Tierod, Draglink, Trackbar Brace, & Steering Damper

roaniecowpony

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I had this stuff laying around for since last fall and I figured it was time to put it all in. I had put a SteerSmarts Yeti Pro trackbar in last fall and it was an immediate and nearly total fix for the loose steering. All that remains is about a half inch of play.

I don't really think any of these parts is going to fix the last half inch of play. It appears the steering box has a bit of play. I disconnected the draglink from the tierod and grabbed the pitman arm and wiggled it. It has discernable backlash. I think this is the "play" I'm dealing with.

But I ran up against a problem that's been stopped me before dark. I gave up for the night. It's the draglink connection to the pitman arm. I can't seem to pop it loose. I banged on the O.D., I banged on the stud. I even bought a puller, but there's just no room to get it on there unless I pull the pitman arm. Any experinence or tips would be appreciated.

P_20200304_142641.jpg
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DadJokes

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I had this stuff laying around for since last fall and I figured it was time to put it all in. I had put a SteerSmarts Yeti Pro trackbar in last fall and it was an immediate and nearly total fix for the loose steering. All that remains is about a half inch of play.

I don't really think any of these parts is going to fix the last half inch of play. It appears the steering box has a bit of play. I disconnected the draglink from the tierod and grabbed the pitman arm and wiggled it. It has discernable backlash. I think this is the "play" I'm dealing with.

But I ran up against a problem that's been stopped me before dark. I gave up for the night. It's the draglink connection to the pitman arm. I can't seem to pop it loose. I banged on the O.D., I banged on the stud. I even bought a puller, but there's just no room to get it on there unless I pull the pitman arm. Any experinence or tips would be appreciated.

P_20200304_142641.jpg
A pickle fork maybe?
 
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roaniecowpony

roaniecowpony

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roaniecowpony

roaniecowpony

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Maybe a little heat before I trash the boot with a pickle fork.
 

limeade

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Try lifting the drag link so the bar is parallel. Put the axle end of drag link back in the mount and thread the nut on loosely so it doesn't fall out.
This will alleviate any pressure on the tapered shank of the tie rod. Since it's a tapered shank, the shank may be exerting enough pressure on the pitman arm hole for it to not drop out. Then...…………...​

Get 2 hammers, placing one on the outside of the pitman arm where the drag link enters. Using the other hammer, hit the outside of the pitman arm on the side (180 degrees) opposite from where you're holding hammer #1 against. Smack it really hard and try to hold hammer #1 against the outside of the pitman arm.

I've used that technique with great success (not a big fan of pickle forks).
 

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It really is a pain to get out. I used a pickle fork attachment that goes into a air hammer. The $13 harbor freight one must not be strong enough because it still took me a long time. After many failed attempts i started soaking it in pb blaster. It was the stock drag link which I consider trash so I didn’t worry about destroying the boot.
 

oceanblue2019

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I had this stuff laying around for since last fall and I figured it was time to put it all in. I had put a SteerSmarts Yeti Pro trackbar in last fall and it was an immediate and nearly total fix for the loose steering. All that remains is about a half inch of play.

I don't really think any of these parts is going to fix the last half inch of play. It appears the steering box has a bit of play. I disconnected the draglink from the tierod and grabbed the pitman arm and wiggled it. It has discernable backlash. I think this is the "play" I'm dealing with.

But I ran up against a problem that's been stopped me before dark. I gave up for the night. It's the draglink connection to the pitman arm. I can't seem to pop it loose. I banged on the O.D., I banged on the stud. I even bought a puller, but there's just no room to get it on there unless I pull the pitman arm. Any experinence or tips would be appreciated.

P_20200304_142641.jpg
PB blaster overnight soak and a pickle fork worked for me. Ironic as all other factory steering fasteners were under-torqued.
 

Headbarcode

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Maybe a little heat before I trash the boot with a pickle fork.
Hopefully you see this beforehand. Don't use heat. Heat can change the metallurgy of whatever its being applied to. Use the tuning/pickle fork and a medium sized hammer. You're replacing the whole arm anyway, so a rip in the boot won't matter a bit. Loosely catch a couple threads on each end to prevent it from dropping uncontrolled.
 
