Normal Drag Link Rod End Movement? - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-28-2018, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Normal Drag Link Rod End Movement?

I have been searching for issues in my steering that is leading to odd steering dynamics, like something is loose. It feels like the trackbar bolt is loose allowing movement. I know that is not the case but have had that issue in the past. I also have a bit of wander with all of the alignment in check. I checked all my joints and noticed some movement in the draglink end at the pitman arm. Does this look normal, could it be causing problems with the steering? Not a great video, but you can see it move up and down when turning, a good view near the end of the video.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-28-2018, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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I should add that I have check the torque on the whole front end and everything looks good. The bolt at the pitman arm is torqued to spec and is not moving, I pull the boot down to confirm. I plan to remove the boot to get a better view of what might be going on.

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post #3 of 12 Old 08-28-2018, 09:35 PM
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It can be deceptive in a video but that looks bad to me. Your drag link should flop as allowed by having ball joints on each end, but the ball joint tie-rod end should only perform ball-joint movements (not sure the best other way to describe it!) while it looks like that one has some up-and-down play at the joint itself.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-29-2018, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I know what you mean, a normal ball joint will have some rotational movement but should not have up and down movement. At least that's the way I think of it. If I can find my ball joint separator I am going to remove the draglink this evening and take the grease boot off to get a better view.

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post #5 of 12 Old 08-29-2018, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christensent View Post
It can be deceptive in a video but that looks bad to me. Your drag link should flop as allowed by having ball joints on each end, but the ball joint tie-rod end should only perform ball-joint movements (not sure the best other way to describe it!) while it looks like that one has some up-and-down play at the joint itself.



^X2


I have mucho experienco with the JK/JKU steering linkages & that, OP, is a foul TRE on that draglink at the pitman.

It should not have vertical movement like that. Now, you might be able to cinch it down 1-2 more turns on the nut ( if anyone ever serviced it maybe they did not torque to spec?) but do not go too much over spec torque.



Those TREs simply wear fast as heck. Upgrade the DL if you're wheelin or have heavier than stock wheel/tires.



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post #6 of 12 Old 08-29-2018, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ff3ry_j33p View Post


^X2


I have mucho experienco with the JK/JKU steering linkages & that, OP, is a foul TRE on that draglink at the pitman.

It should not have vertical movement like that. Now, you might be able to cinch it down 1-2 more turns on the nut ( if anyone ever serviced it maybe they did not torque to spec?) but do not go too much over spec torque.



Those TREs simply wear fast as heck. Upgrade the DL if you're wheelin or have heavier than stock wheel/tires.



So I assume you don't see this type of movement with your Synergy Draglink? That is what I am looking at as a replacement.

I should provide a little more information. This is not OEM, it is an aftermarket HD draglink and not a cheap one either. In fact the video in my original post is the brand new rod end that I just bought to replace the one that came with the draglink because of the up and down movement (with only 10k miles). I am still working with the company on this issue and don't want to mention it for now. I just wanted to make sure I am not crazy in thinking something is wrong with this setup. I plan to take by my local shop tomorrow for them to inspect it.

I put the original HD draglink end back on without the boot to get a better few of the movement.

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post #7 of 12 Old 08-29-2018, 08:35 PM
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Lots of tie rod and drag link ends have a spring in them. Stationary steering movements put quite a bit of strain on the joints.
What you are seeing may be the springs compressing under the load.

I don't know if the joints you have are spring loaded, but it appears they are in the video.

According to the factory service manual the proper way to test the OEM joints is to try to move them up and down by hand. There should be no movement when stressed vertically by hand.

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post #8 of 12 Old 08-30-2018, 03:56 AM
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@ronjenx is correct - as he usually is - about the defacto method of checking* tierod end-link balljoint movement . However the movement is not always detectable via hand testing ( or it is at the very-least counterintuitive) in the manner which those troubleshooting description's verbiage. By that, I mean that you actually ARE supposed to have some horizontal ( what we refer-to as "flop" on DLs and mostly tie Rods) roll of the joints forward/backward or else they would bind & behave horribly.

That is different than premature or regular wear of the inner race and ball travel 'limiters' or stops. Many of us clock the two TREs so there is less roll frwrd/bck on these links. that is different than the type of verticle play that can indicate a fouled TRE joint . (edit: the type I notice in your first video when you turn pssgr)


Here is a video of someone detecting play on a OEM DL tre joint.

https://youtu.be/Uz9z2eSyGWE


While unlike your ( EVOMFG? RareParts? maybe TeraFlex? ) draglink
... you can still see how the movement will cause orbital mvmnt that is sometime felt heard or just causes loose play in steering . I have found many of the mnfcturers do not stress nearly enough the criticality of greasing these type of sintered-ball, spring-equipped, HD ball joints ; I am betting that you greased yours appropriately to the manufacturer's recommended or approx 4 times annually, yeah?



