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Old 04-22-2007, 03:31 AM   #1
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My Suspension Re-Build

So I've been complaining to anyone that will listen how much I hate my current LA setup. I've out grown it's capabilities on my rig and it's getting to be so much of a maintenance PITA that it's time for it to go. So a couple of weeks ago I had Joe order me up RockKrawler's X-Factor LA setup. RK sells the BEEFIEST stuff on the market. 2" SOLID arms with a 1/4" belly pan and rear weld in (Also sell a bolt in model) cradle.

Now this isn't anywhere near the first time I have helped, installed, un-packed, wheeled etc.... RK's stuff, but damn even unpacking the 9 boxes was a workout. However I did get caught up on all of the local news up in NY where RK is located from the 200 newspapers that were used to pack my stuff.

Got everything un-packed and laid out Thursday afternoon to make sure that we had everything before we get started. To anyone that has never put a lift on their rig before I highly suggest you take this step as soon as you get your stuff just so you don't get any surprise's on game day.

Friday morning the plan was for myself and Hackle to show up at the shop at 8 and 9 am respectively. Of course I was 20 minutes late because traffic in Phoenix SUCKS big time. Don't worry though Joe didn't fire me for being late. Hackle of course was right on time and Joe and I had most of the old junk out of there already.

First off a HUGE THANK YOU goes out to both Joe (Absoluteoffroad) and Jim (Hackle). Between the 3 of us we took a job that takes Joe no less than 2 days and more likely three days to do by himself for a customer and we knocked it out in 8 hours. Joe has installed more of these than he will admit (Being one of the largest RK dealers in the country), Jim has helped Joe on probably 10 of these, and this is my second RK LA install that I've done. So between us all bases were covered and we hammered it out.

So first thing we did was get all of the old stuff out and tossed aside. Then we dropped the 44 out so Joe could get to work cutting off all of the brackets so that he could weld on the RK cradle. Here's a shot of the axle ready for welding. Tubes look great if I don't say so my damn self since I had to grind on it for probably an hour.



While Joe was busy burning in the new cradle Jim and I got the center section and pan all lined up and ready to be burned in. You can bolt the center section in however we wanted this to be about as permanent as it can be so Joe burned it in as well. I will use this platform for any future builds I do. I can stretch it with this gear, coil overs etc... Sky's the limit now so if it had to be bolted to the frame we just welded it. Here's a couple of shots of Joe welding it all up. And please everyone compliment him on his welding arm condoms. Because after he was done he kept showing both Jim and I his arms and how proud he was that he finally spent the 20 bucks for the sleeves to keep from burning the hell out of himself.





So after Joe welded everything up and we broke for lunch we got the pan installed and started hanging arms. While we didn't need to use them this part of the install is where RK's instructions are great for you do it yourselfers. They explain exactly what is needed to make this process as easy as possible (Of course Joe did help write them for RK). The rest is just measuring and setting up all of the rest of the arms and putting the 44 back in. Hooked the driveshafts back up, popped the coils in, shocks, rear sway bar links, etc... all buttoned up and it was time to pop the tires on and take it for a test drive. This setup is NIGHT and DAY from my previous running gear. It's quiet, smooth, strong and reliable.

There were very minimal tweaks and changes we had to make so we decided to hold off on those and head over to Joe's because his wife had been cooking up some ribs for dinner and we were all pretty beat. We realized this when I started cussing my Rock Crusher diff cover because the bolts were giving me fits.

Today we buttoned it all up and also took my Currie Anti-Rock out because from Joe's experience and now my seeing as believing there really is too much flex for the AR anymore. I'd have had an excellent chance of the AR folding over on itself and snapping one of it's arms. So right now I'm running no sway bar at all and I gotta say I'm probably just going to leave it that way because the body roll in corners doesn't bother me at all. So I'll have the AR for sale soon to have more money to burn on my rig.

Here's a few last pictures of everything and then some of it sitting on the tires. I gained 1" of clearance in the belly pan. Cut out 1" of overall height at the bumpers and rockers (This was a good thing) and with the bent rear lowever will more clearnace to actually put the rear tires on a rock before the arms get hung up. I'm more excited about my rig than I've been in a LOOOOOOOONG time. We'll have some actual action shots of it tomorrow because it's all loaded up in the driveway ready to hit the rocks tomorrow morning.









