Jeep Wrangler JK Steer Smarts YETI XD No Drill Top Mount Draglink w/ Attenuator Review & Install

Jeep Wrangler JK Steer Smarts YETI XD No Drill Top Mount Draglink w/ Attenuator Review & Install


The Steer Smarts YETI XD No Drill Top Mount
Draglink with the Griffin XD Attenuator in red bellow is for those of you that have a
2007 to 2018 JK that are looking for a new draglink that’s going to be much stronger
than the factory one and also have a lot of additional features built right in. This is going to be a two out of three wrenches
for the installation, not because it’s overly difficult, but because getting these factory
tie rod ends out of their tapered fit joints can be a little bit difficult. Stay tuned for the installation, I’m gonna
walk you through it and show you exactly how to get it done. Now, when you’re looking for draglinks, there’re
gonna be a couple of reasons that you might want to buy one. You might’ve already bent your factory one,
you may have a little bit of a loose or wobbly feeling because yours is bending on the road
or maybe you just want to eliminate the possibility of bending yours by getting something that’s
much beefier. I’m gonna show you this in comparison to the
factory one in just a second, this is much, much bigger. So on top of being much larger, this also
has a few additional features like I mentioned before. This attenuator is designed to dampen a lot
of the shock that you would otherwise feel through the steering wheel when driving and
you’re also going to get a draglink flip out of this draglink where normally the draglink
is mounted on the bottom side of the steering knuckle, now it’s on the top side. So that’s going to help change up your steering
geometry a little bit, it’s going to help provide a little bit of additional clearance
when you’re off-road. But do keep in mind that you shouldn’t change
just the mounting point of your draglink without also changing the mounting point, at least
one of your track bar, you want the track bar and the draglink to remain parallel or
you’re going to end up with bump steer. As you can see here, these bars are not parallel,
we would have bumps steer if we were driving down the road in this configuration, you would
either need to raise this side of the track bar or drop this side down to get these back
into parallel. So again, keep that in mind, it’s very, very
important. One other things I want to talk about with
this draglink is the price of it. Now because this thing is so beefy, it is
very well built, it has the attenuator which is not something that any of the other brands
out there are going to have, this is certainly going to be more expensive than almost any
other draglink out there that you can buy coming in at right around that $670 mark. Now, is it worth it? If you like the idea of this attenuator, if
you really want something that’s big and beefy like this, yeah, I do think it’s worth it. Steer Smarts makes a really high-quality piece. So if you have the budget, if this has the
features you’re looking for, I do think it’s gonna be a pretty good buy. But like I mentioned before, we’re gonna go
two out of three wrenches for this installation. Let me show you how to do it. For this installation, we used a 13/16-inch
wrench, an 18-millimeter, and a 10-millimeter wrench as well. Also a few sockets, a 13/16, a 15-millimeter
and a T40 Torx and socket. We also used a 19-millimeter deep wall to
remove our tire but that’s not a completely necessary step. We drove all of those sockets with a combination
of a 3/8 socket driver and a 1/2-inch pneumatic impact, and of course, we also needed a big
hammer. So as we mentioned before, this is gonna be
a two out of three wrenches for the installation, there isn’t any cutting or any major modification
of the Jeep to do, but this can be a little bit difficult to get accomplished, I’m gonna
tell you why right now. Obviously, you are going to have to remove
your draglink in order to get this new draglink installed. And the way that the draglink is attached
to the Jeep is with tie rod ends on both ends, the Pitman arm, and the steering knuckle arm. And those tie rod ends are going to be taper-fits. So as you drive that nut on there, it pulls
those two pieces together and they make a really strong connection. However, when you’re removing those nuts,
because these are locking nuts and they’re not castle nuts with cotter pins, the only
way sometimes to get those nuts off without spinning the whole stud inside the tie rod
end is with an impact. Now over here, as you can see, we’ve taken
the tire off that gives you a little bit of a better view and lets us get tools in there
a little bit better, we’re able to get a big 1/2-inch impact on top of this nut and we
can buzz this off without spinning the stud and that’s not so much of a problem for us. But over here, if this nut is spinning this
stud in here, the only way to get an impact on here is the first pull the larger nut that’s
on the Pitman arm, use a Pitman arm puller to get the Pitman arm down to give you room
to work. In order to get the Pitman arm puller on there,
you might also have to remove the track bar, you can see that this gets a lot more involved. Now once you do have those nuts removed or
at least almost completely loosened, the way that you get those taper fits broken is not
necessarily by hitting down on top of the nut. If you don’t have these pieces press that
well together that might work just fine, but if you really have to start wailing on things,
you can mushroom the top of your tie rod end, you can screw up the threads, you can really
cause a whole lot of issues. The way to actually get these removed is to
strike the side of, in this case the steering arm or up here, the Pitman arm, of course,
you don’t want to damage your steering box. But if you strike these on the side actually