(* you will hear that it is not the best way to test these joints but I still find taking extremely large-jawed goose-neck or pipe-pliers ( channel locks) & testing vertical play by clamping down on them from atop and beneath the balljoint and seeing if you can press to induce vertical movement) is another test of these. )

Does it still play and move like that if you have someone turn wheel back&forth repeatedly without the Jeep running? actually, the correct diagnosis of an non-weight bearing balljoint ( or spring preloaded) is to test it removed from the suspension. ya might just have to pull the DL





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Last edited by j3ff3ry_j33p; 08-30-2018 at 04:22 AM.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-30-2018, 04:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronjenx View Post
Lots of tie rod and drag link ends have a spring in them. Stationary steering movements put quite a bit of strain on the joints.
What you are seeing may be the springs compressing under the load.

I don't know if the joints you have are spring loaded, but it appears they are in the video.

According to the factory service manual the proper way to test the OEM joints is to try to move them up and down by hand. There should be no movement when stressed vertically by hand.
Thanks for the feedback, to the best of my knowledge these joints are not spring loaded but you are right, I cannot move the joint up and down by hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ff3ry_j33p View Post
@ronjenx is correct - as he usually is - about the defacto method of checking* tierod end-link balljoint movement . However the movement is not always detectable via hand testing ( or it is at the very-least counterintuitive) in the manner which those troubleshooting description's verbiage. By that, I mean that you actually ARE supposed to have some horizontal ( what we refer-to as "flop" on DLs and mostly tie Rods) roll of the joints forward/backward or else they would bind & behave horribly.

That is different than premature or regular wear of the inner race and ball travel 'limiters' or stops. Many of us clock the two TREs so there is less roll frwrd/bck on these links. that is different than the type of verticle play that can indicate a fouled TRE joint . (edit: the type I notice in your first video when you turn pssgr)


Here is a video of someone detecting play on a OEM DL tre joint.

https://youtu.be/Uz9z2eSyGWE


While unlike your ( EVOMFG? RareParts? maybe TeraFlex? ) draglink
... you can still see how the movement will cause orbital mvmnt that is sometime felt heard or just causes loose play in steering . I have found many of the mnfcturers do not stress nearly enough the criticality of greasing these type of sintered-ball, spring-equipped, HD ball joints ; I am betting that you greased yours appropriately to the manufacturer's recommended or approx 4 times annually, yeah?



(* you will hear that it is not the best way to test these joints but I still find taking extremely large-jawed goose-neck or pipe-pliers ( channel locks) & testing vertical play by clamping down on them from atop and beneath the balljoint and seeing if you can press to induce vertical movement) is another test of these. )

Does it still play and move like that if you have someone turn wheel back&forth repeatedly without the Jeep running? actually, the correct diagnosis of an non-weight bearing balljoint ( or spring preloaded) is to test it removed from the suspension. ya might just have to pull the DL



I understand what your talking about. Initial feedback from the manufacturer is that this is normal for the reasons you mention above. I have sent the new videos to them without the boot for further clarification. What I am trying to understand is how this up and down movement doesn't cause steering issues. I have some loose steering with what feels like occasional dead spot.

It has been greased properly... well at least until I took the boot off and wiped all the grease off

I have not tested it without the Jeep running and I can chat wit the shop today about further diagnosis methods. I can remove it again this weekend and do further analysis.

Simplest test would be to throw a different company's draglink on and take it for a spin to see if I notice a difference in steering dynamics but that's just more $$ which I prefer to spend on other things...

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post #10 of 12 Old 08-31-2018, 03:19 PM
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I would correct my sggtn that anybody take channel-locks or gooseneck pliers to test any vertical movement in a tierod end ; the proper way is by hand & the best advice , if option exists, would be to run a known good link if you cannot feel confident by hand testing..





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post #11 of 12 Old 09-02-2018, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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I have heard back from the company and had my jeep into the shop. Both confirmed that the movement is normal and that the rod ends are spring loaded. Thanks for the suggestions and reviews. I will have to continue searching for the cause of the steering and wandering issues.

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post #12 of 12 Old 09-02-2018, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmyates007 View Post
I have heard back from the company and had my jeep into the shop. Both confirmed that the movement is normal and that the rod ends are spring loaded. Thanks for the suggestions and reviews. I will have to continue searching for the cause of the steering and wandering issues.
What are your alignment specs? Maybe post up an updated alignment sheet for the guys to see if there is anything slightly off.

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