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Steering Stabilizer Broke In Half: Any Thoughts?

Bitar100

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
171
Location
San Diego
My steering stablizer broke in half today. Do you think its because it was just shitty material or the way its mounted caused it to break off?

Do I have it mounted correctly to the relocation bracket or?

It was a rough country brand that ive had for around 3-4 years. Im planning to get the fox brand to replace it but im just suprised it cracked in half.
IMG_0129.JPG

This is how its mounted, is the relocation bracket positioned correctly?

1651699663597.png
 
Last edited:

sab

"Semper Discens"
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Although I'm new to TJs/Jeeps, and even solid-axle vehicle technology, which limits my vehicle-specific failure knowledge, I have been involved in failure analysis of vehicle components for a few decades. That's my caveat for possibly missing something obvious that a more experienced TJ expert will see immediately. Based on that, there are several identifying marks in the broken surface that give me clues as to what's happened:
Break.jpg


The discolored area (red arrow) looks like corrosion, indicating a long-term fatigue (it cracks a little at a time until the "final straw breaks the back of the camel"), rather than an instantaneous, failure (on big "boom"). That means the break started at the top (blue arrow) because it's going to start on the surface, and when it does, water starts the corrosion of the base steel. The beach marks (so named because they resemble wavy sand on the beach from waves/tides) indicate that the failure was due to bending, in the direction as though you held the shaft firmly and pushed down on the end of the mounting bolt shown.

That said, I'd check three things:
  1. Does the damper still function smoothly (no internal failures)? An internal failure could cause the damper to bottom prematurely, which could induce a slight (or even not-so-slight) bending moment on that shaft. An internal failure could also increase the damping force exponentially, but you should have felt that as increased effort on the steering wheel.
  2. Are the mounts restricting rotation of the ends, putting a bending moment on the shaft? My bet is on this, since the broken mount seems not to have much ability to rotate as the suspension articulates. Since the amount of times your Jeep went to full bump or full rebound is much lower than the amount of times spent somewhere in between, it lasted for years with this issue. If that mount doesn't allow the damper to freely (or mostly freely) pivot, it's putting a bending load on the shaft, but not enough to break it the first time it happens.
  3. Is it possible that the damper just barely bottoms out before anything else? If that happens, it could also put a bending load on the shaft, but because it just barely happens, the loads are small enough that it doesn't break the first time it bottoms.
My opinion is that is not a typical failure, and it'll repeat if you replace it exactly like that. I'm interested to hear from the gurus...
 

TRE3TOP

TJ Addict
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
1,510
Location
Atlanta
Your track bar angle looks atrocious. Depending on how bad the bumps steer is that definitely could have contributed to its demise.
 

LONGJP2

TJ Addict
Joined
Aug 11, 2019
Messages
2,427
Location
Illinois
Are there any clearance issues that would prevent you from rotating it towards the back 90 degrees.
Putting the mount horizontal instead of vertical.
You might have to remount it upside down if the stud sits too low.
 
OP
B

Bitar100

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
171
Location
San Diego
Are there any clearance issues that would prevent you from rotating it towards the back 90 degrees.
Putting the mount horizontal instead of vertical.
You might have to remount it upside down if the stud sits too low.
There arent any clearance issues, so you recommend i shift the mounting bracket horizontally, were the tip of the bolt faces the engine?
 
OP
B

Bitar100

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
171
Location
San Diego
Although I'm new to TJs/Jeeps, and even solid-axle vehicle technology, which limits my vehicle-specific failure knowledge, I have been involved in failure analysis of vehicle components for a few decades. That's my caveat for possibly missing something obvious that a more experienced TJ expert will see immediately. Based on that, there are several identifying marks in the broken surface that give me clues as to what's happened:
View attachment 328129

The discolored area (red arrow) looks like corrosion, indicating a long-term fatigue (it cracks a little at a time until the "final straw breaks the back of the camel"), rather than an instantaneous, failure (on big "boom"). That means the break started at the top (blue arrow) because it's going to start on the surface, and when it does, water starts the corrosion of the base steel. The beach marks (so named because they resemble wavy sand on the beach from waves/tides) indicate that the failure was due to bending, in the direction as though you held the shaft firmly and pushed down on the end of the mounting bolt shown.

That said, I'd check three things:
  1. Does the damper still function smoothly (no internal failures)? An internal failure could cause the damper to bottom prematurely, which could induce a slight (or even not-so-slight) bending moment on that shaft. An internal failure could also increase the damping force exponentially, but you should have felt that as increased effort on the steering wheel.
  2. Are the mounts restricting rotation of the ends, putting a bending moment on the shaft? My bet is on this, since the broken mount seems not to have much ability to rotate as the suspension articulates. Since the amount of times your Jeep went to full bump or full rebound is much lower than the amount of times spent somewhere in between, it lasted for years with this issue. If that mount doesn't allow the damper to freely (or mostly freely) pivot, it's putting a bending load on the shaft, but not enough to break it the first time it happens.
  3. Is it possible that the damper just barely bottoms out before anything else? If that happens, it could also put a bending load on the shaft, but because it just barely happens, the loads are small enough that it doesn't break the first time it bottoms.
My opinion is that is not a typical failure, and it'll repeat if you replace it exactly like that. I'm interested to hear from the gurus...
So #2 of what you recommended I check, do you think I should shift and re mount the mounting bracket so the damper mounts horizontally instead of vertically on the drag link? Because i think thats what caused it after your explanation and what others have stated
 

sab

"Semper Discens"
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Joined
Jun 12, 2021
Messages
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DITHOT
So #2 of what you recommended I check, do you think I should shift and re mount the mounting bracket so the damper mounts horizontally instead of vertically on the drag link? Because i think thats what caused it after your explanation and what others have stated
I almost recommended that, but didn't because I am not familiar enough with the geometry of the steering. It would seem to need more rotation as the suspension articulates than as the steering articulates, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't recommend that.
 
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JMT

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The Fox commonly pulls to one side, though not always. It does have some potential benefits, but with that risk factor. I’d just go with a cheap Monroe or RE and call it a day. They are simple 50:50 valves.
 
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InOmaha

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Sep 26, 2019
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Omaha
The upper bushing is torn. It could be failing, which allowed that end to rock back and forth a little.

Or the thing could be 10-15 years old and had a flaw from the factory and it took years of weather to expose it. Rust breaks frames too.
 

mrblaine

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Quail Valley, CA
I almost recommended that, but didn't because I am not familiar enough with the geometry of the steering. It would seem to need more rotation as the suspension articulates than as the steering articulates, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't recommend that.
If he cycles it lock to lock and tries to install the eye on the stud, it won't take long to find out where it won't go on at all because the misalignment is too high.
 
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