Article and Photo's by River Beast
When I started the SOA conversion…I had good reason to modify the steering linkage…the draglink didn’t come close to working. It was too short and the tierod ends don’t quite make the angle. I couldn’t even turn right at all…the draglink hit the spring…what to do….hmmm
Thanks to Ken Weatherall of the IFSJA, this was my remedy for the draglink for a short time…a ‘Z’ bar constructed with 2 complete stock draglink assemblies, to include the adjusters and left-hand threaded tiered ends. I cut the solid tierod down and used 1” steel stock with 1/8” plates to gusset the ‘Z’ bar. Did it work? Yes… but not perfectly. Warning: This was a temp fix and can be Dangerous due to delayed control and is not recommended at all! As I stated in the SO page… to much play and delay for as tall as I am. A smaller lift, other than the than 11” of total suspension lift that I have, would probably be better suited for this. I STILL DON’T RECOMMEND THIS TO ANYONE.. IT MAY BE ILLEGAL IN YOUR STATE. The amount of distance between the 4” drop pitman arm and the main tierod was about 8.5”, thus creating what lifted vehicles are common to…“bump steer”. This is when the suspension travels up, the wheels turn right and when drooping, they turn left which gives you a sense of lost control…NOT GOOD.
I knew something had to be done… the “bump steer” was REALY bad not to mention the loss of control overall…plus the 39.5” Swampers were wanting to go their own way (I think they do anyway…hehe).
I did some research…fellow FSJers help me find sources for parts, and finally got my steering corrected by using a passenger side Dana44 flattop knuckle (left). The factory Jeep knuckle (right) has a rounded top around the upper balljoint area.
This is what I ordered from Parts Mike… the passenger side flattop knuckle, pre-drilled (seen above), the high- steering bracket and BDS 3” spacer and all mounting hardware. No you may wonder why I have the spacer… my suspension lift is 11” total…4” Skyjacker Softride and the 7” SOA…I needed to get the high-steering arm as close to being parallel with the pitman arm.
Here you can see what it will be like after mounting… if you look close, the distance in height gained by the 3” BDS spacer and the 1” high-steering arm is 7”… that’s about as close as I was going to get….it was PERFECT! Now if you plan on doing a Spring-Over-Axle conversion with STOCK springs… the BDS 3” spacer may be used WITHOUT a 4” drop pitman arm…or just try the 4” drop pitman arm and bolt the new hi steering arm directly to the knuckle.
Here is the knuckle fully assembled and all hardware installed. I was quite pleased at the ease of installation and the quality of the parts provided by Parts Mike. He had a slight problem with earlier arms, but the this one was a perfect fit… I had called him on several occasions for various things and is the kind of parts source I had been looking for… he takes your project personal and backs up everything he has to offer…I see more business for Parts Mike in the future from me.
Look at the “canted” mounting position… hmmm… wonder why? I did, until I realized that it needs to be this way to make clearance for the rim/tire.
No…my main tierod isn’t bent…I had to go look myself after view this pic. It’s just the angle it was taken.
Here is the front view with 90% of all weight on front axle…as you can see, the new chromoly draglink sit just about perfect (I did use the same tierod ends and adjusters from the ‘Z’ Bar and had the 1” solid chromoly stock milled to 7/8” and left-hand threaded to 18 threads per inch to match the adjusters. Having the draglink and main tierod as close to parallel as possible is the ultimate setup…total elimination of bump steer. I am extremely satisfied with everything that went into this high-steering conversion.
If you plan on the SOA with any springs…stock or lift springs, I highly recommend Parts Mike for your source of High steering components . He has just come out with new knuckles, too!!! Factory flattops are getting hard to come by and he is having high steering knuckles made with the arms. These new high-steering knuckles will move your entire steering assembly and components to the top pf the knuckle out of harms way. Check out Parts Mike for more details….
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