16 Options For Fixing 6th Gen Bronco Tie Rods

6th Gen Bronco Articulation

Here Are The Top Aftermarket Solutions Available

The 6th Gen Bronco tie rods are known to be the weak link in its steering system. However, it was designed to be that way. For a full breakdown of why that is, check out our post on the truth about tie-rods.

In short, the tie rods of a vehicle are the link between the steering rack and the front wheels. They are also critical in adjusting your vehicle’s toe alignment, which can affect your Bronco’s drivability and the tires’ wear.

For this post, we focus on all of your options to rectify this weak spot.

The Problem

6th Gen Bronco Tie Road

When you are off-road, the tie rods experience a great deal of force. Specifically, if the driver is trying to turn the wheel against something that is providing a lot of resistance. A tree stump, boulder, and even thick mud all make it more difficult for the wheels to turn. This is where the majority of failures have been seen.

These failures tend to happen quickly. You’ll hear a snap, the steering will go light, and now you have front wheels pointing in opposite directions. Luckily, tie rods are easily replaced on the trail, provided you have a spare set. Your vehicle won’t have proper alignment, but you can at least get off the trail under your own power.

To avoid this situation, I have listed some solutions for you below.

The Solution

Icon Tie Rods for 6th Gen Bronco

All of these failures have been seen on the threaded portion as it is the thinnest. It was designed to be the weak link, however, because it is a fairly easy thing to address. That’s especially useful if you’re having to do a trail fix.

Brace/Sleeve

Something like a sleeve or brace will brace the rod and better distribute the forces applied. Sleeves are also a cheap solution, starting at around $40. You do need to remove the outer rod end from the inner, so this will require a vehicle alignment after the fact.

Replacement

Sleeves and braces are a bit of a band-aid fix, however. While they certainly will improve strength, they are not foolproof. To truly remedy this issue, you are looking at doing a complete replacement. I know that sounds like a pain, but this can be done in your driveway with basic tools.

Tie Rod Sleeves

6th Gen Bronco Tie-Rod

Sleeves are the easiest way to address the weakness of the OEM inner and outer rod end. Essentially, they become your new locking nut for the outer. They brace the entire threaded portion (weak portion) of the inner rod.

Sleeves are also the cheapest option. With prices not exceeding $100, it doesn’t get much more cost-effective. However, you will need to get your vehicle aligned after installing them.

1. Speedlogix Billet Sleeve

Speedlogix sleeve kit for 6th Gen Bronco

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The cheapest sleeve option is the Speedlogix Billet Sleeve. Coming in at just $39, they are cheap insurance to protect against bending or breaking on the trail.

Unlike most options on the market which are made from steel, these are machined from billet aluminum and anodized for a durable product that will age well. This is the only sleeve on the market with any real design to it. Three valleys circle the tie rod sleeve, and they say you’ll be proud to show them off.

These are made in America by a small business in Florida and offer free shipping to the lower 48. These sleeves are for OEM equipment only and will not fit the HOSS 3.0 or Raptor. They also offer a 5-year warranty.

2. Rough Country HD Sleeves

Rough Country Sleeve kit for 6th Gen Bronco

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Instead of just a thick metal tube that slips over the threaded portion, this system replaces the locking nut as well. It is also long enough to cover the remaining threads that were previously exposed.

These Cold Rolled Steel sleeves provide additional strength by increasing the diameter to 1″ compared to the OEM .55” diameter. This added robustness will help prevent both bends and full breaks.

Rough Country offers free shipping and a lifetime warranty on their parts.

3. JKS Steering Sleeve Kit

6th Gen Bronco JKS Sleeve

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The difference between these and the Rough Country sleeves is extremely minimal. Both are machined from cold rolled steel, have a black powder-coated finish, and increase the diameter of the tie rod from .55” to 1”.

The only real difference is the notch cutout design. The Rough Country starts its notch about an inch away from where the sleeve will contact the outer tie rod and carries that cut to the edge. The JKS sleeve’s notch starts at the same spot but is only maybe a half-inch thick before it becomes round again.

These are also made in America but offer a 5-year, 100k-mile warranty while Rough Country offers a lifetime warranty.

4. Stinky Fab Reinforcement Sleeves

Stinky Fab Sleeve kit for 6th Gen Bronco

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Don’t let the name deter you, as these might be one of the best-looking and functioning sleeves on this list. Made from billet steel, these sleeves transfer the load from the threads, which is the weakest part of the tie rod, to the strongest part of it.

What is nice about these, other than the beautifully machined steel, is they are the only ones on this list to have a 6-point nut integrated into the sleeve. Others on this list only have two or four wrench flats machined out of them.

These American-made parts don’t have free shipping and there is no information as to whether a warranty for them is offered or not.

5. Level Up Sleeve

Level Up Sleeve for 6th Gen Bronco

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Level Up decided to use 304 Stainless Steel for their sleeves. They claim that this is used for optimal corrosion resistance which will prevent the sleeve from seizing on the threads.

