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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thuren Adjustable Trackbar...and some Insight?

Hey All;

Figured I'd ask a couple questions before I tackle this project. It seems pretty straight forward, but as always, something is off nominal with my truck.

I've upgraded suspension and 3" coils in the front, T-style steering, ball joints, control arms, Readhead steering box, steering box brace, etc. Everything on the front end is tight, tracks straight with no issues, etc.

But I've had the OEM track bar on there since doing all this. The wheels are centered in the wheel wells (front to back), but as we all know when you level it shifts the axle since the angles change. This shift is normally towards the drivers side (which gives more clearance to the drivers side). Currently running 35x12.5R18 Ridge Grapplers on Mayhem Combat wheels (18x9 w/ +18mm offset).

Prior to this I was running Toyo MT's (35x12.5R17) on some no name wheels...they were running less offset (maybe even negative as they stuck a bit beyond the fender flares). With this setup I had no rub on either of the control arms.

Here's the caviat. With the current setup (Mayhem's) I have slight rub at full lock on the upper and lower control arms...on the driver's side! This in theory shouldn't be the case, but when looking from the front of the truck, my axle is shifted towards the passenger side.

Has anyone experienced this when leveling? I know every truck setup is different but in theory this shouldn't be the case. Everything is straight on the truck.

Anyway, onto the Thuren bar. Thuren recommends 39-1/8" eye to eye on his bar to center the axle...I'm assuming this is also in theory that everything follows nominal and the axle is towards the driver side and you need to lengthen over stock to re center the axle. So I would need to shorten the track bar from OEM in my case? What am I missing here? I'm not sure the Thuren track bar can shorten the amount I'd need it to for re centering purposes?

Let me know if any of you have experienced this before or any advice you have. I'll be drilling out the mounts as well for upgraded hardware, so any advice for drilling angle of attacks would be welcomed too!


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 01:20 PM
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Generally speaking, most references agree that you shouldn't use a stock track bar with more than an inch and a half to two inches of lift.

HOWEVER, in my experience, the misalignments in stock suspension components both front and rear can run half an inch -- or MORE -- to one side or the other. Thus, for a relatively small lift, you might actually be seeing a return to center. I saw that too. My axle stock was displaced substantially to the right. It centered at about 2" and just barely began to move left at 3". So my adjustable track bar is longer than stock and I'm centered now.

So I wouldn't be surprised if a slightly older truck, with -- in theory -- slightly looser manufacturing tolerances -- was still off center right at 3". I mean, I haven't done the geometry lately, but I think that's only a quarter to half an inch or so off. Same order of magnitude as possible error.

IIRC both my first BDS and second Carli adjustable track bars arrived somewhat shorter than stock and both unscrewed to stock and longer. I would suspect the Thuren would be the same. I'd be surprised if it weren't. You probably only need a small fraction of an inch.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricPeterson View Post
Generally speaking, most references agree that you shouldn't use a stock track bar with more than an inch and a half to two inches of lift.

HOWEVER, in my experience, the misalignments in stock suspension components both front and rear can run half an inch -- or MORE -- to one side or the other. Thus, for a relatively small lift, you might actually be seeing a return to center. I saw that too. My axle stock was displaced substantially to the right. It centered at about 2" and just barely began to move left at 3". So my adjustable track bar is longer than stock and I'm centered now.

So I wouldn't be surprised if a slightly older truck, with -- in theory -- slightly looser manufacturing tolerances -- was still off center right at 3". I mean, I haven't done the geometry lately, but I think that's only a quarter to half an inch or so off. Same order of magnitude as possible error.

IIRC both my first BDS and second Carli adjustable track bars arrived somewhat shorter than stock and both unscrewed to stock and longer. I would suspect the Thuren would be the same. I'd be surprised if it weren't. You probably only need a small fraction of an inch.
Yeah I hear ya on using an OEM with a 3" level, you shouldn't, but it really doesn't hurt anything except clearances left to right. Because of this and because I never had any play/death wobble issues, I disregarded replacing it until I got new wheels that showed the rub on my control arms (btw they are straight and don't have the clearance "kink" in them)

From what I saw on Thuren's site, it comes preset @ 39-1/16. If stock is 38-7/8 and he notes that the length should be set to 39-1/8 for a 3" level, if I'm off towards the passenger side, I would have to shorten my bar to 38-5/8+ to draw it towards the driver side (since it's the hypotenuse of the triangle it's not exactly a 1-1).

