Doing It The Hard Way - JL Steering Box and a Front Stretch

Did some mocking up today just to see where things are at. The steering box almost looks like it is supposed to be there. The coolant overflow tank is definitely going to be an issue though. I'll either need to find a new one or trim 2.75" off it.

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As for axle placement, looks like I might be able to cheat in another 1/4-3/8" of stretch :LOL: . Looks like the thing that will contact first is the ARB fitting against the pitman arm. I don't think the axle can actually get high enough for the diff cover to quite touch it, which works out nice.

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Test fitting in the drag link. Not liking the RareParts ends, and the bent one on the axle side is totally not necessary and just causes more interference with the radiator and frame. I ordered some 1 ton TREs like a normal person. Using 1.5" 7075 links on the smaller 7/8" threads instead of 1.75" bars on the RP ends should help clearances too. Also, the OTK drag link will 100% contact the rim without at least 1" of wheel spacer. Smaller TREs solve a lot of problems.

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Ordered a pair of Johnny Joints for the track bar from poly performance along with a second set of shock towers to use on the front, thanks to a recent post from @mrblaine detailing his install process here. After confirming some measurements and considering what I've done so far, I see no reason not to go with 12" travel shocks up front. Not sure if I'll be able to fit a JJ on the axle side for the TB, might have to switch that out for a standard rod end. We'll see what I come up with.

Anyone have any opinions on whether LSC adjusters on FOX resi 2.0s are worth adding on? Maybe just on the rears or something?
Fun reading your progress! Ya I’d get the LSCs even on 2.0. I have them on rears but it’s nice to have some tuning ability as your drive it and learn what you like.
Fun reading your progress! Ya I’d get the LSCs even on 2.0. I have them on rears but it’s nice to have some tuning ability as your drive it and learn what you like.

Thanks, that motivates me to keep posting! Regarding the LSCs, I think you're right. I don't really want to spend more money than I have to, but it is such a small step up in cost overall that I think I'd regret not getting them.

Probably going to be waiting at least a week for a new pair of one ton TREs to come in, but I wanted to throw my old linkages on just to see how things look with smaller joints and bars.

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Just for grins, wanted to see if flipping the pitman arm joint would work. Seems like it just might with some tweaking... Not sure I'd want to though, I think it would be hard to get the track bar in line with it. I know moving the track bar up vertically raises the roll center, and I think more is better to an extent, but can you go too far?

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It looks like if the joint was fully seated in the taper, it would barely touch the radiator. And it looks like the radiator can move up nearly half an inch before the cap hits the hood:

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The idea snowball effect is maybe getting a little out of hand though.
Doesn’t look like any reason to flip your pitman arm. Moving drag link higher means you will have to notch more frame on full flex up pass side.
Like factory! Sorta.

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There isn't a whole lot I can do until next Wednesday when my joints arrive, so the next thing I'll try to work on is reinforcing the frame where I made the notch. There is a lot of stress right there where the steering box, track bar, and bump stop all put strain the frame in different directions right where I made it weak, so I'm not going to take any chances and will plate it as well as I can.

Feels like 95° in my garage right now though with the humidity, and I've got a cold. This is gonna be a bit miserable...
Got two 1/4" plates fully burned in to reinforce things, and will have another at the bottom of the frame too. Visibility and access was really poor so my welds tended to wander around and turned out really ugly. Fortunately its all hidden under the steering box!

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@pcoplin has a set of 12" Foxes headed his way for me, excited to get those installed!

I reached out to Metalcloak (I know...) to see if they would sell me their dog leg tie rod ends they sell for their JK kit, and they agreed sans warranty:

The reason I like these is they'll allow me to use the stock JK wheels without spacers. The only alternative I've found to those is these:

These are basically just the driver side tie rod end of both a RHD and LHD JK, pretty sure actual JK ends have the TRE crimped to the tie rod on the passenger side, so kind of odd they sell this as a kit. Also, its an uncommon thread pitch, M25x1.5, which limits who can make the 7075 tie rod for me.

I'm leaning towards the MC ends since they are "1-ton" and maybe beefier. Thoughts?
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Stretched it a tiny bit more, I'd say that's close enough now.

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Had to clearance the coil bucket again for the steering shaft to clear. This one went way easier than the other notch, much easier shape to deal with. I'll post the results tomorrow.
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I'm gonna go ahead and get the Metalcloak dog leg TREs I mentioned in the last post. Seems silly to go through the expense of getting a custom link made for a factory joint when there is an upgraded one available.
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Got that notch done! Wasn't so bad.

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Got a little sidetracked trying to be like BFH Garage...

