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Old 11-20-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
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Rubicon Express just lost a customer for life!!!

Greetings All!

This topic was posted on another forum... I am just trying to cover as much ground as I can!!

Tim

*****FACTORY KNOWN DEFECT: Rubicon Control Arm BUSHINGS*****

For those of you who have recently installed Rubicon Express lift; please know that Rubicon Express has experienced run of “Overseas” bushings which they deemed defective.


I am writing this post to vent my complete and utter disappointment with Rubicon Express. So, please understand that I am not saying that you should boycott Rubicon Express as I have, but please at least take into consideration my story before you buy another one of their products. I am a firm believer in that you can tell a lot about a company by how they act when things get rough.. I am also very “Customer Centric” in my beliefs as well.. If you go and beyond for a customer, you will have them for life.. Get complacent; they will be gone before you even know it.

Ok, enough of the babbling:

Last April I decided to purchases Rubicon Express control arms (Lowers and Uppers front and rear) because I was such a huge fan of their products and I felt that I would have a lift suited to my needs.. Man, I was sure correct on that; she drove like a dream and flexed way beyond my expectations.. For a little while anyway…..

All was going great until just after about 3 months of driving this Jeep on the new control arms, I discovered a clunk.. It would only occur when I would let out the clutch in 1st and 2nd gears (I even posted here with frustrations) from a complete stop. First I thought I was imagining things, but it increasingly became worse.. I could gingerly accelerate from stop without replicating the “Clunk,” but it was still incredibly frustrating.. So, I took it to where I have all of my work done (4Wheel Parts in Portland, OR) to have them diagnose the problem. I assumed it would be a motor mount or something of that nature because it was torque dependent. Well, they couldn’t figure anything out, so they just tightened up the control arms and let me go about my business.. My buddy has had this problem since his lift was installed (both vehicles done at roughly the same time) and in an act of frustration (and after several trips to 4wheel parts in Portland, OR); took his Jeep to another Shop in Portland. It took the other shop less than 5 minutes to diagnose that the Control Arm Bushings were completely shot.

Ah, the problem diagnosed, but here is where things get a little dicey.. My buddy spoke with 4Wheel Parts who said they knew about this problem from an internal memorandum, but decided to do nothing about it.. But, the person did say that they will order us a new set of bushings and everything will be good to go.. Everything is cool right?

Well, let’s focus on present day (Today 11/19/2009):

I was notified from 4Wheel Parts (Portland, OR) that I will be charged full labor to have these bushings reinstalled.. Keep in Mind that less than 3000 miles ago I paid almost $1200 for these control arms (installed) and I am now forced to either do the job myself, or eat $250 to have them done again. Normally and in many cases this wouldn’t be an issue if I was the cause of a product failing.. In this case; these bushings were part of a factory defect and Rubicon Express refuses to warrant labor or incidental costs as a result. I also must add that 4Wheel Parts in Portland, OR has offered nothing, but a full labor charge, so I am pretty much out in the cold here on both ends.. I do not posses the knowledge, ability, time, nor space to take on such a task.. There is a reason why I pay someone to do the major modifications to my Jeep and that is simply due to the aforementioned..

I appreciate the idea that this really isn’t a hard job to accomplish, but that is not the point.. The company that stands behind their product is a company I will choose to conduct business. I just had a recall done on my 2000 TJ for some manifold shield.. Did I have to pay the labor to have it installed???? No, Jeep took care of it because it was deemed a factory defect. I’m still happy with our friends at Jeep! They should have put a v8 in my JK Unlimited, but that argument is for another day..

Before this writing; I spoke with a handful of MAJOR Aftermarket 4X4 Part suppliers who all said basically the same thing: “Rubicon Express is very difficult to deal with when it comes to warranty.” I sure wish I would have known this going into the purchase of my control arms because I sure wouldn’t have purchased anything that resembled Rubicon Express. I had the pleasure of speaking with a very nice lady with one of the largest aftermarket parts suppliers in the industry who basically said that if everyone operated like WARN, the world would be a better place.. Huh, I wonder why Warn has such huge industry loyalty... I needn’t explain any further!

Thanks for reading!!

Tim

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Old 11-20-2009, 11:55 AM   #2
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Rokmen !!!!

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Old 11-20-2009, 11:57 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about the issues.

RE customer service has been less than steller for years, and the bushing issues have also been around for years... and of course the lifetime warranty does not cover anything...LOL I have a box of well used RE adj control arms sitting next to me that need rebuilt so I feel your pain. Leaf springs are looking better and better to me....
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:57 AM   #4
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Tks for info. I take things like this seriously.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:58 AM   #5
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Feel your pain, but even WARN's Limited Lifetime Warranty clearly states that they do not cover installation or removal costs. I had just the opposite experience with RE. I had a shock blow out and they replaced it no questions asked.