From your experience if yours was substantially shifted towards the passenger side until 3" where you saw it go towards the driver side, then I must have been WAY to to passenger side in stock form (which I never saw the truck, it was purchased with 2.5" spacers). Because even with 3" of level I'm still shifted to the passenger side, which worries me.

I need to take a tape and measure the eye to eye on my current track bar...should have done this in the first place, but I wonder if the PO installed a non adjustable track bar that's longer than stock? That's a possibility

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Just measured my track bar that's on there, eye to eye, it's OEM 38-7/8". So I once again have a unicorn truck...

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by krashDH View Post
Just measured my track bar that's on there, eye to eye, it's OEM 38-7/8". So I once again have a unicorn truck...
No. It's not that bad. Just ran the trig. Lifting the truck 3" from stock only moves the axle sideways about four-tenths of an inch. If your axle was 3/4" of an inch off stock towards the right, it will still be shifted right about 3/8". Also consider that your turning limits right and left aren't guaranteed to be identical, and the mounting locations for the arms might be off at one end or another too.

Your rubbing can't be that bad. If it were it would bug you more, right? It's gonna be a relatively small distance.

Don't worry about the length of the track bar. Measure the location of the axle with respect to chassis reference points. I used two jacks to make sure the axle was that same vertical displacement with respect to the chassis each side. If the axle is still shifted right a bit and you want to fix it, get the adjustable track bar. If it doesn't bug you that much, if your tire wear is even, if the truck tracks straight, if it doesn't pull... leave it be. A fixed length track bar will generally be stronger than an adjustable one.

Like I said, my front axle was pretty badly offset right too -- IIRC, between half an inch and five-eighths -- and it really did not want to center, either with the stock radius arms or with the 3" BDS arms. Whatever it was that was tweaked from stock, it wanted to stay tweaked. I'm glad my lift allowed me to nearly center it, forcing me to use only a little bit of adjustment once at the final height.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 03:26 PM
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Just had a look at the Thuren track bar. Appears to be a relatively standard jam nut on a forged male rod end design. Solid. Take a look at the Carli. The jam nut has a tapered seat, and once torqued and locktited is going to be far tougher to break loose, IMHO. It is, however, also far more difficult to torque properly.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricPeterson View Post
No. It's not that bad. Just ran the trig. Lifting the truck 3" from stock only moves the axle sideways about four-tenths of an inch. If your axle was 3/4" of an inch off stock towards the right, it will still be shifted right about 3/8". Also consider that your turning limits right and left aren't guaranteed to be identical, and the mounting locations for the arms might be off at one end or another too.

I'm probably shifted 3/8 to 1/2" to the passenger side right now

Your rubbing can't be that bad. If it were it would bug you more, right? It's gonna be a relatively small distance.

You're absolutely correct, it's not that bad at all, but it's enough to rub the paint off my control arms on the driver's side and cause them to rust in that area...that bugs me...

Don't worry about the length of the track bar. Measure the location of the axle with respect to chassis reference points. I used two jacks to make sure the axle was that same vertical displacement with respect to the chassis each side. If the axle is still shifted right a bit and you want to fix it, get the adjustable track bar. If it doesn't bug you that much, if your tire wear is even, if the truck tracks straight, if it doesn't pull... leave it be. A fixed length track bar will generally be stronger than an adjustable one.

I've got the Thuren adjustable track bar in hand, I wanted to upgrade from the OEM to further the robustness of the front end. The reason I was worried is because in theory, if Thuren's length of 39-1/8" eye to eye adjustment is to re-center the axle on a nominal truck (which is supposed to pull towards the driver side when leveled), and 37-3/8" stock length has me still pushed towards the passenger side, then I need to be shorter than stock, somewhere in the 38-5/8+ area. I don't know if Thuren's track bar has that much adjustment shorter than the stock config...if it doesn't then an adjustable track bar won't do me any good

Like I said, my front axle was pretty badly offset right too -- IIRC, between half an inch and five-eighths -- and it really did not want to center, either with the stock radius arms or with the 3" BDS arms. Whatever it was that was tweaked from stock, it wanted to stay tweaked. I'm glad my lift allowed me to nearly center it, forcing me to use only a little bit of adjustment once at the final height.

