Building for the Love
Hey Jerrod, I just got the March issue and I have to agree with you. I have had my Ranger since 1990. It was my first truck that I bought and it has taken me almost 20 years to get my truck were it is today. I could not afford to pay others to work on it so I learned, went to school, and now build rides for myself and others when we have the extra cash (Ha! Who has extra cash?!). I truly understand where you are coming from with Jinxy. Even though they break, we fix 'em and make them better. And then it becomes a passion and part of a lot of memories, and then it is like family! How many times have you said "Argh! I'm just gonna sell it!!!" Exactly.
I have finally named my truck after my 3-year-old daughter Emilie. Why? Because although she can be a little pain in the ass, I love her to death.
Well have fun on your trip north and hopefully we will see you in the desert sometime.
High Definition Motorsports
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What Type of Steering Ends?
How do you feel about crossover Heim joint steering on a daily-driven Jeep? I ask because you recently did it on your red Ram project. I am currently running the stock Dana 30 knuckles and was planning on drilling them to 5/8-inch and running 3/4-inch Heims from Ruffstuff Specialties to save some money. I don't do too much crawling, and I plan to eventually make a go-fast desert rig out of it once I get back to SoCal. The only problem is that I am currently in Tennessee where it hardly snows , but they seem to go overboard with the salt. What is the best way to protect Heims from salt and the elements? I have seen various boots and seals to protect the Heims but it seems as if they would pick up and hold crap in causing premature failure. Do you think I would have a problem or should I just go for it?
Dan, this is a great question, and therefore this is our Letter of the Month.
I'll tell you what: Rod ends like Heims are really cool, but if you can find big enough conventional steering tie rod ends and make those work in your setup, I'd say use those. They'll last longer in a daily-drievn setup than the Heims ever will. We used Heims on the red Ram because of the way we stacked the draglink and rod end onto one bolt on the passenger side. Before this, there were normal tie rod ends on this truck, but they were giant 2-ton units. You can get some really big tie rod ends-bigger and stronger than you'd ever need. They also have more angularity that Heim joints.
And you're correct in thinking that those Heim joint rod ends will get eaten more quickly than a conventional tie rod end in all that salt. About the only way to protect them would be to get under your jeep with a can of WD40 or Pam cooking spray and douse them every single day that you drive it (and that seems a bit ridiculous).
By the way-just to give you a personal experience: my first time trying to use Heim joint rod ends for a steering kit, a fabricator ended up charging me $900 for a tie rod and draglink system that I wasted and wore out in a few days. Conventional steering tie rod ends would have survived and been much cheaper.
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