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Old 07-02-2013, 04:11 AM   #1
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Cheap vs $$$ lifts Q?

So I've done my research on a lot of affordable lifts and every time I feel like buying one of these lifts like RE 3.5 shot arm and RC 4" SA kits, a lot of people say don't buy, its cheap quality and save for more expensive lift... But why? Is it the thickness of the metal, ride quality, flex, does the metal bend on a pebble, or are these the people automatically assume your going to a competition and smashing your peddle on every rock? I haven't found any reason why not to buy? Cheap quality compared to?.Yes I have heard of bushings going out on the RE and ride quality on the old RC, but it seams they've addressed those problems an fixed them... I can take a pair of cheap shoes and make them last but would I hike miles on a shoe that's made to walk around town, probably not..

I do listen to the negative feedback on products because its a good gauge for me to apply my thoughts on going about it. but i haven't found any logical explanation why they are bad...

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Old 07-02-2013, 04:24 AM   #2
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I bought my LJ with a cheap lift already installed. The wheelbase has been shortened because they didn't use a long arm kit. The ride quality stinks. I am putting new shocks and smaller tires on to help rectify the situation. The tires are part of the problem also. Folk who make a nice jeep into a mall crawler really do it an injustice. I will either buy a JK and do it the way I want or perhaps put the right kind of long arm kit on. My cheap kit has cheap parts and any real abuse is going to break/bend stuff. I know what you mean, you can get a cheap 4" kit for 1600 or you can get a quality kit for $3200... Come to Idaho and drive mine and that will help you understand :-)

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Old 07-02-2013, 07:13 AM   #3
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Depends on what you want to do with your jeep. If you plan on taking her to the beach and light trails, or you want more clearance for snow and minor road flooding, do what i did. 1.5" rc bl and 31" a/t's. for about 1000$ installed. if you plan on rock crawling, or just generally have money to burn, you can do a more expensive lift. Keep in mind, if you go higher than 3" you will probably have to start modding the radiator, skid plates, etc. which can get pricey fast. Personally, this TJ is my first jeep, so I dont want to dump a ton of money into her. My next jeep, which will be a JK, will be a different story.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by XtreemLee View Post
I bought my LJ with a cheap lift already installed. The wheelbase has been shortened because they didn't use a long arm kit.
So you're telling me 'short arms' can't set the wheelbase?

While on that subject, what happens at full bump when you try to cheat the wheelbase at ride height?

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The ride quality stinks. I am putting new shocks and smaller tires on to help rectify the situation. The tires are part of the problem also. Folk who make a nice jeep into a mall crawler really do it an injustice.
What tires are on it? Why will smaller dia tires help to rectify your situation? Have you determined the root cause for your poor ride quality or are you just stabbing in the dark?
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:46 AM   #5
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So you're telling me 'short arms' can't set the wheelbase?

While on that subject, what happens at full bump when you try to cheat the wheelbase at ride height?


What tires are on it? Why will smaller dia tires help to rectify your situation? Have you determined the root cause for your poor ride quality or are you just stabbing in the dark?
My short arm are unable to set the wheelbase. Not sure what you mean by "full bump"?

It has mastercraft truck tires on it 50% of the problem for sure. I'm going smaller to get more room around the tire and a lower load rating softening the tire up. I'm also putting on Rancho RS9000XL shocks with 9 adjustment settings. Those changes should transform the ride. If they don't then some lighter dual rate springs.

You can see in this pic the 315/75's dont leave alot of room around the wheel well. Also you can see the axles have pivoted towards each other. In my opinion any 4"+ lift should be a long arm lift.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:53 AM   #6
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So I am going to 285/75's. The photo isnt the best I am on a hill with the drivers side higher so the Jeep is leaning to the right and I'm turned to the right. When I have an extra 3500 laying around I will put a quality 6" lift and then some 37 or 38 inch tires. and some 5.12 gears... Oh thats another issue it has stock gearing with those 315/75's so the 285/75's should help me down the highway.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:54 AM   #7
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My short arm are unable to set the wheelbase. Not sure what you mean by "full bump"?
So are your arms not adjustable?

Do you know what bump stops are? If so, a little common sense should guide you to what the term 'full bump' means.

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It has mastercraft truck tires on it 50% of the problem for sure. I'm going smaller to get more room around the tire and a lower load rating softening the tire up. I'm also putting on Rancho RS9000XL shocks with 9 adjustment settings. Those changes should transform the ride. If they don't then some lighter dual rate springs.
So the load rating is too high, gotcha.

