Jeep Cherokee XJ Track Bar Upgrade

Installing a JKS track bar to correct my loose steering.

On my last trip to Windrock, I noticed quite a bit of play in my steering.  Driving in dirt and rock was fine but paved roads like P1 were kinda scary. Highway 116 was downright terrifying. 

When I got home I checked out the steering.  I found the track bar was really loose. It had play on both ends. Since this one did not have that many miles on it, I decided to upgrade to the JKS track bar.

When I removed the old track bar, I found not only was the bushing on the axle end worn, but the hole in the frame end was slightly oval-shaped.

Luckily the JKS track bar uses a larger mounting bolt at the frame end and needs to have the hole drilled out anyway.  They also include a tapered spacer to make it a tight fit.

I had to drop the tie rod on the driver’s side to make room to drill the hole.  It takes a 9/16 drill bit.

With the hole opened up, I slipped the bolt through the track bar, added the cone and put the bolt through the bracket. I put the washer and nut on top. I left the assemble loose while I adjusted the axle end.

To set the track bar you have to turn the end in the threaded part of the bar.  This means one end must be loose. I was able to get enough droop on the flex joint to spin the coupler until I could line up the track bar with the hole in the axle.  I made some rough measurements to try to center the axle.

I then installed the original bolt and flag nut on the axle end.  I then tightened the frame end bolt down tight. Then I reconnected the tie rod end I had removed to make room for the drill.

A quick test drive shows that the steering is much much better. The steering wheel is off and measurements at the fenders show the axle is not quite centered.  I will adjust the track bar length to center the axle first and then address the steering wheel.

The JKS bar looks like it will hold up well to off-road abuse.  I pumped it full of grease at the easy to get to fitting so it should be easy to maintain.