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shellback91

Drag Link Replacement

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Betty Lou's drag link is having issues, it is old so I am not surprised. My steering wheel has decided to un-center itself randomly lately so I am having to fix that every so often. I had to do that on the KOFA run. The adjustment collar is bolted down, I put plenty of ugga dugga's on it.   When I was adjusting it Sunday Ken & I noticed the TRE on the Pitman arm has some play where it goes into the adjustment collar. I was able to wiggle it and watch and hear the threaded portion move around.

 

All that to ask this: Based on your experiences If I replace the stock Drag Link with an after market one would that cascade into replacing other things up front? I want to avoid that because every time I upgrade one thing three more have to be upgraded/replaced. It is the way of the Jeep gods, they are cruel that way.  😃 I may also have to buy a bucket of patience, more tools and other  things.

 

I am looking at the Metal Cloak drag link as one option so far. It looks like a good option.

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replacing the drag-link with the Metal Cloak one should not force any other upgrades. just be sure to get the standard, not the "drag link flip" version.

 

however, if the drag-link TRE's are bad then the tie-rod ones are likely close to death as well, so you might consider replacing it at the same time.

 

EDIT - FYI, you could also just replace the pitman arm side TRE on the stock drag link, even autozone has them. however, the other end is all one giant piece. i only mention this in case funds are extra tight. i think it makes more sense to replace the entire thing with an aftermarket unit.

Edited by theksmith
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48 minutes ago, theksmith said:

replacing the drag-link with the Metal Cloak one should not force any other upgrades. just be sure to get the standard, not the "drag link flip" version.

 

however, if the drag-link TRE's are bad then the tie-rod ones are likely close to death as well, so you might consider replacing it at the same time.

 

EDIT - FYI, you could also just replace the pitman arm side TRE on the stock drag link, even autozone has them. however, the other end is all one giant piece. i only mention this in case funds are extra tight. i think it makes more sense to replace the entire thing with an aftermarket unit.

Thank you sir.  My main concern is how much of a PITA they can be to remove.  I read Ryan had to commit a murder to remove his drag link. 🤣

 

If I go and replace the Tie Rod with a MC one could I possibly run into clearance issues at full lock?  Cascading issues are a huge PITA and expensive to boot.

Edited by shellback91
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3 hours ago, shellback91 said:

Thank you sir.  My main concern is how much of a PITA they can be to remove.  I read Ryan had to commit a murder to remove his drag link. 🤣

 

If I go and replace the Tie Rod with a MC one could I possibly run into clearance issues at full lock?  Cascading issues are a huge PITA and expensive to boot.


With the appropriate-sized pickle fork you can avoid the PITA I went through. Mine was a touch too small.

 

Granted the JL is a little different, I ran the Metalcloak drag link and tie rod on my stock wheels for a few months.

 

The only clearance issue I had was with the new ginormous 1 Ton TREs on the tie rod itself coming into contact with my factory offset wheels at full steering lock. If you get the Metalcloak tie rod too, you’ll probably have the same issue unless you change wheels or add wheel spacers.

 

The TRE on the drag link had plenty of clearance to my recollection. My issue was solely with the tie rod.

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Worth noting, Metalcloak has unparalleled customer service.

 

I had initially emailed them to ask about clearance with their tie rod and my stock wheels. They told me up front that I’d have some issues. They recommended putting a few washers onto the steering stops on the knuckles -   but said long term that spacers/new wheels were the final answer.

 

All that to say, maybe give them a call/email and see if the same is true for the JK. Dimensionally we’re a little different, but they’re an honest bunch out there.

 

Last note, I knew going into it that I was lifting, wheels/tires, new HD steering… so the domino effect was anticipated in my case :)

 

There may be some aftermarket tie rod options out there that work with OEM wheels, but in generally I found Metalclock to be the most budget-friendly HD option on the market.

Edited by 4x4tographer
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Sorry Marty, just thought of something else. 😅

 

So with Metalcloak’s adjuster design, you’ll need some big-ass wrenches to adjust/tighten the drag link. I have some big adjustable wrenches, but for the extra ummmpf I had to get some crow feet to snap onto my breaker bar when tightening everything up.

 

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Thank you Ryan for the information!  As old as Betty Lou is I may have to take some drastic measures here.  🙂

 

After looking around some more I did see on the Metalcloak website that the Tie Rod works with stock JK wheels and spacing but I wanted to verify.  I called Metalcloak and spoke to Jon. He verified that the Tie Rod does in fact work with stock 17" wheels and spacing, that's a win because that's what I have and it lessens impact on the wallet some, for now. 

 

Here is where the dominoes fall 🤣

 

If I replace Tie Rod I will probably be forced replace the steering stabilizer. Not necessarily a bad thing, I would only need to decide what mount. I like bougie so I would get the Billet mount. It looks like I may have to bite the bullet and buy the HD Steering Kit.  It has what I need, I just need to check my budget.

 

I will be calling Mr. Joe to see what he would charge to install that stuff.  I do not have all the right tools to do this without committing a murder or 3.  🤣

 

Good talk guys, as always I appreciate hashing this out here. 🤘

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On 3/7/2023 at 1:07 PM, 4x4tographer said:

Sorry Marty, just thought of something else. 😅

 

So with Metalcloak’s adjuster design, you’ll need some big-ass wrenches to adjust/tighten the drag link. I have some big adjustable wrenches, but for the extra ummmpf I had to get some crow feet to snap onto my breaker bar when tightening everything up.

I decided to get me BAW for this the other day. I needed to adjust my steering wheel a little so I needed something bigger than what I had in the toolbox. I went with an 18" adjustable wrench and put my ass into when I loosened everything up. That seemed to do the trick. 🤣

Edited by shellback91
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An update for anyone researching or interested in this.

 

I was on the Grand Canyon run a couple of weeks ago and was noticed an improvement overall. We had some serious washboards and some bumpy roads to deal with.  I did not feel the bumps and washboards at all in the steering. Normally my steering wheel is rattling and vibrating like crazy on washboards, this seems to get rid of that. Daily driving the ride is smoother overall. I am not feeling the bumps in the road like I used to. I am happy with my purchase and highly recommend this or any other steering upgrade from stock.  To borrow a phrase on this overall, YMMV. 🙂

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I am still having my wobble issues after replacing the drag link and tie rods with the Apex Chassis 1 ton steering but it is more pronounced and is occurring more frequently.  So, hoping a new set of tires fixes it, as this is what the techs at HMC attribute it to as there was nothing that stuck out when they were going through the front end of my Jeep.  If not, I am back at square one.  Ugh.

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