Anyone 'wheeling a leaf-sprung 4x4 is familiar with the damaging effects of axle wrap. Add some fat tires and a torquey motor and the effects of such a condition are exacerbated. Axle wrap, also referred to as spring wind-up, occurs when the tire stays static while the axlehousing rotates due to increased torque input or radical braking. The springs become S-shaped as the housing rotates and the shackle moves, an action that results in driveline and shock bind in severe cases. Additionally, the effects of axle wrap lead to wheel hop when the vehicle is climbing a hill or under acceleration. Such a condition can lead to the rapid failure of many vehicle components as well as a loss of traction upon the surface of the road or trail.
In addressing this predicament in Jeep CJs, YJs, and some custom leaf-spring applications, Sam's Offroad in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has created a sure-fire method of alleviating such adverse effects. Through the use of its heavy-duty traction bar and crossmember, the rear axle is permitted to move forward and backward with the natural flex of the spring, but it doesn't allow the pinion to rise and cause the springs to wrap-up. This is achieved through the use of a Johnny Joint front shackle mount on the traction bar, which pivots on the crossmember and won't allow the pinion to rise and create wrap-up within the spring. The Sam's Offroad heavy-duty traction bar is a 33-inch long ladder bar-style assembly constructed from 1.5-inch-diameter, 0.380-inch-thick chrome-moly tubing. It secures to the rear axle with greaseable bolts through polyurethane bushings using the provided, weld-on mounts. The front Johnny Joint mount, which is a rebuildable unit, is bolted to a shackle and secured to the crossmember. Sam's also offers its 3/16-inch-thick steel crossmember for use in Jeep CJs and YJs.
If you're looking to eliminate axle wrap in your leaf-sprung Jeep without limiting suspension flex or ground clearance, Sam's has the answer. Heavy- and light-duty versions of the traction bar assembly are available. Both are exactly what your 4x4 needs to make sure all four wheels continue transferring traction to the ground, where it belongs.