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-   -   AEV Geometry Correction Front Control Arm Drop Brackets (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/aev-geometry-correction-front-control-arm-drop-brackets-141862.html)

gluestick 02-23-2012 11:58 PM

AEV Geometry Correction Front Control Arm Drop Brackets
 
Now that AEV has officially released a set of these compatible with 2.5" kits, I nominated myself the guinea pig, as no one else has yet to post on these brackets at this height.

As a bit of background, I am running the 2.5" RC BB. I have #59 coils in the rear and 14/15 front stock. After the lift, handling was pretty much unchanged, from what I could tell. The soft front coils left me with a pretty healthy rake still, which I was hellbent to get rid of. I bought a pair of #19 front coils and stuck those on. Viola! Nice and level appearance. I gained exactly 1" up front upgrading these coils, putting my total new height over stock at 2" rear and 3.5" front.

However, I began noticing a bit of loss of road manners at this point. No wander on the highway, but at speeds of 50 mph+, expansion joints/pot holes/washboard-type stuff would throw a bit of shimmy into the front end. It would settle itself out on its own without slowing, and literally only lasted a second or two at most. Not death wobble, by any means, and nothing that made the Jeep dangerous to drive. Just didn't feel right. I knew when it was going to happen because I drove over the same road imperfections daily, but even when expected, shimmy and vibration at speed does not seem OK.

So, after reading countless positive reviews on AEV's control arm drop brackets from guys with bigger lifts, I was pretty excited to give them a try. They make quite a few claims about these brackets, and at $99, I figured it was worth a shot:

JK Geometry Correction Front Control Arm Drop Brackets - Shop By Category

This write up sadly is only about the install for today, as I have two little ones in bed right now and the wife is working tonight, so I cannot test drive. I will report back in tomorrow on the drive.

As far as install- a few tips:

-Loosen, but do not remove, all front LCA and UCA bolts. Even though the axle side bolts don't need to come out to install the brackets, failure to loosen these will cause binding in the bushings. If you don't know what I mean, try disconnecting either your LCA or UCA at the frame and pushing down on it. It does not want to move, as the front is tightened (or at least should be) to the original geometry. This kit will be changing that.

-I started on the passenger side. Chock your front tire on the side you are working on from the front, to help hold the axle in place. Only fully remove the frameside bolts from one side at a time, or you will drop your axle and have a bigger job to pull it back up.

-I had read from other reviews that the UCA bolt on the frame side would not come out on models older than '12 due to clearance issues with the catalytic converter. Easiest course of action is to cut off the factory bolt after loosening it as far as it will go and replace with a new bolt ($8 at dealership). When you reassemble the bracket onto the frame, send the bolt from outside the frame and put the nut inside, next to the cat. Be very careful not to drop your socket/bolt/etc into the small cutout on the frame, it is not much fun to fish stuff out of there.

-Once you have the brackets on, you will remount your control arms into the brackets. The UCA has 3 possible settings, based on your height from the spring perch to the frame. I measured 6 1/4", so I went with the topmost hole (2.5" lift setting). The CA's did not quite line up perfect with the brackets so I went to the front and gave the tire on the side I was working on a little push and kicked the wheel chock under to keep the tire in place. This seemed like the easiest way to adjust your axle and line up the CA's. I have heard of some using ratchet straps or just simply a helper to lean on the tire and push it back/forward. It really is a snap, even by yourself.

-Do not tighten any bolts past hand tight until every thing is fully reassembled. Give your rig a real good shake to help seat/settle the bushings, then get underneath and torque everything to spec.

As I said, as of this post, zero road time. Visually, however, "WOW". The LCA is pretty much horizontal to the ground and the UCA barely has any angle. Prior, the LCA was at a decent angle, perhaps 30 degrees, and the UCA was also kind of steep, but I did not measure, so I'm not certain of exact change. AEV met that claim handily. This in theory should improve handling both on and off-road. I did not measure my caster before hand, but this kit claims to readjust close to stock, eliminating the need for adjustable LCAs. As I mentioned, I did not really notice any poor road manners that would be caused by low caster angle. Another claim AEV makes is these reduce dive when braking. Even with my lift, this is not an issue. I'm sure the stock stubby bumper vs a heavy aftermarket is why this is.

Some have poo-poo'd these brackets as they say you lose too much ground clearance. The bracket is ultimately right behind the tire and really does not look that much lower than stock. I imagine if you are doing hard core rocks, you would be whacking your LCA where it mounts on the frame, bracket or no bracket. I have seen pics of some rigs that really beat the hell out of these with no ill effects. Regardless, this is a non issue for me as the type of terrain I frequent will likely not put these in harms way, and even if it did, these bracket are pretty heavy and beefy.