Level Up has designed these to make them as easy to install and adjust as possible. They are slightly shorter than other sleeves on the market, meaning that the wrench flats on the inner tie rod (which is used to adjust the toe), are not covered by the sleeve. Most others will cover them at least a little, making alignments more difficult.

The sleeves have four wrench flats, resulting in a spot for the wrench every 90 degrees of turn rather than every 180 degrees. With limited space in this area to move a wrench around, this is very useful.

These sleeves are made in the USA and shipping is not free. They have a limited lifetime warranty, albeit with a bunch of exceptions. So, be sure to look over them closely before purchasing these sleeves.

6. FM1 Support Sleeve

6th Gen Bronco FM1 Sleeve

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Foutz Motorsports CNC machines these sleeves out of steel and then coats them in zinc to lessen corrosion. They increase the diameter of the tie rod to 1″ and will cover the wrench flats of the inner tie rod as well.

While they are made in-house, little other detail is given about these sleeves and it appears that they do not come with a warranty. Not only that, but shipping is $23! I try to remain objective in these articles, but I would stay clear of these. There are much better options on this list.

Tie Rod Braces

7. BroncBuster “BusterBrace”

BroncBuster Tie Rod Brace

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  • BroncBuster “BusterBrace” Set – Standard: Check Price
  • Speedlogix Heavy Duty Billet Brace (2021+) Bronco: Check Price

Unlike sleeves, braces can be installed without taking your outer tie rod off, meaning an alignment is not required afterward. Braces will go over your locking nut and cover a good portion of your inner and outer rod ends, including the wrench flats of the inner tie rod. This means that the brace will have to be removed before an alignment.

Braces work very similarly to sleeves in that they distribute the forces to the threaded portion. This strengthens the whole system, making it far less susceptible to bending or breaking.

There are only two braces on the market and they are pretty much the same. Both have a splint design, are machined out of T6061 billet Aluminum, use eight Allen bolts for assembly, and are made in the USA.

Tie Rods & Half Tie Rod Replacement

Tie Rods & Half Tie Rod Replacement Bronco

If you are looking for a more permanent solution to address the OEM rods, then a full replacement is your answer. You have a couple of different options here.

Half Tie Rod Kit

These kits will replace the outer tie rod and jam nut only. The jam nut is essentially the sleeve that we discussed in the previous section. This option is a step up from the sleeve and braces, but still won’t fully address the issue.

Full Replacement

To fully correct the weak tie rods, they need to be replaced entirely. Full kits range widely in price, starting at $300, and going up to $900! However, these are the only solutions out there that will permanently fix the brittle OEM rod ends. Compared to sleeves and braces, they comprise a thicker and significantly stronger inner tie rod.

8. Rough Country Upgrade Kit

Rough Country Full tie rod kit for 6th Gen Bronco

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Coming in at just $300, this Rough Country kit seems to be the best value for money on this list. They are full inner and outer replacements that are 57% larger than the factory assemblies with greaseable inner outer ball joints.

The outer tied rod is forged from SAE1045 steel with a heat-treated 4140 ball stud while the inner tie rod is made from 4140 steel with a SAE1045 steel ball-joint housing. The adjustment threads are 22mm, which is 8mm thicker than the stock tie rods.

These are sold in pairs and come with replacement boots to account for the larger diameter inner tie rods.

9. Fabtech Heavy Duty Kit

6th Gen Bronco Fabtech Tie Rods

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This Made in America option is the second cheapest option for a full replacement on the market. While exact specifications are not posted on Fabtech’s site, they do claim that these rods can support up to 40” tires. However, the inner tie rods seem to have limited space for a wrench due to the seemingly unnecessary design. I cannot comment on whether that affects a technician’s ability to properly align the vehicle, though.

Fabtech’s heavy-duty replacement has oversized ball joints on the inner tie rod. This allows for increased steering movement, which is helpful if you are running a lift on your Bronco. The kit comes with flexible nitrile rubber boots to make sure that contaminants do not get into your steering components.

10. Yeti XD Bronco Tie Rod Ends

Yeti XD tie rod ends for 6th Gen Bronco

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Yeti has approached fixing the weak issue, by not addressing the real issue. This is an outer replacement only, which is not the weak part of the tie rod. It does come with a very thick jam nut which will improve the strength in the same way a sleeve would.

That said, it’s not all bad. The outer rod is 76% larger than the OE rod ends and is made from forged steel rather than cast aluminum. They also have a 30mm metal-on-metal ball stud which is a step up from the metal-on-plastic, 25mm stud on the OE rods.

The spun cap of the tie rod is covered to keep contaminants out and a Zerk fitting has been placed on it for easy maintenance. The ends have a dual coating to keep them looking good for a long time, and the jam nut is magnicoated for maximum corrosion resistance.

While these wouldn’t be my first choice, especially considering that for the price, you can get a full inner and out replacement, there are still some features that make them worthwhile.

11. Icon XD Forged Tie Rods

6th Gen Bronco Icon Full Tie rod kit

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Icon Vehicle Dynamics offers the best value on this list. They address all the weak points of the stock part with outer rod-ends being made from forged steel and the inner being made from 4140 chromoly. These are 30% larger than the factory HOSS 1.0/2.0 tie rods.