perpendicular to the stud of the tie rod end, that’s the way to get these pop down. So we really want to get that nut pretty much
completely removed, spin it on just enough that this isn’t gonna fall to the ground when
it does release and hit the end of the steering knuckle or the Pitman arm pretty hard to get
those to pop apart. So that’s pretty much the explanation for
how to get everything removed. And again, that’s why this is a two out of
three wrenches because there’s a little bit to it. Now let me show you how to do it, then we’ll
get our new draglink installed. So our first step is going to be our big impact,
a 13/16 socket on the steering knuckle end of the draglink here. And we’re gonna remove this nut completely
then spin it on a couple of threads in order to pop the draglink out of the steering knuckle. So there we go. With the nut removed, like I said, spin it
back on just a couple of threads. All that’s really there to do is to catch
this draglink when it falls so it doesn’t completely swing down and hit the floor. So like I said before, this is where you want
to strike this in order to pop through that tapered fit apart. We’re going to be using this 24-ounce hammer
here but depending on how pressed everything is, how rusted everything is, you may need
an even larger hammer to get this job done. As you can see, a couple of whacks and that
taper fit comes apart, everything is still held together by that nut that we threaded
on a couple of threads here. So this side is completely taken care of,
we’ll move onto the Pitman arm end. Now we moved on to the Pitman arm end of our
draglink. Now we’ve got really lucky here, we were able
to spin this nut off without the stud spinning inside of the tire rod with a just a regular
wrench. Again, if you aren’t able to do this, if the
stud is spinning, you’re gonna have to get an impact on it of some kind and that can
require a little bit more removal of the steering system. So we ended up actually getting a ratcheting
wrench on here and we were able to spin our locking nut completely off without spinning
the stud inside the tie rod end which is always really nice. So at this point I’m not gonna be able to
get our wrench back outta here, so we’re just going to put a couple of quick turns on the
end of our nut again to make sure that nothing is gonna fall when we strike the Pitman arm
and drop the tie rod end out of it. And again, you don’t want to hit on the Pitman
arm too hard because you can cause damage and leaking to the steering box, so some of
you may feel more comfortable using a pulling tool here or even a pickling fork to get in
between but you certainly don’t want to rip this rubber bushing on the tie rod end if
you ever plan on reusing this draglink. There we go, able to get that to drop down,
just get our wrench out of there. And now we can spin the nut off the rest of
the way and drop the draglink out of the Pitman. Now he can come back to the steering knuckle
end of our draglink, remove the nut and get the draglink completely out of the Jeep. As you can see, when you have your stock draglink
side by side with your new Steer Smarts draglink, there are a ton of differences. So the biggest thing you’re gonna notice is
just the size of this, this is going to be a much larger tie rod end when you compare
it to the factory one, of course. This is going to be the same over here. All of the tubing, all of the threading, everything
is just a lot and figured, so that means your tie rod ends are gonna hold up a lot better,
they’re not gonna wear out as quickly and you’re going to have much less of a chance
of your draglink bending and maybe an off-road situation. In fact, I’ve even seen situations where this
draglink can have a little bit of flex in it on the road which can make it feel like
something is loose in your steering or almost like you have a wobble but ultimately it’s
just you’re draglink flexing, so you’re certainly not gonna have any of those issues with your
new much larger Steer Smarts draglink. The other big thing that you’re gonna notice
and it’s a little bit hard to tell on the table here, you’ll be able to see it better
when we get it in the vehicle, is that this is backwards and that’s because this is a
flipped draglink. So instead of the draglink coming up in the
bottom of the steering knuckle, it’s gonna come down from the top. And what’s unique about this setup is it has
this little taper piece right here, this does not require any drilling at all. In the past and even with a lot of other brands
out there now, in order to do a flip draglink kit you need a specific tapered drill bit
which can be very expensive and also very hard to find, and you need to drill out that
steering knuckle in order to flip the taper and get this installed. So this is very different from this one but
with this setup that has this little sleeve here, no drilling required makes the install
nice and easy. But as you can see here, this is going to
be an opposite bend because this is a flipped draglink. But let’s talk about the biggest difference
and it’s gonna be right here. Your factory draglink is just the tubing,
your Steer Smarts has this attenuator built into it. And essentially what it is, is another version
of a steering dampener, you can think of it like that. And what it’s designed to do is suck up a
lot of that jolt that you might get when you’re driving on the highway, you’re driving off-road
at speed and any sort of harsh input comes in from this end and from the steering end,
it’s going to get sucked up in the attenuator before it ever gets to the Pitman arm which
would then translate it to your arms, your hands while you’re driving. So it’s gonna give it a much smoother feel
when you’re driving especially over those rough roads or those rougher trails. So the similarities here are that they are
