Track bar and tie rod: What hits, what doesn't?

mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
245
140
Raleigh, NC
Metalcloak posted photos on another forum showing their trackbar on a TJ with the bump stops and springs removed and the axle jacked up all the way to simulate more than full flex. Theirs did not contact the tie rod or differential cover. It was tight, but didn't contact.

Any chance you can find these pics?

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When I tested it on a trail nothing touched. The clearance was really good. I'll get a photo of it this weekend.
I might be needing to do this as well. I have a 2" lift, Dana44 with a 1/4" bent steel diff cover (previous owner put on) and a JKS tb that is hitting when I go over speed bumps, and other bumps, potholes. I took it to an alignment guru and asked him to dial the front axle back. He said he adjusted it back as far as he can and I still hit but further out on the cover.
He recommended I go back to the stock cover and I should be ok. I took some measurements of what I have and what the Dana cover is and it will definitely be close. If it doesn't work I will need to try the MC tb. I've read on multiple sites where they are the only track bar that doesn't have clearance issues on the TJs with lifts under 3".

The Dana44 cover is 2.85" tall and the one I have is 3.25".
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tworley

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May 23, 2018
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Morrison, CO
I might be needing to do this as well. I have a 2" lift, Dana44 with a 1/4" bent steel diff cover (previous owner put on) and a JKS tb that is hitting when I go over speed bumps, and other bumps, potholes. I took it to an alignment guru and asked him to dial the front axle back. He said he adjusted it back as far as he can and I still hit but further out on the cover.
He recommended I go back to the stock cover and I should be ok. I took some measurements of what I have and what the Dana cover is and it will definitely be close. If it doesn't work I will need to try the MC tb. I've read on multiple sites where they are the only track bar that doesn't have clearance issues on the TJs with lifts under 3".

The Dana44 cover is 2.85" tall and the one I have is 3.25".
Might be easier to replace the cover at that point. Your current diff cover may look like a cool cover and very robust but the Currie/barnett are purely functional covers that get the job done. Also, I wouldnt be driving it to much if you know for a fact that the track bar is hitting the diff. Scary things can happen. Take this poor sap for example

trackbar breakage.jpg



Looking back at my photos it appears like the mount is already perfectly centered on the mount so I'm not sure how much play I really have. Since my jeep is still sitting on stands though now is the perfect time to atleast measure what I have.
The scariest moment after going through this whole process is going to be during the next run when I find a rock to flex out on. If I contact the fenders it will be time to start all over. I suppose if I hit it head on I shouldn't have much issue though. Only hard passenger and I'm assuming driver on the other side.
Wait until you get into a really off camber situation and you hear absolutely no rubbing. You'll be grinning ear to ear knowing the job was done correctly! I know I was when I drove down this obstacle, I always heard the plastic bushcrackers being hammered, after a 2" bumpstop addition and cycling the suspension only to eliminate the tires rubbing, I crawled down this and didnt hear a sound.

IMG_20160402_105218555_zpsjghkj89z.jpg
 

mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
245
140
Raleigh, NC
Might be easier to replace the cover at that point. Your current diff cover may look like a cool cover and very robust but the Currie/barnett are purely functional covers that get the job done. Also, I wouldnt be driving it to much if you know for a fact that the track bar is hitting the diff. Scary things can happen. Take this poor sap for example

View attachment 71602




Wait until you get into a really off camber situation and you hear absolutely no rubbing. You'll be grinning ear to ear knowing the job was done correctly! I know I was when I drove down this obstacle, I always heard the plastic bushcrackers being hammered, after a 2" bumpstop addition and cycling the suspension only to eliminate the tires rubbing, I crawled down this and didnt hear a sound.