The ends have a Zerk fitting for easy maintenance and the kit comes with replacement boots to account for the larger diameter of the inner.

Icon’s design addressed the issue most simply and practically. They look good, but are not overdone or have unnecessary grooves, finishes, and excessive materials. However, ensure that you received the correct boots as they have been known to occasionally ship with the wrong ones.

12. Foutz Motorsports Billet Half Tie Rod Kit

6th Gen Bronco FM1 Half tie rod kit

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  • Foutz Motorsports Billet Half Tie Rod Kit: Check Price

Again, I try to be objective so that you can make an informed decision. However, this product rubbed me the wrong way. Let me explain.

The Foutz Motorsports Billet Half kit is just the outer. It’s a significant improvement over OEM (made out of billet aluminum and CNC machined) and looks great. It is also much thicker than the factory, although they do not state how much thicker.

However, breakages occur at the threaded portion of the inner tie rod, which this kit does not address. They do offer a jam nut which is essentially a sleeve as we covered earlier.

While it is pictured in the product photo of this kit, it is actually sold separately. This kit should, at a minimum, come with the jam nut as that is what you need to improve the strength of your OEM rods.

13. Foutz Motorsports Billet Full Tie Rod Kit

6th Gen Bronco Foutz Motorsports Full Tie Rods Kit

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  • Foutz Motorsports Billet Full Tie Rod Kit: Check Price

To be fair to Foutz Motorsports, they do offer a good solution with their billet replacement kit which replaces both the inner and outer rods. CNC’d out of 6061-T6 Aluminum, it runs the entire length of the inner and outer with the adjustments happening at the outer end rather than the middle of it.

They have a Zerk fitting on the rod ends and unlike other options, the Foutz kit comes with a cover for the fittings. If you have ever had to grease joints like this, you’ll appreciate that. They also come with a urethane boot kit to keep dust and water out. The main downside is that this kit is one of the priciest options on this list.

14. RPG Billet Half Tie Rod Kit

RPG half tie rod kit for 6th Gen Bronco

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Half-rod kits are all pretty much the same and what separates them is the material used. RPG stepped it up with this kit. The outer is CNC’d in-house from 6061 billet Aluminum. Instead of using the typical 4130 Chromoly steel on the pins, they opted for 17-4 steel which is twice as strong.

These come with a covered Zerk fitting and a new jam nut. The jam nut is really what matters because that is what strengthens the weakest portion of the OEM unit. They also offer a wide variety of finishes, including custom colors upon request.

While this is a good option for your Bronco, full replacements are still the way to go. Luckily, RPG has you covered there too.

15. RPG Billet Steering Tie Rod Kit

RPG Full Tie rod kit for 6th Gen Bronco

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The full replacement from RPG uses the same material as the half-rod kit: 6061 T-6 for the body and 17-4 Pins. It also has 7/8’’ outer and 3/4” inner Heim joints.

The kit comes in a variety of color options as well as custom colors upon request. Since this is a full replacement, they will come with new boots to accommodate the larger diameter. I also really love that the adjustments of this kit are on the outside of the rods, rather than in the middle. These made-in-the-USA tie-rod options just might be the king of this list.

16. S3 Power Sports Tie Rods

S3 full tie rod kit for 6th Gen Bronco

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On the surface, this looks very similar to the RPG tie-rod kit. There are a few subtle differences, however. Instead of a billet aluminum construction, S3 chose to use 4340 chromoly steel throughout this kit. While the RPG had Heim joints on both ends, S3 decided to use a Heim joint on the rod end, and a ball joint on the inner side of the tie rod, both coming in at 7/8’’.

They also have two places to adjust these rods; one on the inner portion that will be under the boot once installed, and one on the outside for quick alignments. This design seems to add unnecessary components to the rods which may mean more opportunity for failure. Given the construction of it, however, I can’t see that happening. They also come with new tie-rod boots, as you would expect.

Final Thoughts

Bronco Falken Wildpeak R/T

It is hard for me to recommend one specific solution for the Bronco, as everyone’s needs and budgets differ

If you don’t take your Bronco off-road but have a lift and larger tires, then a sleeve will suit you perfectly. If you are a moderate off-roader on a stock suspension, then the Rough Country or Icon would be fine. However, if you are a hard-core rock crawler or Baja driver, then spend the money and get the RPG, S3 Power Sports, or even the Foutz Motorsports replacement kits.

Again, tie rods are designed to be the first point of failure as the steering rack is weak overall. They are much cheaper and easier to replace, especially on the trail. So if you are looking at replacing the tie rods because you are afraid of them breaking, make sure you beef up the rack itself too (more on that coming soon).

Remember, you will need an alignment after installing any of these parts OTHER than the braces as those simply go around the existing tie rods. Everything else is a replacement and will be to be professionally aligned.

I hope this guide helps you make an informed decision. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will help the best I can!

Happy Off-Roading my fellow Bronco enthusiasts!

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