I will give it a go and post back at some point tomorrow. If anyone has any questions, let me know. I did not post any pics, as the instruction on the AEV website are full of them, and this is not the most interesting looking mod. I am hoping this gives her back her manners, if not, I may try a beefier steering stabilizer, perhaps Rancho of Teraflex. I would prefer to save my $60 towards wheels and tires, though.

flyinion 02-24-2012 12:46 AM

Subscribed :) Saw these earlier today as I started looking at lifts. Sound like this might be a good buy. I started getting nervous since I don't know much yet about lifts and I started reading that even with a couple inches you need to start looking at new adjustable CA's which I then figured out aren't all that cheap (at least when you consider $$ in relation to the $$ a 2.5" lift costs vs. the bigger ones).

the Kolector 02-24-2012 12:59 AM

I looked at these brackets myself but ultimately decided for adjustable lower control arms. Am curious to hear about a real world test. As you said, nobody has really talked about these. Looking forward to an update.

Mastersonics 02-24-2012 06:43 AM

Subscribed...

stevebanzai 02-24-2012 08:43 AM

Subscribed. Lol

gluestick 02-24-2012 10:18 AM

Reporting back in. No highway miles yet, but a decent amount around town and at higher speed. First impression is very favorable. As background, my wife drives a Honda minivan. When I drive it, I often find myself only steering with a finger or two, as the ride is pretty plush and predictable. With the Jeep, I usually have at least one hand with a firm grip on the wheel, if not two hands loosely. I always considered the Jeep's handling to be just that, Jeepish. Small bumps, imperfections, and even the crown on the road would cause a bit of wander, enough so that I needed to pay more attention than while driving the van. I never considered it flighty or wandering, just Jeepish.

Well, after driving around the same roads I do most days, I found this was entirely gone. While not as plush as the van, I could safely let go of the steering wheel and small bumps did not affect the direction I was traveling. Virtually no correction was needed as I drove down the road, tracked pretty damn perfect. I had not registered this as a complaint prior to the mod, but what a pleasant surprise. I don't exactly remember how it handled pre-lift, but it may have been smoother than stock as far as handling quality. Very predictable and very drivable. I think my wife will like this. I did not tell her what I did, I will let her drive next time we go somewhere and see if she notices. My travels take me down a small, potholed mess of a road that will typically toss the Jeep any which way it feels if I drive it too fast. I blasted this section just to see what would happen and again, near perfect tracking. Still bumpy, yes, but requiring little, if any steering correction.

Now as far as my main gripe about the handling, there is a repair job on a local road, where traffic typically travels 50-55 mph. The patch is just prior to entering a corner, and was my nemesis as far as my shimmy. I hit it 3 times this morning, each time at increasing speed. While the imperfection was still noticeable, which was expected, the shimmy was greatly reduced, down to just a small very brief shudder in the front end, versus the almost harmonic and resonating (though brief and self correcting) feeling shimmy I had before.

So at the end of the day, these brackets will take some of the jeepish handling characteristics out, even at 2.5" of lift. No, it won't drive just like your wife's minivan or a Cadillac, but it certainly takes a lot of the regular steering correction out, as well as a more relaxed drive as I can safely control the vehicle with a much lighter grip on the steering wheel. Occasionally I drive pretty far highway distances in the Jeep, and I am looking forward to a more relaxed drive. Locally around town, it is just a bonus, requiring less concentration to keep tracking straight and making it a much more tame DD.

Overall I am happy with the results. I am looking forward to taking it out on the highway and of course off road, and will report back when I do. For $99, I think you could do a lot worse.

Good shot of the new lower LCA mounting point:

http://i44.tinypic.com/247c9.jpg


LCA's and UCA's nearly horizontal and parallel to one another:

http://i44.tinypic.com/358c9cz.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/35171j7.jpg


And last, "before" bracket mod, with 2" lift in rear and 3.5" front over stock height (note the slope of the LCA) :

http://i40.tinypic.com/2ur2pmc.jpg

kbwwolf 02-24-2012 10:22 AM

Sounds like a real bargain, for $99. Thanks for taking the time to write all this up. Nice job. :thumb:

biplane bob 02-24-2012 10:32 AM

Thanks for the information!
I just ordered the AEV 2.5" lift and this kit, along with there premium bumper an 5 wheels.
Expect all to ship 1st week of March.

ESP 02-24-2012 10:35 AM

Nice write up, thanks for sharing. Can't tell from the pics but are you running the JK911 bolt kit too?

gluestick 02-24-2012 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ESP (Post 2069536)
Nice write up, thanks for sharing. Can't tell from the pics but are you running the JK911 bolt kit too?

