A Simple yet very effective method of protecting your tie rod from impact with rocks and things, is to raise the tie rod up. Raising the Drag link also reduces bump-steer, a side effect of a suspension lift might experience when the drag link is put on a harder angle between the passenger side knuckle and the steering box. Flipping the drag link on the knuckle reduces this angle. This article shows a method of flipping the drag link and tie rod on a CJ-7 using the stock outer knuckles.
There are a few different methods of flipping the tie rod and drag link that I am aware of. One of the cheapest and easiest methods is to ream the ball joint holes and place a cone specifically designed for this purpose which are available from some 4×4 shops and vendors. If you’re interesting in a set of 3 cones, I have a few sets for sale. Contact me. You’ll also need a reamer.
How It’s Done (how I did it anyway)…
With the front axle disassembled, now was a good time to take care of flipping the tie rod. For easy access I clamped the outer knuckles in the vice but it can just as easily be done on the vehicle. In a nutshell what I’m doing is reversing the taper of the hole that the tie rod ends pass though. The idea is to ream the hole from the top down but only go half way down. The cones, which are inserted from the bottom up, make up the rest of the taper and essentially reverse the taper so that its wider at the top and narrower at the bottom.
Below you will see the stock ball joint in place as it would be in it’s stock location.
I took the reamer and placed it in the existing hole from the bottom up. Then I and made a depth mark with a black marker. This will indicate the depth of the hole the reamer will make from the top down.
Then, from the top down, start drilling with the reamer. I used a hand drill to take out most of the material I wanted to remove using the drill. Then, so I didn’t drill too far I did the final small amount by hand. The last thing you want to do is drill out too much material.
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