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I figured backwards TJ style coil buckets might be closer to what I need than the JK ones, and I cut away too much material off those. These were surprisingly not that hard to remove.
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Got the first factory shock tower out! That wasn't all that difficult, I imagined it would be way worse. All done with an angle grinder and a hammer.

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Yuck! Rust!
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Luckily it all cleaned off, it was more trapped debris rusting rather than the frame rotting. What a terrible idea to have a lap joint open at the top and closed at the bottom.
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I'm not sure if that little vertical nub I left will be of any use, but I figured I could use it to brace against the shock tower instead of a separate gusset if I'm lucky. Gotta let my batteries catch up, probably will save the other side for tomorrow. Things are starting to chug along!
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These cleaned up nice. Got the extra bits all chopped off, now they can be installed backwards.

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Toying with the idea of a high steer arm, again, this time with appropriately sized joints. If I flip the tie rod joints OTK, the drag link joint needs to raise up this far for the lower joint's jam nut to clear the castle nut.
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Moving it up like that would place it inside the rim, so it has to move inboard about an inch too.
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Obviously I'd have to chop off the original drag link arm on the knuckle so the lower joint can clear it, then weld a new arm on top. A little apprehensive about doing that...
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These normal 1 ton joints (Synergy) require way less crazy readjustment than the RareParts 2.5 ton joints from before, so this may actually be doable. I suppose if I really screw something up, I can just get Rancho knuckles off RockAuto for $400. Wouldn't be exactly the same but at least it'd get the tie rod up.
At first glance, and surprisingly, it looks like Johnny Joints will work on both ends of the trackbar.

Perfectly level with the drag link joint when steering straight ahead and about 1.5" inboard (pictured at full left lock):
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Level with the pitman arm joint and the same 1.5" outboard:
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Passenger frame will have to be notched for the bars to clear, but not much.

Look how level the drag link is at ride height, only 1.7° off level (more or less)!
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Since the drag link joint moves down turning left and up turning right, it should still clear the bolt head for the Johnny Joint when turning. Once I put the other spring buckets on there, the track bar should clear the coil spring. Old tie rod is on there just for mockup. For the track bar, I'll probably do what others have done and just weld a section of DOM to the inner C for the bolt to pass through.

Is a 9/16" bolt strong enough in single shear, or should I bore out the hole in the JJ ball / get a new ball for a larger bolt?

I'm pretty sure I'm going to move forward with the high steer arm on the stock JK knuckle, but I probably should wait for the actual tie rod ends I'll be using to arrive in case they are taller than expected.

Any tips on welding a steel arm to the cast knuckle? I'm planning on getting the whole thing to around 500F on a propane grill, chamfering the heck out of any weld seams, and doing multiple MIG passes. I definitely don't want that part to fail.
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Trying to get the steering shaft figured out. Looks like it might work out quite well without any weird geometry:

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Cut up not one but two steering shafts!
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That one above is a JL shaft, needed that for the joint at the end to fit the new steering gear. Hopefully I can get this finished up today! I'm going to need to figure out how to center my steering wheel without breaking my clock spring. I'm a big dummy and didn't center it before I took everything apart...
Decided to take this thing apart. It was bone dry in there so I wanted to clean out all the dirt and pack in some fresh grease. Quite a complicated little assembly for what it is.

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Hopefully Redline CV-2 is appropriate. I painted all the steel parts so waiting on that to dry.
I need to do mine soon.A grease zerk somewhere on that would be a good idea.

Agreed, but I don't think there's anywhere you could put one. Maybe it can be greased by stabbing through the rubber with a needle? Hopefully the CV2 grease just lasts another couple decades.
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I think I have the shaft itself figured out, just need to weld the two pieces together, but it looks like I may need to relocate my pillow block slightly. The way it sits now isn't too bad on the U-joint, but the steering shaft hits the lower edge of the hole at the firewall.

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Raising it up only 1/2" seems to be enough clearance.

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I'm thinking I'll cut the bracket off the frame then just move the whole thing up ~3/4", and also inboard about 1/4" to clear the shock tower better.
Huh, I actually finished something! Enough about the steering shaft for the day...

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Centering the steering wheel was pretty tricky but I think I got it right. It turns about 4.5 times but there aren't really hard or definitive stops, the clock spring just kinda gets a little tight. I was really gentle, so hopefully I didn't wreck the clock spring doing that. The steering box only turns 3.25 times, so the steering wheel should have plenty of margin.

My next issue to sort out is that my knuckles hit their stops before the steering box does, so I think my pitman arm to knuckle steering arm ratio might be off. Or IDK, maybe that is normal.
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