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Steering kits, track bars, and drop bracketsUpdated 3 months ago

We get this question a lot, and it's covered on the product pages, but here is a shorter version. 

If your truck is stock height, up to 3" lift, you don't need a drop pitman arm so you don't need a track bar drop bracket.  Once you get above 4" of lift, you do need a drop pitman arm (unless you have crossover steering) and a track bar drop bracket (unless you've raised the track bar mount on the axle).  The lift heights between 3" and 4" are a grey area, you can go either way at those heights.  But when you use a drop pitman arm, you must use a track bar drop bracket to keep the drag link and track bar angles parallel.  If you don't, you'll end up with a bad case of bumpsteer, and you'll wear out front end parts pretty quickly.  

Whatever you do, however your truck is setup, if you have a drop pitman arm, you need a track bar drop bracket.  If you have a track bar drop bracket, you need a drop pitman arm - unless you have crossover steering where the drag link bolts directly to the knuckle, and in that case you just need to do what you can to keep the drag link parallel with the track bar.  There will still be a variance in the arcs because of the difference in length, but it's not real noticeable at most lift heights. 

More details for those that want them: 

The purpose of the track bar is to keep your axle located in place side to side, while allowing the axle to move up and down.  The flatter the track bar angle, the more vertical the arc of travel the track bar will follow.  This helps keep your control arms squared up since the track bar isn't pushing or pulling the axle side to side very much.  As the truck gets taller, the track bar angle increases, and this also makes the axle swing side to side more noticeably.  At ride height, the track bar will not have as much leverage so that allows the axle to shimmy side to side more easily (aka death wobble).  The only reason you can't have a perfectly flat track bar is because of where the track bar mounts to the frame, the differential being directly below/behind it, and where the track bar mounts to the axle.  You can change mounting brackets to make the track bar angle flatter but there is a little compromise when doing that, because now the force is relocated further away from the frame or the axle depending on which side you move the mounting location.  When you see giant trucks that have huge track bar drop brackets and really tall track bar mounts coming up above the axle, there is an immense amount of stress on those brackets.  So even though the track bar itself may be flat, those brackets are hating life and will bend or break much easier.  This is why we don't cheap out on materials for our track bar brackets - they need to be very beefy to handle the extra stress. 

The purpose of the drag link is not only to push and pull on the tie rod or knuckle to steer the truck, but it also must follow an arc very similar to the track bar.  If it doesn't, you end up with a variance where the track bar is telling the axle to move in this arc, but the drag link is trying to follow a different arc.  That difference is what causes bumpsteer.  Bumpsteer is most noticeable when you hit a bump in the road and the steering wheel shimmies back and forth, but the truck still drives straight.  This gets confused with death wobble a lot, but they are not the same thing.  Death wobble is when the whole front end shakes like it's about to fall out and you can't get it to stop until you slow the truck way down, or completely stop.  That is caused by worn parts, bad alignment, or tire/wheel issues.  Bumpsteer is just an inconvenience, although it can be painful if your thumb gets caught in the steering wheel when it happens.  Bumpsteer can eventually lead to death wobble, since the difference in the track bar arc and drag link arc will wear out one or both of those parts.   The reason to keep the drag link flat is similar to the track bar, with the addition of needing to keep the TRE angles flat so they don't wear out prematurely.  The factory track bar has a TRE style ball joint on one end and a through-bolt on the other, so it can handle angles better than the drag link which has TREs at both ends.  TREs do not allow nearly as much movement (misalignment) as heims do, which is one reason why we don't use standard TREs on any of our products.  Heims are stronger, safer, and they allow more movement.   With our steering and track bars, the angles still matter, but you just have a lot more room for the suspension to move before the drag link or track bar will bind up. 

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