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> Jeep Articles > Technical & Installation - Suspension > Black Diamond Adjustable Front Track Bar

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Technical / Installation Articles - Suspension

Black Diamond Adjustable Front Track Bar

Article written by Dr. Jones

Date Added: 05/16/2008

Some Jeep mods are done for better off road performance. Others are done out of sheer necessity.

In the case of the front track bar on our 97 TJ, the reason was the latter. A severe case of death wobble lead us to thoroughly inspecting the front end of the Jeep for any loose parts. Fortunately in our case, the problem was obvious and easily identified by the full inch of play in the stock track bar. Our search for a new adjustable front track bar brought up an issue we didn?t anticipate.

This particular project TJ is being built with a low center of gravity. It only has about 2.5? of suspension lift. What does this have to do with anything? Well, most aftermarket track bars are designed to be adjustable from 4?-6? of lift (especially the heavy duty track bars). We were actually only able to find a couple different brands that would even fit with our 2.5? lift. To further complicate the search, the axle end of our front track bar had previously been drilled out to accommodate a ˝? bolt as an upgrade. This meant we needed an adjustable track bar for less than 4? lift with a ˝? bushing sleeve at the axle end. Well? not only did we find one, it happen to be the cheapest track bar we?ve seen.



1. One of the cool features of the Black Diamond track bar is that it uses a tapered sleeve on the Heim Joint end so you don?t need to drill out the frame-end track bar mount for a 5/8? bolt like other track bars.

2. Jack up the Jeep, remove the front tires, support the frame on jack stands, and put a floor jack under the front axle.

Done with all that? Good. Now remove the nut from the frame end of the stock track bar.

3. Hit the side of the mount with a hammer to release the ball joint. You can also hammer on the joint itself since you don?t need to reuse it.
 A pickle fork may be used if the ball joint does not want to release.

4. Next, remove the bolt from the axle end of the track bar.

5. Use a pry-bar to pop the track bar out of its mount.

This is a good time to drill out the axle end mount to ˝? if you haven?t previously done so.

6. Start assembling the Black Diamond Track Bar.

7. Thread the Heim Joint into the end of the track bar.
 This is where we ran into our first of two installation issues (see below)

8. Insert the bushings and sleeve into the other end of the track bar, and install the grease zerk.

9. Slide the bushing end of the track bar into the mount on the axle.

Put the bolt through the sleeve, and start the nut but don?t tighten.
 This is where we ran into our second installation issue.

10. Thread the bolt with the appropriate sleeves through the Heim Joint.

11. See the picture and instruction manual for the orientation of the sleeves.

12. Jack the front axle up until the suspension is compressed and ready to lift off the jack stands. Adjust the Heim Joint until you can slide the bolt through the Jeep?s track bar mount.
 This should give you a good starting point for final adjustment.

13. Torque the Heim Joint bolts, and tighten the bushing bolt.
 Do not over-tighten the bushing bolt, or it will bind and can damage the bushing.

14. You?re done with the track bar install.

At this point, put tires back on and take the Jeep for a drive around the block a few times. Pull back into the driveway as straight as possible. Measure from the knuckle to the frame on both sides to check that the axle is centered. Adjust the track bar as necessary and repeat. Once the track bar is adjusted, drive the Jeep a few miles and re-torque the bolts.

Installation Issues

First installation issue: The threaded end of the track bar where the Heim goes was rusty. We had to clean the threads pretty extensively just to get the Heim Joint started into the end of the bar. Even then it took a lot of force to thread the joint all the way in, working it back and forth the whole way.

Second issue: The bushing sleeve was about 1/8? too long to fit into the track bar mount on the axle. Some quick work with the grinder fixed it, but it?s still pretty sloppy on their part.

Final Thoughts

All in all it?s a great price initially, but we wouldn?t purchase it again. We figure any of the cheap parts that may fail are replaceable. It?s a standard thread Heim, so that can always be upgraded later if the supplied one fails. If the tapered sleeve at the frame end proves to be a problem, we can always drill it out. HOWEVER after we replace all these supplied parts with better ones, we?ll be well into the price getting a better track bar to begin with.

On the plus side, the track bar held it?s own for the whole week of the Easter Jeep Safari and daily driving to work. Our one complaint with the design (aside from the mentioned issues) is that the bushings at the axle end are too short and don?t meet in the middle. This allows a lot of deformation of the bushings and makes for a little play in the steering. Again we figure these can be replaced with some higher quality Energy Suspension parts, but that shouldn?t be necessary on a brand new product like this. If we had to do it again, we would spring for a better product (it?s about $30 more for the light-duty Rubicon Express Track Bar). But since we already have this one installed, we?ll upgrade the parts as they fail and end up with a quality product in the end.


Vendor Response

MOABJEEPER Magazine (Moab Man) contacted Black Diamond to discuss our track bar issues. We were transfered to Marty, one of the Black Diamond representatives that addresses technical issues.

First installation issue ~ Step 7, Heim joint: The threads of our track bar were corroded and required extensive cleaning of the threads.

Black Diamond: Their is supposed to be a anti-corrosion agent sprayed on to prevent this.

Second installation issue ~ Step 9 Bushing sleeve: We had to cut off a little better than 1/8" from the sleeve to make it fit.

Marty, Black Diamond: Marty looked up the specification for this part and stated it should be 1.56". We went to one of our TJ's and were able to confirm this measurement is correct. Marty plans to check his hardware to see if another longer bushing sleeve has been substituted in without their knowledge.


Purchase / Vendor Info

Vendor Name: 4 Wheel Parts
Address: 1789 S Redwood Rd
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Phone: 801-627-4420

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