Once again I just have to thank Joe and Jim for their help. Without them I would've been pissed at this thing in my garage for probably 4 days. Joe's a good friend and also a great business to deal with. If you haven't already check out Absolute Offroad Home Page or give him a call at the shop for any off road needs you may have.

Sorry there weren't more pics of the install, but as I said earlier we were trying to knock this thing out in 1 day.

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Old 04-22-2007, 09:46 AM   #2
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Looks great, and isn't it always nice to have friends like that??

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Old 04-22-2007, 12:34 PM   #3
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Looks great! You will have to let us know how it works!
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Old 04-22-2007, 12:49 PM   #4
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Very nice. I've been wondering how the Krawler's X-factor LA would perform. Keep us informed
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Old 04-22-2007, 01:23 PM   #5
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so you went with the 5" or what? Looks good but we need some poser pics now!
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Old 04-22-2007, 01:47 PM   #6
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looks like the 5.5"...im jealous
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:19 PM   #7
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that looks awesome, nice clearence to
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:29 PM   #8
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First off Jack you are very welcome and I enjoyed the day working on your TJ.
Second we went out to test it today and I took video and pictures that I will post as soon as I get them on my site. I will let Jack write the trip report, but I will say the new lift worked great.
Last you will earn my help in the next couple weeks as we start to link the front of my Nearly stock YJ
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:49 PM   #9
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What LA kit did you outgrow its capabilities? Nice writeup.
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:52 PM   #10
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Old 04-22-2007, 06:03 PM   #11
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WTG, Jack. That is an awesome set up. Kind of looks familiar..... The only difference is the stickers...........I didn't get mine.........

That really does look good. Are you going to put the 39.5's on there now??????
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Old 04-22-2007, 06:23 PM   #12
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I can believe that.
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Old 04-22-2007, 07:28 PM   #13
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Damn Jack, that's really looks great. Not to mention you're just confusing the hell out of me as I've been looking at LA setups for the last couple of months now. I'll be very interested in hearing a long term report on how well everything is working for you and most importantly (for me) is what kind of maintenance this kit requires.

Also, RK doesn't use radius arms, right?
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:59 AM   #14
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WTG, Jack. That is an awesome set up. Kind of looks familiar..... The only difference is the stickers...........I didn't get mine.........

That really does look good. Are you going to put the 39.5's on there now??????
Thanks Axel. So what stickers do you want? The AO or the RK? I'll get you out a couple of either. Well bigger are in the near future but afraid they'll only be 37's for the mean time Joe and I leave the 40's to Hackle.

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I can believe that.
Yeah, Jerry it just wasn't cutting it for me anymore. I thought axle wrap only happened on leaf sprung vehicles.

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Damn Jack, that's really looks great. Not to mention you're just confusing the hell out of me as I've been looking at LA setups for the last couple of months now. I'll be very interested in hearing a long term report on how well everything is working for you and most importantly (for me) is what kind of maintenance this kit requires.

Also, RK doesn't use radius arms, right?
Scout, thanks for the compliments along with everyone else's also. We got a great group of wheelers out here who are always down for helping each other. Joe's so good at it he can make a living too. I'm sure you all will definitely be seeing the progress and pics of how this setup works and works well.

And no, RK does not use a radius arm setup. It uses a 3 link front + Trac Bar. All arms are mounted thru the new center section. RK got a bad wrap in the past for some things that happened with previous ownership, but Jeremy builds SMOKIN products and you'd be hard pressed to find someone putting out anything stronger. It's going to be fun working over these 2" SOLID arms.
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:26 AM   #15
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So okay as Hackle stated earlier we got to get out and test this bastard out today. I have a couple of early pics, but the batteries died on my camera so we all had to rely on Hackle to take some video and stills from his camcorder. He'll post that up when he has it all ready.

Since I knew that it was going to be like driving a brand new rig all over again we decided to head into a trail that we have all ran about a thousand times to just run some familiar terrain since I knew how my jeep used to react on it. At this point I was so stoked to put our work to the test. I was not let down one bit. The travel that I have now with the new setup is SICK. I was keeping tires on the ground now in places that I would have to hammer down the throttle before. The control of everything was great and anything that was jerky was because of the driver and not my suspension now.

Here's a couple pics from early on.





And here's one of Joe just messing around.



