Rock Krawler Jeep JK Wrangler
Heavy Duty Tie Rod Installation Write-Up


     

 

If you’ve just gone wheeling and your steering wheel is now off center, odds are you have a bent tie rod. Unfortunately, the factory tie rod is very weak and from what I have seen, can bend up and back from just a light hit to a rock or, in my case, can bend out and forward just from the torque and stresses of your front wheels when climbing up an obstacle. And, being that your tie rod is a part of your steering system, a slight bend in it will cause the position of your steering wheel to change. Of course, if the bend is slight, a simple adjustment to your toe and drag link can re-center your steering wheel without any problem. However, if the bend is significant, it can cause your toe to be significantly off and enough so that it cannot be corrected enough for safe driving. Likewise, a significant bend will cause your steering stabilizer to make contact with other components and interfere with your steering.     Over the past two and a half years, I have gone through a total of three factory tie rods. One was bent up and back from a heavy hit to a rock but the other two were bent out and forward from the torque of my front wheels. And, at about $180 a piece, I decided that after the 3rd one was toast, enough was enough and I finally did what I should have done right from the beginning and upgraded my tie rod to a Rock Krawler Heavy Duty replacement unit.At 36 lbs., the new Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod is way beefier than factory. Also, this new tie rod requires you to use factory draglink tie rod ends and believe me, they are considerably larger than than the standard units. After testing this tie rod hard in Moab, I can tell you that this will definitely be the last tie rod that I will ever need to get.

What You Will Need

 


• 13,18,19,21mm
Socket & Wrench
• Ratchet
• Torque Wrench
• Large Crescent Wrench
• 3 lb. Hammer
• Pry Bar
• Channel Locks
• Floor Jack
• (2) Jack Stands
• Dremel
• Cutoff Wheel
• Anti-Seize       

What You Will Get

 


(1) HD Tie Rod
(2) Jam Nuts
(2) Washers
(2) U-Bolt Kits

 

Additional Parts
You Will Need


(2) JK Factory Draglink Tie Rod Ends
Part# 52060049-AE

   

Instructions

 


