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Old 10-26-2016, 06:21 AM
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Long Arm vs Short Arm Lift

I have been looking into different lifts and have seen the long and short arm kits for most sizes.

Obviously the name says what they are (long vs short) but I am trying to find info on what advantages one has over the other?

Is a long arm required over a certain amount of lift??
I am seeing lifts as small as 3" in long arm but almost no lift I can find 4.5" or larger is short arm?

Can someone instruct me on what the advantages and disadvantages on the 2 are?

I am considering a 4.5" lift but not sure I want to deal with the long arm as most of the kits I see come with extra parts for tummy tucks and such but I don't really want to go through all that work. I am just wanting a good 4.5" lift without all the extra added on items.

I even considered buying the Nth degree 4.5" front and rear springs alone and add on all the items I wanted (adjustable control arms, extended shocks, adj trac arms, etc.)

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Old 10-26-2016, 07:10 AM   #2
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In basic terms long arms provide better control arm angles, ride a bit better on road etc. Didn't know nth degree was back, did aev sell them off? What size tires do you plan to run?

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Old 10-26-2016, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 4Jeepn View Post
In basic terms long arms provide better control arm angles, ride a bit better on road etc. Didn't know nth degree was back, did aev sell them off? What size tires do you plan to run?
I have about a 2" lift now with 33's... Planned on going to 35's and maybe 17" wheels (if I can find some good ones)...

Didn't know much about Nth degree until a few hours ago... Just found these over at Quadratec

Nth Degree Mobility Mobility Rear 4.5" Coil Spring for 97-06 Jeep® Wrangler TJ | Quadratec

And some corresponding front springs...

Found Nth degree over here:
https://www.nthdegreemobility.com/
And looks like they are still in business?
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Old 10-26-2016, 08:04 AM   #4
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The LONG and SHORT of it (haha) is exactly as described above - there is no question long arms are better at handling because of the reduced control arm angles. Generally speaking, they are advantageous to have off-road as well if they are well designed, because they can offer less bind and more articulation. However, a low lifted 'LCG' style short arm can do both these things well also. If i was doing any more than a 3" lift, I would be doing a long arm, or atleast long arms in the front for handling.

And yes NTH degree never actually went away, the company who owns them just sucks at marketing. AEV sold Nth a few years back and they are now owned by knowwhere2jeep in Hanover, PA. I have the nth control arms on my Jeep, and plan on doing the tummy tucker shortly.
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Old 10-26-2016, 08:27 AM   #5
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long arms can be beneficial, but that does not mean that all long arm kits are an upgrade. most of the off the shelf stuff isnt well designed and would be a downgrade compared to a quality set of short arms.

you'd be hard pressed to notice any ride difference between short or long arm with normal lift heights.

travel/flex/articulation should be determined by shock travel. if using quality joints, the arms will not be a limiting factor
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:19 AM   #6
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I considered both long and short arm when I lifted my LJR 11 years ago. I ended up going with a 4.5 inch short arm kit and overall have been happy with my choice. It drives great on- and off-road. Factors I considered at the time were:
1. The ability to install it myself, with out needing to do structural welding, only bolt-on stuff I could do in my driveway
2. I wanted the option to be able to return the Jeep to stock, so I wasn't thrilled with the idea of cutting off the control arm brackets required for a long arm install - Today however, I don't think this is important any longer
3. I didn't want to have the expense and hassle of relocating the exhaust required with long arm kits
4. I was concerned about loss of clearance from dragging the extra long rear arms, required for an LJ, on rocks on the trail

All that said, I ended up buying a Rubicon Express 4.5 inch lift kit, ( with upgrades: JKS Quicker Disconnects, Bilstein 5100 shocks, and the RE extreme duty front track bar and rear adjustable track bar), but I wouldn't recommend their kit because of some poor design choices as I have now replaced all 8 adjustable control arms (with Rokmen adjustable arms) and the front adjustable track bar with a Currie adjustable track bar.
I do like the way the RE 4.5 springs combined with the Bilstein 5100 shocks ride. And, it flexes like mad off-road. (and if you are considering buying springs separately, RE components, like their springs, are guaranteed for life. I had mine replaced for free after 10 years of wheeling them as they started to sag slightly on the right side of the Jeep).

If I was going to lift a rig 4 inches today, I'd be looking at a Metalcloak or Currie short arm lift. I might consider adding a 1/2 spacer to the 4 inch springs they offer to get to 4.5 inches.
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Old 10-26-2016, 01:58 PM
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1. The ability to install it myself, with out needing to do structural welding, only bolt-on stuff I could do in my driveway
2. I wanted the option to be able to return the Jeep to stock, so I wasn't thrilled with the idea of cutting off the control arm brackets required for a long arm install - Today however, I don't think this is important any longer
3. I didn't want to have the expense and hassle of relocating the exhaust required with long arm kits
4. I was concerned about loss of clearance from dragging the extra long rear arms, required for an LJ, on rocks on the trail
Ok I didn't see anywhere about having to relocate exhaust and control arm mounts although it does make sense now that it is pointed out. At the moment I simply don't have the ability to cut and re-weld those mounts so I will certainly not be getting the long arm kits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LJ Dave View Post
If I was going to lift a rig 4 inches today, I'd be looking at a Metalcloak or Currie short arm lift. I might consider adding a 1/2 spacer to the 4 inch springs they offer to get to 4.5 inches.
The only issues I have had looking at those 2 are the expense of the kits. They want half the price I paid for my TJ just to lift it a few inches.
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Old 10-26-2016, 02:02 PM   #8
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for the budget minded lift, its really tough to beat the zone 4.25" lift. it gives you enough to get the jeep lifted but not a bunch of poorly designed parts that will wear out and need to be replaced like most other budget minded kits. a Currie or MC front track bar is a very highly recommended upgrade and you can add arms with quality joints down the road
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Old 10-26-2016, 04:44 PM   #9
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I have a long arm kit (Rough Country Long Arm Upgrade kit) on my 1997 TJ that I installed in my back yard. I used a 4.5" grinder with three cut-off wheels to get through the mounts and trim the skid plate, and a craftsman electric drill to drill through the frame. All other tools I used were either provided with the kit (the tool to put together the joints) or basic mechanics tools. I have not re-routed the exhaust as my jeep is only used for Off-Roading but haven't seen any dents or bangs on it since installation.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:00 PM   #10
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Short arms will very likely do everything you need them to do. Longer arms are intended to correct poor control arm geometry resulting from taller lifts. To be effective, the mounts need to be welded in the correct locations. Bolt on kits cannot do this.

If you are concerned about ride quality, then focus first on shocks and tire pressure. At our common lift heights even to fit 35s, control arm angles don't matter much.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:16 PM   #11
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I have Currie a short arm. Rides great and flexes its ass off

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Old 10-27-2016, 11:32 PM   #12
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There isn't a single long arm "bolt on kit" on the market that I would ever consider. If you guys go on Pirate4x4 forum and see the custom fabricated long arm set ups, you will see that bolt on long arm kits simply don't hold a candle.

(Also remember that long arms take a good beating in the rocks since the Arms are exposed in the belly area.)

If I see two TJs...one with a RE Long arm kit and one with a Currie Short arm, I will oooh and ahhh over the Currie set up. (Also a Metal Cloak Short arm set up.)


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