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Big Daddy Offroad's Monster Tie Rod
By Chris Shontz

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Big Daddy's Offroad

Introducing Big Daddy's Offroad Monster Tie Rod (Part #TR-TJXJ2J) for 1997 to current Jeep Wranglers. This tie rod is designed to use OEM or equivalent tie rod ends, and has machined "wrench flats" for adjustability. It is a length of 1-1/4 inch DOM tubing and has been powder-coated dark "gun metal" gray. This tie rod weighs in at 7 lbs, includes a pair of jam nuts, and retails for $89.00.

Big Daddy Offroad designed this tie rod for the avid rockcrawling enthusiast, and they claim it is four times stronger than the stock tie rod.

"The Monster Tie Rod will keep you confident and proud!"

How does one review a heavy-duty tie rod? Sure, we could install it and hope that one day we accidentally pick a bad line that puts the tie rod on a collision course with some rocks, or we could install it and intentionally pick a bad line at speed to see what affect the collision has on the tie rod and the entire front end. I'll bet you guys would like to see that!

Instead, we decided to attempt to destroy this tie rod in its uninstalled state. Destroying this tie rod was the only way for us to convey how strong it actually is to our readers.

Big Daddy's Offroad
Big Daddy's Offroad

The first test was easy. Can the Monster Tie Rod support the weight of the vehicle? admittedly, there was little doubt that the tie rod would easily pass this test, given the length of the tube, the beefy physical characteristics, and the weight of the vehicle spread over a good area.

The tie rod could support the front of a Jeep Wrangler without flexing, but what would we have to park on it to determine its bending point? After considering many alternatives, I put a bit more thought into a means of destroying the tie rod, which brings us to our next test.

WARNING: Do not reproduce this test. This test was performed in a remotely located, controlled environment. Many precautions were taken to ensure our safety. This test demonstrates improper winch use and should not be attempted under any condition.

In the woods, we rigged the tie rod up to a tree strap and pulled the tie rod from its center with a 9500 lb winch. Although we had no way to measure how many pounds of force were being issued to the Monster Tie Rod, we were determined to do our very best to bend it. How easy or how difficult it was to do so would give us a way to convey to you roughly what the bending point of the tie rod is. Many of you are familiar with winching and the forces involved.

Initially, the tie rod barely flexed at all. As we winched, it began to pull the Jeep toward it, wheels locked, while maintaining its shape. This was effectively phase one of the winch test, and it passed with flying colors.

For phase two, we anchored the back of the Jeep using another tree strap, and clevis, and continued winching. The 9500 lb winch began to strain under the load, and the voltmeter inside the Jeep pegged to zero. We stopped pulling just before we thought the winch was about to stall completely.

Upon inspection of the Monster Tie Rod, we immediately noticed that we had accomplished that which we set upon doing. The Monster Tie Rod was effectively trashed, as it had apparently slowly bent into a "V" shape while it was being pulled.

Based on the manufacturer's specifications of our 9500 lb winch, on approximately 3 wraps of cable, we estimate that we were exerting between 7000 to 8000 lbs of pressure to the center of the tie rod. This is not necessarily an accurate estimation because it largely depends on the output of our Jeep's electrical system, but it should be in the right ballpark.

These are good results.

Big Daddy's Offroad

Big Daddy's Offroad

Big Daddy's Offroad

Big Daddy's Offroad

The machined "wrench flats" are worth their weight in gold. Many aftermarket tie rods are manufactured with wrench flats nowadays, but not all. In this case we used an adjustable wrench to turn the tie rod onto the ends, and it installed extremely easily. Never having owned a tie rod with "wrench flats" before, we found ourselves highly amused by the novelty of the concept.

With ease, we installed the tie rod in our parking lot, and temporarily straightened the steering wheel until our front end alignment appointment. A proper front end alignment is required after such a tie rod upgrade, because improper alignment can adversely affect handling and tire wear. We recommend getting it close and driving to the alignment shop for accurate alignment.

We replaced our Challenger Performance Alumiflex Tie-Rod, reviewed here, simply for the sake of trying something different. In the picture to the right, you can see the effect a pipe-wrench had on the Alumiflex tie rod. I sure wish the Alumiflex had "wrench flats" like the Big Daddy Monster Tie Rod.

The cosmetic differences between the Challenger Performance Alumiflex Tie Rod and the Big Daddy Monster Tie Rod are readily apparent, but physically, we're comparing apples to oranges. The Alumiflex is designed to bend, while the Monster is designed to not bend.

Big Daddy's Offroad
Big Daddy's Offroad

One thing I want to add is that anti-seize should be applied to tie rod ends before installing an aftermarket tie rod - the Alumiflex in particular, which seemed to bond (or corrode) slightly to the tie rod ends after a year of being installed without using anti-seize. This is a characteristic of aluminum when it comes in contact with a dissimilar metal for a long period of time.

The Monster Tie Rod is much better in this regard with its thorough powder coating. It may be prone to eventually seizing at the rod ends threads from iron oxide, but this is commonplace among steel front end parts and generally not a problem.

Many heavy duty tie rods from other manufacturers are being offered with stronger tie rod ends, usually from Dodge truck applications, and for a good reason. We bent a Monster Tie Rod with several thousand pounds of force. If we were to impact a rock with a similar amount of force, the Monster might stay perfectly straight, but that force is going to pass straight through the Monster to the next front end component. In place of a bent tie rod, one might have a broken tie rod end, a bent drag link, or a broken knuckle - all of which would be worse than a bent rod.

A flexible, aluminum alloy, tie rod is going to better absorb the energy of an impact, and be less strenuous on contiguous front end components, thus making part failure even less likely while returning a usable tie rod.

Big Daddy's Offroad
Big Daddy's Offroad

The negative effects of kinetic energy aside, most moderate four-wheelers will not encounter a "worst case" situation where stress applied to the Monster tie rod will translate into broken parts. The Monster tie rod offers an extreme improvement over the stock tie rod.

The Big Daddy's Offroad Monster Tie Rod is a great choice for the rockcrawling enthusiast who is looking for a stock tie rod replacement that offers high strength, superb craftsmanship, and maximum beefiness without having to replace additional steering components. It will deflect most glancing blows and minor rubs without incident, so you can run the rocks with your mind at ease!


RESOURCE

Big Daddy's Offroad
www.bigdaddysoffroad.com

710 Greensboro Road
High Point, NC 27260
Phone: (336) 454-5707
Email: Jeep@triad.rr.com

Big Daddy's Offroad Monster Tie Rods are available at www.4x4rockshop.com

 

 

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