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Old 06-29-2014, 01:47 AM   #1
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control arm comparison

Was just looking for some information on adjustable control arms (upper and lower) and was wondering what the difference is between a number of the companies

- Rough country
- Curries
- Ebay
- Rubicon Express (is that a company?)
- teraflex
- etc

This is for a 99' jeep- Is the main difference the joints that are used? Aren't those fairly cheap to buy and swap in and out?

Has anyone used the E-bay adjustable control arms- is there any feedback as to the quality of them?

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Old 06-29-2014, 06:47 AM   #2
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Uhhhhh....
First of all, Ebay is not a company. They're a business. Many manufacturers are sold on Ebay. Rubicon Express is a company. The differences between control arms are thickness, joint type and quality, weld on or bolt on tabs (or use stock mount), and are joints great able.

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Old 06-29-2014, 10:14 AM   #3
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This has been discussed to a level of ridiculousness. Search.
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:18 PM   #4
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Im surprised at how many folks dont know how to do an Internet search
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:13 PM   #5
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Uhhhhh....
First of all, Ebay is not a company. They're a business. Many manufacturers are sold on Ebay. Rubicon Express is a company. The differences between control arms are thickness, joint type and quality, weld on or bolt on tabs (or use stock mount), and are joints great able.
I know Ebay isn't a company...I meant Ebay arms as in the generic non branded ones that you can find online. I am not going to put a link to them as I am sure that isn't allowed due to sponsorship on the board. However, probably like many other forums I belong to, they allow you to discuss the ebay items as far as quality or performance as that is relevant but not necessarily doing a disservice to the sponsors who spend hard earned money to have a spot on the forum.

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Im surprised at how many folks dont know how to do an Internet search
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This has been discussed to a level of ridiculousness. Search.
I've spent 2.5 hours going through over 10 pages of search results on this forum alone and about another 30 minutes on google...all I have found is guys saying go with metal cloak, currie or savvy arms, and that rough country stuff is junk...I've still yet to see a comparison of all arms available which is what my original ask was.

I don't care that a bunch of guys on a forum have said XYZ is good, I want to know what it is in comparison to the other arms that is different and why XYZ is better than ABC
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:28 PM   #6
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I'm getting a set of lower arms made custom by LetzRoll here in Mesa, Az. Side by side with my RC uppers, Rc looks like Pop Warner next to the NFL. Pretty much RC will get you by, or you can spend tbe money and do it right the first time.

I will try to send a pic soon as I am having said beefy lower control arms installed under RC uppers. I hope you will learn from my mistake
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:46 PM   #7
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I'm getting a set of lower arms made custom by LetzRoll here in Mesa, Az. Side by side with my RC uppers, Rc looks like Pop Warner next to the NFL. Pretty much RC will get you by, or you can spend tbe money and do it right the first time.

I will try to send a pic soon as I am having said beefy lower control arms installed under RC uppers. I hope you will learn from my mistake
What kind of joints are you getting in those arms?
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:01 PM   #8
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interested in pics and details
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:47 AM   #9
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Is the main difference the joints that are used?
Joints, essentially are what make the aftermarket control arm. That stated, you can't go wrong with authentic Johnny Joints or Duroflex joints.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:19 PM   #10
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whatever you decide with make sure it has johnny joints or duroflex joints.

BTW, you'll find most are happy they got and recommend the Currie or MetalCloak, for reason.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:19 PM   #11
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Joints, essentially are what make the aftermarket control arm. That stated, you can't go wrong with authentic Johnny Joints or Duroflex joints.
X2....The stock TJ arms are made of stamped steel formed in a u-shape. They are designed that way to flex as your suspension flexes. So the stock arms flex in the arms themselves and not as much in the joints on the ends. Cheap aftermarket control arms take away that arm flex so the ca has to try to turn the end where it's held with (usually) a poly bushing of some type. There is not enough flex provided in that kind of set up, and the result is, best case, that it takes out the bushings fast, and worst case that it tears the ca brackets off. Johnny joints as used in Currie arms, and Duroflex ends used in metalcloak are made to provide the flex needed.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:03 PM   #12
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X2....The stock TJ arms are made of stamped steel formed in a u-shape. They are designed that way to flex as your suspension flexes. So the stock arms flex in the arms themselves and not as much in the joints on the ends. Cheap aftermarket control arms take away that arm flex so the ca has to try to turn the end where it's held with (usually) a poly bushing of some type. There is not enough flex provided in that kind of set up, and the result is, best case, that it takes out the bushings fast, and worst case that it tears the ca brackets off. Johnny joints as used in Currie arms, and Duroflex ends used in metalcloak are made to provide the flex needed.
Awesome- that is more or less what I figured- poly is bad on control arms regardless unless you are only going in a straight line- it's the same thing in my camaro- not enough articulation which causes suspension bind.