I don't believe you will find an aftermarket manufacturer out there that will cover install and removal costs.
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:54 PM   #6
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Agreed, I know of no manufacturer that will pay the labor costs to install replacement parts.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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I don't believe you will find an aftermarket manufacturer out there that will cover install and removal costs.[/QUOTE]

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Agreed, I know of no manufacturer that will pay the labor costs to install replacement parts.
both of you guys are correct, but don't you think that this is a unique situation?

What do you think Jeep would have done if they found a bad run of their own stock bushings???? C'mon, the customer wouldn't not even be asked to pay anything...

This is negligent on the manufacturer's part..

UPDATE: I spoke with 4WP (again) and they are maintaining their ruling on charging for labor.. I don't blame them because they did nothing wrong, but I would have liked to see a little more fight with RE on my behalf....
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:44 PM   #8
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both of you guys are correct, but don't you think that this is a unique situation?

What do you think Jeep would have done if they found a bad run of their own stock bushings???? C'mon, the customer wouldn't not even be asked to pay anything...

This is negligent on the manufacturer's part..

UPDATE: I spoke with 4WP (again) and they are maintaining their ruling on charging for labor.. I don't blame them because they did nothing wrong, but I would have liked to see a little more fight with RE on my behalf....
Jeep (Chrysler or whomever) would have made you go to their service departments and used their mechanics. You have to remember it's a different situation. They assembled the Jeep on an assembly line and can control the costs for labor under their factory warranty program. It's not the same as you taking yours to one shop where they charge say $500 and I take mine to a shop where they cgarge $1000. RE has no control over where you have installation work done.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:52 PM   #9
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Hmm. I'll have to keep that into consideration. I've not had a problem getting stuff, but I've never needed warranty work either.

Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:56 PM   #10
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F'king computer blue screened on me...lost my post...

Short reply because I'm not retyping it.

Go to United States and Canada BBB Consumer and Business Reviews, Reports, Ratings, Complaints and Accredited Business Listings and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau...it probably won't help but you have nothing to lose. Some companies will change their tune very quickly though if they strive to maintain a good record with the BBB. Give it a shot!
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:22 PM   #11
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I love my RE gear ,Ive used their customer service before and got great help on other things.4 wheel parts are the basturds in my opinion always trying to get out of every thing.When they do a lift they offer a life time waranty if you dont get it they wont do any more work unless you pay .It was 295$ for a life time waranty but I got a but load of work done.They will do any thing I need if I take it in but when I ripped off the shock mounts they welded on out in the desert and had to pay to get rollin again I was stuck with the bill.Thats the plus w going to 4wp and getting a waranty RE will cough up the bushings and 4wp will do the work.Long story short get the warranty if you wheel it good youll be replacing them more than once

I do feel your pain it cost me 125$ to fix something that I just spent 7500$ on and could not get reimbursed and now Off Road Warehouse maintains my lift and shocks.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:29 PM   #12
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I just recently bought a jeep with the RE long arm kit on it. The rear bushings were pushed out and I knew it when I first drove it. Did it bother me? Nope. The bushings are inexpensive. I think the pair is 28 bucks. When I called RE to order a new set I told the guy I just bought a jeep off a guy and the rear bushings needed to be replaced. He didn't hesitate to warranty my parts.

I told him I didn't think it was right because I didn't originally purchase the kit and he said it didn't matter.

Is that customer service? Yes.

Is it easy to replace the bushings on your own? Yes.

Is it worth $250 to replace the bushings? Well, I guess. If you can't do it yourself.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:29 PM   #13
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There's a difference between not covering repair labor because something unexpectedly fails, and not covering repair labor when you knowingly let a faulty product go out the door.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:45 PM   #14
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Was the kit purchased and installed through 4Wheel Parts?
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:58 PM   #15
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The point is nobody in there mind will cover labor on a part unless THEY installed it wrong. I would never expect, or hold somebody responsible for it. I would say do it yourself do one arm at a time you can do them with a socket set. They are actually as easy as changing oil in your truck.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:19 PM   #16
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I feel your pain as I too had (luckily just one pair) RE control arms and went thru the same problems . . . I'm happy to say that I’ve upgraded to all Currie control arms with no bushings whatsoever and haven't had any issues since. Reading thru your post a couple of things came to mind . . .

