Installed the ZJ tie rod, serviced the front diff while the tie rod was removed and set the alignment.
The ZJ rod is solid. The upgrade is obvious just by holding it vs the old one.
First time cracking the front diff - easier with the tie rod out of the way.
The diff internals look good. The air line is secure. There might be a little streak of rust getting in at the external air fitting. I’ll shore that up from the outside assuming the fitting doesn’t need to be replaced.
I used a lubelocker and Valvoline full synthetic 75w-140.
New tie rod went in without issue. Alignment was set at 1/8" toe in.
Front: 58 1/8"
Rear: 58 1/4"
Alignment came out identical to what it was before the swap since the steering wheel did not require centering adjustment.
All cleaned up and it looks great. Greased with Lucas Red’n Tacky. The factory front diff cover is in great shape compared to the rear - the rear cover has some rust. I might look into a replacement for the rear end.
As a follow up to to rear track bar/gas skid debacle: I modified the stock skid by removing the offending section and taking a BFH to the lip. Looks good for now. I hate dropping the tank… I’m not looking forward to the next time I have to do that.
I also installed Rock Jock shock mount extensions to get the shocks out of the perches, etc. I lose about an inch of up travel with these. Not sure I’ll keep them, but they are serving their purpose at the moment.