So I ended up taking the drag link back out of the car. The end plugs that came with the rebuild kit are very, very different from the ones that were in there before. Not only are the plugs longer but the slots in the end are a lot shallower.
The guide pins are different too.
Time to read the manual. And the manual says that I am doing it all wrong. According to the manual the steering box end should have the spring on the outside (plug) end and the bellcrank end should have the spring on the inside end. So I tried to put it together that way.
So there is no way to get the ball in that socket. My first thought was to compress the spring. So I rigged up this tool to do it.
But the spring is too long. So I put one of the original springs back in which are a lot shorter.
But with the spring fully compressed the ball still will not go in there. I am not sure what the heck to do. So I am posting a question on the Jeepster forum to see what the interweb knows.