But, correct me if I am wrong here, but all aftermarket arms allow the ability to interchange the bushings correct? So what would be the downside to buying say an ebay run of the mill tubular arm and then swapping over a jj or duraflex bushing?

Im not knocking any of the currie/metal cloak arms- I'm looking to compare things here

The other thing that concerns me is I looked at the metacloak arms and I noticed that they are made out of aluminum (atleast the double adjustable ones are, not sure about the singles... Wouldn't you not want to put aluminum on as control arms?

The use for this jeep is 90% roads- mainly including winter driving, with 10% of the time being offroad- atleast for the time being until I get a little deeper into things - if that info helps anything
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:49 AM   #13
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id more than highly recommend the new metal cloak arms. best ive used so far. even if you combine it with their six pack shocks, i havent used those but the arms themselves are top notch.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:58 AM   #14
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Awesome- that is more or less what I figured- poly is bad on control arms regardless unless you are only going in a straight line- it's the same thing in my camaro- not enough articulation which causes suspension bind.

But, correct me if I am wrong here, but all aftermarket arms allow the ability to interchange the bushings correct? So what would be the downside to buying say an ebay run of the mill tubular arm and then swapping over a jj or duraflex bushing?

Im not knocking any of the currie/metal cloak arms- I'm looking to compare things here

The other thing that concerns me is I looked at the metacloak arms and I noticed that they are made out of aluminum (atleast the double adjustable ones are, not sure about the singles... Wouldn't you not want to put aluminum on as control arms?

some arms do have the ability to change the bushings for a higher quality joint, but at the cost of the joint, its better to do it right the first time. joints range in the ~$45 range, multiply that by 4 and you are at $180 in just joints

its pretty hard to beat the strength of a solid aluminum 6061 arm and there is no problem running it.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:11 PM   #15
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some arms do have the ability to change the bushings for a higher quality joint, but at the cost of the joint, its better to do it right the first time. joints range in the ~$45 range, multiply that by 4 and you are at $180 in just joints

its pretty hard to beat the strength of a solid aluminum 6061 arm and there is no problem running it.
Fair enough, but at 500$ for all 8 arms, it does peak my interest...although reading on metacloaks instructions it looks like I don't need all 8 arms since the recommended length for at least one of the sets was the same as factory.

I still believe aluminum to be a soft metal? I snapped an aftermarket mild steel control arm in my Camaro, and guys have even had trouble with some of the chromoly stuff...I mean and we're talking road or drag race use...nowhere near the abuse I would image a jeep goes through on the trails?

Has no one seen those aluminum arms bend? I'm still weary when I read that...
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:25 PM   #16
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bend a solid aluminum 1.25" rod of 6061? you would have destroyed .25" wall dom tubing by then. aluminum is much stronger than most people realize. many people, myself included have put a decent amount of stress on the arms to only have a few scratches

aluminum can scratch, but good luck bending it
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:48 PM   #17
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bend a solid aluminum 1.25" rod of 6061? you would have destroyed .25" wall dom tubing by then. aluminum is much stronger than most people realize. many people, myself included have put a decent amount of stress on the arms to only have a few scratches

aluminum can scratch, but good luck bending it
it was 1.125" x .095" mild steel and it snapped.

I have an aluminum panhard rod out back as well and I know there are many guys out there that don't like them much for corner carving since they flex more so than a mild steel shaft does.

Like I said, I hear the word aluminum for this type of application and it worries me lol
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:06 PM   #18
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Should I be scared?LOL

Stock/OEM front upper control arm



Stock/OEM front upper w/Aluminum Metal Cloak double adjustables



Aluminum Metal Cloak double adj's next to Pro Comp steel lower control arms



As my Jeep looks today



I take the Jeep on lots of trips to the local deserts and into Baja, Mexico. If/when these arms give me trouble, I will let you know. But, I heard great things about them, and the new handling characteristics is incredible. Mainly, the Jeep doesn't 'Nose Dive' on hard braking like it did with the Pro-Comp/OEM arms.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:31 AM   #19
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it was 1.125" x .095" mild steel and it snapped.

