Out on the open road, safety is a primary concern while towing heavy loads with pickups –
vehicles that seem to have the lion’s share of ownership among trailer aficionados.
Fortunately, over the years suspensions have been improved dramatically, transforming
light-duty trucks into excellent tow vehicles. But not everything is perfect. Manufacturers
still use ball joints as integral parts of the suspension design, which require regular
maintenance to insure peak performance. As these ball joints wear, drivers can begin to
notice side-to-side movement of the front axle, which can lead to wander and other handling
BD Diesel Performance’s Adjustable Track Bar Kit is a good way to enhance steering stability – and it’s adjustable so it doesn’t have to be removed for alignment work, or if used on trucks that have been lifted (up to 4 inches). As a matter of fact, the adjustable feature provides additional versatility in customizing the front-end alignment for towing or off-road applications.
The installation of BD’s kit is fairly simple, experienced by the quick bolt up process in a 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 4WD test truck. Following the clearly written instructions, we removed the OEM track bar, assembled the BD bar and adjusted the hardware to match the exact length needed. We greased and installed the bushings, and inserted the steel sleeves. Before reinstalling, we mounted the grease Zerk fittings on either side of the track bar paying close attention to the direction they need to face for access with the lube gun.
Once the pre-installation steps were completed, we
bolted up the BD bar using the factory hardware. The bolts are tightened to 150 ft-lb of torque and grease was added through the Zerk fittings.
BD’s Track bars are built from
rigid, 13/8-inch seamless, heavy-wall tubing with formed and precision welded collars that have heavy-duty polyurethane bushings. The poly bushings that BD supplies have a much longer life than standard OEM counterparts, which are more susceptible to abrasion and hardening. The anchor bracket is zinc-plated and powdercoated.
Back-to-back tests were performed solo and with the truck pulling a 32-foot fifth-wheel. Keep in mind, this type of
test requires seat-of-the-pants analysis, which can be difficult when using a relatively
new truck with minimal suspension wear. Nevertheless, the test truck exhibited a noticeable
handling improvement when towing the fiver. This was especially evident when encountering
strong side winds at freeway speeds.
Without the trailer, the truck tracked straighter and
made the most difference when traveling faster than 60 mph. The Adjustable Track Bar Kits are available for 1997-2007 Dodge 4WD trucks. While spending $325 for the kit (plus labor)
to add the new track bar may be harder to justify for a truck that’s relatively new with few miles, eliminating suspension and handling problems down the road seems like a good investment in performance security and peace of mind.
Performance, (800) 887-5030, www.bddieselperformance.com.