Does anyone know what this bar is?


TriForceten

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May 19, 2020
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Pahrump nv
I was replacing the oil pan gasket, looked over at the rear end, there is a bar connected to the axle that is missing a bolt to hold it in place. Does anyone have any idea what the bar is.? I was to a "trail arm" but I cant find that.
The closest is a "track arm". What is it, and how hard is it to press the bushing out our do I just have to but a full assembly..?
 
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TriForceten

TriForceten

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May 19, 2020
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Pahrump nv
Just need to know so I can buy the part in the AM. I'm a 24 year old self taught mechanic, but I mainly work on newer vehicles. So this is strange to me. I prefer it, but it's a learning curve.
 

Utok967

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May 14, 2020
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Pennsylvania
If it's the track bar, just get rid of it. Unless your state's inspection rules are super strict, you don't need it. Coil sprung vehicles need them to keep the axle centered, but leaf sprung Jeeps like ours don't need it. All it does is stress the frame. They were added by the government in the name of safety.
 
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Gary747

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I have a different opinion about removing the front track bar. You can buy a new one complete with new bushings for about $60 to $70. It does have a design function on Jeeps with leaf springs, particularly in terms of the steering components. I replaced every steering component forward of the firewall except the track bar, and I mean everything. I then had the wheels aligned primarily because after all those new parts, the steering wheel was not centered about 1/8 turn to the right. It was an easy alignment to perform because all the parts were new. After a week or so, I was still hearing something clunking when turning out of the driveway, so I replaced the front track bar. When I took the Jeep off the jack stands, the steering wheel was now out of alignment by about 1/8 turn to the LEFT. That track bar pulled things together and helps hold the steering geometry in place. I got another alignment, and all has been perfect since.

By the way, here is another story for you concerning that front track bar... When you remove and/or replace it, the Jeep should be raised with either the front wheels on ramps, or with jack stands under the front axle. The weight of the Jeep must be carried by the springs or else the track bar bolts are under a lot of shear and are "pound-out terrible" to get the first one out. So, do NOT jack or put stands under the frame! And "Good Luck" getting the last bolt back in !... UNLESS the weight of the Jeep is on the springs. In that case, you can remove and/or insert the bolts with your fingers. Try this and you will have no doubt that the track bar is reacting significant loads.

Another consideration... the front track bar has a U-channel shaped shim on the left side frame rail attach point. What many folks don't think about is that the track bar also reacts TORSION, and this shim resists that rotational force. I had the rear track bar fail at the axle, and I knew it by hearing the rear axle wind up and clunk when accelerating or braking... the entire axle was tending to rotate with engine torque and wheel braking forces. This rotation was being absorbed by the springs and shock absorbers... not in the normal "bounce" direction, but reacting the rotational loads primarily at the U-Bolt to leaf spring interface. Like the front track bar, when working on the rear, the weight of the vehicle must be on the springs. If not, Ride comfort could be affected (not in a good way) when the track bolts are tightened (up to 125 ft-lbs torque... pretty tight). This "ride-comfort" concern applies to both the front and rear track bars.
 
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Drewbert

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Nov 19, 2020
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Virginia
I think track bar consideration (and more specifically) / alignment issues of the front end has merit with stock (type) parts.

I wouldn't have taken mine off with those weenie stock shackles, 27 year old leaf spring / shackle bushings, worn out steering / suspension.

With quality (moderate lift) springs, military wrap ends, polyurethane eyelet bushings for both the springs / shackles, along with associated heavy duty steering / suspension components, that front track bar becomes extremely dangerous in my eyes.

Once all the factory engineered play (and 27 year old resulting wear) has been removed, the track bar cannot articulate without binding up the suspension. My Jeep would hit a bump and veer left / right as the track bar would literally bind up. There is now simply not enough play in the front end to allow it to articulate.

It's my take that the front track bar is a crutch, covering up the crappy stock tolerances.