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You can see in this pic the 315/75's dont leave alot of room around the wheel well. Also you can see the axles have pivoted towards each other. In my opinion any 4"+ lift should be a long arm lift.
What does 'room around the wheel well' have to do with ride quality? If you're not hitting then it's not effecting your ride. The load rating is effecting your ride quality, not the size of your tire. A larger sidewall generally provides a better ride through more cushioning.

I don't disagree with your assessment of height and arm length as long as you're basing it on arm angle (and the associated geometric issues that come with that) when using the factory mounts. Ride quality really doesn't enter that discussion.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:57 AM   #8
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Snooze,
It's the nature of forums in general there's bashers on all of them. Every time I read a forum I see poor advice and recommendations kinda sad really.

I recommend doing your research make comparisons with all the info you can find, talk to manufactures, installers and local Jeepers who actually sell , install or run the lifts your interested in. You'll get much better info talking in person or on the phone and you also start building a relationship with them if you need help in the future. After you've done all that base your decisions on what's in Your budget and what You feel fits your needs the best.

You'll get much better info than on a forum.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Imped View Post
So are your arms not adjustable?

Do you know what bump stops are? If so, a little common sense should guide you to what the term 'full bump' means.


So the load rating is too high, gotcha.


What does 'room around the wheel well' have to do with ride quality? If you're not hitting then it's not effecting your ride. The load rating is effecting your ride quality, not the size of your tire. A larger sidewall generally provides a better ride through more cushioning.

I don't disagree with your assessment of height and arm length as long as you're basing it on arm angle (and the associated geometric issues that come with that) when using the factory mounts. Ride quality really doesn't enter that discussion.
Arms are not adjustable...
The poor ride quality come from the cheap springs and crappy shocks (along with the tires).
I'm new to the jeep world and haven't got it to full bump yet.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by XtreemLee View Post
Arms are not adjustable...
The poor ride quality come from the cheap springs and crappy shocks (along with the tires).
I'm new to the jeep world and haven't got it to full bump yet.
Then you don't need 'long arms' to position your tires to what you think is correct(more on that below), do you? You need adjustment, period.

Correct position--full bump defines that, not ride height. Don't worry, you and 9/10 other people on this forum also think that if the tires are closer together at ride height, then it's incorrect. It's simple geometry (arcs).

Your shocks are 8/10 your problem, the tires maybe 2/10. The springs, nothing.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:11 AM   #11
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Snooze,
It's the nature of forums in general there's bashers on all of them. Every time I read a forum I see poor advice and recommendations kinda sad really.

I recommend doing your research make comparisons with all the info you can find, talk to manufactures, installers and local Jeepers who actually sell , install or run the lifts your interested in. You'll get much better info talking in person or on the phone and you also start building a relationship with them if you need help in the future. After you've done all that base your decisions on what's in Your budget and what You feel fits your needs the best.

You'll get much better info than on a forum.
X 10x10 to the 10th, this is the most accurate statement on the forum

And to add my own $.02, I have been running RC lifts for 4 years with no problems, any lift will require a little basic maintenance, and any lift will require proper installation. A lift that not installed right or maintained will be a crappy lift to the person who owns it, that's just how it is.

As far as ride quality, a Jeep is a Jeep, it's short, narrow, tall, and not made for 'handling' or on-road performance, if your worried about rough rides, buy a car or, at the very least, leave your Jeep 100% stock.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by O_M_Jeep View Post
X 10x10 to the 10th, this is the most accurate statement on the forum

And to add my own $.02, I have been running RC lifts for 4 years with no problems, any lift will require a little basic maintenance, and any lift will require proper installation. A lift that not installed right or maintained will be a crappy lift to the person who owns it, that's just how it is.

As far as ride quality, a Jeep is a Jeep, it's short, narrow, tall, and not made for 'handling' or on-road performance, if your worried about rough rides, buy a car or, at the very least, leave your Jeep 100% stock.
Considering you and I perpetually disagree on everything, I don't need go into this much. But I really wish you would get some experience with good components. I'm fairly confident your viewpoint on a few things would change.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:21 AM   #13
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I went through a similar debate myself... It culminated with purchase of a RC X-series lift, which gave me fully adjustable control arms all around. The ride is a little stiff, compared to a RE equipped Wrangler that a friend of mine has, though he is running Bilstein 5100s. I am happy with the lift overall, but likely will look at different shocks... Of course, it is only about 3 months old and most reviews have negatives after a year, so I may have a different opinion at that time, but it was more affordable than the other kits - by about $500...