 
Unfortunately, the new Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod does not come with new tie rod ends. Before you can install anything, you will need to make a trip to your dealership and order up 2 factory draglink tie rod ends.
Here’s a shot of everything you will need to complete the installation of your Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod including the new draglink tie rod ends.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
Double check and make sure your factory tie rod is set correctly to give your Jeep JK Wrangler the appropriate amount of toe. As you will use your factory tie rod to measure the length of your new Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod, it is important that this is set correctly. If adjustments are needed, click on the link below to see a write-up on how to do this:     SETTING YOUR TOE-IN
WRITE-UP
1. Park on level ground and jack up your Jeep JK Wrangler’s front axle and set it on a pair of jack stands so that your tires are just off the ground. 2. Using a 19mm socket, remove the lug nuts and front wheels off your Jeep JK Wrangler. 3. Using an 18mm socket, remove the bolt securing your factory steering stabilizer to the axle mount as shown.
4. Using a 13mm wrench, remove the 4 nuts securing the factory steering stabilizer mount on to your Jeep JK Wrangler’s tie rod. Remove the U-Bolts and mounting plate. 5. Using a 21mm socket, loosen but do not remove the nuts securing the passenger and driver side tie rod ends to your Jeep JK Wrangler’s steering knuckles. 6. As you can see in this pic, you want to leave the tie rod end nut attached to the stud but with enough of a gap to allow it to fall free.
7. Using a 3 lb. hammer, give the front of your Jeep JK Wrangler’s steering knuckle a good whack or two. This will cause the tapered stud to “ring” itself out and fall free of the knuckle. The nut you left in place will prevent it from falling to the floor.
8. In an effort to make the installation and future adjustments to the Rock Krawler tie rod easier, I would suggest that you apply some Anti-Seize to the threads of your new draglink tie rod ends as shown. 9. Install the jam nuts included with your Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod onto the ends of your new draglink tie rod ends. Thread the jam nuts all the way until they reach the end. 10. Install both draglink tie rod ends into your new Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod as shown in this pic.
11. Here is a shot of both the factory Jeep JK Wrangler tie rod (above) and assembled Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod sitting side by side. You will need to set your new tie rod to be the same length.
12. As you can see in this pic, I am measuring from the base of the tie rod ends as this is the only way to get an accurate measurement. For my initial setting, I came up with 58-1/2″ center to center but I do need to note that minor adjustments were needed to get my toe-in set perfectly afterwards.
13. Install your new Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod onto your Jeep JK Wrangler’s steering knuckles and secure them in place using the washer provided with the kit and factory nut. Secure these nuts to 63 ft. lbs. of torque. A 21mm socket will be needed for this job. 14. Reinstall your wheels and check your toe-in measurement. If it’s within the acceptable range, you are good to finish things up. If not, calculate the amount of adjustment you need to make and if it’s minor, simply remove one wheel, ring out the tie rod end and make the adjustment needed. 15. After reinstalling your wheel and double checking your toe-in measurement, verifying that it’s on, secure the draglink tie rod end jam nuts up against the Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod and in a way that the tie rod is pointing forward and not drooping. You will need a large crescent wrench to do this and a pry bar will help you to keep things in place.
16. Slip the 2 U-Bolts that come with your Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod on to the tie rod and then, using a pair of channel locks, bend the ends closer together as shown in this pic. 17. Install your Jeep JK Wrangler’s factory steering stabilizer mount onto the 2 new U-Bolts as shown. If required, make additional adjustments to the bolts with your channel locks. 18. Install the 2 flat cap plates over the U-Bolts as shown in this pic.
19. Using the nylock nuts provided with your Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod kit, secure the U-Bolts in place. A 13mm or 1/2″ wrench will be needed for this job.
20. Rotate the U-Bolts into a position on your Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod that will allow you easier access and then cut off the excess threads using a Dremel and rotary cutoff wheel.
21. Rotate the steering stabilizer mount and position it approximately where it was before on your factory tie rod and then slip on your Jeep JK Wrangler’s steering stabilizer on to the mounting stud. Have a friend turn your steering wheel all the way left and then all the way right to make sure that the stabilizer can fully extend and compress without bottoming out or getting hung up.
22. Pull your steering stabilizer back off and then secure the mount in place tightening them up to 15-20 ft. lbs. of torque. You will need a 13mm or 1/2″ wrench for this job.
23. Reinstall your Jeep JK Wrangler’s steering stabilizer and secure it in place using the factory nut. An 18mm wrench will be needed for this job.
That’s it! Put your Jeep JK Wrangler back on the ground, double check your lug nuts to make sure they are tightened to 95 ft. lbs. of torque and you’re ready to go. You now have the very last tie-rod your JK will ever need and, you may even find that your front end feels noticeably tighter as well.      

Installed Photos

 


 

 

7 Comments

  1. Regarding step 14, what is the acceptable range for toe-in? I bent my tie rod the other week and will be replacing it soon. This was just the write up I needed, now I don’t have to spend $$$ for labor which I can do myself, thanks.

  2. I am trying to figure out if I bent my tie rod after some rough rock crawling – I notice that mine looks exactly like the one in the top photo and also has a smooth forward bend on the right hand side (looking from the front) I cannot find anything else that is not normal looking, but my steering was off about 1/8 turn causing the ESP to go off – I recentered it and drove home w/no problems – will check toe in tomorrow.

  3. I ordered the rock krawler tie rod and the tie rod ends. When I spoke to the parts guy from the local jeep dealer, he mentioned that one tie rod is much longer than the other. this contradicts what is shown in your pic of the two tie rods which look exactly the same. do you know if it will work for me or not? i have an ’08 jk if that info matters any, thanks.

  4. Great write up. Only concern is don’t put anti seize on bolts. Acts like a lube and can effect the torque when tightening bolts back up and pinch tie rod ends. Better to just install as is and wash your truck after wheeling around. Keep the rust, dirt, and salt out. That will be enough to keep it in good enough shape to remove later on if needed.

  5. hello… I was trying to get my hands on solid “Rock Krawler Heavy Duty Tie Rod” but dont see it anywhere anymore… was it discontinued? do we know why?

    btw, I have JKU 2012

    Thank you

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