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Old 08-12-2013, 06:37 PM   #1
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Lift Kit Installed - Is it better...?

6 month ago I purchased my first Jeep ever.... 2013 Wrangler Sport....2 door 6 speed manual....and I love it...! Since January I traveled 8000 miles all over the place. Camping, bars...road trips...chasing girls around the town...It's all around type of vehicle.Some of those trips were dirt roads in Sierra Nevada mountains...but nothing crazy or difficult.

Last week I had 4 inch Rough Country lift kit installed (with high performance 2.2 series shocks). Scraped some cash from under the mattress and added 35 inch tires with 17 inch rims ....finally it starting to look like a real Jeep.

This weekend I set out on test drive...Alabama Hills then high altitude visit of Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountain area via Silver Canyon road... 580 miles...and about 80 of them on dirt...

Here is what I noticed so far:

Ride is much more harder and rattling on the graded dirt roads. The stock was much more softer on high or low speeds. Now it seems it will rattle my brain to jello... I tried to drive fast or slow...very ruff... Only at 10m/h or less seems to be ok.
At fast speeds (~45 mi/h) rattle becomes so violent that I loose control of the Jeep...and those are simple gravel roads with some washboards... nothing crazy. I mean I had a pick up truck passing me....how embarrassing is that...

I am not an expert on off roading but I have been on some gravel roads before with stock Jeep ( before the lift) and a pick up truck...it was never so bad. WTF...?

Any ideas why...?

On the road it smooth...no rattling, no wobble...cruising at 75 mi/h like a Cadillac...
I also noticed much more attention from the girls almost immediately...


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Old 08-12-2013, 06:45 PM   #2
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How much tire pressure are you running? Should be no more then 35. Other then that, if you want that as good or better than stock ride you may have to swap out the suspension you got. Just my .02. If you like a softer ride you should look at Tera flex. Other companies make great lifts but given the way you explained your ride I would say what they offer is what you are looking for.

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Old 08-12-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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Sounds like tire pressure to me as well. Last weekend we did a trail run and had to drive a dirt road in to the staging area where we were going to air down/etc. The road in was bone jarring rough at normal pressure on my 32's (set to 32.5 cold, gets to 37-38 at temp). Dropped to 17lbs for the trail and disconnected my swaybar. The same kind of terrain/dirt road the rest of the way to the trail head was caddy smooth almost. I did notice with my lift that if I sped up a bit it actually helped, but I think that's due to the way ARB designed my shocks for those rough Outback dirt roads.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:00 PM   #4
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Tire pressure could amount to some of the problem but he should not have to "air down" to ride on a dirt road. A lot of people do but with a decent suspension you don't have to.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:12 PM   #5
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my first wheeling trip, i didn't air down and i felt EVERYTHING. (stock suspension)

next trip...aired down (stock suspension) and a little noticeable...not much but still noticeable.

2 months later same trip as my first wheeling trip... (upgraded coils/shocks lift kit)
aired down and it was less harsh. A very large noticeable improvement... The suspension absorbed more of the jarring hits i normally would take. Suspension components play a big role too. A bigger role than airing down tires.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:16 PM   #6
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Tire pressure could amount to some of the problem but he should not have to "air down" to ride on a dirt road. A lot of people do but with a decent suspension you don't have to.
Yeah sorry I wasn't suggesting he air down for a simple dirt road (in my example the "road" we were on was much rougher than a typical dirt road). I was just giving an example of how tire pressure can be a big role. It's possible that the OP never checked their tire pressure since they had the new wheels & tires put on and they're set to some ridiculous pressure though. I've read countless stories of that happening around here when someone gets new tires and wonders why they're riding rough.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:25 PM   #7
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Two word problem= rough country
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:37 PM   #8
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Tire pressure is a big culprit but its odd that the highway is okay. My (then)new lift/tire combo was spine crushing until I aired down from 35 PSI (where the tire shop put it) to 28 PSI. I don't know anything about Rough Country shocks but Fox have to wear in a little. You don't see much articulation until you're off pavement- in which case the shocks may be stiff. They just need to compress/recompress some to fully seat. However you still shouldn't have "violent" shaking. This is a little different than just a harsh ride. We talking steering wheel shaking left to right? Or just an up/down bouncing/spine rattling?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:41 PM   #9
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Two word problem= rough country
this.

it's kind of the Taurus of the jeep world....
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:44 PM   #10
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Probably the kind where the jeep just rides the tops and shakes ya to hell because it doesn't have the ability to deal with it. So you have to stop go very slow and no matter what speed you try to go the jeep just slides on the road shaking you to hell I have been there not sure how you explain this situation its not death wobble, its not bumpstear its some weird miss-timing of the suspension and is like a shaking hydroplane on dirt OP does this explain it?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:45 PM   #11
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No intending to hijack the OP's thread, but would a TF 2.5" BB using Rubicon springs/shocks ride like stock and still clear 35's? I know it wouldn't flex out as well as a coil lift, but maybe this would be better suited for the OP?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:52 PM   #12
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This weekend I set out on test drive...Alabama Hills then high altitude visit of Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountain area via Silver Canyon road... 580 miles...and about 80 of them on dirt...

