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Ironman4x4 Fab WJ Knuckle Swap Steering Install


NAXJA Forum User
NAXJA Member
Reno, NV
I had swapped out my XJ knuckles with WJ knuckles and brakes but had been running my existing Currie steering setup, and had been waiting awhile for my Ironman4x4Fab steering setup to arrive. When it finally did, my buddy Dennis and I went to work on swapping over to the new setup. I am running a G2 Core44 front axle, so I knew some modifications would be needed to the kit to make everything work correctly.

I ordered the over knuckle WJ swap kit with the offset track bar bracket as well as tie rod ends - which I later found out was a good decision! There is no way the tie rod would work with their track bar bracket, without off set tie rod ends on my Dana 44.

All the components of the kit -

The first thing we had to do is cut off the old track bar bracket, so we could begin to fit the new one. The G2 axle has a slightly different configuration than stock with some extra cross bracing -


We cut off all of the old track bar mount as well as the old steering stabilizer bracing. We cut a little at a time to see if we could tie in any of the old stuff to the new bracket, but eventually had to just cut it all off.

The new track bar bracket has an alignment hole that lines up with the old track bar bracket inner mounting hole - so you know where it is suppose to go on the axle. The new axle side track bar mount has multiple mounting holes for the track bar, one thing we quickly realized is that with my axle, the bracket hit the spring so we would have to clearance the bracket where it hit the spring so the back mounting holes could not be used.

Here is the bracket mocked up -

You can see here how we cut the bracket to make it clear the coil as well as added cross bracing support -

We then mocked up the new frame side track bar bracket. - I had previously welded on frame stiffiners right up to the old IronRock Offroad bracket. The new bracket was larger than the old bracket and overlapped the frame stiffeners slightly - I had to bust out the cut off wheel again and do some trimming!


Here is the new track bar bracket and cross brace mocked up. - The brace actually came into contact with the coil spring in one area near the upper outermost track bar mounting hole, so trimming was needed there as well.

Frame side Track Bar Bracket and Brace mocked up -


Slight bit of trimming needed on the back upper side of the bracket to clear the coil spring -

We reamed out all the knuckles and cycled the suspension and turned everything lock to lock. The tie rod slightly hit the new bracket as well as where G2 had the lower part of the sway bar mounts.


We ended up clearencing the bracket as well as the lower sway bar mount - mounting location. As I mentioned earlier, this is with the offset tie rod ends! There is no way you would get any steering radius with stock straight tie rod ends, there would just be too much contact between the tie rod, the track bar bracket as well as the sway bar mounts.

Here is the track bar bracket after we cut it cleranced it for the track bar as well as the coil spring and braced the back and added the cross bracing -



One thing we scratched our head over was the sway bar mounting. The brackets that the kit provides puts the sway bar mounting location up high and slightly out to clear the drag link. In looking at the setup, I would have had to have extremely short link arms for my Currie Antirock setup to work. In pondering it longer, we realized that since my Currie sway bar setup is longer than stock, it actually dropped the links nicely down behind the drag link, that allowed us to drill a hole in the lower area of the existing mounting location and
mount the links there.

Lower sway bar mount passenger side


Sway bar mount drivers side


Then it just came down to cycling everything again, checking clearance - The steering turns lock to lock with no interference now - We did a quick tape measure alignment and we were done!


I am taking it out for a shake out next weekend in Big Bear - we will see how it does!
I'm not very impressed with that track-bar brace.
RCP, I haven’t seen that many others for the XJ, so I don’t have anything really to compare it with. It came with the setup, clears the oil pan well, so I installed it and it’s better than not having it! The only things I didn’t like about the whole process of installing everything, is that there are no instructions on how to do anything. It came down to logically trying to figure out the best way to put things together and seeing how things should fit together. The second thing is the size of the bolt on the axle side track bar bracket. It is really small (maybe 10mm?). I am surprised with how large the bolt and joint is on the frame side that they wouldn’t have something larger on the axle side.
RE makes one for their set-up, that's what I have. You can kinda see it in this pic.
RCP, I checked out the RE track bar brace, and it looks pretty similar in design to the one I have. The RE one is made out of tubing, and the Ironman4x4fab one is solid plate, (it is heavy!) but other than than it looks like they connect fairly similarly to the frame as well as to the track bar bracket. I think that either one would do the job well!


Maybe the instructions were stuck on the inside of the packaging. When I got the steering box brace from them I thought it was missing instructions but it was flush in the box. Like if someone folded and taped it there. You couldn't see it looking down the length of the box.

And I had to massage and rework a hole or two on that brace. Seems their stuff is really strong, but built to tolerance on one specific car and all cars are not the same after a tiny bit of off roading.
ljobbins, I did get the steering box brace with the sector shaft support as well! I haven't installed it yet though. That is the only part that did come with instructions. I am running my old MORE brace right now. I have plans to upgrade to a new Durango steering box later this summer, and didn't want to go through the pain of trying to get my pitman arm off once the new brace is on. I double checked their site a bunch of times and they only have install instructions for some of their products, but not all of them.
Finally had a chance to take the truck out this weekend for some testing, and it worked great! - I have some more trimming to do on the inner fenders to make the 37's fit better when stuffed, I got really twisted up on Lower Largo and it rubbed a bunch, even with all the bump stops, but over all it worked really well.



The price of low COG!


Hate to revive an old thread, but how is the WJ swap kit doing after a few years? I've been considering buying it for my Comanche.
Hate to revive an old thread, but how is the WJ swap kit doing after a few years? I've been considering buying it for my Comanche.

Going on about 5yrs with and would never give them up!
I have WJ Big Brake and cross over steering on two XJs. So, no real issues. I really like the steering. I do have several manufacture's parts on the two setups and others to be installed on my next few builds. I'd check out Stinky Fabs parts. I do have their setup, mostly, on my 2" build.
I do prefer the Stink Fab OTK Trackbar bracket on the axles, then the Ironman. I do like the Ironman Swaybar Extension links. I used the Ruffstuff 1-ton GM crossover steering kit on my first one. I copied that setup on my next one. I should have just bought the Ruffstuff kit again, or used OEM TREs. The boots were cracking within a year of the ones from EBay.
I did do under instead of over. I did do a set of knuckles OTK. I also, put on adjustable steering stops and made the 1/4 brake caliper spacers integral to the caliper. The adjustable steering stops was due to on my 2" lift, the tires were very close to the extended swaybar brackets. I did cut off the top hole on them, and rounded the edges.

Edit: 10/13
I also used a steering stabilizer on the 4.5 lift. That is with the Ruffstuff front diff cover. I have run with out it on the street and highway. Does OK without. I did have on the Iroman Steering stabilizer. I could not get the sector shaft to fit. I think first a bent frame. The other is I had a steel steering box spacer for a Dakota box. I do have a Bad Dad Fab bumper and Hidden winch setup on the 2". That includes his steering box brace setup.
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I agree with rcp wj swap is very much worth it. Id even do it on a small tire small lift build.

You can see my angles are much better. Steering lots more positive and precise.


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