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‘16 JKUR soft top manual. MORE engine skid. Evap Can Reloc (Dominion). Fox shocks. Otherwise stock
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I couldn’t find a completely clear answer on what handling issues an incorrect length track bar causes on its own, assuming the bushings are still good. Most of the articles focus on bad bushings.

Are there specific handling issues?
Or is it that it causes excess wear and premature bushing failure?
Or is it mostly cosmetic?

Are there different handling issues for back vs front?

These are all questions I have.

I have noticed that under braking the Jeep likes to dive right since I put 2” springs up front. It doesn’t really wander other than that, and I have some caster correction already added. I was wondering if that was a track bar issue or more likely just an alignment issue?
 

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Incorrect track bar length would imply the axle is not centered. Nobody wants that.
 

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‘16 JKUR soft top manual. MORE engine skid. Evap Can Reloc (Dominion). Fox shocks. Otherwise stock
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Incorrect track bar length would imply the axle is not centered.
Yes, that is definitely true. I asking, mainly out of curiosity, what handling issues that causes on its own.
 

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None, as long as the bolts are properly torqued. It just means it looks from the outside like the Jeep is crabbing down the road as the front axle is a bit too far to the left and the rear axle is a bit too far to the right.

A too "short" track bar situation only occurs if your Jeep has been lifted and the lift is a more inexpensive one that did not include a new longer or adjustable track bar. If the front is too short the rear is as well for the same reason. My old trigonometry teacher could diagram that easily.
 

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Yes, that is definitely true. I asking, mainly out of curiosity, what handling issues that causes on its own.
Many people are driving around right now in their JK / JKU with the front and rear axles offset to the opposite sides. It is really common. Unless the offset is really extreme, I doubt you could tell.
 

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If the bushings are good and torqued down to specs the only issue it should give you is cosmetic.
 
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But why would anybody want to offset their axles in the first place? The first thing I think of when I see that crap is mall crawler and bottom of the barrel lift kit.
 

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‘16 JKUR soft top manual. MORE engine skid. Evap Can Reloc (Dominion). Fox shocks. Otherwise stock
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
But why would anybody want to offset their axles in the first place? The first thing I think of when I see that crap is mall crawler and bottom of the barrel lift kit.
It was really just a vehicle dynamics question, for my own education. I assumed it would cause pulling to one side. Or wear on various suspension bushings. But couldn’t find anything specific on line.
 

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If the bushings are good and torqued down to specs the only issue it should give you is cosmetic.
I concur... Normal driving, the only thing you would notice is cosmetic. A little extra tire poke on one side and a little crab walk going down the road. It's not enough to cause bushing bind.

Now, depending on wheel offset, tire width and what fenders you have, it could cause tire rub on the fender on one side at full stuff.
 
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I concur... Normal driving, the only thing you would notice is cosmetic. A little extra tire poke on one side and a little crab walk going down the road. It's not enough to cause bushing bind.

Now, depending on wheel offset, tire width and what fenders you have, it could cause tire rub on the fender on one side at full stuff.
I'm not so sure about that. Just a personal theory but....

the wheel closer to the centre of the vehicle would carry more weight and therefore would in theory have dominance, which could lead to handling problems.
 

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I don't think it's going to be an issue for the OP's 2" lift, or at least I have a 2" lift with the stock track bar and my axle is centered to the point that it's difficult to measure a difference.
 

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I don't think it's going to be an issue for the OP's 2" lift, or at least I have a 2" lift with the stock track bar and my axle is centered to the point that it's difficult to measure a difference.
I will say that at one time I did have a cheap 2" lift on my machine in the beginning (no axle centre or caster correction) and it did have a slight pull to the right. That pull however went instantly away with a full and proper (3") lift, but I have no idea if that was the adjustable track bar that did it.... or something else.
 

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I will say that at one time I did have a cheap 2" lift on my machine in the beginning (no axle centre or caster correction) and it did have a slight pull to the right. That pull however went instantly away with a full and proper (3") lift, but I have no idea if that was the adjustable track bar that did it.... or something else.
Your improvement could be due to caster correction as insufficient caster (as often results with cheap lifts) will make the vehicle more susceptible to various pulls. For my own part I do have caster correction with my lift and zero steering issues, I just can't see what adding an adjustable track bar would do in my case if I can't even detect or measure a problem (related to axle centering.) A cheap 2" lift may cause issues depending on what was left out, I'm only saying that it isn't likely to be due to centering error alone. Again, for 2" that is, as you get to 3-4" or more then I expect it would become mandatory.
 

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But why would anybody want to offset their axles in the first place? The first thing I think of when I see that crap is mall crawler and bottom of the barrel lift kit.
Because to fix it you have to spend money on adjustable track bars. (About $500 up just for the track bars) Some are willing to put up with the slight issue with appearance. Especially if the rig is used mostly on off road trails rather than being a mall crawler.
 

