Review: Rockstomper Rock Rod on Early Ford Broncos
Rockstomper Rock Rod Review Short Cuts
Photo by Rick Esterly
The final installation

By: Rick Esterly - 2/2001

After a fun trip on the Rubicon, my stock Bronco tie rod took a beating. I had to get out the hammer to straighten it so I could drive home. When Ford used the Dana 44 axle, although strong, the tie rod is low enough to meet rocks. Scott at Rockstomper has the solution to bent tie rods: the Rock Rod for the early Bronco and other straight axle 4x4's. Rockstomper custom makes Rock Rod tie rods and drag links for each application. I supplied them with the needed measurements...

Photo by Rick Esterly
Rock Rod, Drag Link, and Track Bar bracket
Photo by: Scott Ellinger of Rockstomper
Photo by: Scott Ellinger of Rockstomper
From left to right: sleeved Rock Rod, stock GM fullsize truck tie rod, stock Ford Bronco tie rod (1" solid, not hollow)

Only days later the UPS man brought me my package. I knew these would be tough to hurt after lifting the package. Rockstomper makes heavy-duty Rock Rod tie rods from sturdy DOM steel tube -- they are strong enough to lift the front of the rig with minimal deflection of the Rock Rod.

While I was at it I decided to do a knuckle-over on the Dana 44, raising the Rock Rod even further out of harm's way. The application for all the rod ends for the emds of these links are 1/2-ton Chevy Blazer. I picked mine up locally and they came with a warranty -- insurance I doubt I will need. Rockstomper supplied the jamb nuts needed for the rod ends. Because of the added height inherent in the knuckle-over, Rockstomper also supplied a trackbar relocation mount to raise the trackbar so that it stays parallel with the drag link, minimizing bump steer. With all my parts in hand I went to FootHill OffRoad for the installation.

Photo by Rick Esterly
Reverse tapering the knuckles

We tore off the old, tired (still bent!) tie rod and drag link assembly. The pitman arm came off to be re-tapered for the Chevy rod ends, using the stock taper direction. Upon further inspection, a couple of the ball joints were aging and getting loose, so since we already there, all four were replaced (thanks Kevin). Since I was also doing a knuckle-over tie rod relocation, both knuckles needed a reverse taper. Foothills welded the drag link relocation mount on top of the mount for the bump stop on the axle. After retapering and cleaning the knuckles, we installed the Rock Rod. We did a basic alignment to adjust toe-in then we set up the steering wheel and the drag link. This was temporary; the Bronco was headed to an alignment shop to have everything finalized and set up correctly.

Photo by Rick Esterly Photo by Rick Esterly Photo by Rick Esterly
Track bar relocation Pitman arm end Basic alignment

Photo by Rick Esterly
A snow plow too

Since the installation of the Rockstomper Rock Rod I have noticed no bump steer as I had before. Off road manners and responsiveness have increased also. I am looking forward to the hitting the rocks in spring knowing that I will not have to get out the hammer again (at least for this tie rod). A special thanks go out to Scott at Rockstomper for all the questions I asked, and to FootHill OffRoad for their superior service.

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