Here is what I noticed so far:

Ride is much more harder and rattling on the graded dirt roads.
Sounds like you were in my old neighborhood! I grew up around Bishop and Mammoth.

Tire pressure is a good place to start, a lot of 35inch tires are perfectly happy at 28PSI. If you're we aired by a tire shop they are probably around 36 which is actually over inflated a bit.

I run 33 on the highway, 28 around town. 15-20 on dirt. You can run at 20 for short distance on the highway, won't really hurt anything, but just till you can get to some air (if you don't have on board).

The other thing to do is discconect your front swaybar endlinks (not rear!) as soon as you leave the pavement, even if you're not doing any heavy flex stuff, its going to make your life MUCH happier on washboards and all the other stuff dirt brings... Again, you can run without the front swarbars on the highway, but keep it sedate as the truck will feel quite a lot more roll. You can hook it all up as soon as you're back on level ground at a gas station or something.

If you don't have quick disconnects, just keep an 18mm socket, ratchet (or torque wrench) and an 18mm combo wrench (unless your new lift used different bolts for the endlinks, then bring what you must)... Just disconnect the lower bushing of the endlink from the axle, then use a bungey or zipstraps to secure the swaybar and the endlink up to the frame on each side so they aren't flapping around destroying your suspension or tires. (pictures easily found on google). When reconnecting, the lower bolt should be torqued to 65pounds, but if you don't have a torque wrench with you, torque them to 'damn tight' until you can get to a torque wrench. Doesn't need to be kingkong tight, just good and tight, like a lug nut. Keep the bolts in the truck with you while driving disconnected, so they don't get lost.

Those two suggestions should make a world of difference. Sorry I have never owned your lift kit so I don't know how much of the problem is built in, vs how much is air and swaybars.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:55 PM   #13
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Easy fix...don't buy a cheap lift.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:35 PM   #14
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I don't completely buy the cheap lift argument. The quality of the lift matters somewhat, but it's more of an issue with you drastically changing the angle of the short control arms. With the increased angle, your suspension is now going to transfer a lot more energy to the frame of the Jeep instead of through the springs and the shocks.

To fix, I highly recommend getting either the AEV drop brackets or Rancho drop brackets. They will significantly improve your ride quality.

Good luck.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:37 PM   #15
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i don't completely buy the cheap lift argument. The quality of the lift matters somewhat, but it's more of an issue with you drastically changing the angle of the short control arms. With the increased angle, your suspension is now going to transfer a lot more energy to the frame of the jeep instead of through the springs and the shocks.

To fix, i highly recommend getting either the aev drop brackets or rancho drop brackets. They will significantly improve your ride quality.

Good luck.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:49 PM   #16
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With those tires you want to run about 20psi for a smooth ride, or even 17 on the dirt.

And +1 on the drop brackets.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:18 PM   #17
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I just answered basically the same question in a separate thread...what, last night? Generally, the two biggest factors in how your rig rides are the shocks and the springs. Suspension geometry, control arm bushings, track bars, tire pressure, etc. all play a role to be sure...but, your spring rate and your damping coefficient are THE key players.

The hardest thing to overcome is a spring that is too stiff - no work for the damper to do that can mitigate fully that jolt a too stiff spring is going to transmit to the frame/body over bumps and rough terrain. Alternatively, with an appropriate spring rate, an over damped shock can cause an effect that feels similar - transmitting the force of passing over micro terrain to the shock mount/frame/body rather than doing its job.

Do yourself a favor - climb into someone's rig and compare it to yours.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:46 PM   #18
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Also, looks like you're running stock bumpers. Add 150lbs to the front and rear and you'd likely see it smooth out a bit. Most aftermarket coil springs are engineered with the assumption that you'll be running a bit more mass - it's the "rate" part of the linear, progressive, dual rate equation. Ignore that and you'll just have to settle for what you get. What did you expect from "Rough" Country? Seriously, AEV, Teraflex, or stock springs with spacers will probably give you the smoothest ride. And of course, anything over 30 psi with 35x12.5x17s is asking for back spasms.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:29 PM   #19
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:59 PM   #20
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I had a 4" RC lift that was on my jk when I bought it. I got the job done but it wasn't a plush ride and the rear shocks were both totally shot when I changed them out after a little over 1yr of use. I put different springs and shocks in and you'd think it was a different jeep.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:17 PM   #21
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Some of you guys are really being kinda harsh.

His lift is on the truck already, ripping on it isn't really going to help him. Rather than bagging on his lift, maybe try to be a little constructive?

