Jeep XJ Drag Link replacement

Correcting the steering on my Renix era Jeep Cherokee with a new drag link tie rod.

After replacing my track bar, I still had play in the steering. The next worst spot was the drag link. I noticed this was loose when I was trying to center the steering wheel after changing the track bar.

I ordered the Omix Ada AKA Rugged ridge drag link kit. This kit comes with both tie rod ends and a new coupler. Finding parts for the renix era Jeeps is getting harder but this kit was readily available from Amazon.

When unpacking, I almost missed the new grease serts and cotter keys that were down in the packaging. I began by installing the grease nipples using an 8mm wrench.

I began removing the old parts by removing the steering stabilizer. It popped out a little too easy after removing the nut. I think the mounting hole was worn as well. But that gets replaced with the new parts.

Next, I removed the tie rod from the drag link. This mounting hole was also worn allowing the tie rod end to spin while trying to remove the nut. I used a pry bar to put pressure on the taper while turning the nut to remove it.

I then removed the tie rod ends from the joints on each end of the drag link. I had to use a hammer to shock these joints to get the tapers to break loose.

I then compared the old and new parts. I wanted to make sure I got a Renix era kit and not the later one that is a different length.

I put anti-seize on the coupling threads and assembled the kit. I measured the old assembly and set the new coupler to the same length to speed up the steering wheel alignment after I was done.

I then put anti-seize on all the threads and assembled the new drag link. I then greased all the fittings: old and new.

I rolled the Jeep back and forth a few times and made the final adjustments to the coupler to center the steering wheel. I made a quick check of the alignment with a tape measure. It should not have changed but I will check it later just to make sure.

This would have been a good time to upgrade the steering, but since I am planning a new axle build soon, I just replaced the stock parts. They have worked well for 15 years off-road anyway.