View attachment 71603
Yeah the previous owner went a little nuts with that cover, cool looking or not, it's total overkill. If you need to protect your diff from a hit that cover can withstand, chances are you've broken something else... lol.
I need to get this done very soon, it makes me nervous driving it. In all fairness that pic doesn't look like the trackbar broke from hitting the diff though :)
 

tworley

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May 23, 2018
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In all fairness that pic doesn't look like the trackbar broke from hitting the diff though :)
You may be right, I cant remember exactly what caused it (or if he ever truly found out). But I do recall that most pointed to the scuff marks just to the left of the breakage being a large contributor. Take it for what its worth. A 90s ram pickup with the d44 front end has a 3/16" steel cover plus a higher fill plug, might be easy to find at a junkyard in your area.
 

mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
245
140
Raleigh, NC
You may be right, I cant remember exactly what caused it (or if he ever truly found out). But I do recall that most pointed to the scuff marks just to the left of the breakage being a large contributor. Take it for what its worth. A 90s ram pickup with the d44 front end has a 3/16" steel cover plus a higher fill plug, might be easy to find at a junkyard in your area.
Thanks for that info. Personally I don't want the higher fill hole. That's a pain because I have a low pinion not a high pinion which means the stock cover with the low hole is what I need. I was always told fill it until it runs out the hole then I had some axle work done and they said that only works for the low hole on a low pinion, you don't want to fill to the high hole. I had no idea.
 

jjvw

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Feb 17, 2018
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Thanks for that info. Personally I don't want the higher fill hole. That's a pain because I have a low pinion not a high pinion which means the stock cover with the low hole is what I need. I was always told fill it until it runs out the hole then I had some axle work done and they said that only works for the low hole on a low pinion, you don't want to fill to the high hole. I had no idea.
How much fluid is supposed to be in there?
 

mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
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Raleigh, NC
I'm not positive but I saw a pic online yesterday that showed fluid amounts for different housings and pinions. I think low pinion on the stock cover was 14.4 ounces.
 

mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
245
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Raleigh, NC
OK, here's a stupid question from someone who is still learning...
From what I am finding online I am assuming that BOTH front AND rear Dana44 diff covers are the same. I have 4.88 gears, a Detroit Locker in the rear and an Eaton Locker up front. Does any of that mean anything in terms of a stock cover fitting?

I found these on RockAuto:

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jjvw

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Feb 17, 2018
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OK, here's a stupid question from someone who is still learning...
From what I am finding online I am assuming that BOTH front AND rear Dana44 diff covers are the same. I have 4.88 gears, a Detroit Locker in the rear and an Eaton Locker up front. Does any of that mean anything in terms of a stock cover fitting?

I found these on RockAuto:

View attachment 71606
View attachment 71607
Mine has 4.88 gears, front stock Jeep cover and rear stock thicker Dodge Ram cover with a higher fill hole.
 

jjvw

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My assumption would be that putting that amount (or whatever the correct amount is) would get you to the bottom hole. I have no experience though.
The last couple times I have filled, I went by volume rather than the hole height, because the pinions are raised on both ends. Even with the replacement rear with a higher hole, I needed to fill through the vent hole in order to get the full volume in there.
 
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mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
245
140
Raleigh, NC
The last couple times I have filled, I went by volume rather than the hole height, because the pinions are raised on both ends. Even with the replacement rear with a higher hole, I needed to fill through the vent hole in order to get the full volume in there.
?????!?!?!! You had to use the vent hole to fill it? I've never heard that one before.

Are the front and rear covers interchangeable?
 

mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
245
140
Raleigh, NC
So when the axles guys told me I had a "low" pinion and not a "high" one were they referring to the fact that I only have a 2" lift with no tummy tuck puts me in the low pinion group?
 

mgroeger

TJ Enthusiast
Aug 24, 2018
245
140
Raleigh, NC
Well it doesn't get any more simple than that... pinions for dummies. I can see why you wouldn't want to fill a low pinion at the high pinion hole.

Any chance you know of a chart or the amounts of fluid needed for the different axle types (D44, D30, etc) and pinions?