First and foremost, why are you dealing with 4 Wheel Parts and why in the hell would you let them touch your Jeep? Chances are . . . their ability to install your lift properly is right on par with their ability to diagnose the bushing issue. It's no surprise it only took the other shop 5 minutes to identify the issue (if you would have just posted up the description of your clunk here, you would have had several people telling you to check your CA bushings within 5 minutes too) . . . you could have left your Jeep with 4WP for a week and those monkeys would still be scratching their heads. If you are looking to have a chrome nutsack mounted under the trailer hitch of your big ass truck, 4WP is the place to go, but don't take your Jeep there.

Second . . . as mentioned by 4Jeepn . . . this RE bushing issue has been a known issue for a couple of years. IMO it's much less of bad batch issue and more of a bad design issue . . . I tried one of their special new and improved bushings with the 4 injection marks and it failed faster than any of the others (under two weeks). So don’t be too surprised if you find yourself in this same position after installing the new set. Even though I don’t believe the whole bad batch of bushing excuse . . . just to be an asshole, I’d try to find out when this “internal memorandum” about the bushings being a known issue was sent out . . . if it was before April, I would be asking RE why they sent you a product they knew to be defective and I'd be asking 4WP why they sold and installed a product that they knew to be defective . . . probably won’t get you anywhere, but it’d be fun to watch them squirm.

Third . . . if you think RE is bad . . . try a company like Full Traction. At least RE is making up lame excuses (bad batch) to try and save face, while sending out replacement bushings on the house . . . try getting that from FT or see if they are willing to stand behind their product and send something out on their dime!!!

Lastly, I understand your point about how different this would be if it was a defect from Jeep . . . (I still don't buy the defect excuse and think it's just a shitty design) but when you start modifying your Jeep, you need to take into consideration the product and use. You seemed to be impressed with the flex of your new kit, but that's probably part of what killed your bushings . . . flex and bushings don't seem to mix. If you plan to do much flexing and plan to run bushings in your control arms then you'd better get used to replacing bushings . . . RE, FT, RC, poly, rubber, it doesn't matter, they're just not going to hold up. They might work for trips to the mall, but if you plan to wheel with bushings, consider replacing them as routine maintenance . . . and get used to doing it yourself . . . paying someone the price that you mentioned to replace some bushings is absolutely nuts . . . if you aren’t comfortable . . . join up with some local wheelers, buy some pizza and beer, and have them show you how easy and rewarding it can be to wrench on your own Jeep.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:05 PM   #17
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Was the kit purchased and installed through 4Wheel Parts?
yes...
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:24 PM   #18
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I would be raising a fuss then, and not just with RE, but 4WP as well. If a company sold, and installed, a defective part, then they should be more than obligated to make it right. They sold you an item, and no doubt probably mentioned how good the product was and it's warranty, and they should be equally responsible for the repair. I can see where it would be different if you bought from one company and had another install it, but in this instance, I feel 4WP is responsible to see that your Jeep is repaired.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:36 PM   #19
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I would cut my losses and work with a company that doesn't dick over their customers. Returning to the scene of the crime is no worse than buying another set of known problem bushings.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:29 AM   #20
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It's no surprise it only took the other shop 5 minutes to identify the issue (if you would have just posted up the description of your clunk here, you would have had several people telling you to check your CA bushings within 5 minutes too)
Schmo, I did post this here and didn't get any responses....

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RE, FT, RC, poly, rubber, it doesn't matter, they're just not going to hold up. They might work for trips to the mall, but if you plan to wheel with bushings, consider replacing them as routine maintenance . . . and get used to doing it yourself . . . paying someone the price that you mentioned to replace some bushings is absolutely nuts . . . if you aren’t comfortable . . . join up with some local wheelers, buy some pizza and beer, and have them show you how easy and rewarding it can be to wrench on your own Jeep.
If I would have known this going into the control arm purchase; I would not have bought CAs from RE.. I would have bought CAs from another manufacturer who doesn't require frequent replacement.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:31 AM   #21
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I would be raising a fuss then, and not just with RE, but 4WP as well. If a company sold, and installed, a defective part, then they should be more than obligated to make it right. They sold you an item, and no doubt probably mentioned how good the product was and it's warranty, and they should be equally responsible for the repair. I can see where it would be different if you bought from one company and had another install it, but in this instance, I feel 4WP is responsible to see that your Jeep is repaired.
I have been banging on 4WP, but they have drawn their line in the sand.. I am just going to take it to that other 4X4 shop and give him a shot at earning my business.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:45 AM   #22
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Schmo, I did post this here and didn't get any responses.....
Seriously . . . Well that's a bummer . . . sorry man. Seems like every day there's a "name that clunk" thread going around and CA's and TB's seem to be the most common culprit. Sounds like we failed on this one.

