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After the addition of the 35" tires, I decided it was time to upgrade the steering stabilizer. The factory one was designed for those little factory tires and I was not expecting it to perform as well as it should on the MT/Rs. Besides, it had held the 32" BFG MTs in place for the previous year and I decided it was time to retire the OEM stabilizer.
I dropped a note on the local Arizona Virtual Jeep Club
reflector and got a dozen responses within a couple of hours. The Rancho
RS-5000 seemed to be the most popular aftermarket replacement so I decided to
give it a try. Saturday morning found me down at the local 4x5 shop just
after they opened up. I gave the man a bit less than $40 and I was out the
door with a new RS-500 with a lifetime warranty. The Rancho unit also
comes with new mounting hardware (for the drag link end of the unit). You
will need to recycle the axle bracket bolt. At least that bolt is not a
|Rancho RS-5000 stabilizer||RS 5407|
Besides the recommendations on which stabilizer to get, one of the VJC folks also mentioned that I should use a pitman arm puller to separate the OEM stabilizer from the drag link. The bolt that holds them together is tapered and these can often times be a pain if you don't have the right tools to handle them. On the way back from the 4x4 shop, I stopped by an Autozone store and rented a puller (they rent them for free....you just have to put down a deposit which is then refunded when you return the tool).
Here is a picture of the bolt you will have to deal with. Since I hate
banging my knuckles against everything, I was glad to have the heads up from my
Here is a picture of the pitman arm puller in place and ready to do the dirty
work. I have already removed the cotter pin and the retaining nut from the
end of the bolt. I started to put the muscle to the puller, using a big
crescent wrench for some good leverage. All of a sudden, everything just
kind of exploded and the the puller was laying on the floor. I thought I
had broken it, as this is fairly common with these pullers (and these are not
the highest quality units). I checked the puller and it was fine.
Thinking now that the puller arms had slipped off of the drag link, I started to
put it back on when I realized that the bolt was out of the hole. When it
let go, there was enough energy built up that it popped clear of the mounting
hole. A couple more minutes finding the right size wrench and socket and I
had the other end of the OEM stabilizer removed from the axle end bracket.
Here is the drag link end of the Rancho stabilizer along with its new mounting hardware. The non-tapered end of the bolt goes through the stabilizer mounting eye and the washer and nut are secured in place. Rancho says to torque this nut to 30 ft. lbs., which I did.
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