Beefy Steer­ing Up­grade

Loose links can be fixed

Jp Magazine - - Table Of Contents - By Bruce W. Smith jped­i­tor@jp­magazine.com Pho­tog­ra­phy: Bruce W. Smith

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.

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