So I guess I'm reviving an old thread, sorry guys, I haven't been very active on CT. But I still have my rig and still want to be a part of this great bunch of 4x4 enthusiasts.
I started experiencing a lot of front end noises with my rig. Popping and it seemed to be coming from several places in my steering system. Because I always go wheeling on new years day I needed to adress my concerns. I found a lot of problems that all probably contributed to the problem.
1rst, I found that the holes in the lower control arm brackets on the axle where wollowed out. So when I backed up the axle was shifting on the bolt, I'm sure contributing to the popping noises. I took four thick fender washers with a smaller size hole and drilled them to the exact size of the bolt. Welded them to the bracket to fix the slop.
2nd, I found the track bar I put on which at first was great, but as time went on. The Johnny joint had frozen up from moisture, I even lubed the joint almost every time I took it wheeling. I think they are junk. Solution, well I was extremely fortunate to come across someone who was selling xj parts from his storage garage. I bought a used track bar and bracket from him for $80. It wasn't as simple as unbolting and installing it because I weld my previous bracket with 1 inch welds to insure it doesn't go anywhere. So an afternoon of cutting and grinding with my angle grinder I got it removed, of course I welded the others bracket the same way.
3rd thing I did was replace the lower control arm with none adjustable ones. The control arms ctrl I had would not lock solid with the jam nut. So there was movement in the arms. I feared that some day they might wollow out and separat. Like what happened one day a MJ on a trail run I went on. I had to a l so do some adjustments to the upper to get the pinion angle right.
After doing all this, I am pleased with how it now drives and the noises are pretty much eliminated.
I really don't know why they end up seized up, but it is not isolated to my track bar, a friend has basically the same setup (just different brand) and his is seized up as well. The trackbar I got is a Rough Country track bar, it has rubber clevite bushings, hope they are less prone to wearing out prematurely. But it really isn't a very expensive unit to replace if it does. We'll have to wait and see.
I'll have to try and take a picture of mine. I can't even pry it with a long screw driver to get it to move. That's how frozen up it is. I also think the new track bars bracket lines up much better with how the axle moves up and down.
I think that a person gets what you pay for too. The track-bar that I had purchased was something that looked great off ebay, but I should have ponied up the first time and bought one from a more reputable manufacturer. Hate being on a budget!
Yeah for the moment, wheeled it on New Years day and have been enjoying driving it back n forth from work. One small detail on my alignment is that the steering wheel needs to get realigned. But it has bottomed out so I need to remove the side threaded ball joint end that goes to the pitman arm and do some shaving, then it will be good. I just engore my OCD and enjoy driving it in a straight line without have to pull it back to center on the road.
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