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post #1 of 6 Old 11-11-2018, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Alignment question

Hi all

Short version: Does a poor alignment cause stress on other components like the track bar?

Long version:
Ok, here's the longer version that involves my 2009 JKUR and please bear with me, as I'm trying to do some investigative work to determine the failure point. Ever since it was stock and when I took it in for an alignment, all of the shops that I have taken it to have never been able to get my passenger side in alignment (the amount of caster has never fallen into specs). Which lead to some death wobble but nothing I couldn't live with at first.
-After a lift and a couple of years later, I looked at the track bar mount on the frame and noticed the hole had wallowed out. So I added the brace from Synergy and that worked really well for a couple of years.
-Fast forward and one day in the parking lot I hear metal on metal and come to find out that the Synergy track bar bracket was moving back and forth as I turned the wheel lock to lock. So I had a shop weld on the bracket to the axle tube and all is well for about a year
-I then go wheeling yesterday and while driving on a dirt road, my steering wheel turns 90 degrees but I'm still driving straight. Get out and take a look and find that almost the entire trackbar mount has been ripped off. The welds from the shop still held, it was the mount itself that failed. Where it didn't fail, it was cracked and the cracks look like they've been there a while.

From what I can figure, it seems that the failure points started on the track bar mount on the frame, then to the axle mount and then the mount/bracket itself failed. So the question then is, if the UCA and LCA mounts on the passenger side are off (either bent or welded incorrectly at the factory) would that cause that kind of stress over time? and if so, would it be better to have them cut off, re-welded on or just say screw it and get a new housing?
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-11-2018, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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here's some pics




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post #3 of 6 Old 11-12-2018, 04:32 AM
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I only intend to try & help plus it's tough via pix online to see the critical details on things like welds and brackets really well.

That being said, after 7-8 years w/ my JKU & an aftermarket TB bracket ( I use Artec but for our purposes, that doesn't matter + Synergy Mfgs are fine product/ comparable) I am a fanatic about maintaining the undercarriage , especially from any steel which might be exposed. It freaks me out because I have had lots of Jeeps & know what it can cause.

Just from what I can see , it appears all was well until several things came into play once the rust started "doing it's thing " on your TB bracket; I am gonna bet that the INSIDE of that bracket in your 1st photo was not welded to the axle tube where the crack occurred . Shine a light in there and check. It's seems a satisfactory weld outside but with the incredible stresses that bracket is subjected to , only the outside being welded ain't enough .
Notice the flat lie of that bottom of the TB bracket ; after trails riding in any wet or mud or snow , water lays in there like a cup . Mud is worse. Snow or ice , similarly held .

This results , over 4-5 seasons , in nature taking over and the exposed hairline cracks that were not beaded within the bracket permitting rust to get down in there and eventually the bracket will separate . You're lucky this didn't occur at significant highway speed or we wouldn't be talking cuz you probably wouldn't be here.

It is imperative to (A) check the work any fabrication shop does for you. If you don't know ask online.
(B) it is imperative to maintain your hardware based upon your geographical location. If in rust belt or some great white North area , you gotta winterize your undercarriage accordingly. I looked at condition of your gear & cringed , no offense intended. If you do a Google search for " Jeep JK Fluid Film" you're bound to find myself or @kjeeper10 (Ken) touting the marvels of Fluid Film in prevention. Surface rust happens . It's our job to take care of the areas it is creeping into deeper and can maybe cause damage . To be fair , you can't know this unless you lay under the Jeep & spend loads of time looking at everything. I noticed after having the front TB bracket I use welded on that it held debris but also, Artec produced it with drain holes . I also went to a reputable off-road shop & made sure they were welding inside and outside of the bracketry.
Here, you can see a similarly aged front track bar bracket as yours . There's a big difference between the steel condition on the two , huh?

(btw, that is red clay dust on the housing,not rust. My Jeeps got no rust on em)


Fluid Film each winter and your stuff won't rust and break off. Trust whatever work you pay for is done right instead of fast then use it in the elements & thrn let it sit with no attention and that oxidation thing inevitably happens. It simply caught up with ya.

You could have been very hurt or hurt others.im very glad you're not & that gave out on trail. You got lucky if you Street drive that.
Maintaining thr rig is just as important as wheeling or upgrading them.







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post #4 of 6 Old 11-12-2018, 07:23 AM
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Bigger tires and lift put stress on the brackets as well as the stresses of off road trails. Death wobble will also put a lot of stress on the brackets and tends to wear and break stuff if you live with it.

As you lift it also throws the axle side brackets out of alignment and increases the side stresses on the brackets. It acts like a pry bar pulling the bracket away from the axle tube.

There are four ways to regain caster: off set ball joints, relocation brackets, adjustable control arms, cut and spin the C's. Most alignment shops don't do well with lifted vehicles and it is best to find a shop that works on modified vehicles.

Some build info here:
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-12-2018, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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thanks guys, appreciate the info.

j3ff3ry_j33p: I'll take a look at that inner weld today when I get home. Never thought about the rust as it's been in California all its life. And you're right, I'm very glad this happened at an OHV park and not on the highway, though on the way down, I did get a case of DW at 65mph which was very odd but the highway is pretty chewed up and I attributed it to that.

thedirtman: yeah, over the years, I've replaced most of the parts on the rig that you mention (even the bushings) and have taken it too shops that work on 4x4s in the past and they've never been able to get it right (even when it was bone stock).
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-12-2018, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurfnSnow View Post
thanks guys, appreciate the info.

j3ff3ry_j33p: I'll take a look at that inner weld today when I get home. Never thought about the rust as it's been in California all its life. And you're right, I'm very glad this happened at an OHV park and not on the highway, though on the way down, I did get a case of DW at 65mph which was very odd but the highway is pretty chewed up and I attributed it to that.

thedirtman: yeah, over the years, I've replaced most of the parts on the rig that you mention (even the bushings) and have taken it too shops that work on 4x4s in the past and they've never been able to get it right (even when it was bone stock).

wow, yeah...Cali is not synonymous with rust unlkes right at coast , maybe.

dirtman included super useful info about lift = lever action taking place on brackets, too.

Good luck with diag and keep this updated.




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