It certainly looks like some sort of shock absorber…

Heavy-duty sucker, too.

And as somebody pointed out, it may not be working. The bracket isn’t just ripped off the axle, the part still attached to the strut/arm/shock is torn nearly in two. Something pretty stressful went on under there: I was bouncing around on the Bumpy Road but not in a rock-climbing competition. Probably it’s been ready to go for quite some time.

Also – as somebody pointed out – the axle situation may not be a dire as I made it out to be. There’s a solid upper strut connecting the axle to the frame, so the axle can rotate slightly on this shock absorber to absorb severe jounces but it shouldn’t be able to actually leave its normal conformation. Which is what I’ve been expecting it to do since Wednesday morning.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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13 Responses to It certainly looks like some sort of shock absorber…

  1. Kentucky says:

    Email sent.

  2. Joel says:

    Dude, I won’t get it. My email server is FUBAR. Try me at interimvariable(at)yahoo(dot)com. That’s my stand-in addy.

  3. Joel says:

    And anyway I’m going to let the shop buy the part if it needs replacing. I’ll supply them with the bracket, which I’ve already ordered, so they can go ahead and fix the axle. But I won’t speculatively buy an expensive (and possibly wrong) part I don’t know is broke.

  4. Paul Joat says:

    It’s not a shock absorber, it is an aftermarket lower control arm, looks the ones in this kit
    It is likely 2 pieces threaded together so the length can be adjusted, the center grease zerk is for those threads, they also let it pivot a little as the jeep flexes to take strain off the axle bracket. The factory arms were stamped steel with large rubber bushings to deal with the twisting when one side of the axle goes up.

    Look carefully at the uppers arms, and the other lower arm to see if any of the brackets look like they are cracked or the arms are damaged, if you lose another one the axle isn’t going to stay in place if that happens best case is it needs to be towed to a shop with a welder, worst case is it breaks the transfer case, the front drive shaft and punches a hole in the oil pan.

  5. Paul Joat says:

    Is there any chance you hit the bracket or the arm it’s self on a rock recently? that might also explain why it’s now broken.

  6. terrapod says:

    Joel, the earlier picture you posted shows a rusted out segment hanging onto the strut, then the shiny parts where it fractured and tore off the axle. Check the other mounts for rust and cracks as mentioned above.

    Now the good news, you do not need to drop the axle from the jeep, the old bracket remnants on the axle can be cut off with a sawzall (with care to not actually cut the axle tube) then ground flatish. new bracket welds right onto the old profile trace that remains. Have the welder guy do short beads alternating sides, that way the axle tube does not overheat as there is oil inside. Prolly won’t be an issue but care never hurts..

    The struts appear to be in good enough shape, would not mess with those.

  7. Joel says:

    Excellent info, thanks.

  8. Kentucky says:

    All the above cover my email quite nicely.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I love the internets, its the steering stabilizer.
    It’s not a control arm, or a strut.
    If your front end is in decent shape its optional

  10. Joel says:

    Respectfully, I don’t believe that’s correct. The steering stabilizer actually is a shock absorber located on the steering linkage, and the Jeep’s is right where it belongs. What I removed yesterday is a strut or arm – screw-adjustable according to one opinion – between the frame and the bottom of the front axle on the left side.

  11. terrapod says:

    A steering stabilizer runs parallel to the front bumper and looks like a shock absorber because it is a special one. All it does is dampen sudden hits to the wheels from rocks or ruts (side to side motion), otherwise you would feel every hit at your fingertips on the steering and could conceivable lose control.

    The item Joel pulled off the Jeep is a swing arm that keeps the front axle in the right position (arc of motion up/down) and is a necessary part of the suspension, especially if you run headlong into a boulder in the wash. You can drive the Jeep gently without it but I would not do so for anything beyond absolute necessity and get it fixed as quickly as possible.

  12. Joel says:

    I’ll have the job finished at around the same time I have the money sorted out – one week from today. Till then I’m driving very gingerly and only on graded roads.

To the stake with the heretic!