Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and this is my review and installation of the Rough Country front adjustable track bar, fitting all 1997 to 2006 TJs. This is available for those of you with zero to three-and-a-half inches of lift, and one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half inches of lift, so make sure you get the right one for your suspension setup. Today, we're gonna talk through the installation of this track bar, which is going to be a very simple one out of three wrenches. This will bolt directly in place of your factory track bar, but give you some additional strength and some adjustability. You should be able to get this installed in about an hour. We're also going to talk through the construction and a few of the features of the track bar.
This is for those of you who have a lift on your Jeep and are looking to recenter the front axle. On our Jeeps, we have a five-link setup up front, so the track bar has the job of centering the axle underneath the vehicle left to right. And if you lift your Jeep but you have a factory track bar in place in its factory mounts, it can pull the axle to one side, which may bother you when you look at the Jeep, but can also cause some trouble when you turn the wheel to the lock one way and you have some rubbing, and when you turn it the other way, you don't have rubbing. Recentering the axle can take away that rub and can also help with any binding that might occur at full flex when you are off-road. So there are a few different benefits to an adjustable track bar.
Also, adding an aftermarket track bar will add some strength, which is always a good thing, especially if you have bigger tires on your TJ or if you are doing some heavy-duty wheeling. This track bar isn't going to be as expensive as some of the other ones on the market because it does have a factory-style rubber bushing on one end and a factory-style tie rod end on the other. Some of the more expensive versions may be a little bit stronger, and also have a different attachment point on the frame side here which can be a little bit stronger. However, if you don't do that hardcore wheeling, if your tires aren't that big and heavy, or maybe you just stay on the street and you just wanna center up your axle, this is going to save you a little bit of money over those other options.
This track bar is one-and-a-quarter inches in diameter and a one-quarter-inch wall thickness tubing, giving it plenty of strength. Now, as I mentioned before, having a track bar that is adjustable like this not only will center up your axle underneath the Jeep, but it eliminates the need for you to use a track bar bracket. Now, a track bar relocation bracket can change the angle of your track bar, and if you don't also change the angle of your drag link, you'll end up with something known as bump-steer, which is something that's uncomfortable to experience when you're on the road, when you hit a bump and the steering wheel wants to whip back and forth. So, using your factory track bar mounts and using your factory drag link mounts without a drop pitman arm gives you good steering geometry. This is also gonna give you that strength, and center the axle, as we talked about.
Now, this is system is only single adjustable, which a lot of track bars are, but it is worth pointing out. So, in order to get the axle centered, you are going to have to pop this tie rod end down. You're gonna have to loosen up the jam nut, make your length adjustment, reinstall everything tight, take another measurement, and adjust again. A lot of double adjustable tie rods, for instance, or drag links, are adjustable on the Jeep, which makes things a little bit easier as far as centering the axle. This is going to be a little bit more work to get your axle centered up, however, it's not something you have to do every day. Once you get the axle centered, it is pretty much, set it and forget it.
As I said before, installing this track bar is a simple one-out-of-three-wrench installation that shouldn't take you more than an hour. The first step is removing your factory track bar, which you'll do by removing the cotter pin and the castle nut, and then popping the tie rod end out of its location on the frame side. Now, that can be a little bit difficult to do. You may have to strike the frame side mount with a hammer perpendicular to the tie rod to help it pop out because that is a tapered fit and that can be pretty tight. But, on the axle side, you'll just have to remove your track bar bolt. Now, once you have that removed, it's a simple matter of putting your new track bar up into place. As I mentioned, you will have to get things adjusted to get your axle centered up, however, once that's done, you just tighten down your bolts and you're finished.
Now, if you've had any experience with a wobble or with death wobble, 9 times out of 10 in my experience, death wobble on a TJ is caused by your track bar bolts not being tight. Now, this is a tapered fit up on the frame side, however, this bolt down here on your axle side does have to be very, very tight in order to not move. And if it is a little bit loose and it does move, you are gonna get a wobble, and in the worst case scenario, you're gonna end up with death wobble. So, make sure that you get everything torqued down nice and tight when you're doing this installation.
So, as far as tools that are necessary, just your traditional hand tools, although, again, you will need something with some leverage to get that bolt nice and tight, and you may need a mallet or a hammer to get your factory track bar loose from the frame side mount.
As I said before, this track bar is gonna come in at right around $125, and there are more expensive versions on the market. Those more expensive versions are going to be a little beefier, a little bit stronger, and they're not going to have a tie rod end on that frame side. They're going to have a bushing end with a bolt, which can be a little bit stronger and hold up a little bit better over time. So, it really comes down to what you want on your Jeep. If you're just looking for the adjustability, if you don't need or want a ton of strength, or if this one is the one that fits into your budget, it's gonna be a good option. If you want something that's gonna be a little bit stronger, and you have a little bit more money to pay for it, there are some more expensive stronger options on the market, such as JKS and TeraFlex.
So, if you are looking for an adjustable track bar to get your axle centered under your Jeep, and to have some additional strength for those big tires or hardcore wheeling, this is going to be a nice option that will save you some money over the strongest options available.
So, that's my review of the Rough Country front adjustable track bar, fitting all 1997 to 2006 TJs, that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.