Beefy Steering Upgrade
Loose links can be fixed
Loose, floppy steering is the bane of older Jeeps that are still running the OEM “Y”-style
linkage and pushing 60,000 miles with a decade of driving onand off-road. Aside from worn-out tie-rod ends, sloppy steering linkage affects a number of things from uneven front tire wear to twitchy steering response under certain driving conditions. The stock steering linkage is also very susceptible to bending from encounters with rocks, high-centering, or making contact with anything else where a little blunt force can easily misshape the small-diameter drag link and tie rod, instantly throwing steering geometry out the window.
Such was the case with a 2006 TJ Unlimited (LJ) that exhibited all the above symptoms of a steering linkage truly in need of an upgrade. Fortunately, Synergy Manufacturing has been all over Jeep steering upgrades since the TJs began coming off the assembly line back in 2005, as well as providing bolt-in replacement kits for late-’80s to 2006 Jeeps including Wranglers, Cherokees, Comanches, and Grand Cherokees.
What makes the Synergy heavy-duty steering special is that it’s robust. The bars are not only 50 percent larger in diameter than OEM (13⁄8 -inches verses stock 7⁄8 -inch), but the tie rod is heat-treated 4130 chromoly steel, and the drag link is made from solid 1018 steel that can take a hard hit without fear of bending. In addition, the drag link has double adjusters and the tie-rod ends have opposing threads, so they can be adjusted without removing the tie rod, saving a lot of time doing front-end alignments.
Replacing the OEM “Y”-style steering linkage with
Synergy’s heavy-duty version took less than 30 minutes at Dunks Performance, and then we drove it next door to their computerized alignment rack. Synergy’s HD steering kit is one of the best (and easiest) upgrades a Jeep owner can make when it comes to improving overall handling, be it on the street or on the trail.
The company’s newest kit comes complete with a new tie rod, drag link, and new heavy-duty metal-on-metal tie-rod ends with boots made from a stronger material than used on earlier versions. The kit fits Jeeps with up to 6-inch lifts, so we had no problem bolting on the new parts on the Unlimited that already sported a new TeraFlex 4-inch lift. We’ve highlighted the steps in the steering upgrade, along with a couple tips that’ll make your DIY install even easier.