Panhard Kit Installation
With Bill Johnston

All the necessary hardware is included.Ever turned the steering wheel and watched the tire actually move over instead of turn? If you have a 'flexy' suspension, it usually absorbs some of the lateral movement of the steering system before it is transferred to turning the tires. Here's an example...  Have you ever driven down the road and wiggled the steering wheel back and forth without noticing any change in the direction you are going? Before this installation, our Samurai's steering wheel moved a good six inches without effecting the swampers. The Spidertrax Panhard Kit is designed to take away that lack of control. Currently the kit is only available for SPring Over Axle converted Samurais. 

Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...All the hardware you need for this installation is included in the kit. The first thing we noticed about the kit is the fact all of the major components in the kit are made from at least 1/4" steel. The 'heft' alone will bring a smile to your face. Suspension components better be strong to take the abuse we hit them with.

Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...First we used the forklift to check out how much the axle shifted when flexing. It wasn't pretty... 
Then we put the front axle up on jack stands and removed the front tires. Although this kit can be installed with the tires on the ground, we figured it would be easier for you to see our progress with the swampers out of the way.
Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...The next step was to cut off the original brake line bracket on the drivers side. We used a cutoff wheel to remove the bracket. Remove the brake line from the bracket first. After removing the 'C' clip retainer, we used a pair of metal sheers to make a notch in the stock mount so that we could slide the line out of harms way before cranking up the cutoff wheel. 
Click for a larger view...Spidertrax designed the new brake line bracket to match the design of the stock bracket. The brake line bracket has a closed circle design that holds the line using the stock 'C' clip. Installing the brake line into this bracket requires the line to be disconnected and then reconnected through the bracket. Here is where we made a slight change to that design. We made a small notch at the bottom (center) of the brake line retaining bracket just large enough for the brake line to pass through. This allows the line to be installed without disconnecting and then bleeding the brakes. Once the stock 'C' clip is reinstalled, the line will not pull through. Remember to use brake lines long enough so that they won't have tension on them when the wheel is at full droop, tension on the brake line is never safe. 
Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...The bolts that hold the upper bracket in place use a reinforcement plate that fits on the back side of the frame. The bolts fit between the frame and the inner fenderwell. Use a screwdriver to lift the fenderwell high enough to slide the bolts through, or do like we did and drill out the fenderwell for a smoother fit. 
Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...The upper bracket will fit easily. Just check for 1/8" of clearance at the stock bumpstop so nothing rubs. Also take a look at the rubber brake line. Make sure the line doesn't fall between the bumpstops. At full compression the brake line could be damaged and all the steering control in the world won't help you slow down trying to descend the next hill...
Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...Here you can see the built in bump stop shelves in the new u-bolt plates. You may also notice the second centering pin hole that had been drilled into the stock plate. This is a common variation seen when the axle has been moved forward to increase the vehicle's wheelbase. The guys at Spidertrax took this into consideration while designing the newClick for a larger view... component. There are three different centering pin holes to allow you to match your application.
One thing we noticed, although the center hole (stock location) has plenty of room, the other two are located under the legs of the bumpstop shelf. This means the centering pin must be trimmed to the top of the nut as seen to the right.
Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...If you are not sure which hole to use, just set the bracket in place and line it up directly above the axle. Re-install the stock u-bolts and torque them to stock specs.
Click for a larger view...Click for a larger view...During the trial fitting of the lower link we noticed there was not enough room because of the longer u-bolts we used during the SPOA conversion. These also had to be trimmed. Click on the photo to the right and you will see how much clearance we ended up with after trimming. You will also note how much clearance there is for everything to else, even with the knuckle-over steering kit we installed earlier.
Twisted front and rear!Click for a larger view... Once everything has been installed, you need to twist up the rig as much as possible. Check to see how close your stock rubber (upper) bumpstops come to the new (lower) bumpstop shelf that is built into the Spidertrax u-bolt pad. If it touches, great - your done. If there is space like the photo above, then you need to do something about it. Click for a larger view...Spidertrax has a Bumpstop Kit that uses 3/4" spacers to close the gap. We measured 1.5" of space, so we used two of the three spacers supplied for each side of the vehicle. The replacement bolts that come with the bumpstop kit are long enough to accommodate all three spacers if you need them. It is best to install the spacers first before trimming the bolts (just in case you need to go with another spacer).

Check out the Component Review

Sources for this Spidertrax equipment:

Spidertrax
PO Box 340
New Milford, NJ 07646
www.spidertrax.com
1-800-286-0898 Orders
1-201-225-0157 Tech & Questions
1-810-821-0263 Fax

Petroworks
Box 848
Fallbrook CA 92088
www.petroworks.com
1-800-952-8915 Orders
1-760-731-9434 Tech & Questions

Rocky Road Outfitters
P.O. Box 681245
Park City, UT  84068
www.rocky-road.com
1-888-801-7271 Orders
1-435-783-2990 Tech & Questions
1-435-783-4355 Fax

09/13/10 19:30

 

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