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ZJ Tie Rod Install On A TJ

Author: 'drack

I recently tweaked my OEM tie rod to the point where it was rubbing my track bar. Being the master of the obvious, I realized that this couldn't be good for my front end so the search for a stronger replacement began. I remember reading about a ZJ to TJ tie rod conversion that was completely bolt on and provided a solid and thicker unit than the hollow TJ piece. So, I called my local NAPA and ordered the parts. You need three pieces to make this work...

You can also get the parts from CarQuest (they use Moog part numbers)

Wherever you go, make sure you order the parts for a '93-'97 Grand Cherokee with the 8 cylinder, as the 6's use a hollow rod, so there would be no strength gained. Here's a pic to show the comparison of the ZJ and my old tie rod....
Comparison of ZJ and TJ tie rods
ZJ (top) and TJ (bottom) tie rods

Installation was a breeze. Just go to your local auto parts store and "rent" a tie rod seperator(most places will charge a deposit and refund it when ya give the tool back, cool!). Basically remove two cotter pins and nuts. Whack the ends with the pickle fork and a BFH, then bolt up the new setup. Once you've got it installed, don't forget to grease the new ends up. And while you crawlin' around under there, ya might as well hit all the other grease fittings you see. Lastly, you'll probably need to recenter your steering wheel. Again, no big deal. Loosen the two bolts on the adjusting sleeve on the draglink(right next to the pitman arm) and twist the sleeve by hand until the wheel is center. Tighten everything up and get it in to the alignment shop ASAP. Here's a pic of the stock configuration and the new setup...

OEM Jeep tie rod installed ZJ tie rod

The one major flaw I saw after running this for awhile was that it only half addressed the problem. While I had a much stronger tie rod now, I was still left with the shoddy OEM draglink. A little over a year later, I bent the draglink and in the process it also bent the passenger side of the ZJ tie rod and pushed the stock steering damper back into the axle tube covering my underside with fluid. When replacing these components, I opted for Rusty's Offroad HD steering setup. This was a direct bolt in replacement for my tie rod and draglink. Not only being stronger, I like the design of this setup much better than the OEM one.

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