Well after we got done playing around on Terminator Joe and Hackle asked if I wanted to hit another easy trail and get used to it some more or if I was ready to tackle something a lot more fun? So figuring that I had this damn thing down pat it was time to move on. They'd been giving me a bunch of hell about a newer trail in the area called Dirty Sanchez so off we went. This is where my day turned to shit. Dropping in this trail and walking the first couple of waterfalls I knew it was going to kick just as much ass as they said it would. And here is where I blew it. While crawling the first waterfall I blew my chance to crawl it because I hesitated as I crested it and slid right off. So while backing down to give it another shot I managed to kick the passenger side coil out and wedge it against the shock. Well turns out that noise we heard was not the coil re-seating itself. It was the shock shaft snapping in half. HA So needless to say my day was over and it WAS ALL MY DAMN FAULT. So I had to back out of the trail and bounce around for the rest of the day. Good thing I Monday off too in case there was anything I needed to button up. So I'll be at the shop again tomorrow picking up a new shock and putting in the spring retainers that I didn't think I would need anymore.

Hackle has video and pics of everything including my new shock mounting method. Overall my RK setup is performing great and I will have more pics this coming up weekend.
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:57 AM   #16
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Well that looks nice I'm jealous to.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:32 PM   #17
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awsome, Jack
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:37 PM   #18
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Here you go Jack this is a little smaller for everyone to watch.
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:28 PM   #19
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Yeah, coming DOWN those was more interesting than it looked on tape.... Fun though. We will have to run the whole trail backwards, that should be fun!!!


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Old 04-24-2007, 12:55 AM   #20
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Got everything all buttoned up today. Got the shock replaced, figured out some Absolute engineered bump stop extensions for the rear, and also put together spring retainers for the bottom.

Thing drives better than it has in years. My jeep is now back to my most favorite possession.

Thanks for putting the video up Hackle, Too bad you won't be able to head out with us to FJ this weekend.
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Old 04-24-2007, 10:29 AM   #21
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hockey pucks for the rear?
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:07 PM   #22
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hockey pucks for the rear?
No, we actually cut drilled/tapped some 3/16th plate and bolted to the bottom of the spring bucket. Much like the MORE kit provides for TJ brackets.
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:15 PM   #23
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I have no idea what any of it is but it looks cool ......... welding arm condoms.... <snicker>
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:18 PM   #24
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I have no idea what any of it is but it looks cool ......... welding arm condoms.... <snicker>
You know what it is, you are just putting on a front so people will keep posting in your lift thread.

Oh, and he's damn proud of those things. Out of the 3 years he's had the shop open, he thinks it's the best thing he's ever bought.
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:23 PM   #25
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Nope, actin' dumb ain't my style. I'll just come out and say what I'm under informed about. Spring buckets and RK cradles.... not there yet. Haven't a clue. But, I understood exactly what welding arm condoms are, wore them when I learned to blow glass, just never heard them called that.
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:31 PM   #26
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Nope, actin' dumb ain't my style. I'll just come out and say what I'm under informed about. Spring buckets and RK cradles.... not there yet. Haven't a clue. But, I understood exactly what welding arm condoms are, wore them when I learned to blow glass, just never heard them called that.
Spring buckets are what your springs sit in on the axle. The Cradle is what allows me to not run a rear trac-bar. It's welded to the axle and provides the mounting point for the upper control arms. Damn, I thought I had a pic of it, but I guess not.
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:40 PM   #27
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Tiny here is picture of the Cradle/Truss on mine and Jack has the same one. It is the steel going over the diff housing and welded to axle on each side.
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Old 04-24-2007, 05:04 PM   #28
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all that work and no extra wheelbase? I think you got screwed
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Old 04-24-2007, 06:27 PM   #29
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all that work and no extra wheelbase? I think you got screwed
Not quite ready for that yet. I think I did pick up about 1/2 inch which bottom line means absolutely nothing. But with that platform stretching will be a piece of cake and will probably happen later this summer or during the fall. It's all in the plan my friend.
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Old 04-24-2007, 06:42 PM   #30
coilovers are damn flexy
 
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Jack, I would be honored to have either, or both stickers. I have had mine in the shop, which Joe probably knows about. The frame was cracked, where the rear coilovers where attatched, and I had bad axle wrap. The problem turned out to be a cross threaded cover on the heim joint. The ball had completely wallered out the inside of the heim. Fortunately, Jeremy, at RK, had sent me an extra heim. I can't say enough about how good RK, and their service is. Sorry to hear about you folding up your shock. It is all good tho, Bro. We live and wheel, and keep on tweeking our machines, until we get it right........

Hackle.........thanks for the video, it was great, as always.

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