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boykinjc 08-09-2018 06:51 PM

Track Bar vs Sway Bar
I recently took my 1988 Grand Wagoneer to the shop because I was experiencing a knocking noise in the front end while taking slow turns. My mechanic mentioned it looked like I had track bars at one point due to the seeing the mount on the front axle. However there was no bar or frame bracket to be found on the vehicle. I have searched high and low for a track bar and found a few. I have also found an anti-sway bar complete kit from teamgrandwagoneer. My question is will this sway bar kit eliminate the need for the track bar that was or was not there at one time?

Thanks for any help!

boykinjc 08-09-2018 07:50 PM

Should I need to find a replacement track (panhard) bar, does anyone have any leads as to where to start looking? Thanks!

44BZ 08-09-2018 08:22 PM

Usually a track bar is installed on the rear axle and you shouldn't need one with leaf springs anyway.

440sixpack 08-09-2018 09:21 PM

The later Wagoneers had a track bar. I've seen them on ebay for sale.

I would put it on if you can it should improve the way it drives. the track bar is for a totally different purpose than sway bars consider your need for each on it's own merits.

I'd put a track bar on my J10 if I could.

boykinjc 08-10-2018 06:36 AM

Thanks for the help. I found this last night,, do y'all think this would work for my application? Also I would need the frame side mounting bracket anyone have a picture of what an OEM one would look like?

Thanks again this is a great place for information.

nograin 08-10-2018 06:53 AM

Probably for an XJ.
Track bar was standard by '85 so should be plenty available, pre-used, that will bolt right in. I don't recall a rod end type joint on them - just bushings - but don't hold me to that.

Anti-sway bar is a torsion bar type spring connecting both front wheels. Its only on the front. Mostly helps control front chassis roll on pavement (going through higher speed turns).

44BZ 08-10-2018 07:50 AM

Sorry guys, didn’t mean to muddy the water. My only real experience is with the early fsjs and the only vehicle I’ve had with a track bar was a wrangler

Cecil14 08-10-2018 10:13 AM

The later wags should have both a track bar (panhard bar) and a sway bar up front.

The track bar will go from the axle on one side (passenger I think on the wags?) to the frame on the opposite side. This "locates" the axle in relation to the frame, preventing it from shifting side to side and keeping it aligned with the rear tires.

The sway bar is a long round bar the runs along the frame side to side, with two attachment points on the frame. There will be vertical sway bar "links" that attach between the sway bar itself and the spring plates. This helps keep the vehicle "flat" in turns, rather than that awesome lean you get going around an on-ramp.

Neither are structurally necessary on a vehicle with leaf springs. Meaning, unlike a coil spring vehicle, the axle is not going to move in relation to the frame without either the track bar or sway bar. They DO however, still make a big difference in how the vehicle will handle. I had my sway bar link disconnected for a while, and when I reconnected it I was pretty amazed at the improvement. I plan on putting a sway bar on the rear axle of my truck, it'll make for WAY better towing.

If you are missing either, your best bet is probably to just source one used. Poke through the classifieds here and at and I'm sure someone will have what you need.

As for your original question, lacking either the track bar or sway bar is not causing your knock. Provided they have both been completely removed, anyway.

Throw us a picture of your front suspension, and we'll have a better idea of what's going on.


johnsonic 08-10-2018 10:20 AM

"experiencing a knocking noise in the front end while taking slow turns"

Same thing happened to me on my '87, which had track bars front and rear. Went berserk trying to locate it - replaced all bushings in the front. Finally traced the sound to the driver's side leaf spring.

Have a buddy turn your wheels from the left to the right while you're under there looking at the springs - you may see one of some of the leafs slightly move (like, less that 1/8"). There are plastic pads that go between the ends of the leafs - I was missing them and the sound was that of the metal-on-metal contact.

Not saying this is your problem, but worth taking a peek!

Cecil14 08-10-2018 10:22 AM

You may be close enough to Tanker's yard ( to go pick parts from them. Shoot him a PM and see if he has what you're looking for.


boykinjc 08-10-2018 11:10 AM

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help. Im assuming the new track bar I copied above is not the accurate part?

Also, I'll definitely look at the leaf springs. That freaking noise is driving me crazy and I've either replaced or tightened almost damn near everything under there.

Cecil14 08-10-2018 11:17 AM

As mentioned, the bar above looks like it's for an XJ Wagoneer. Jeep got a little confusing around 1984; the XJ platform was released that year and the SJ Wagoneer and Cherokee disappeared, becoming XJ based. The only SJ Wagoneer left was the Grand Wagoneer. You need to be pretty careful when looking for parts or talking to people at parts stores, as often they don't know the difference and will try to sell you parts for the XJ and not your Grand.

I've had kids at parts stores tell me Jeep never made a pickup when my truck was literally sitting right outside the window. You just kind of look back and forth and stare in wonder. ha


boykinjc 08-11-2018 04:32 AM

Gotcha. That makes total sense. Thanks Anthony.

boykinjc 08-11-2018 04:59 AM

I just found one for 1979 Grand Wagoneer SJ. Does anyone know if the Late 70’s model track bars are compatible with an 1988.

fulsizjeep 08-11-2018 06:46 AM

1979 FSJs did not come with a track bar. That started around 85.

I think they are fairly pointless unless you are doing some towing. The sway bar is another story though. FSJs with sway bars handle better in almost all modes of driving.

Cecil14 08-11-2018 09:42 AM

Couple things wrong with that Flint mentioned, a '79 wouldn't have a track bar. Also, there was no Grand Wag until '84ish.

I would say find and fix whatever your existing problem is before you worry too much about the track bar. It really isn't going to make *that* much difference, not like the sway bar will.


babywag 08-11-2018 09:45 AM

I would agree, trackbar(s) only really needed if towing.
The only difference I could feel was when towing it feels more stable when installed.

gpcl16 08-12-2018 09:53 PM

I have removed my front and rear track bars from my '88 GW as well. I honestly can't tell the difference but I've only towed small trailers with this Jeep. Having good bushings in your leaf springs and shackles is critical with these trucks and will provide all the lateral stability you need. If you drive your jeep on road the track bar couldn't hurt I guess, but if you take your jeep on trails the track bars do some really undesirable things to your suspension geometry under flex.

boykinjc 08-13-2018 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by Cecil14
Couple things wrong with that Flint mentioned, a '79 wouldn't have a track bar. Also, there was no Grand Wag until '84ish.

I would say find and fix whatever your existing problem is before you worry too much about the track bar. It really isn't going to make *that* much difference, not like the sway bar will.


Thanks Cecil, I tracked some down from J&W Jeep in California. They are sending tomorrow. Now to figure out the knocking in my steering. It is driving me nuts.

Bluesj 09-28-2018 03:19 PM

Late reply, but don’t put in the front track bar. My frame is cracked at the mounting point on driver side frame. Don’t need it don’t miss it. I will be having my frame welded at a frame shop keeping the mounts and reinforcing the area I will give the bar to the next owner but I won’t use it..

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