• Welcome to the new NAXJA Forum! If your password does not work, please use "Forgot your password?" link on the log-in page. Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] if we can provide any assistance.

Steering Redo.... Questions before I dive in.

EricTheRed

NAXJA Forum User
I'm fairly new to the Jeep world. I've had my 98 Cherokee for a year and a half now. I'm actually new to the solid front axle, 4 wheel drive world. Haha. I bought it set up the way it is now. From what I gather, it's a 4.5" Rough Country lift on it. It's driven 98% of the time on the highway. What off road it sees is easy stuff. I'm not looking to rock crawl with it, just trail ride.

My family's vehicle situation is fixing to be shaken up. I need a truck, but that looks like it'll be put on the back burner for now. That's fine....I don't mind waiting my turn, but I need to do some upgrades to the Jeep while I wait. The previous owners slapped a 4.5" short arm on it and called it a day. That being said, y'all know what it rides like. Also, you most likely wouldn't be surprised to know that it has a hint of death wobble on occasion when the situation is right. I've got plans to correct all of this, but I also have some questions as well.

Here's the plans.... Rocky Road Outfitters control arm drops with adjustable upper and lower control arms, over the axle track bar mount and OTK steering. I want to redo the steering to get my geometry right. I may be thinking about this all wrong, but going OTK just seems right. Not necessary for clearance, but it seems like it would be easier to get things lined up like they should be as long as it's accompanied with an over the axle track bar mount. I saw a picture through a Google search of a drag link mount that I like (I actually think he's a member here). If I decided to go OTK, I know some of the things that it entails, but there's a couple of things I'm not sure of and I know you guys could help.

1. Will I need offset TRE's for clearance?
2. Will this track bar mount be better than the traditional Inverted T connection at the tie rod? Would it help eliminate the dead spot if mounted inline with the tir rod ends? Seems like it would especially if you didn't have to use offset TRE's. Here's a picture of the mount....

154389093456792155
 
That's a horrible set-up and both RRO'S and RC are vendors to avoid! OTK kits are nice but not needed at that height. I've been at 6" for 20yrs w/o running OTK with steering thats perfect using Curries Correct-lync. Do yourself a favor and sit back and learn more about your Jeep and all the great products out there!
 
That's a horrible set-up and both RRO'S and RC are vendors to avoid! OTK kits are nice but not needed at that height. I've been at 6" for 20yrs w/o running OTK with steering thats perfect using Curries Correct-lync. Do yourself a favor and sit back and learn more about your Jeep and all the great products out there!

The picture is a horrible set up? What wrong with RRO?
 
NAXJA is the the best source of good info, do some searches and work on the issues your experiencing to find/fix them before going further. The list of causes for DW is long!
 
Sounds like you've done a fair amount of research into what you want to be successful with your setup. Good job. I would say the concept of what you're looking to do is sound and you'll be pleased with the results of installing drop brackets, adjustable upper and lower arms, and also going OTK with steering.

With that said, I would also recommend not going with RRO or RC. I don't really have experience with them, but there are better products out there that you will be happier with.

You really don't need to go OTK with your steering at 4.5", but it will be a welcome improvement if you decide you definitely want to. Just be aware you're getting into "custom" territory rather than "bolt-on". When you move the track bar over the axle to match the higher drag link, most people need to mount it inboard of the coil spring. This often results in the track bar being shorter than the drag link, which will create bump steer. This can be minimized by moving the frame side track bar mount farther outboard, but again requires some fabrication and know-how to be done correctly.

I do not have any experience with inverted T style steering, but I foresee the draglink mount that you pictured still getting bad tie rod roll. I would probably look for other options.

Something that has become pretty popular is swapping to WJ Grand Cherokee knuckles. This gets you crossover style steering, which is better than inverted Y and inverted T, and also much larger brakes. It is certainly a pretty involved swap, so its not for everyone, but its something to look into.

If you're not set on staying at 4.5" of lift, lowering it to 2-3" would be a big improvement for ride quality and steering geometry. I know that's no fun though.

FWIW, I'm working on setting my rig up with long arms and OTK steering at 4" of lift on 35's. If that's what you want, you can certainly make it happen.
 
Sounds like you've done a fair amount of research into what you want to be successful with your setup. Good job. I would say the concept of what you're looking to do is sound and you'll be pleased with the results of installing drop brackets, adjustable upper and lower arms, and also going OTK with steering.

With that said, I would also recommend not going with RRO or RC. I don't really have experience with them, but there are better products out there that you will be happier with.

You really don't need to go OTK with your steering at 4.5", but it will be a welcome improvement if you decide you definitely want to. Just be aware you're getting into "custom" territory rather than "bolt-on". When you move the track bar over the axle to match the higher drag link, most people need to mount it inboard of the coil spring. This often results in the track bar being shorter than the drag link, which will create bump steer. This can be minimized by moving the frame side track bar mount farther outboard, but again requires some fabrication and know-how to be done correctly.

I do not have any experience with inverted T style steering, but I foresee the draglink mount that you pictured still getting bad tie rod roll. I would probably look for other options.

Something that has become pretty popular is swapping to WJ Grand Cherokee knuckles. This gets you crossover style steering, which is better than inverted Y and inverted T, and also much larger brakes. It is certainly a pretty involved swap, so its not for everyone, but its something to look into.

If you're not set on staying at 4.5" of lift, lowering it to 2-3" would be a big improvement for ride quality and steering geometry. I know that's no fun though.