Yessir. The brackets mount to the frame with the original factory bolts, then LCA bolts to the bracket with my Poly bolts while UCA uses AEV bolts. The kit came with new bolts to attach the arms to the brackets, but I stuck with the Poly bolts where I could anyways. I am happy I held onto all of my stock/extra bolts and nuts over the course of my mods, you never know when one will come in handy.

gluestick 02-24-2012 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by biplane bob (Post 2069527)
Thanks for the information!
I just ordered the AEV 2.5" lift and this kit, along with there premium bumper an 5 wheels.
Expect all to ship 1st week of March.

Holy crap that is a lot of good stuff on your shopping list. Can you throw a set of 15" MB72's and some 33" duratracs on your list for me and have them shipped to my house? :whistling:

ESP 02-24-2012 10:46 AM

I may have missed this in the thread but are these brackets an attempt to correct castor without buying new adj or fixed LCAs?

gluestick 02-24-2012 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ESP (Post 2069571)
I may have missed this in the thread but are these brackets an attempt to correct castor without buying new adj or fixed LCAs?

Among many other things, yes. Read AEV's description here:

http://www.aev-conversions.com/shop/...ckets-frt.html

WeaselM29c 02-24-2012 01:30 PM

Needs a leadin. Looks like a good log grabber?

Daniel_M 02-24-2012 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WeaselM29c (Post 2070131)
Needs a leadin. Looks like a good log grabber?

Agreed. These wouldn't work for me, I'd hang up on everything. They are a good temporary fix or if it is a mall crawler.

-Dan

gluestick 02-24-2012 05:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WeaselM29c (Post 2070131)
Needs a leadin. Looks like a good log grabber?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daniel_M (Post 2070641)
Agreed. These wouldn't work for me, I'd hang up on everything. They are a good temporary fix or if it is a mall crawler.

-Dan

If you google these brackets, you can read countless lowbrow arguments on other forums between nay sayers who have never tried them making deductions as well as very seasoned rock crawlers who say they are bullet proof and have had no problems. That is not the purpose of this thread, as it has all been done before, and nothing positive came of it. In the mean time, there are many here who take offense to the mall crawler connotation :wavey:.

terminator012 02-24-2012 09:33 PM

I ordered a set of these with my lift today. Thanks for the heads up on that bolt.

gluestick 02-25-2012 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terminator012 (Post 2071710)
I ordered a set of these with my lift today. Thanks for the heads up on that bolt.

No problem. As you are doing both the lift and the brackets at the same time, the difference will be far more subtle, but I'm looking forward to how you and others fare with these.

chris.george 02-25-2012 09:54 AM

FINALLY :thumb:

Looks awesome gluestick!

chris.george 02-25-2012 10:01 AM

I'm curious if this will work with my size lift, I saw their PDF explaining if it will... but I'm wonder if I should just get adjustable LCA's and call it a day. hrm.

ESP 02-25-2012 10:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris.george (Post 2072808)
I'm curious if this will work with my size lift, I saw their PDF explaining if it will... but I'm wonder if I should just get adjustable LCA's and call it a day. hrm.

The brackets are the cheapest route but they do make "fixed" LCAs if your set on the lift height you have. They are not as much as adj ones.

terminator012 02-25-2012 10:22 AM

The lift I ordered is Ome from Dave at Northridge. He highly recommended these brackets. I also got the AEV rear trac bar tower for this lift. He said it wasn't necessary but I'm going to try it even though I'm getting JKS front and rear trac bars.

ESP 02-25-2012 10:34 AM

I have the JKS front/rear track bars too. They are good stuff.

kjeeper10 02-25-2012 10:42 AM

:wavey:

the Kolector 02-25-2012 10:44 AM

In the process of replace stock with Synergy front lower adjustable control arms and front adjustable track bar. I agree, the brackets are a nice budget friendly option, but at the same time do seem to hinder ground clearance at the same time. Guess it all depends on budget and intended use.

terminator012 02-25-2012 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the Kolector
In the process of replace stock with Synergy front lower adjustable control arms and front adjustable track bar. I agree, the brackets are a nice budget friendly option, but at the same time do seem to hinder ground clearance at the same time. Guess it all depends on budget and intended use.

I agree some what, but I don't see any aggressive rock crawling in the near future for this JKU. Time will tell.

chris.george 02-25-2012 12:11 PM

According to AEV the kit wouldn't fit anyhow. I only have 6" in front and 8" in back.... no idea how that's possible with a supposed 4" lift. C'est la vie

gluestick 02-25-2012 12:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris.george (Post 2073122)
According to AEV the kit wouldn't fit anyhow. I only have 6" in front and 8" in back.... no idea how that's possible with a supposed 4" lift. C'est la vie

Sounds like you may be measuring wrong. It is from the bottom of the spring perch, not the top. It is from where the coil actually seats to the frame.

kjeeper10 02-25-2012 12:34 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Eric..., you check your caster at all?


Got my CA's :cool:

ESP 02-25-2012 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kjeeper10 (Post 2073193)
Eric..., you check your caster at all?


Got my CA's :cool:

:drool:


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