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If I would have known this going into the control arm purchase; I would not have bought CAs from RE.. I would have bought CAs from another manufacturer who doesn't require frequent replacement.
I hear you . . . I'm in the same boat and had to learn the hard way too and ended up shelling out more cash to replace what I originally thought was an upgrade . . . it totally sucks but after replacing several sets of bushings, it was the only option for me. Hopefully others will learn from your experience. As far as a remedy . . . I know you don't want to hear this, but there's a very slim chance that a new set of bushings are going to solve your problem, and espeically if you plan to pay a shop to do the work, you may find yourself throwing a lot of money at the issue again and again. My advice would be to bite the bullet and take a look at CA's from Currie, Rokmen, etc that use the joint's on both ends. You can keep your front UCAs from RE as they'll pretty much be the same seeing that the bushings are on the axle and they are OEM bushings that seem to hold up much better than all the others. Especially if you sell them with the new bushings in the RE arms, you should be able to get a decent price.

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I have been banging on 4WP, but they have drawn their line in the sand.. I am just going to take it to that other 4X4 shop and give him a shot at earning my business.
I'd definitely agree with taking your business just about anywhere other than 4WP, but you should really try to do this yourself. Seriously, it's two bolts per arm . . . that's it . . . no special tools or knowledge required. If I were up in OR, I'd give you a hand . . . I never did any work on vehicles before getting my Jeep, but I'm pretty much a pro when it comes to control arms and replacing bushings at this point!!!

Come on guys . . . we already failed Timberman once . . . there's got to be some WF locals up in OR that can give him a hand???


Good Luck!
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:14 PM   #23
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I have been reading this and how it's going down. The way I feel is...

Take the RE arms off

Take some measurements... Make your own CA's out of some DOM and include some Johnny Joints at each end. If you want some flex, that is were you'll get it.
Sell your RE arms on EBay and cut your losses. Lesson learned. It is alot of work but I think you could come up with a better design any way. Not saying that the original design wasn't good to begin with. But Johnny Joints over bushings would be better to start with.
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:57 PM   #24
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I have been reading this and how it's going down. The way I feel is...

Take the RE arms off

Take some measurements... Make your own CA's out of some DOM and include some Johnny Joints at each end. If you want some flex, that is were you'll get it.
Sell your RE arms on EBay and cut your losses. Lesson learned. It is alot of work but I think you could come up with a better design any way. Not saying that the original design wasn't good to begin with. But Johnny Joints over bushings would be better to start with.
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Seriously . . . Well that's a bummer . . . sorry man. Seems like every day there's a "name that clunk" thread going around and CA's and TB's seem to be the most common culprit. Sounds like we failed on this one.



I hear you . . . I'm in the same boat and had to learn the hard way too and ended up shelling out more cash to replace what I originally thought was an upgrade . . . it totally sucks but after replacing several sets of bushings, it was the only option for me. Hopefully others will learn from your experience. As far as a remedy . . . I know you don't want to hear this, but there's a very slim chance that a new set of bushings are going to solve your problem, and espeically if you plan to pay a shop to do the work, you may find yourself throwing a lot of money at the issue again and again. My advice would be to bite the bullet and take a look at CA's from Currie, Rokmen, etc that use the joint's on both ends. You can keep your front UCAs from RE as they'll pretty much be the same seeing that the bushings are on the axle and they are OEM bushings that seem to hold up much better than all the others. Especially if you sell them with the new bushings in the RE arms, you should be able to get a decent price.



I'd definitely agree with taking your business just about anywhere other than 4WP, but you should really try to do this yourself. Seriously, it's two bolts per arm . . . that's it . . . no special tools or knowledge required. If I were up in OR, I'd give you a hand . . . I never did any work on vehicles before getting my Jeep, but I'm pretty much a pro when it comes to control arms and replacing bushings at this point!!!

Come on guys . . . we already failed Timberman once . . . there's got to be some WF locals up in OR that can give him a hand???


Good Luck!
Guys,

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your efforts and I think your correct.. I am going to consider the purchase of some different control arms..

So, you say that the uppers will be OK?

I really don't want to do this because I have a pretty new JK which is crying for my attention...

Alright guys; hit me with the good brands of lower CAs and I will begin my research.. Will their be an alignment involved if I have to replace the lowers?

Maybe 4wp will give me a deal.. He already offered me an extra special discount on other products in lieu of the labor for the cas..

