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Old 10-08-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
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Handling issues, caster. Go with brackets or CA's?

So I installed a 2.5 Teraflex lift with new shocks and springs on my new to me 2012 JK 2 door. Got nearly 3.5 lift in the front. Maybe I got a 4 door kit? Anyways, it looks great and I added 35in Mickey Thompson ATZ P3's on 17 in rims.

Problem I have is the ride and "drive" I guess is the correct word(s). Very stiff when hitting bumps, etc. I have the tires aired down to 30psi and that helped a little. Jeep wants to wonder a bit and feels flighty while driving. Doesn't "dart" around like I have read others do but the steering isn't very smooth and it kind of has a mind of it's own. I haven't had it above 60mph and I'm sure it would be worse at higher speed. It is also safe to say I have some bump steer as well. Seems my problems are common with lift JK's.

I had an alignment done when the tires were installed and my caster is 3.16 left and 3.20 right. So my idea is to correct the caster to around 4-5.

I can do this with new adj lower control arms (or uppper) or geometry correction brackets. AEV and Rancho both make these brackets and seem popular with guys running them. AEV makes some serious claims about what it's brackets will do over adj lower control arms. The new Rancho brackets seem to be much "beefier" than the AEV according to guys who have seen both.

So my plan is to add an adj track bar, probably a Teraflex and add either the brackets or new lower adj control arms, which will likely be the Rock Krawler ones.

So I am new to this and trying to figure it out on my own. I understand each Jeep is different and nothing is set in stone about caster correction, etc.

So, my questions are. Will new adj lower control arms improve my driving greatly as the brackets claim to do?

Can I run the brackets and adj arms to dial in the caster right where it drives the best?

"About" where will the brackets, either AEV or Rancho, set the caster at? I guess there is no real way to know? This is why I like the idea of an adj arm, it can be "adjusted."

Am I throwing my money away on the new front trackbar?

Is there something I am missing here?

I emailed a vendor who said he did not recommend the brackets and like the adj arms.

So what is everyone else's opinion on this? It is a popular lift so other guys must have these same issues.

I am not a serious off roader, rock crawler type. Doesn't mean I won't take it off road in the future however. My goal is to make it driver as good as stock or better on the road. Wife and kids like to take it out and I want it to be safe.

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Old 10-08-2013, 03:50 PM   #2
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I do not recommend the brackets either, they lower your center of gravity and with time can fatigue and damage the frame. If you got 3.5" of lift you may have gotten 4 door springs as you shouldn't get that much out of a 2.5" kit. if you pm me some numbers off the springs I can double check for you. If you did get that much lift you essentially have a 3" kit and would need to do castor correction which would fix a lot of the problems you mention.

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Old 10-08-2013, 05:13 PM   #3
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Where exactly will I find these numbers? Thanks for the response.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:58 PM   #4
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Found em'
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
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Great interactions on the board as always TF.

OP,

Talk with Kjeeper10 here about this. He is very knowledgeable in this area.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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Yes, I have read several of his threads reference the AEV and Rancho brackets. The vendor I have spoke with stands behind his claim that the adj arms are the way to go since they are adjustable. Bit 330 for TF arms and 240 for adj front track bar is nearly the same as what I paid for the whole lift.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rightside View Post
Yes, I have read several of his threads reference the AEV and Rancho brackets. The vendor I have spoke with stands behind his claim that the adj arms are the way to go since they are adjustable. Bit 330 for TF arms and 240 for adj front track bar is nearly the same as what I paid for the whole lift.
Hence why we always talk about not cheeping out on suspension mods. You got a good kit with TF but if you got 3-3.5" of lift you will need a track bar and arms or drop brackets (although I prefer the arms). You're going to have to bite the bullet on this one.

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Old 10-08-2013, 10:44 PM   #8
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Yeah seems so. I just want the best handling ride/handling possible when done. Whether it be from new arms or the brackets.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:18 AM   #9
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Has anyone tried both? Which did you prefer and why?
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:09 AM   #10
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Just pick one. There is no better or worse there is just collective opinions. Both work as intended <-- key word.

Personally I would rather have the arms. I wheel pretty heavily (well used to when I had my Jeep).

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Old 10-09-2013, 11:20 AM   #11
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Adjustable arms and brackets do two different things and one is not a replacement for the other. They both have their purpose.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:28 AM   #12
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Since you installed yourself did you properly torque all the bolts you fumbled with?

