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Old 09-14-2010, 05:30 PM   #1
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Long Arm or Short Arm?

I dont know whats really the best way for me to go. I need some pros and cons on this. I dont do a ton of wheeling but id say i go once or twice a month (im lucky enough to have 2 4x4 parks within 30 min and another about 2 and a half hours away). Mostly rocks and trails but some mud it depends on what one i go to that day. Id like to go with a long arm kit but i dont like the price very much, but im not sure if im going to be able to do everything id like to with a short arm kit. Plus im still kinda new to the 4x4 world so im not 100% sure what i actually need. Everybodys input will be greatly appriciated and go easy on me, remember im a newbie

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Old 09-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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How much lift do you want?

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Old 09-14-2010, 05:53 PM   #3
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4" maybe up to 6" sorry should have added that bit of info
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:36 PM   #4
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:45 PM   #5
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i have about 5.5" maybe a little more in lift. 4.5" suspension, 1" BL, SA (short arm) with adjustable upper and lower control arms. personally, i was a little weary of it and thought that since i was riding on 36's i had enough clearance to get over any obstacles here in maine. so far i haven't found anything that i couldn't get up and over, but its only been one summer and i haven't done as much as i should be.... my wheelbase length is 93.5" i can ride my rig at 80mph down the highway as straight as an arrow with no vibes on the wheel, and she handles great since the arms are adjusted out... (i never do this though, 68mph all the time) but i've been extremely happy with my set up. it can go either way really, i think i'll get to the LA sometime down the road... it is a bit cheaper of a mod than going LA, also a definite DIY job since you won't need a welder.... another guy in the club has a 4" LA i think, and there have been spots where his CA's get caught on some stuff where mine don't...
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:00 PM   #6
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Longarm all the way no matter what kind of wheeling your doing,rough country came out with their longarm and theres no welding whats so ever very easy install great instructions,very reasonable price.Alot of people down talk rc but I have nothing but good things to say their customer service is the best and very helpful,I started with short arm 4inch and wish I would have waited and got the longarm in the begining its like night and day.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:20 PM   #7
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Long arm kits will make the daily ride quality better, but then everyone I know has beat the long arms to pieces. Most of them that have the long arm kits wish they had the short arm kits. Jerry had a good write up about this, but I cannot find it.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:20 PM   #8
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WOW i learned a ton off those 2 links! thank you kdukes for the response. You really helped me, but more opinions would be helpful. im kinda leaning towards the short arm for what im going to be doing and still for cost effectiveness.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:28 PM   #9
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I will stick with my longarms any day,I run short arms for about 6 years and now run longarms and theres noway i will be going back to the sa.When i beat them all to hell I will be getting the longarms ordered and installed
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:41 PM   #10
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no problem man. GL with your decision. some LA's don't need welding, but i for some reason feel that a solid weld job would keep my mind on ease when i'm out on the the trails... but its a tough decision. hey i could be looking back in 5 years and thinking, jesh what the hell was i thinking with that sa kit? its a tough decision, do you ride with any clubs? maybe a member or two have solid rigs which are both sa and la. ask them to go out for a ride and see how they each handle... nobody up here had a LA kit yet and i was 2 hours from the club after i moved later in the spring before i made the transition.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:22 PM   #11
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Just the info i needed too great links . I'm going LA
Thanks guy's
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:24 PM   #12
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Ole man's rubi drove like crap with a short arm....DW all the time...swapped out to a long arm and never looked back
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:30 PM   #13
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Short vs. long arm has no affect on DW, you can develop DW from either type suspension and neither is less prone to it than the other.

I ran an RE 4.5" long arm suspension on my previous TJ for 5-6 years and while it was good for most trails, the tougher the trail, the worse it got. My TJ even made 4WD & Sport Utility magazine with a big pic showing one of its front long arms hung up on a huge rock out in the desert on a very tough rock crawling trail called Pumpkin Eater.

Then my long arms would keep getting hung up on trails out in Johnson Valley like Sledgehammer, Sunbonnet, etc. The last time I was out there, friends who loved to give me crap about my long arm suspension started snapping pics of when I would get hung up. As below.

I'm now running a Currie short arm suspension on my '04 and it's twice the trail beast my '97 ever was. It rides fine on the street and it actually handles far better than my long arm suspension ever did.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:53 PM   #14
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That's freaking awesome.
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:50 AM   #15
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The short arms give a choppier, bouncier ride - in the street.
The long arms are smoother riding and corner very flat - in the street.

But off roading the long arms hit everything. I've already replaced one of my RE Long arms - I bent it jumping off a ledge too hard (Sledgehammer).
The short arms seem to articulate just as well, and they don't hit everything.

Make sure you beef up the mounting points - both frame ends and axle ends. Those are the weak points.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:05 AM   #16
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In theory your right Jerry it shouldn't have anything to do with it....but once I changed it all out to long arma it drove perfect. Something had to be a foul with the kit, but I have heard other locals say their's doesn't drive worth a crap either with short arms. All I can tell ya is when your dad calls and jumps your ass because it started to DW and he ran off the road...you do whatever you can to fix it
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:14 AM   #17
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DW has so many possible different causes that it's impossible to pinpoint what caused the DW with that long arm suspension. In my '97 TJ, the only time it ever had DW was with its first short-arm Tera suspension and I finally figured out that it was caused by a bad tire. I never had DW after that once I fixed the tire since I tend to keep an eye out for anything going bad and my alignment is always right on. Anything from bad bushings, loose ball joints, loose trackbar mounts or out of balance tires to excessive Caster or toe-in angles.

DW is one of those problems that not even the automotive industry can get a handle on. It happens even with totally stock suspensions on Jeeps, or trucks from Ford, GM, and Dodge.

Keeping an eye out for suspension problems, tire problems, alignment, etc. is about the best insurance against getting DW. No matter what kind of suspension you have.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:18 AM   #18
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Yep is a common problem, I had it 14 years ago with 44 inch tires...talk about a handful! I know dads had to be something in the kit. His rubi is an 05 with 21K on it...nothing is even close to being worn out. I'm sure if I would have messed with it enough I coulda found the bad part and it would have been fine....I just didn't have the time to pinpoint it and he really wanted a long arm anyway, so we got out the grinder and went that route.
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Old 09-15-2010, 01:08 PM   #19
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I had long arms (RE) on my last TJ and while it did ok, as Jerry mentioned it bashes, bangs and gets hung up on everything. The ride was nice, it did good on the RTI ramp:



But it was more trouble than it was worth.

On my new TJ I went with a short arm RE lift. I'll let you know next year what I think of it after I have considerable time with it on the trail. So far, I love it.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:15 PM   #20
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I started out with a 3.5" Tera Flex short arm and it was fine until I started running tougher trails. I upgraded to a RE 5.5" long arm and 35" tires for several years and in my opinion the long are performed better than the short arm lift. The other thing to keep in mine is that the long arm lift is a good platform for going extreme on that next build. Jeeps never stop growing if you keep them long enough.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:21 PM   #21
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I'm going to do a 6'' long arm with air bag's...........Yeah Air bags

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