FWIW, I'm working on setting my rig up with long arms and OTK steering at 4" of lift on 35's. If that's what you want, you can certainly make it happen.

I appreciate the reply. To me, the WJ swap is ideal. Gives you the best option possible, but I don't think I want to mess with doing it. Not that I can't do it, just don't want to. Lol. Any fabrication stuff wouldn't be a problem at all. I welded in a Fab/repair shop for years and I'm a Machinist by trade.

I also appreciate the heads up from both of you on Rocky Road Outfitters. Seems their stuff is okay, but the customer service seems to be atrocious. I've been searching the web for control arm drops brackets and saw something that Skyjacker made. From what it looks like, it seems that they used to make it and no longer do. I'm going to give them a call Monday (if I can remember to) and see if they still do. It's not brackets for long arms , but it's not for factory length arms as well. Lays along the bottom of the body and replaces the transfer case mount as well. It's a big piece, but looks really sturdy. I would just have to build some bottom arms. No problem, but I'd be surprised if they still made it. I don't see it on their website.

In all honesty, with what I do with the Jeep, I should probably just slap some drop brackets on it along with a ZJ tie rod and call it a day. That would save me a lot of money to put toward other stuff that I need like gears and a Powertrax LSD.
 
The Skyjacker subframe has been out of production for many years. It was part of their “Rock Ready” kit. It was a red beefy subframe and used mid length lower arm. I bought one used in about 2000 for my previous XJ. I liked the way it worked but the rod ends were junk. When we bought our 99 XJ in 2007, I looked for one but they were no longer made. Ended up with SFR long arms with Metalcloak dura flex joints. It works great. Still running stock steering on this one, but will beef it at some point. Likely the WJ swap. I had the Currie setup on the old one and it worked great. I’d suggest that or the synergy setup if you want to stay bolt on.
 
Yes, Skyjacker used to sell a mid-arm, but as with most multi-manufacture vendors they were for show and not function. If you can fab, you could build a set for almost what a set of db's will cost. I've built 2 sets as there was only a few were available 20yrs ago.
17520005_zps1ejc8y51.jpg

17520018_zpsuxgj28f6.jpg

17520002_zpshq6uixs7.jpg

17520001_zps8bza4aor.jpg
 
The Skyjacker subframe has been out of production for many years. It was part of their “Rock Ready” kit. It was a red beefy subframe and used mid length lower arm. I bought one used in about 2000 for my previous XJ. I liked the way it worked but the rod ends were junk. When we bought our 99 XJ in 2007, I looked for one but they were no longer made. Ended up with SFR long arms with Metalcloak dura flex joints. It works great. Still running stock steering on this one, but will beef it at some point. Likely the WJ swap. I had the Currie setup on the old one and it worked great. I’d suggest that or the synergy setup if you want to stay bolt on.

I didn't figure they were made anymore. Looks like a good set up.
 
Yes, Skyjacker used to sell a mid-arm, but as with most multi-manufacture vendors they were for show and not function. If you can fab, you could build a set for almost what a set of db's will cost. I've built 2 sets as there was only a few were available 20yrs ago.

Looks good!
 
I couldn't gather from your first post weather you already have adjustable short arms or not. If not add up the cost of short arm and the drop bracket. Then look at Dirt Bound or IRO long arm kit. I paid about $1k for Dirt Bound last year. That is no springs etc.
I do have WJ cross over steering. There are some kits out there for them. Stinky Fab has one. I did use his OTK trackbar setup. Really like it. Ironman used to have a WJ kit.
I do have RC rear springs and Comp fronts on a 4.5 with Bilstein shocks. A bit rough. Tires can make a difference.
Watch the 'pre' death Wobble. It can go to death wobble quick. Not fun. As mentioned lots of things can cause it.
 
I couldn't gather from your first post weather you already have adjustable short arms or not. If not add up the cost of short arm and the drop bracket. Then look at Dirt Bound or IRO long arm kit. I paid about $1k for Dirt Bound last year. That is no springs etc.
I do have WJ cross over steering. There are some kits out there for them. Stinky Fab has one. I did use his OTK trackbar setup. Really like it. Ironman used to have a WJ kit.
I do have RC rear springs and Comp fronts on a 4.5 with Bilstein shocks. A bit rough. Tires can make a difference.
Watch the 'pre' death Wobble. It can go to death wobble quick. Not fun. As mentioned lots of things can cause it.


I don't have the adjustable control arms currently. RC lower arms with factory upper arms.

As far as my pre death wobble, I'm 99% sure it's my track bar bushings. That's all I can find that has any slack in it. It has an adjustable RC track bar, so I know good bushing replacements are easy to find. I just haven't done it yet. Trying to figure out what route I'm going to take. Honestly, with no more than I'm going to do with it, I should probably just slap a ZJ tie rod on it and call it a day. IMO, the WJ swap is hands down the best option though.
 
I do have a set of RC adjustable control arms. I do not like them. The uppers, the bracket to the axles is 1/16th. A bit thin. I do like the CORE adjustable control arms. 1/4 thick. Also, their price is good.
 
Could just get upper adjustable control arms, if you run out of adjustment for castor.
 
I do have a set of RC adjustable control arms. I do not like them. The uppers, the bracket to the axles is 1/16th. A bit thin. I do like the CORE adjustable control arms. 1/4 thick. Also, their price is good.

I appreciate the info. I'll check out the CORE control arms. Thanks.
 
Back
Top