Had you memorized the Jeep bible when you first upgraded your rig? There are ways to sort this out that don't call for telling him to pull all that stuff out and throw it away then spend 2x or 3x as much on another lift.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:53 PM   #22
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Probably the kind where the jeep just rides the tops and shakes ya to hell because it doesn't have the ability to deal with it. So you have to stop go very slow and no matter what speed you try to go the jeep just slides on the road shaking you to hell I have been there not sure how you explain this situation its not death wobble, its not bumpstear its some weird miss-timing of the suspension and is like a shaking hydroplane on dirt OP does this explain it?
Totally...
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:04 AM   #23
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Hey...Thank you everyone for sharing your opinion. I will try to air down the tires next time and see if it helps. I also intend to install some extra weight on the Jeep in very near future...bumpers, rails, rack, spare tire...eventually add a winch, bottle of good whiskey and nice fat blunt, to help me with the vibrations.

I will let you know if any improvement....meanwhile please continue discuss on this issue...it helps to collect some good ideas...

Thanks.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:05 AM   #24
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Hey...Thank you everyone for sharing your opinions. I will try to air down the tires next time and see if it helps. I also intend to install some extra weight on the Jeep in very near future...bumpers, rails, rack, spare tire...eventually add a winch, bottle of good whiskey and nice fat blunt, and a girl to help me with the vibrations.

I will let you know if any improvement....meanwhile please continue discuss on this issue...it helps to collect some good ideas...

Thanks.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:07 AM   #25
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I'm digging your JK color/black theme
Thank's I have more shiny things to remove....
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:41 AM   #26
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adding weight to my lift made everything much smoother. i had approximately 800+lbs of extra weight...passengers/luggage and the jeep performed way better in terms of a luxurious ride. Hopefully it does you good as well when you do all those add ons.
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:56 PM   #27
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Totally...
The ride you and the poster you agreed with describe is indicative of what I described - either too stiff springs or over damped shocks...or both in some combination.

Adjusting the geometry (drop brackets, control arms, what have you) will help with impulse distribution because it will change the angle of the control arms relative the force applied. For more info, read on - otherwise just know that better geometry will help, but is mitigating the symptoms of your issue rather than addressing the cause.

Re: Control Arms - perfectly horizontal (or above) yields the best possible absorption of high speed (for your suspension) events. This is almost never the case on a lifted Jeep. Once the control arms go below horizontal, some portion of any high speed suspenion loading will be transmitted longitudinally to the control arm and then directly to the frame. This will be perceived as ride harshness. A simple way to visualize this is to remember that your control arms move in an arc and when they must rotate upwards from any position below horizontal they must also move FORWARD - in effect, resisting the piece of terrain that caused your tires to deflect upwards in the first place.

Re: Shocks/Springs - a quality shock will have at least a high speed and low speed damping circuit. A really nice shock features complex valving that essentially creates a highly variable damping circuit that "self-tunes" to the input received by your suspension - staying soft over the little bumps, an firming up when your suspension takes a big hit. The issues that people most commonly encounter with shocks tend to be either a damping circuit that is poorly matched to the performance envelope of their vehicle and its springs (which will manifest as either harshness and poor impulse compliance) or a tendency to wallow/oscillate and feel "loose". As a shock wears or becomes "shot" it will start to feel loose - basically, either the fluid, the internals or both are degraded to the point that the fluid is moving freely inside the shock and the damping effect is lost. Shocks can compensate for a spring that is not ideally matched to a vehicle to some extent.

That said, a spring that is too "soft" (too weak a spring rate) will also cause a a feeling of wallowing or looseness (and, of course, you'll ride lower!). A spring that is too "stiff" (too strong) is going to transmit significantly more of every suspension impulse to you because, effectively, they are minimizing the role of shock by minimizing the suspension's deflection. This is a not uncommon problem and, as observed previously, adding weight improves the issue by more closely aligning your vehicle weight with the springs intended performance envelope.

In a perfect world, you'd be able to swap two or three different suspension setups underneath your own ride and guage the differences clearly for yourself. The next best thing, getting some time behind the wheel a few other Jeeps, can still provide useful information. It will give you a design goal for your upgrades rather than placing you into a situation where you are working iteratively and wholly experimentally.
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:02 AM   #28
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Excellent explanation. Very clearly articulated. Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:07 AM   #29
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Excellent explanation. Very clearly articulated. Thanks!

X2. Great explanation
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:40 AM   #30
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Grab a set of $100-$150 Rancho or AEV drop brackets. This is the cheapest easiest to install modification that will improve the ride x10
These will improve the overall feel of the road like described above. set caster close to or at stock. Low caster affects the steering wheels return to center. wandering on the highway and the tires wanting to follow ruts in the road.

Next would be shocks without replacing anything else.

X10 if driving a 2 door. Less wheelbase affects handling especially when lifted.
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