Remove the drop pitman arm and install a stock dimension pitman arm. You will be glad you did, every time you hit s bump,

2. Get a track bar that won't hit anything through the suspension range. Metal Cloak and Currie come to mind. I have MC bars, but I'd be equally happy with the currie stuff.

3. Given the already glaring issues I'd suggest giving it a thorough shakedown and cycle your axles looking for more problems and checking to make sure you are properly bumpstopped as well. Chances are that you are not, in light of the state of the first two items.

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Old 11-15-2015, 04:02 PM   #3
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There is both a drop pitman arm and a drop track bar bracket, so those things probably work ok together with the exception of the rub on the front diff cover. I also run the RE extreme duty track bar and bracket with drop pitman arm and I also get a very minor contact at that same spot but other than removing the paint, I haven't had any other issues with it in the 10 years I've been 4 wheelin with it in this configuration - no dents in the diff cover and no damage to the track bar so far.
I understand if the contact is hard enough it can cause the diff cover to dent and/or the track bar to fail. The only fix I know is to replace the track bar with a JKS, MetalCloak or Currie track bar, which will also then require you to remove the track bar bracket and drop pitman arm. You may also be able to move the axle rearward slightly by adjusting your control arms, but that can lead to other issues.

I agree with the statement in the above post that you should also make sure your bump stops are set up right as it looks like there are no extensions visible in the photo. This may help reduce the contact with the diff cover, but I wouldn't count on it.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:10 PM   #4
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Picture number two still looks like the point to point lines are not parallel. Of course the angle of the pic is weird but it doesn't look like the drop bracket and drop pitman are lining anything up worth spit to me. Hard parts contacting at any speed won't do for me. Anyhow, good luck and I hope you get it sorted out.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:18 PM   #5
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Picture number two still looks like the point to point lines are not parallel. Of course the angle of the pic is weird but it doesn't look like the drop bracket and drop pitman are lining anything up worth spit to me. Hard parts contacting at any speed won't do for me. Anyhow, good luck and I hope you get it sorted out.
Good point on the hard parts contacting. One of these days, I'll probably replace my track bar and pitman arm set up. In my case it just touches as it hits full bump, but it still pisses me off that it comes in contact at all and I agree that it is not a good thing.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:35 PM
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Here are a few more pics. I appreciate the help.

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Old 11-15-2015, 04:52 PM   #7
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yep, drop bracket and drop pitman arm, both are bad ideas
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:58 PM   #8
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drop track bar bracket hits the tie-rod. drop pitman arm gives bumpsteer. track bar is straight, no bend to clear the diff. there's no bumpstop extensions to keep any of those components from smashing into stuff & creating interferences.

your front end is jacked up. remove all that junk and put good stuff on with good geometry & setup your suspension around it. you'll fix all the issues, including the ones you don't even know you have yet.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:11 PM
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I recently started hitting the rocks more than I had been. More flex I'm sure, I'm learning as I go. From reading here I know hardly anyone recommends or uses drop brackets and pitman arms. I was speculating that the bump stops were possibly the primary culprits.

I will definitely correct these items in the near future.

I am a bit confused about my angles being jacked though. I recall a picture showing the proper set-up for the front end. I'll see if I can post it here. Let me know what you all think.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:17 PM
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Angle photo.

Bad angles. Not my photo. Very good illustration. Click image for larger version

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Old 11-15-2015, 05:22 PM
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Correct angles. Click image for larger version

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Old 11-15-2015, 05:28 PM
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My front end.

Are my angles really jacked up? Hopefully a better pic.

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Old 11-15-2015, 05:49 PM   #13
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the first one looks to be parallel, which is what you want.

either way, when you go back to the oem pitman arm and get a decent adjustable track bar, your angles will be correct. you can have correct angles with the dpa and drop bracket, but you lose space, which causes rubbing, especially when not bump stopped properly
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:57 PM
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I will remove the DPA soon. Need to find a stock one. Will also replace track bar.
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:18 PM   #15
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I will remove the DPA soon. Need to find a stock one. Will also replace track bar.
Have to change them both at the same time or your angles will be off for sure. Also make sure the original track bar bracket is still in tact. I assume the drop bracket bolts to it and the frame and that the original bracket wasn't cut off the frame. Most after market track bars require the original bracket to be drilled out to 5/8ths. My RE drop bracket also required the original mount to be drilled to 5/8ths, but it's worth checking out before you get too far along with the swap plan.
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:56 PM   #16
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I'll be the first to admit that I can't see the relational angles of mounting points clearly in the photos, and as such could be seeing it wrong. It just appears to me (still) that if I draw lines from mounting point to mounting point that the two lines come closer together up by the pitman arm than they are at the passenger side of the axle. Either way, once you get the track bar sorted and cycle the axle to bump stop it you'll be well on the way to having it all handled.

I'd do as suggested and make sure the drop bracket/pitman weren't installed to "fix" a wallowed mounting hole on the axle side of the track bar and that you can still drill out that end to install a good replacement.
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:57 PM
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Good advice. Will do.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:24 PM   #18
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I had the same parts and issues once. A Metal Cloak Track Bar and OEM pitman arm will fix it. A hair over $200 for the both of them...

Crown Automotive - Power Steering Pitman Arm - Fits 1997 to 2006 TJ Wranger, Rubicon and Unlimited - 4WheelParts.com

TJ/LJ Jeep Wrangler Solid Chromoly Front Track Bar
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:30 AM   #19
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How does the heim joint on the frame end of the MetalCloak track bar hold up over time? I ask because on my last rig, the heim joint on my RE track bar only lasted about 5k miles which is why I went with the extreme duty set up on this rig. It makes me lean more towards the Currie design but maybe that isn't a valid concern with the MetalCloak?
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:14 PM   #20
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How does the heim joint on the frame end of the MetalCloak track bar hold up over time? I ask because on my last rig, the heim joint on my RE track bar only lasted about 5k miles which is why I went with the extreme duty set up on this rig. It makes me lean more towards the Currie design but maybe that isn't a valid concern with the MetalCloak?
I've got almost 2 years and about 20k miles on mine. Solid as ever so far, though I have not put it through much in the way of stress. I haven't heard any complaints from anyone with the MC track bars either, which is one of the reasons I went with them. No doubt I'd be equally happy with the Currie.

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