I have an aluminum panhard rod out back as well and I know there are many guys out there that don't like them much for corner carving since they flex more so than a mild steel shaft does.

Like I said, I hear the word aluminum for this type of application and it worries me lol
Small diameter, thin wall. I'm not at all surprised, especially if you're putting down some HP.

Do not apply the same thought process to larger, stronger material.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:37 AM   #20
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Hey guys, Im getting into this discussion late so some of my comment is "re-hash" but some important things that we probably assume, I haven't seen any comment about adjustability.

Control arm basics is that the arms are what hold your axle to the frame and still allow the axle to flex, that said, they need to be substantial.

I agree with Waterdog (Dennis, I though you were in Albuquerque) that Johnny joints (developed by John Currie) or duroflex are tops in allowing unhampered flex. PLUS unlike bushings (rubber or poly) the joints can be rebuilt, they are greasable another pluss

What I have not seen in this discussion is talk about how some after market arms have adjustable length.

Adjustable control arms are very important when we start lifting. Lifting gets all kinds of thing out of "sinc" and geometry ..... and adjustable arms lets you fix that.

When I got my TJ, it had a procom lift with stock upper control arms and procoms lower. My pinion angle was all wrong. I went with Clayton Offroad adjustable upper arms (with Johnny Joints) and made the correction to make my jeep much more stable and also give me much more articulation. I went with Clayton because they have incredible strong construction with heavy square tubing. Clayton is a small shop out of CT, with great designs. A plug for Clayton, but there are some other companies that make really strong and innovative arms.

Aftermarket arms are important to give you a much stronger arm, longer lasting joints that can be serviced (greased and rebuilt), arms that give more flex (articulation) and the ability to adjust the length to correct other problems that is caused by lifting.

My 2 cents, I hope it helps.

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Old 07-03-2014, 07:44 AM   #21
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Control arm basics is that the arms are what hold your axle to the frame and still allow the axle to flex, that said, they need to be substantial.
They also define the behavioral characteristics of the vehicle during instances of weight transfer.

But you are correct. Adjustment is critical so that the axles can be positioned exactly as they need to be in order to satisfy the requirements at ride height and full bump.
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:24 AM   #22
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I'm still waiting on mine, but the are comparable to desertoutlaw's
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:46 AM   #23
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Hey guys, Im getting into this discussion late so some of my comment is "re-hash" but some important things that we probably assume, I haven't seen any comment about adjustability.

Control arm basics is that the arms are what hold your axle to the frame and still allow the axle to flex, that said, they need to be substantial.

I agree with Waterdog (Dennis, I though you were in Albuquerque) that Johnny joints (developed by John Currie) or duroflex are tops in allowing unhampered flex. PLUS unlike bushings (rubber or poly) the joints can be rebuilt, they are greasable another pluss

What I have not seen in this discussion is talk about how some after market arms have adjustable length.

Adjustable control arms are very important when we start lifting. Lifting gets all kinds of thing out of "sinc" and geometry ..... and adjustable arms lets you fix that.

When I got my TJ, it had a procom lift with stock upper control arms and procoms lower. My pinion angle was all wrong. I went with Clayton Offroad adjustable upper arms (with Johnny Joints) and made the correction to make my jeep much more stable and also give me much more articulation. I went with Clayton because they have incredible strong construction with heavy square tubing. Clayton is a small shop out of CT, with great designs. A plug for Clayton, but there are some other companies that make really strong and innovative arms.

Aftermarket arms are important to give you a much stronger arm, longer lasting joints that can be serviced (greased and rebuilt), arms that give more flex (articulation) and the ability to adjust the length to correct other problems that is caused by lifting.

My 2 cents, I hope it helps.

Dif
Which is exactly why I am looking into control arms right now- the pinion angle has got to be atleast 7-9* off just eyeballing it...my rear diff is pointed downwards lol.

Second to that my castor is way off- crank the wheel left and pin the gas and let go of the wheel- you'll do circles all day without touching the wheel again.

I've narrowed it down to I believe I have a 4" pro comp lift in this (the guy told me 4.5" but I saw a receipt for 4" ES9000 shocks)...the shocks say explorer on them, not sure how to ID the front springs yet, pretty sure the rear springs are stock? they're pretty rusty, so I have a feeling they aren't aftermarket.