This past weekend I just put on a Rubicon Express 2.5" kit. Along with a SJ steering stabilizer and the AEV Geo Correctional Brackets. When I first installed and gave it a test drive, it was ok but did tend to wander a bit. I got an alignment next day (finished up late on a Saturday and no place was open) After another day of driving I began to get shimmies, and eventually death wobble. My steering was incredible loose as well. Took a look at all the bolts when I got home and sure enough, the front track bar had loosened and was doing much of nothing. Also, the pitman arm was loose (I concluded that Tire Kingdom loosened the pitman arm to correct the steering and never re-tightened.) Torque all the bolts to spec and now it drives like I just bought it off the lot.

To answer your question, you can get away with the stock track bar and the stock UCA/LCA with the AEV Brackets for now. Just make sure you have torqued to spec (track bar is at 125lb's, upper control arm is 75lb and lower control arm is 125lb. sway bar links are 75lbs.) I myself plan on doing the same mods as you as funds become available, but for $100 it drives fantastic.

Hers a link to all the factory torque settings for your use.

Project-JK.com - Jeep JK Wrangler Resource Jeep JK Wrangler Torque Settings
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFRs2000NYC View Post
Adjustable arms and brackets do two different things and one is not a replacement for the other. They both have their purpose.
Agree and disagree. They are different but they will both essentially contribute to correcting the OP's ride. One way or the other.

IMO the arms are greater. Adjustability, higher clearance, and flex joints versus a fixed length drop and losing some clearance.

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Old 10-09-2013, 11:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFRs2000NYC View Post
Adjustable arms and brackets do two different things and one is not a replacement for the other. They both have their purpose.
X2

HKrunner runs both. Listen ... The only neg to the brackets is ground clearance. If you are rocking a 4" lift and 35's/37's you have less to worry about.

If you don't plan on heavy rock crawling and looking for the best possible ride... Do the brackets. Nothing says you can't go arms after.

There's LA kits that sacrifice clearance as well.

A short arm get won't give the benefits of the arms running almost parallel to the ground. That's a fact.

If you do go with arms.. I prefer lowers for caster correction. Easier to install but more expensive.
Having both the lowers will center your tires in the well. Uppers for pinion/caster,

Your choice ... I really like the way the jeep handles with the Rancho brackets. If I do rid them it's for a LA.

KJ
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rightside View Post
Will new adj lower control arms improve my driving greatly as the brackets claim to do? Yes.

Can I run the brackets and adj arms to dial in the caster right where it drives the best? No, adjustable arms are longer than stock and allow you to dial in just right.

"About" where will the brackets, either AEV or Rancho, set the caster at? I guess there is no real way to know? This is why I like the idea of an adj arm, it can be "adjusted." Don't know off hand. It isn't typical to have this much issues with just a 2.5". I think AEV sells the brackets with it's 3.5 and 4.5" lifts.

Am I throwing my money away on the new front trackbar? Never. Adjustable trackbar is an improvement no matter what.

Is there something I am missing here? Is the rear trackbar addressed? Although, like I said not common to have tons of issues with 2.5", also not unheard of completely.

I emailed a vendor who said he did not recommend the brackets and like the adj arms. I prefer the arms too, and at 2.5", I would be worried the brackets will drop your arms too much. You are also losing some clearance. Like said before I think AEV sells their brackets with their bigger lifts.

So what is everyone else's opinion on this? It is a popular lift so other guys must have these same issues. Uncommon but not unheard of. My lift started out the TF 2.5" too but I overkilled it with the front trackbar, rear trackbar brace, disconnects and when I went up to 3" I got adjustable arms.
To specifically answer your questions. In red above.

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Old 10-09-2013, 11:56 AM   #16
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I'll add this also...

I did run TF lowers for awhile. Caster was set around 4*
With the AEV brackets 4.5*

Not really sure with the Rancho brackets. Pinion reads 1.5* which should also have me a 4.5*
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_M View Post
To specifically answer your questions. In red above.

-Dan
To your first answer...it is my understanding that even with adjustable arms, the angle they are operating at doesn't change. THe arm would need to be specifically designed for the lift, and it would have different bends in it to keep the arm as parallel to the ground as possible.
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I emailed a vendor who said he did not recommend the brackets and like the adj arms. I prefer the arms too, and at 2.5", I would be worried the brackets will drop your arms too much. You are also losing some clearance. Like said before I think AEV sells their brackets with their bigger lifts.
AEV's geo brackets have 3 different positions for the UCA, one for 2.5", 3.5", and 4.5" lifts.