Again guys, I sincerely appreciate your efforts!!
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:02 PM   #25
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Maybe 4wp will give me a deal.. He already offered me an extra special discount on other products in lieu of the labor for the cas..
Did you read this thread?
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:31 PM   #26
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Did you read this thread?
I know; I know Mr Clifford, but they may cut me an "end column" deal on some new CAs from Currie or Rockmen and if you guys think the lowers will be the only ones affected; I can probably tackle the job myself..
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:52 PM   #27
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Even if the uppers are trashed you can do it all by yourself in the garage with a light. Just do one at a time and you don't even need to jack up the truck or the axles.
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Just a few more inches Red. You can take it.


If you haven't gotten more out of the insurance company than you deserve, then you haven't screwed them nearly as much as they have been screwing you for the past xx years.
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:18 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Schmo View Post
My advice would be to bite the bullet and take a look at CA's from Currie, Rokmen, etc that use the joint's on both ends. You can keep your front UCAs from RE as they'll pretty much be the same seeing that the bushings are on the axle and they are OEM bushings that seem to hold up much better than all the others. Especially if you sell them with the new bushings in the RE arms, you should be able to get a decent price.
Hey Schmo..

I just got underneath the Jeep and you are correct; the front uppers do utilize the factory bushings.. I have such a bad taste in my mouth with RE, so should just bite the bullet completely and attempt to sell the entire RE set (with new bushings) and go with something like this?

Currie Enterprises CJ Axle Parts

Also, if I replace all of them, I will need an alignment.. Since all of the currie arms are adjustable, could i just use my existing ones as a reference point for measure?

Thanks again!
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:48 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Timberman View Post
Hey Schmo..

I just got underneath the Jeep and you are correct; the front uppers do utilize the factory bushings.. I have such a bad taste in my mouth with RE, so should just bite the bullet completely and attempt to sell the entire RE set (with new bushings) and go with something like this?

Currie Enterprises CJ Axle Parts

Also, if I replace all of them, I will need an alignment.. Since all of the currie arms are adjustable, could i just use my existing ones as a reference point for measure?

Thanks again!
Those are the arms I have and I love them. Personally I wouldn't bother replacing the front uppers as you'd end up spending an extra $150 bucks for something you just don't need . . . I never had and have never heard of any problems with the arms or joints from RE . . . just the bushings which the fronts don't have. BTW...check out the Currie JJ kit for the front axle . . . I'll be going that route when my stock front axle bushings wear out, but they are still going stong so I'm leaving them alone! As far as the install . . . it sounds like you liked the way your Jeep performed when you first got the kit so that's what I would base all your adjustments on and you should not need an alignment as you won't be changing anything. This is absolutely something you can do on your own. Give Brit over at Mesa4x4.com a call or place an order on-line . . . good prices, free shipping, no tax, and Currie is great about fast shipping . . . the UCA's I got last month took 2.5 days to arrive!

Tools. . . a couple sockets and wrenchs, breaker bar, maybe a jack or a ratchet strap. Some may tell you that you won't need a jack or ratchet strap to line things up, but seeing that your bushings are shot, the arms have become longer and you will to need close the distance a bit. I usually am by myself and find a ratchet strap to be the easiest, but you can also just jack up one end or sometimes it's as simple as rolling the tire forward a bit by hand. If you have a buddy, it'll be easy as pie . . . but it's not bad by yourself, you just might need a ratchet strap or jack to line up the bolt hole.

I would recommend replacing the arms one at a time . . . lowers are easiest to deal with. No need to lift the Jeep or anything, just pull one off . . . replace the bushing and then make the new arm the same length measuring from the middle of each eye. All of the lowers will probably all be the same length but depending on how it was set up the front and rear might be a bit different so I would double check them by replacing the bushings as you go and measuring . . . if everything was working well before the bushings started to fail, this should put you back to that point. Put the new arm in place, bolt in one end, and line up the other . . . chances are you can just grab the knobs on the tire and roll the tire until the hole lines up, but if not, I find a rachet strap to be the easiest as the jack requires more crawling from under the Jeep and I'm getting old! The uppers are just as easy, just a little tougher to get to.

PM me if you want my number in case you have any questions.
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:53 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Timberman View Post
I know; I know Mr Clifford, but they may cut me an "end column" deal on some new CAs from Currie or Rockmen and if you guys think the lowers will be the only ones affected; I can probably tackle the job myself..
If they'll get you the 4 LCAs and 2 Rear UCAs from Currie for under $750 out the door . . . I can understand as you're already feeling the squeeze having to replace the REs, but if you are not able to get a better deal than that, don't give 4WP more of your money and call somebody like Mesa4x4 or Northridge4x4. I understand getting a deal when you can but if it's not really a deal, send your money to guys that you'll feel good about helping to stay in business.

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