The track bar is a suspension component typically found on vehicles with solid axles, both in rear and four wheel drive applications. One end of the track bar mounts to the chassis and the other to the axle. This keeps the axle located properly and prevents excessive lateral and longitudinal movement. A worn or loose track bar can make for an uncontrolled ride and poor handling. You may experience a noise over bumps, a wandering/loose feeling ride, or a combination of both.
Part 1 of 2: Jacking and supporting the vehicle.
- Floor jack - make sure it is rated for your vehicle GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or better
- Jack stands - also GVWR rated for your vehicle
- Pickle fork - also known as a ball joint separator tool
- Torque wrench
- Wheel chocks/blocks
- Wrenches - open/box end
Step 1: Jack the vehicle up. Place wheel chocks behind and in front of at least one rear wheel. Place the floor jack under the differential as pictured above. Lift the vehicle until it is high enough to be supported by the jack stands set in the lowest position possible.
Step 2: Support the vehicle with jack stands. Place the jack stands an equal distance apart, either under the axle or under strong frame/chassis locations. Slowly lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.
Part 2 of 2: Replacing the track bar
Step 1: Remove the bolt on the frame mount end. Using the appropriate sized socket and wrench, remove the bolt holding the solid end of the track bar to the frame/chassis mount.
Step 2: Remove the bolt on the swivel mount end. Depending on the swivel mount end of the track bar on your vehicle, a socket and ratchet may work best here, or a box/open end wrench may work best. Use the appropriate one to remove the nut holding the swivel end to the axle.
Step 3: Remove the track bar. The frame/chassis end should come right out with the bolt and nut removed. The swivel end may come right out or may need some persuasion. Insert the pickle fork between the track bar and mounting surface. A few good taps with the hammer should make it drop out.
Step 4: Install the chassis side of the track bar. Install the chassis/frame side of the track bar first. Leave the bolt and nut hand tight for now.
Step 5: Install the swivel side of the track bar to the axle. Install the nut hand tight to keep the track bar in place. Tighten both ends of the track bar, preferably using a torque wrench. If a torque wrench is not available, make both sides snug with hand tools and not air tools if you choose to use them. Once tightened, lower the vehicle off the jack stands.
- Tip: If torque specs for you vehicle are not available to you, torque the track bar around 45-50 lb ft on the chassis/frame mount end and around 25-30 lb ft on the swivel end as a rule of thumb. The swivel end can break much more easily if it is over-torqued. If you need help with replacing your track bar or any other service, have a mobile technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office today.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Replace a Car Track Bar and was authored by Ronny Brown.