DodgeRam.info > Tech Index > DIY Modifications > DT Trackbar 
 
DT Heim Joint Trackbar Installation
Improve Ram steering with a better trackbar design
 
Visit Geno's Garage
for Truck accessories.
Geno's Garage Truck Accessories

Trucks that can't hold a straight line are tiring to drive and sometimes just plain dangerous on narrow roads. The OEM trackbar is a notorious weak link in the 4X4 Ram front suspension, often failing after only 20,000 on diesel trucks used off road. Even 1500 models eat trackbars if used off road frequently. If your truck suffers from steering wander, poor road feel, or follows the road crown aggressively, a stronger and more stable trackbar assembly with rebuildable ends is available from DT Products & Fabrication.

The $40 rebuild kit includes a new rod end and bushings.

If your truck is lifted, the OEM trackbar had probably shifted the axle about 1/2" toward the driver side. The adjustable DT bar will allow you to re-center your axle.

DT Products & Fabrication
Toll Free 1-888-776-2403 
Tech Line 1-520-776-4129 
484 EZ Street, Prescott, AZ 86301

Parts included in DT's kit


OEM (top) compared with
DT's assembly (bottom)

The track bar shown above is the original DT design with a left hand thread
heim joint on the frame end. On the left is DT's newer version with heim joints on both ends.

All photos can be clicked for larger view

Tools recommended:

Removal of the original track bar

The instructions say to lift the front of the vehicle, place the frame on a jackstand, remove the wheels, and droop the axle. This sounded like a lot of extra work to me, so I did the swap without jacking.

NOTE: The diesel model has enough room between the oil pan and axle to permit drilling the crossmember without jacking the truck. Gas engines may have less clearance.

Remove the cotter pin and loosen the nut (22mm wrench) at the ball stud at the frame end of the trackbar. Use a brass hammer (if you care about the old bar) to tap the ballstud loose from the bracket, then remove the nut and lower the end of the track bar.
Remove the bolt (18mm wrench) at the axle end of the trackbar. The flag nut is secured with locktight - an impact wrench makes bolt removal much easier. Pull the track bar free from the axle. The bolt and flag nut must be reused.
Unbolt (13mm wrench) the brake line clips from the back of the crossmember so that the trackbar bracket can be installed on the crossmember.

Installation of the DT trackbar frame bracket

For early 94 models:

Some 94 models use a small ballstud. The tapered OEM frame bracket must be drilled to 5/8" to clear the DT bracket bolt. The tapered aluminum adapter is not used on these models.

NOTE: Hold onto the drill and proceed slowly, the tapered bore of the frame bracket will quickly grab the bit and stall the drill.

For other models: Insert the tapered aluminum adapter into the frame bracket from the bottom of the bracket

Mount the DT bracket by bolting it through the OEM frame bracket with the 5/8x2.5" bolt (15/16" wrench). Next, run the 1/2x4.5" bolt up through the ear on the front of the DT bracket, then through the existing frame holes below the steering shaft end, and install the 1/2" washer and locknut on the end of the bolt (3/4" wrench). Tighten the nut but do not crush down on the frame!

Remove the pilot bit from a 3/4" hole saw. Using the two 3/4" holes in the DT bracket as a guide, drill through the back of the frame crossmember (under the engine). DO not drill through the front of the crossmember!
My truck has taller springs than stock. On some unlifted trucks, a 1/2" angle drill would fit into the space available. CJ Johansson reports that that he needed to jack the frame on the driver's side of his 1998 diesel to get enough room for a regular 1/2", but a 3/8" drill fit into the available space without jacking.

Reinstall the hole saw pilot bit and drill through the front of the crossmember FROM BEHIND using the 3/4" hole as a guide. Keep the holes as straight as possible and do not run the hole saw through the front of the crossmember. You must reach above the axle to hold the drill. Using the two pilots hole for guide, use a 1/2" bit to enlarge each hole.

Slide flat washers and a 3/4" crush sleeve on each 1/2x2.5" bolt and insert the bolts through the DT bracket and crossmember. Install 1/2" washers and nuts on the bolt ends and tighten the bolts (3/4" wrench).
Drill a pilot hole in the crossmember and reinstall the brake line bolt (13mm wrench).

Assembly and Installation of the DT trackbar

Assemble the trackbar

Coat the threads of the rod end with never-seze and install the jam nut on the rod end. Coat the trackbar threads with never-seze and screw the rod end into the bar until about 3/16" of thread is visible.

At the axle end of the trackbar, press the polyurethane bushings into the bar end, grease the steel sleeve thoroughly, and press the sleeve into the bushings.

Install the axle end of the trackbar using the original bolt and flag nut (18mm wrench). Do not torque the bolt yet.
Install the rod end into the DT bracket with one adapter on each side with the chamfer towards the rod end Install the 5/8x3" bolt and locknut (15/16" wrench).

To get my axle centered so that the bolt would install, a come-along was used to pull the front of the truck sideways.

CJ Johansson reports that you can just turn the steering wheel to align the bolt holes. Turning the wheel moves the whole front of the truck left & right.

With the bolt installed, measure the axle location and make sure it is centered. Torque all bolts. With the axle properly located, the drag link may need to be adjusted to re-center the steering wheel. If you have the truck aligned after installation is complete (recommended), make sure they check the thrust alignment. My axle was was dead on center, but the steering wheel was 45 degrees off.
  
Extra views of the DT frame bracket.
Lower end upper end DT has revised the trackbar to make both ends adjustable. The new ends are shown in the photos at the left.

Posted to DiRT:

Subject: [DiRT] DT trac bar just installed
From:    Bret (ramsportinrancho)
Date:     7/18/2003 6:24 PM

My first reaction was WOW.
I had glimmers of how my truck handled 128,000 miles ago. Except for the all terrains flexing around ...this thing drives like it's a go-cart. Crazy how a 5ft piece of steel can affect your whole front end. I thought my whole front end was shot from goffing off in the Mojave desert....

i had bump steer....death wobble.....clanking.....clunking.....just seemed at every turn I would wait for a tire to roll off.....despite my driveline's assurances that the parts I asked about were o.k. Despite the price seeming a bit steep....about $50 over stock....i was skeptical .....until the drive home

once again I'm still amazed how much that 1 part can affect the feel of a front end.

new fan of the DT trac bar,
Brett
97 Sport with too many goodies to mention

===

Received via email on Thu, 16 Dec 2004:

Thanks DT for excellent service and a wonderful product.

With 44,000 miles on the '99 Ram, the second OEM track bar was barely hanging on. The DT trac bar is an improvement in fundamental design, with the bonus of being rebuild able.

Installation was much easier than expected. The bracket fit superbly into place, and drilling was made easy with a right angle drill and a new hole saw. The part was installed in 3hrs, at a very relaxed pace. With test drives to center the steering, 4hrs total in and out.

On and off road tests have demonstrated just how tight the front end of a 3/4 ton 4x4 SHOULD be. Thanks again!!

Jon Riemer - in WI
'99 V10RAM 4x4
With lots of goodies!


  Top of Page  

  DodgeRam.info Home  

 

This page was edited on: May 3, 2004