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roaniecowpony

roaniecowpony

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Hopefully you see this beforehand. Don't use heat. Heat can change the metallurgy of whatever its being applied to. Use the tuning/pickle fork and a medium sized hammer. You're replacing the whole arm anyway, so a rip in the boot won't matter a bit. Loosely catch a couple threads on each end to prevent it from dropping uncontrolled.
I appreciate the comment. But being in the engineering biz, metallurgy was a big part of my career. Heat won't really start to soften (temper/anneal) the hardness of a heat hardened steel until you get in the 300F range and above. Things like the pitman arm are probably tempered in the 400-500F range originally. So, you have a lot of room to heat parts like this before they begin to get softer.



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roaniecowpony

roaniecowpony

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PB blaster overnight soak and a pickle fork worked for me. Ironic as all other factory steering fasteners were under-torqued.
I suspect the tapered joints in the aluminum knuckles "settled in" after they were factory assembled, which let them lose torque. Any surface profile irregularities, at a microscopic level, will allow the harder steel pin to cold form the surface of the aluminum knuckle hole, both from the torque applied and the vibration/impact/loads that the joint goes through. Being tapered, that lets it creep a bit and loose torque. If anything on these Jeeps needs re-torquing after installation and driving for a while, it's these steel-aluminum tapered joints.
 
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roaniecowpony

roaniecowpony

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Try lifting the drag link so the bar is parallel. Put the axle end of drag link back in the mount and thread the nut on loosely so it doesn't fall out.
This will alleviate any pressure on the tapered shank of the tie rod. Since it's a tapered shank, the shank may be exerting enough pressure on the pitman arm hole for it to not drop out. Then...…………...​

Get 2 hammers, placing one on the outside of the pitman arm where the drag link enters. Using the other hammer, hit the outside of the pitman arm on the side (180 degrees) opposite from where you're holding hammer #1 against. Smack it really hard and try to hold hammer #1 against the outside of the pitman arm.

I've used that technique with great success (not a big fan of pickle forks).
I'll give it a shot this morning. I'll use a 5 lb small sledge hammer for the backer and a mid size ball-peen for the striker. On balljoints, I've not backed it like you suggest, but still had good results, but not this time.
 

limeade

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I'll give it a shot this morning. I'll use a 5 lb small sledge hammer for the backer and a mid size ball-peen for the striker. On balljoints, I've not backed it like you suggest, but still had good results, but not this time.
Let us know how it goes....I'll be swapping my stock steering for Synergy in about 2 weeks.
 

oceanblue2019

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I suspect the tapered joints in the aluminum knuckles "settled in" after they were factory assembled, which let them lose torque. Any surface profile irregularities, at a microscopic level, will allow the harder steel pin to cold form the surface of the aluminum knuckle hole, both from the torque applied and the vibration/impact/loads that the joint goes through. Being tapered, that lets it creep a bit and loose torque. If anything on these Jeeps needs re-torquing after installation and driving for a while, it's these steel-aluminum tapered joints.
This is why Jeep upgraded the steering knuckles to iron in the Mojave versions I am certain. They went to aluminum in the JL for weight but part of the overall issue. Back to cast iron for the Mojave. Should be a bolt on upgrade for us.
 
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roaniecowpony

roaniecowpony

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Let us know how it goes....I'll be swapping my stock steering for Synergy in about 2 weeks.
All the banging and heating didn't get it done. I removed the pitman arm from the box with puller and got it up on the bench. Smacking the sides on an anvil didn't do it. I finally bridged it across a vise and used a 5lb sledge with adequate cursing to free it. It trashed the end of the draglink joint stud. But it's a done deal. I put some anti-seize on the splines of the steering box before reinstalling it. I could already see rust on the splines. The thread will get locktite as per the factory. I'm putting on a Synergy sector/trackbar brace.
 
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