The important thing to know is that if you want to get the best lift, spend the money for what imped suggests - he knows his stuff. If you can't afford that, buy what you can and accept the potential negatives with your eyes open.

Just my $0.02...
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:45 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by XtreemLee View Post

My short arm are unable to set the wheelbase. Not sure what you mean by "full bump"?

It has mastercraft truck tires on it 50% of the problem for sure. I'm going smaller to get more room around the tire and a lower load rating softening the tire up. I'm also putting on Rancho RS9000XL shocks with 9 adjustment settings. Those changes should transform the ride. If they don't then some lighter dual rate springs.

You can see in this pic the 315/75's dont leave alot of room around the wheel well. Also you can see the axles have pivoted towards each other. In my opinion any 4"+ lift should be a long arm lift.
Just FYI you don't need a transfer case skid drop for your lift since the rubicon already has a fixed yoke and dc shaft. All it's doing is losing you clearance.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:53 AM   #15
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Just FYI you don't need a transfer case skid drop for your lift since the rubicon already has a fixed yoke and dc shaft.
That's false. The 241 has a fixed yoke but the drive shaft is still a single joint shaft. Therefore, it's effected by driveline angles just as the stock non-Rubicon TJ shaft is.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:03 AM   #16
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I guess the first thing to consider is what going to do with your lifted jeep. Like with anything else, you get what you pay for. You also may want to look into different manufactures for each component group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snooze5000 View Post
So I've done my research on a lot of affordable lifts and every time I feel like buying one of these lifts like RE 3.5 shot arm and RC 4" SA kits, a lot of people say don't buy, its cheap quality and save for more expensive lift... But why? Is it the thickness of the metal, ride quality, flex, does the metal bend on a pebble, or are these the people automatically assume your going to a competition and smashing your peddle on every rock? I haven't found any reason why not to buy? Cheap quality compared to?.Yes I have heard of bushings going out on the RE and ride quality on the old RC, but it seams they've addressed those problems an fixed them... I can take a pair of cheap shoes and make them last but would I hike miles on a shoe that's made to walk around town, probably not..

I do listen to the negative feedback on products because its a good gauge for me to apply my thoughts on going about it. but i haven't found any logical explanation why they are bad...
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:38 PM   #17
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Snooze,
It's the nature of forums in general there's bashers on all of them. Every time I read a forum I see poor advice and recommendations kinda sad really.

I recommend doing your research make comparisons with all the info you can find, talk to manufactures, installers and local Jeepers who actually sell , install or run the lifts your interested in. You'll get much better info talking in person or on the phone and you also start building a relationship with them if you need help in the future. After you've done all that base your decisions on what's in Your budget and what You feel fits your needs the best.

You'll get much better info than on a forum.
will do. that's a really good idea.. Its hard to find that guy that will tell you the true. most of the time I get the rep that's bias on his sale parts. You know you have a good one if he recommend some parts he don't carry
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:52 PM   #18
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Thanks for the input. Which lift was preinstalled on you Jeep? You haven't bent or broke them correct?. I've seen some lifts that looked very cheap and held up. good luck on getting the LM
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:22 PM   #19
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Depends on what you want to do with your jeep. If you plan on taking her to the beach and light trails, or you want more clearance for snow and minor road flooding, do what i did. 1.5" rc bl and 31" a/t's. for about 1000$ installed. if you plan on rock crawling, or just generally have money to burn, you can do a more expensive lift. Keep in mind, if you go higher than 3" you will probably have to start modding the radiator, skid plates, etc. which can get pricey fast. Personally, this TJ is my first jeep, so I dont want to dump a ton of money into her. My next jeep, which will be a JK, will be a different story.
As of now, Lift for 33's without rub. Most of my off roading is done in Nothern California, Sierra Nevada side. I take my jeep to its limits and it is surprising for me where one locker can take you. That next step for me is traction and clearance. As much as I would like, I probably will never see a LM kit on my jeep.. If i must I have sYE and drive shaft in budget and I can do the SYE myself. Got a guy in West Sac that builds pretty beefy drive lines for $230 bucks for jeep tj
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:27 PM   #20
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Then you don't need 'long arms' to position your tires to what you think is correct(more on that below), do you? You need adjustment, period.

Correct position--full bump defines that, not ride height. Don't worry, you and 9/10 other people on this forum also think that if the tires are closer together at ride height, then it's incorrect. It's simple geometry (arcs).

