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Moduhrater
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone, I know I'm new here, and some of you may recognize or know me from wf. I thought what a good way to start out with a newer forum than to set things straight and maybe get a stickied thread! So down to business!

Call them a track bar, trac bar, panhard bar, or call them the bar that holds your axle under your rig! (But don't get it confused with a traction bar) There is much to be spoken of them especially on our YJs! I hope to make this as simple to understand as possible and to explain why they simply aren't necessary on a leaf sprung axle.

The whole point, or job if you may of the track bar on a vehicle is to center an axle left to right; or laterally under the vehicle. In the case of a typical coil sprung suspension; as you would see standard on any jeep vehicle with a coil sprung axle, this particular link in the suspension system is vital. Without it the axle would wobble horribly from side to side, and the only thing keeping it from completely coming out from under the vehicle would be the sway bar end links, drive shaft, and the control arms. If you're familiar with such a setup you'd see immediate disaster as those components are not designed to hold the axle in place.

However, looking at a leaf sprung axle you will see there are 3 points of contact both leaf packs make; at the frame hangers, at the axle perches, and at the shackle ends. This suspension while not only providing up and down movement for the axle, will also serve the purpose of centering the axle just by its inherent design.

Now you may be saying, "Well that's just great and dandy, but I'd rather just keep mine on!" I will give you a great reason, even if you do not off-road your YJ, why it's a great idea to ditch them all together! As I stated earlier, leaf springs in their traditional setup (IE. normal bushings) only want to move up and down, this is how they articulate. A track bar on the other hand, which is mounted to the frame, and one side of the axle, wants to move in an arc between those two points and perpendicular to the leaf springs. As your suspension travels, straight up, or straight down, the track bar also moves, but again, the track bar must move in an arc, and cannot follow straight up, or straight down, thus causing the suspension to bind. This can even effect your suspensions ability to cycle normally on road.

Edit:
darkproximity said:
In the diagram below you can see in FIGURE A the standard view of the YJ front axle as seen from behind, with a cutaway view of the frame rail above the axle (In this particular picture its shown with a spring over axle setup, however the same applies to spring under axle)

You see the pivoting ends marked 1 and 2 are pivot points, permanently attached to the frame rail, and axle respectively. They do not move.

Looking at FIGURE B you will see when the suspension flexes, the leaf springs can only travel up (compress) or down (droop). In this example I show the trac bar mounted on the frame (1) and show what arc the trac bar will travel in, the pivot point being the center of point 1. You see that in a perfect arc, pivot point 2 cannot stay mounted to the axle at the CAD housing, however being that pivot point 2 IS cast into the housing it cannot move as suggested in the example, and has to stay mounted at the top of the CAD housing. This is why your suspension will bind and not function as any other leaf sprung axle not made by Jeep intended the suspension type to cycle.

The trac bar when following its normal arc will only allow the suspension to droop or compress so far before it becomes the limiting factor, and must then pull the frame rail to compensate.
This is a free mod if you have not already done it to your Jeep, the only thing you're out if you do it is time! If you have already removed your track bars please feel free to give the rest of the forum your opinions!
 

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Agree. I removed mine a while back, they're basically dead weight on leaf springs. Anyone who says otherwise is just clueless.

Traction bars on the other hand are an entirely different component.
 

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Moduhrater
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Discussion Starter #3
I also thought I'd add, since it is a very common question that even I ask, "Why did the jeep engineers put track bars on in the first place?"

To which I think the only logical explanation, if you can call it that, is that the CJ7 was getting a bad reputation for roll overs. When the YJ was designed they made the stance two inches wider, and I can only assume added the track bar as some sort of precaution as well. However removing a track bar will not make your jeep more prone to roll overs, as they would actually be more likely to cause a rollover by being on. I don't know if there has ever been an actual explanation for them, but this seems to maybe kinda sorta make sense?
 

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They put them on pretty much to shut up the general public and the safety hippies. In all likelihood, they probably knew they were utterly useless when they put them on, but they did anyways. Probably why they made them easy to remove (4 bolts and they're history).
 

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Moduhrater
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Discussion Starter #5
updated with diagram & explanation
 

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Internet Owner
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Great writeup.
The CJ did have a narrower track but even more info is that the leaf springs on the CJ were narrower also.
The YJ springs are thicker and wider and are sitting a little farther out on the axle, and the axle is wider.
Track bars are worthless on a YJ and severely limit articulation.
The sway bar does too, but the sway bar is good to have for high speed travel as it limits body roll..
 

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Moduhrater
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Discussion Starter #7
yeah, sway bars are definitely functional on yj's.. i don't personally run them but i wouldn't be opposed to it. I have quite a bit of body roll in cornering, but i just adjust my driving style to fit my jeep
 

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That depends on the condition of your steering linkages and whatnot. Mine didn't feel any more or less responsive when I took them off.
 

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I've been debating whether or not to remove mine, if there was any intelligent reason to keep them, and you've put the last nails in the coffin of that debate. When the snow is gone, so are the track bars. My '85 Ramcharger didn't have them, and even with its high metacenter it cornered just fine. I will expect no less from the Mighty YJ. Thanks again!
 

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Just because I like to stir things up, I'll add that there are circumstances that require the track bar to remain in place. When I got my YJ, it had a cheap shackle lift on it. The shackles were basically two 8 inch long plates not connected to each other aside from the bolts going into the eye of the leaf spring and frame mount. The bolt connecting my track bar either sheared off or came loose and fell out after a wheeling trip. I discovered this during my ride home while transitioning from one freeway to another. As the freeway transition curved, I turned the steering wheel but my YJ continued heading straight towards the K-rail. The longer shackles allowed much more side to side movement of my axle.

Since then, I've installed a lift kit and replaced the lift shackles with stock. I've also removed the track bars front and rear but even with the stock shackles, I can still feel a delay in steering response on winding mountain roads. I've now added aftermarket shackles that are welded together in the center. This should reduce their ability to flex side to side. I haven't tested my theory yet but when I do, I'll let you know. My point being, if you've made other modifications to your suspension, deleting your track bar may not be a good idea.
 

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There is a real nice reason to leave it on if you live here in B.C. simply put, if you ever get involved in an accident, even if it was 100% the other persons fault, dear old ICBC will not give you a dime. They are an evil company and the only insurer we can use here because its a government corporation, and they made a law saying you must use them. The only province in all of Canada to do so. They will look your Jeep over, see that you removed that part, and even though it had nothing to do with the accident, will void your insurance and use it as the reason.
 

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You need to take liberty upon yourself and get rid of the track bar mounts then. An hour, some spray paint (hell do roll on bedliner through the whole frame and axles) and nobody is none the wiser.
 

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Moduhrater
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Discussion Starter #17
My old track bar mount was interfering with my Pitman arm, so we took a torch to it and cut it off lol
 

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There is a real nice reason to leave it on if you live here in B.C. simply put, if you ever get involved in an accident, even if it was 100% the other persons fault, dear old ICBC will not give you a dime. They are an evil company and the only insurer we can use here because its a government corporation, and they made a law saying you must use them. The only province in all of Canada to do so. They will look your Jeep over, see that you removed that part, and even though it had nothing to do with the accident, will void your insurance and use it as the reason.
Another prime reason government should stay out of the private sector business.
Good thing we are about to have government MANDATED health care.
You went and got that tattoo, that caused your infection. Your fault. Not covered.
 

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Sheared my tracbar off it's mount years ago,..wheelin' too fast & stupid. Also broke rear upper shock mounts.
Shock mounts got welded up again,..threw out tracbar.
 
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