both draglinks but the differences definitely outweigh the similarities. This is going to be a much beefier piece that
has a lot more features than that factory draglink. So here we have your new draglink. The way that you get this assembled because
it does come out of the box in three pieces is to thread this end just about three threads
into the attenuator, on the other end, the same thing, just about three threads, then
hold both tie rod ends while you spin the attenuator. And the idea there is that as it closes in,
you’re going to have the same amount of threads on both ends here, that way when you’re adjusting,
things aren’t gonna be out of whack. You do want to leave these clamps completely
loose because we are going to go ahead and adjust that in order to re-center the steering
wheel, so we’ll take care of that in just a second. Now, normally with the tie rod end, the way
that you need to get it installed is to apply pressure for the tie rod end, that taper end
of the tie rod end, to lock into the steering knuckle and the Pitman arm and then drive
these nuts on pretty hard usually with an impact. Now the benefits of something like this is
it has a way that you can hold those studs on either side, so on this end, we’re just
gonna use a large adjustable wrench or we’ll find the actual size range that we need here
to hold onto that. And on this end, you’re going to need a Torx
bit on the inside of that tie rod end in order to keep that stud from spinning. So that’s a big benefit because on the bottom
of these you have these really nice polished caps, you have your grease fittings, so in
order to get a pry bar in there and put enough pressure on this thing to keep that stuff
from spinning while you tighten the nut, that’s gonna be a tall order. So with all of that being said, it’s finally
time to get this thing installed in the Jeep, so we’re gonna remove the nuts off the top
of these. We’ll probably start up here at the Pitman
arm, getting it hung from the Jeep and then we’ll get our steering end installed on the
steering knuckle. All right. So we’ll spin the nut off the Pitman arm side
of our draglink here, get that tie rod end set up inside the Pitman arm and start our
nut back on the top to hold everything together. All right, now we can move over to the steering
arm side. On this end we’re going to do the same thing,
remove me nut but we’re also gonna remove this taper piece, set our tie rod end in the
top of the steering knuckle and then before we put our nut on, I’m gonna set that tapered
piece right up inside from the bottom. And that’s really what does all the magic
here, that’s what keeps us from having to drill out the steering knuckle in order to
get this draglink flipped. As you can see it, draglink on top instead
of on the bottom like it is from the factory. While we’re on this end, we’re gonna get things
tightened down, so we had a 13/16 ratcheting wrench for the nut and then we have a 10-millimeter
ratcheting wrench that’s gonna hold the stud in place. And we’ll go ahead and get this tightened
down. And this does need to be torqued to 105 foot-pounds,
so make sure after you get this tight enough that your stud isn’t going to spin inside
the steering knuckle, that you get your torque wrench on here and get this torqued down properly. Now we can tighten down this side. We have the same 13/16 ratcheting wrench here. But instead of holding the center stud with
a 10-millimeter, we have a T40 Torx. Now we have a Torx bit and a wrench here,
so it’s gonna be a little bit tight to fit, we’re not gonna be able to get on there quite
squarely but if you have a different Torx that might work a little bit better or you
can, of course, use an Allen key in there as well. Get this nice and tight. At this point, all we need to do is adjust
our draglink for length. What this is going to affect is the relationship
between the tires and the steering wheel. So when you get this on the ground, you want
to make sure the tires are facing exactly forward. Have someone looking at the steering wheel
as you turn the attenuator, the center section here, changing the length of the draglink,
it’s going to turn the steering wheel inside the vehicle. So you want the tires to be straight and you
want the steering wheel to be straight. At that point, you can take down the adjusters,
take it around the block and you might need to do a little bit of fine-tuning to make
sure everything is nice and straight. So we have all of our adjustments done and
use a couple of wrenches on here and get these tightened. Now, it’s important to note about this is
if your steering wheel is off center, the jeep can’go into limp mode and or cause an
issue with your stability control, so when you do take your test drive to make sure that
your steering wheel is straight, make sure it’s just a short drive just in case you have
any issues. So that’s gonna do it for the installation
of our new draglink. If you are looking for a very strong draglink
that’s gonna also offer a lot more features than the factory one, I would recommend this
option from Steer Smarts and you can find it right here at extremeterrain.com.

About the Author: Michael Flood

9 Comments

  1. Shop This Draglink: https://terrain.jp/2CWtEjX

    Subscribe for Daily Jeep Videos: http://terrain.jp/SubscribeXTyt

  2. Thank you for sharing this!!!!! Putting mine in this weekend and there are no install videos except for yours. Keep it up XT

  3. What about the input from the steering, would it feel loose or lazy? In other words, would attenuator absorb part of the steering input?

  4. Don't jeep have engineers who should have anticipated these issue and put this on from factory. First time jeep owner here.

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