Your shocks are 8/10 your problem, the tires maybe 2/10. The springs, nothing.
One thing I can't find from these manufactures is if they added extra length on their fixed controlled arms. That would be a great help to know. I could imagine some cheap lifts just adding their own c. arms and not adding the extra length.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:34 PM   #21
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I went through a similar debate myself... It culminated with purchase of a RC X-series lift, which gave me fully adjustable control arms all around. The ride is a little stiff, compared to a RE equipped Wrangler that a friend of mine has, though he is running Bilstein 5100s. I am happy with the lift overall, but likely will look at different shocks... Of course, it is only about 3 months old and most reviews have negatives after a year, so I may have a different opinion at that time, but it was more affordable than the other kits - by about $500...

The important thing to know is that if you want to get the best lift, spend the money for what imped suggests - he knows his stuff. If you can't afford that, buy what you can and accept the potential negatives with your eyes open.

Just my $0.02...
RTP
Truly on the same path I em on. I got a response from a guy on YouTube with that same kit and told me the same about getting better shocks. It looked like a soft ride to me as i seen it on his vid.. I called RC to see if I could upgrade the 2.0s for the 2.2 + money of course, but they couldn't do it. Isn't really an issue I guess from the looks of what you get. Could probably sell the shocks on craiglist.. But yeah If you do get the 5100 and it changes the ride, let me know asap. I would hate to do that upgrade and find out it was the springs.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:36 PM   #22
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I bought my LJ with a cheap lift already installed. The wheelbase has been shortened because they didn't use a long arm kit. The ride quality stinks. I am putting new shocks and smaller tires on to help rectify the situation. The tires are part of the problem also. Folk who make a nice jeep into a mall crawler really do it an injustice. I will either buy a JK and do it the way I want or perhaps put the right kind of long arm kit on. My cheap kit has cheap parts and any real abuse is going to break/bend stuff. I know what you mean, you can get a cheap 4" kit for 1600 or you can get a quality kit for $3200... Come to Idaho and drive mine and that will help you understand :-)
Thanks for the input. Which lift was preinstalled on you Jeep? You haven't bent or broke them correct?. I've seen some lifts that looked very cheap and held up. good luck on getting the LM
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:37 PM   #23
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I have Rancho Springs and Bilstein 5100 shocks. Rubicon Express adj control arms and R/E steering components. It rides and steers wonderful. 75+ mph on the freeway-no issues. Spend the money to do it right. It is worth it to have no issues.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:42 PM   #24
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One thing I can't find from these manufactures is if they added extra length on their fixed controlled arms. That would be a great help to know. I could imagine some cheap lifts just adding their own c. arms and not adding the extra length.
What does that extra length do? And are you referring to upper or lower control arms? Again, what's happening at full bump?

What people need to realize is that most of those 'cheap' suspension manufacturers know a lot less than most people seem to think. You'd think that a suspension manufacturer recognizes every single minor nuance of the vehicle's design and understands at a very high level how it all interacts. That's not the case and the indicator is staring you right in the face of every kit that includes, fixed-length lower control arms that are longer than stock, non-adjustable upper arms, a drop pitman arm, a front track bar bracket, solid control arms with poly bushings, and other junk on that level. The problem is, that's a vast majority of the suspension manufacturers on the market....the bigger problem is those guys have the largest advertising budget. So, for all of the unknowing fellas that watch Saturday morning Speed and Spike channel shows, it's all thrown in their face. The same goes for 4wd and Quadratec catalogs. 90% of that stuff is junk.

The real problem is the complete lack of continuous improvement programs. Their junk doesn't change yet they still sell a ton of parts. Either they need to improve their parts so that they provide buyers with good designs and good execution or the buyers need to educate themselves so that the junk is weeded out. The latter is the smartest choice but some people just prefer to take claims at face value.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:49 PM   #25
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X 10x10 to the 10th, this is the most accurate statement on the forum

And to add my own $.02, I have been running RC lifts for 4 years with no problems, any lift will require a little basic maintenance, and any lift will require proper installation. A lift that not installed right or maintained will be a crappy lift to the person who owns it, that's just how it is.

As far as ride quality, a Jeep is a Jeep, it's short, narrow, tall, and not made for 'handling' or on-road performance, if your worried about rough rides, buy a car or, at the very least, leave your Jeep 100% stock.
Roger that. You got the 4" 2.0 kit or the X series? I em almost about to order the 4" n2.0 kits and swapping out the springs with metal cloaks 3.5" and adding 5100. I could ride the 2.0 shocks and grab the springs and stay within $1k. i save money on metal cloak shipping and handling because they are a local company. If I can get the springs sold, that money would go into the 5100. do you still have to original socks that came with he kit??
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:52 PM   #26
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I guess the first thing to consider is what going to do with your lifted jeep. Like with anything else, you get what you pay for. You also may want to look into different manufactures for each component group.
most of the time I see this question asked. With the positive and negative feedback's I can evaluate on my riding style. I can only tell you that I dabble in all of it with a DD
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #27
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When I bought my jeep new in 2005, I wanted to lift it. Not having the Internet where I lived, I had no choice but to trust 4 Wheel Parts. I had them install a 4" Skyjacker kit. I have already had to replace the bushings once.