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I bought my Jeep with a 2" spacer lift...that I didn't know about. I also bought it online, and undriven. When it was delivered, and I drove it, it scared the $!!! out of me. If I steered left, it went right...then left. The initial reaction was to go the opposite way I steered before correcting itself with excess sway and oscillation.

Over the next four weeks I got used to it and convinced myself it was a normal "Jeep" thing. At the time, I knew no one else who owned a Jeep.

One day I went to a good San Antonio 4x4 shop....not to complain.... but just to poke around. The shop owner, a younger guy in his 30s, talked with me, saw my Jeep outside, and went to look it over. He crawls under the Jeep......

"Uh oh. This is a problem.", he said reaching up and grabbing something I can't see
"What?"
"This track bar."
"What's wrong with the track bar?", says I, not knowing WTF a track bar was.
"It's a Rubicon track bar."
"But this IS a Rubicon. Shouldn't it be?"
"You have a 2" spacer lift. That'll pivot the track bar and force the axle off center." (At this point he was out from under the Jeep and dangling his fingers in a manner to illustrate how that pivot affected the axle.)

Then he described in great detail how that would adversely affect the steering and handling of the Jeep.

I was stunned. I hadn't gone to him for my steering, and I didn't mention it at all,...and yet, he described exactly what I was feeling.....and I told him so.

I asked how to fix it.
"Adjustable track bar."
"How much?"
"$130".
"Do it."

... and in thirty minutes, he did. When I drove the Jeep away, it took all of about 50 feet in the parking lot to feel the dramatic difference in handling. Night and day stuff. It was like a real car! I've learned a lot since then, but that was my first suspension lesson.

That track bar made a tremendous difference.
 

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Because to fix it you have to spend money on adjustable track bars. (About $500 up just for the track bars) Some are willing to put up with the slight issue with appearance. Especially if the rig is used mostly on off road trails rather than being a mall crawler.
It’s about $250 and anybody that can afford to go off-roading and break shit can afford that. Or it’s the cost of just a couple tanks of gas.
 
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I will say that at one time I did have a cheap 2" lift on my machine in the beginning (no axle centre or caster correction) and it did have a slight pull to the right. That pull however went instantly away with a full and proper (3") lift, but I have no idea if that was the adjustable track bar that did it.... or something else.
I pieced together my lift (learning as I went). I did it over Christmas two years ago, and ordered from Qtec. They had the suppliers drop ship the parts, so the springs came directly from RK.

My intention was just to go 1.5" front and back; really the desire was for better springs more than height (and better shocks) but since I was replacing springs I figured I would go with a super mild lift at the same time.

I was suspicious when I opened the boxes because the spring free length up front seemed really off the website specs. But it was the week after Christmas and everything was closed and I had the time so I dove in.

That's when I figured out they had sent 2.5" front springs and 1.5" rear springs ASSuming I wanted to level it. They were probably right and I owed them a thanks. I should probably add that my relatively light weight rig (stock wheels, no steel bumpers or winch) amplified the results today still measuring 3" up front and 2" in the back. A great result, but it also meant I had to order more parts.

I went back and ordered adjustable track bars and sway bar links, and brake line brackets (to replace the once I had quickly/roughly fabricated) and installed that all when it finally came in.

All this is a complicated way to say that my lift doesn't have caster correction. I drove it crabbed for a week or so while waiting for the track bars, then very carefully centered the axles again. I don't recall it pulling under braking then and it DEFINITELY doesn't do it now. Actually it drives/handles/rides beautifully and I have no current plans to change anything further, but one never knows. I'm generally driven more by need than desire in these things.

So my assumption/conclusion is that though I'm sure it could happen in theory, I suspect it takes a bigger difference than 1/2" or whatever my wheels were off up front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Doing some more reading, it seems like it is at least a good idea to use a track bar bracket in back. It will improve handling and pull the axle back closer to center.

Given the comments above, caster is probably the main issue, and I just need to crawl under and adjust my control arms (they were adjusted for plenty of caster with a 0.75” spacer, but clearly not enough for 2.5”)

Still going to get an adjustable front track bar. I don’t like how the springs lean with the axle where it is.
 

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Doing some more reading, it seems like it is at least a good idea to use a track bar bracket in back. It will improve handling and pull the axle back closer to center.

Given the comments above, caster is probably the main issue, and I just need to crawl under and adjust my control arms (they were adjusted for plenty of caster with a 0.75” spacer, but clearly not enough for 2.5”)

Still going to get an adjustable front track bar. I don’t like how the springs lean with the axle where it is.
Yes, the rear bracket typically is the better overall upgrade over a rear track bar. The track bar up front is a good upgrade as well... Some MFG's like AEV don't do anything up front on their 2.5" lift and AEV is recognized as the best driving 2.5 on the market. I always recommend a front track bar at 2.5 and up.
 
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