Greaseable and rebuilt are a must for joints, you're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't get those.

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Small diameter, thin wall. I'm not at all surprised, especially if you're putting down some HP.

Do not apply the same thought process to larger, stronger material.
It actually snapped on a regular road pulling into a driveway, although it looked like it had been cracked for some time when I pulled it off and looked at the joint.

As long as you understand where my thought process comes from and why I am asking these questions...Like I said, my background hobby has been in drag racing and motors, the suspension pieces have all been race/weight savings related, but still retaining strength. When I look at how easy I broke a few things, I really question what I will be using for off-road purposes
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:48 AM   #24
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What's opinions on square vs tubular arms? Ive seen arguements on this with subframe connectors and rigitiy...curious as to the thoughts here for a control arm application. I know they started designing some of our arms for F-bodies to be square as opposed to tubular in some new designs that came out last year..
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:14 PM   #25
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I've narrowed it down to I believe I have a 4" pro comp lift in this (the guy told me 4.5" but I saw a receipt for 4" ES9000 shocks)...the shocks say explorer on them, not sure how to ID the front springs yet, pretty sure the rear springs are stock? they're pretty rusty, so I have a feeling they aren't aftermarket.
You have a 4" Pro-Comp lift. I bought mine in 2003 for my new 2003 Rubicon and it came with ES3000 shocks. I upgraded to MX-6 shocks, and have recently bought a new set of 4 MX-6 shocks for the hard-top application. It is a great shock with adjustability - something I need with the long-range 4WD trips I do (for example: upcoming trip to Okla. & Tex.). I do run coil spacers with my suspension lift - adding an additional 3/4" of an inch.

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It actually snapped on a regular road pulling into a driveway, although it looked like it had been cracked for some time when I pulled it off and looked at the joint.
Oversized aluminum arms will only laugh at road salt!



Frida "La Chihuahua" next to a Metal Cloak Aluminum lower control arm



This video compares the qualities of many popular control arms and contrasts those qualities (and shortcomings) with the Metal Cloak double adjustable control arm.

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Old 07-05-2014, 12:50 PM   #26
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I was very happy with my Currie short arm kit

They served me well for 3 years until I upgraded to custom arms this year

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Old 07-05-2014, 04:09 PM   #27
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I was very happy with my Currie short arm kit They served me well for 3 years until I upgraded to custom arms this year
Ooh those are nice
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:31 AM   #28
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Been doing a lot more reading and ready to purchase a set of arms now.

I have a few more questions since I would like to avoid purchasing all 8 if I can correct my pinion angle and castor with just 4 arms.

Questions:

1. Pinion angle adjustment (rear) can I achieve proper pinion angle on a 4" lift with just rear adjustable lower control arms? I currently have a transfer case drop, but will look to eliminate that with a motor mount lift instead.

2. Can I adjust caster by only doing the front lower arms, or is it better for the upper arms?

I see most kits 4" lift kits including just the 4 lower arms, but I know kits can sometimes be a hack job. I have read some guys say just lowers will solve pinion angle, Ive read uppers are 100% needed and not lowers.

I would rather not buy unnecessary parts if I can put that money elsewhere.
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Old 08-18-2014, 03:29 AM   #29
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to do it right, you need all 8.
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:23 AM   #30
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Been doing a lot more reading and ready to purchase a set of arms now.

I have a few more questions since I would like to avoid purchasing all 8 if I can correct my pinion angle and castor with just 4 arms.

Questions:

1. Pinion angle adjustment (rear) can I achieve proper pinion angle on a 4" lift with just rear adjustable lower control arms? I currently have a transfer case drop, but will look to eliminate that with a motor mount lift instead.

2. Can I adjust caster by only doing the front lower arms, or is it better for the upper arms?

I see most kits 4" lift kits including just the 4 lower arms, but I know kits can sometimes be a hack job. I have read some guys say just lowers will solve pinion angle, Ive read uppers are 100% needed and not lowers.

I would rather not buy unnecessary parts if I can put that money elsewhere.
you can do either with just a pair of arms, but you will sacrifice wheel base to accomplish it. the 4" kits that only have 4 arms are not complete and save money by taking short cuts.

it can be done with only 2 pairs, but its better to do it with all 4 pairs

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