I am currently saving up cash to fix my mistakes.

I plan on buying the Currie Currectlync steering kit.
And then replacing my transfer case lower kit with a SYE and Currie Johnny Joint adjustable control arms.

It's better to do it right the first time around...
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:07 PM   #28
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What does that extra length do? And are you referring to upper or lower control arms? Again, what's happening at full bump?

What people need to realize is that most of those 'cheap' suspension manufacturers know a lot less than most people seem to think. You'd think that a suspension manufacturer recognizes every single minor nuance of the vehicle's design and understands at a very high level how it all interacts. That's not the case and the indicator is staring you right in the face of every kit that includes, fixed-length lower control arms that are longer than stock, non-adjustable upper arms, a drop pitman arm, a front track bar bracket, solid control arms with poly bushings, and other junk on that level. The problem is, that's a vast majority of the suspension manufacturers on the market....the bigger problem is those guys have the largest advertising budget. So, for all of the unknowing fellas that watch Saturday morning Speed and Spike channel shows, it's all thrown in their face. The same goes for 4wd and Quadratec catalogs. 90% of that stuff is junk.

The real problem is the complete lack of continuous improvement programs. Their junk doesn't change yet they still sell a ton of parts. Either they need to improve their parts so that they provide buyers with good designs and good execution or the buyers need to educate themselves so that the junk is weeded out. The latter is the smartest choice but some people just prefer to take claims at face value.
Yes the lower control arms.. As for the added length, isn't that need for proper ergonomics of the suspension when adding longer springs? Seems to me most of the people that run spring lifts with original control arms has the same problems as the guy with the LJ.. I wouldn't be able to tell you what happens at full bump at the moment but for sure that would be the first thing I would look for. If its not slamming the sock struts then I will leave alone but if press is set on my shocks then bump stops add for sure. if any rubbing on fender then most likely 1" body lift with mm added. I have rims with 3.5" or 4" (cant remember) backspace so I think its going to clear the frame with 33x12.5


I try to not get to involve in advertisement. Rule of thumb, the better the add looks the more I look into the faults of what they don't show. Better adds equal pricier product.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:08 PM   #29
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X2 on the above comment from Imped that you don't need a long-arm suspension to have the correct wheelbase. I installed a Rubicon Express long-arm suspension on my previous TJ and now run the much better performing Currie short-arm suspension lift. That both have adjustable length arms mean the wheelbase can be adjusted to where it needs to be. Cheaper suspensions usually use non-adjustable length control arms so you get what you pay for there.

Also, cheaper suspension lift manufacturers don't put as much thought into their suspensions... probably a cost-issue but there you go. For example, the cheap first-generation Teraflex control arms I installed on my first TJ had such a limited amount of flex/articulation that once that TJ started doing more difficult trails, the arm joints couldn't move as much as required & they started tearing the control arm mounts off where they were welded to the axles.

Inexpensive lift manufacturers like Skyjacker cater to the masses & many of those masses normally just care about how tall they can get their Jeep & had bad-a$$ it looks on the street & to their buddies. Then when they start going offroad & doing more technically challenging trails, they discover the shortcomings of their low-budget lifts. Like the TJ getting tippy, having an unstable feeling, tearing control arm mounting brackets off the axles, inability to drive at a decent rate of speed over rough dirty roads without losing control, unable to do trails or get over obstacles as easily as those with better performing suspensions can, etc..

So in the case of suspension lifts, yes it's true that you do get what you pay for. Personally, I have owned the following suspension brands in my two TJs... in order... ProComp, Teraflex, RockKrawler, Rubicon Express, and finally, currently, Currie. And that is how I would rank them, from worst to best.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:14 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snooze5000 View Post
Yes the lower control arms.. As for the added length, isn't that need for proper ergonomics of the suspension when adding longer springs?
Suspension ergonomics.....that's a new term.

No, it's not needed. Proper axle position is needed and just slapping some longer lower control arms on there won't do it. More adjustment and more understanding of the process and requirements are needed in order to attain proper position.

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