It was on our most recent outing to the Rubicon Trail that our JK's second stock tie rod and second steering stabilizer succumbed to the forces of angry granite boulders. This latest iteration of our steering consisted of a prototype aftermarket track bar, drag link and steering stabilizer, as well as a stock tie rod.
Our search for a stronger tie rod brought us to Poly Performance in San Luis Obispo, California. Poly Performance designs and sells a wide variety of products for Jeeps that have been developed in-house for novice to hardcore enthusiasts. All of the Poly Performance parts are designed to be modular and can be bought in kit form, or a'la carte for those who need the individual components.
With the Jeep secured on the lift, we started by removing the existing steering components
The main Poly Performance product we were interested in was their JK chromoly tie rod, the strongest on the market. The Poly tie rod starts with 1 3/8-inch 4130 chromoly that is induction heat-treated and is two times stronger than stock. It is also bent to clear the sway bar mounts, and features beefy tie rod ends in double adjuster sleeves to allow factory-like adjustments without having to remove the part from the Jeep.
We also wanted to upgrade the steering stabilizer after ours puked its guts out after a particularly nasty obstacle. The Poly Performance Hi-Mount Steering Stabilizer Relocation Kit includes a bracket and a new stabilizer that is ready to bolt on. For those who wish to fine tune it, the Poly stabilizer comes with a Schrader valve for pressure adjustments. Poly offers a nitrogen fill gauge to dial in the stabilizer pressure to each user's preference. The kit also comes complete with a bracket and billet tie rod clamp that mounts the stabilizer on top of the tie rod and out of harm's way.
One nice feature of the Poly Performance chromoly tie rod is the beefy tie-rod ends.
Poly was happy to supply these pieces for the 'Con, but recommended we upgrade the entire steering system with its Steering Correction Kit. Poly designed its Steering Correction Kit to correct the wandering steering that is sometimes felt on JKs after they are lifted and includes a new drag link that is made from 13/4-inch-thick, 0.188-inch-wall 1026 DOM material, and like the tie rod, has an exclusive double adjuster sleeve and pinch bolt setup for adjustment of the drag link with it installed on the vehicle.
The other major component of the kit is a new track bar bracket that is laser-cut from 3/16-inch steel for strength and raises the roll center by three inches to give the Jeep a more secure feeling, with less body roll, when cornering. Our version of the bracket uses an optional cam bolt adjuster and reuses the stock track bar, which Poly feels is a quality design. This lowers the cost of upgrading by not requiring an adjustable aftermarket track bar since the length can be dialed in at the cam bolt.
With the existing steering removed, we mounted the chromoly tie rod on our JK.
To ensure the best-handling setup possible, Poly also sent us its heavy-duty rear track bar bracket, which matches the rear roll center to the front by raising it the same three inches. It is also made from 3/16-inch steel for strength and has an optional cam bolt adjustment. The front and rear track bar brackets are designed for use with any 3- to 8-inch lift kit.
The highlight of this steering upgrade is that the entire setup is bolt-on for an easy, trouble-free installation, which we witnessed firsthand as we documented the installation by our friends at Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California.
Next, we installed the front track bar relocation bracket and Hi-Mount steering stabilizer
How It Works
After the install, we had the 'Con aligned and took it for a test drive. The new steering system was easy to align, and the improvements were instantly noticeable. Project 'Con Artist now tracks cleaner, with less bump steer while cornering nice and flat. Poly Performance says that they have designed their parts to work with anyone's suspension system, and we haven't had any problems or interference with the Rubicon Express Long Arm kit that we have installed on our JK. After experiencing the Poly Performance system, we'd recommend the upgrade for any JK owner looking for an upgrade in strength on the trail or looking to reduce bump steer and tracking issues on the road.
Poly sells all of these parts in kit form, or a'la carte. Here is the retail price of what we installed:
With the bracket installed, we measured and mounted the billet steering stabilizer tie rod
|Heavy duty front track bar bracket w/cam
|Heavy duty rear track bar bracket w/cam
|High Steer Drag Link Kit
|Hi-Mount Stabilizer Relocation Kit
|Chromoly Tie Rod
Before it can be installed on the Jeep, the Poly Performance drag link requires the reuse
What is not shown here, because it had already been done on our JK, is that the passenger-
This photo shows the complete Hi-Mount steering stabilizer and Steering Correction kits. V
Moving to the rear, the outer half of the factory track bar bracket is removed.
Next, the rear track bar bracket is installed using the supplied U-bolts and hardware. The
Lastly, the factory rear track bar is installed; note the cam bolt-style adjustment.
Steering system: Before
Steering system: After
1829 W. Commonwealth Avenue
245 Tank Farm Road
Units L & M
San Luis Obispo