I'll snap a picture when I get off work today.
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFRs2000NYC View Post
To your first answer...it is my understanding that even with adjustable arms, the angle they are operating at doesn't change. THe arm would need to be specifically designed for the lift, and it would have different bends in it to keep the arm as parallel to the ground as possible.
You would have to relocate the factory mounting points .... Aka long arm
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:21 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the replies. To answer some questions yes I torqued everything when the Jeep was back on the ground and bounced around.

For the question about the rear. It is about 1/2 inch further out on the driver side. I have the rear trackbar in the top hole of the TF bracket.

Front is about 3/4 inch out further on the driver side.

I don't mind spending $330 on the TF lower arms, but went with the 2.5 to avoid these things. I can get Rock Krawler for $280. Anyone know of a lower price?

I want to do what is best for my ride. What will make it drive and handle the best. I highly doubt I will ever be a hardcore rock crawler, just don't have the time to really get into it. I live in the metro area of St. Louis and will likely do easy trails around here if any at all.

If the arms improve my ride the best I will spend my money on them. I am hesitant since they are not recommended by TF and the vendor I spoke with. I also called a shop in the St. Louis area yesterday who said they didn't like the brackets either.

Question for Kjeeper, since you had the TF arms, the AEV brackets and now the Rancho brackets, which provide the best handling and ride?

Thanks guys, time to take the top off and go for a drive.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:41 PM   #21
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I have the same lift on my 2dr jk. I also installed the TF Monster front track bar along with TF adjustable front lower an rear upper control arms. After getting my tires road force balanced and an alignment done, my jeep rides very good.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:54 PM   #22
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I also agree adjustable arms are NOT the same as the GEO brackets. The only thing that will do the same as the geo brackets is a long arm kit with adjustables.
Read the tech info at AEV for a full description of why they are different.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:29 PM   #23
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Phone is going to die. I'll get to this when I get home.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:30 PM   #24
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The axles should not be that off with even a 4" lift.
1/4 if that.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:57 PM   #25
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With a 3.5" lift and factory Trackbar my front diff was off 1.5" , brought it back 3/4" with a TF adjustable Trackbar to center.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:59 PM   #26
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I'm going to loosen, bounce it around and torque again. See where that gets me.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:35 PM   #27
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If it's ride quality you want and you don't rock crawl, get the brackets. After 5 years of running a 3.5" lift and all factory components I finally put on a set of the AEV geo brackets and there is a night and day difference in ride quality, I had no handling issues so that was unchanged. 2 -3 weeks later, l added Rancho 9000 shocks which further smoothed out the ride. As for TF not recommending the brackets, their only argument is ground clearance. If TF made Geo brackets I would have had them long ago. I will be putting the Geo brackets on my daughters Jeep in the spring.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:46 PM   #28
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Quote:
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I'm going to loosen, bounce it around and torque again. See where that gets me.
Definitely. Good idea.

The Rancho and AEV brackets ride the same. The only difference with the Rancho's is the one upper Ca hole and built stronger.

At 2.5 of actual lift the axle shifts about 3/8. 3-4 maybe a little more. There's no way a axle will shift 1.5 or so inches. Where is everybody measuring from, the flares ? Which are not accurate.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:56 PM   #29
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Just to clarify, I meant to say in my original post the height I gained was just a hair over 3 1/4, not 3 1/2. My bad.

I measured the distances from a couple different places on the frame. I am confused why the rear if off because the TF bracket is installed correctly.

Kjeeper are the brackets a better ride, offer better handling than the TF arms you had?

My extra cash is a bit tight right now. Laying down $330 for TF arms is a stretch. I will do the TF front track bar, unless I can get the same results with something less expensive. Suggestions? The TF seems great since it can be adjusted while installed. I watched the video a few times and it appears pretty straight forward.

Where is the best price on the Rancho brackets? I will make up my mind after I loosen and torque again. The AEV have the different holes, which give some adjustment, so I will not rule them out just yet.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:06 PM   #30
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If it's ride quality you want and you don't rock crawl, get the brackets. After 5 years of running a 3.5" lift and all factory components I finally put on a set of the AEV geo brackets and there is a night and day difference in ride quality, I had no handling issues so that was unchanged. 2 -3 weeks later, l added Rancho 9000 shocks which further smoothed out the ride. As for TF not recommending the brackets, their only argument is ground clearance. If TF made Geo brackets I would have had them long ago. I will be putting the Geo brackets on my daughters Jeep in the spring.

TF made a comment above about causing undue stress on the frame. I am new to Jeeps, have the AEV brackets been out long enough for long terms problems to show up?

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