Yeah I'm also pretty close to centered with a 3" level and the stock length control arm, I just need to be shorter than stock, which is an oddball. Glad I'm not the only one with this.

My plan is get the ole' gal's axle up on jack stands so I'll be able to cycle lock to lock. I know when measured on the ground I'm pushed towards the passenger side. When it's up in the air and wheels forward, I'll measure the distance between the tires to the control arms @ full lock going both directions. Hopefully it replicates what I see when it's under it's own weight. If it's shifting when the suspension is loaded, then . I plan to set Thuren's eye to eye to around 38-3/4 , install loosely, lock to lock, and measure clearances again. I'll go back and forth with that until it's centered to the control arms because that's what really matters in this case. Set it on the ground, measure inside of tire to control arms, then if it's still even, torque. Damn truck should just shift towards the driver side like every other normal truck...
This definitely seems like it may be more of a chore than I originally anticipated.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 03:54 PM
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I'll bet the Thuren can adjust shorter than stock. If you're 3/8" off to the right at the moment, a little bit shorter than stock is an improvement. In all honestly I'd be wary of trying to force the axle 3/8" out of place with the track bar. Well... ok, actually, with your four control arms it's less of a stretch than with my two big heavy radius arms and the fixed mounts at the axle ends .... but still... you don't want to be operating in a neutral position with all those bushings forced into a huge displacement.

You've got the Thuren in hand. See how far it shortens under stock. Thuren knew when they designed it that the axle positions at neutral vary. Even 1/8" is an improvement... dial in between 1/8" and 1/4" if you can and see how easy it is to get it together.

You don't have to get that full 3/8" back.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricPeterson View Post
I'll bet the Thuren can adjust shorter than stock. If you're 3/8" off to the right at the moment, a little bit shorter than stock is an improvement. In all honestly I'd be wary of trying to force the axle 3/8" out of place with the track bar. Well... ok, actually, with your four control arms it's less of a stretch than with my two big heavy radius arms and the fixed mounts at the axle ends .... but still... you don't want to be operating in a neutral position with all those bushings forced into a huge displacement.

You've got the Thuren in hand. See how far it shortens under stock. Thuren knew when they designed it that the axle positions at neutral vary. Even 1/8" is an improvement... dial in between 1/8" and 1/4" if you can and see how easy it is to get it together.

You don't have to get that full 3/8" back.
Yeah my control arms have spherical joints at 1 end so I don't think it will be a big deal to get the axle to move over, the springs are what will be limiting at that point, and they are very HD (plow type) with larger diameter wire than most springs on the market (I run a pretty heavy front bumper). It will be interesting to unbolt everything and see what naturally wants to happen with the truck. When I talked to Chris at Thuren Fab today about this he said that he hasn't seen or heard of anything like my situation after a level so that's reassuring...

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 10:35 PM
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This is a weird situation for sure. If it was me, I would take apart the front end and see what the heck is going on. If there is nothing wrong and nothing you can do, add Unicorn to your signature.

And for the drilling, remove the bump stop on the driver's side and drill it from the rear to the front.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 09:01 AM
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why are you drilling the mount?

when you suspend the axle with the jack stands under the frame it will move with the axle, you dont need to do that. remove the old bar, with the wheels on the ground and turn the wheels slightly as needed to realign it to the different at length.

when i had a 3" lift thats what i did for R&R. now at stock height the bar is still unchanged and yet not off center enough for me to want to do anything about it. i have to look really close to notice that its off center. set the length as thuren says and install. then look at the center and wheel rub.

its entirely possible the bushings in the old bar are allowing it to move enough to appear to be shifted wrong.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve05ram360 View Post
why are you drilling the mount?

Earlier trucks had 14 mm hardware torque to 185 ft/lbs later trucks had 16 mm torque to 225 ftlbs

Can use 16mm with Carlis
Just need right factory hardware
If there’s an issue with torque retention on the 14mm factory hardware, purchase a 16mm or 5/8” drill bit and bore
the factory holes. Order the following PN from your local Ram dealer or online:
• Track Bar Bolt - 16mm 6508942AA
• Track Bar Nut - 16mm 6509070AA
With the above part numbers (will work on both frame and axle side) the reducer sleeves can be removed and
assemblies torqued to 225lb/ft.
steve05ram360, tryNto and Jacks like this.

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