Panhard Kit Installation With Bill Johnston
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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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...
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