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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'll start with a little background. This is my second Jeep and the first one that is also a DD, my wife's DD to be specific. So many of the decisions on how to build have been "jointly" made. :whacky: It is what it is...

It will be done in stages as many of us do on the major components. First will be lifting and tires. Then armor, trail doors and bumpers, etc. If all is going well, there will be an increase in tire size and gearing after that depending on what garage I am trying to fit in (it's an issue now).

It is a '12 that I have owned for about 2 years. The agreement with my wife was, own it a year and then you can play... My Miata was a full coil over suspension job 2 weeks after I got it, that didn't go over too well.

I am very in tune with suspension systems. I have raced motocross at a very high level and fast off road cars for quite a few years. 20 years ago, we were hand building suspension systems that ended up being the mainstream designs in off road cars for years to come.

Starting with this Sahara, as it is spec'd perfectly for my wife. She was so specific on the spec that I was looking all over the country for the exact rig and found it in California. It was originally in Texas. Most of the electronic goodies, including remote start and NO leather and it had to be Cosmos Blue. I just needed the 3.73's and the 3.6...

This was the second day of ownership:



I did add a number of pieces for fun.

Grabars - SpiderWebShade - SWS Cargo Shade - Besttop Tonneau - RedRock4x4 Wheel Spacers - Hella E-Code's and Philips X-Treme Power lamps. No need to photo that stuff as everyone knows the parts and they'll probably show up in photos later anyways.

I also spent a lot of time working on the audio system. Many of you know about the Stock Tweeter Mod and then the 6032si sound bar mod and lastly the subwoofer mod that makes up the PRS audio upgrade. Which has now continued to develop and add an amp to sub creating the PRS+ system.

In the first year, I also went through some fun with the suspension just to get familiar with it. Different factory springs and Rubi shocks went on as well as a set of TF front spacers. A couple of friends saw what I was doing and the next thing I knew, we were doing lifts on their rigs in my garage...

Having installed multiple kits and going through cycling the suspension, etc. it became clear to me that I could do it better than a kit. Why? Because they all design and engineer very conservatively. They don't know what size tires you will run, flats, what offset wheels you have or even how heavy your bumpers are, etc. For these and other reasons, the suspension "kits" are certainly not optimized. For example, they bump stopped for 35's to be safe, but you are running 33's and could use the extra 1" up travel without rubbing.

Then, I ran in to the deal of the century. Amazon was selling the Rancho RS66104 4" crawler system for less than $600. This was an 8 control arm lift that normally runs about $1700 and I couldn't resist and ordered it in January. My plan was to modify the lift with 3" springs and custom bump stops, etc. Well 2 of us here on WF ordered those kits within about 5 minutes of each other. Then when my "kit" arrived, I got only the box of 4" springs. Amazon said that's all they had and that I would have to wait if I wanted a replacement. So I did... for 4 months. It's important to note that the other guy got his lift complete and put it up on Craigslist and even here on WF to resell and make a profit. Good for him, but it didn't work out for me. Eventually my lust for the smokin' deal faded, the Amazon order was cancelled and I went back to create the lift I wanted to create in the first place.

Some of my choices were made based on input from very respected posters here on WF, for example the RK springs... I've put on TF and Rancho and ridden in many rigs with others springs like MC and RE, etc. I had no personal experience with RK, but that's what I ordered. Thank you @kjeeper10 and @jadmt .

Everything I will use was chosen for a reason. Be it design, fitment or price and even influence from others, like the springs. For example, the JKS front track bar. It is simply the best product on the market. I've worked with the TF Monster and others and the JKS simply stands out above the rest in my opinion.

More to come later today, including my lift BOM...
 
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Sounds like a great plan. Have you thought about how to address the exhaust/driveshaft issue? I just pulled my Rancho y-pipe conversion off. It hung too low and last week we were out and my buddy who has the same set up hit his hard and developed a bad exhaust leak. I looked and you could see the leak was at the head/manifold connection. He did take it in and had the driver's side catalytic convertor replaced. they replaced it under warranty and said that somehow it got warped at the head. Might have been weird timing but way to much of a coincidence for me. Their is 0 give at the crossover so any upward pressure on the rancho pipe goes directly to the manifold. Not like the rest of the exhaust back that has lots of play and is rubber mounted.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like a great plan. Have you thought about how to address the exhaust/driveshaft issue? I just pulled my Rancho y-pipe conversion off. It hung too low and last week we were out and my buddy who has the same set up hit his hard and developed a bad exhaust leak. I looked and you could see the leak was at the head/manifold connection. He did take it in and had the driver's side catalytic convertor replaced. they replaced it under warranty and said that somehow it got warped at the head. Might have been weird timing but way to much of a coincidence for me. Their is 0 give at the crossover so any upward pressure on the rancho pipe goes directly to the manifold. Not like the rest of the exhaust back that has lots of play and is rubber mounted.
Great info. I have a set of the RE exhaust spacers, they are a duplicate of the TF design which I believe is better than the Rugged Ridge although they are more $$. I know the crossover pipe does not hang down as low as the Rancho pipe does. I will find out if the clearance is good or not very soon... Also, it may influence my armor decisions in phase 2.

I am prepared to do a drive shaft around phase 3 if needed.

And I agree about the coincidence... not buying it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is the equipment list for the lift and a brief comment on why it was selected.

Rock Krawler RK03100 Front 2.5 springs
Rock Krawler RK03101 Rear 2.5 springs


Newest triple rate spring highly recommended by multiple WF members that have experience with many springs, including the springs I have experience with. I'm counting on their opinion.

Rancho RS55331 Front RS5000X shock
Rancho RS55332 Rear RS5000X shock


This shock size is typically used on 4" kit lifts. After my research and experimentation, I can do this longer shock with 2" bump stops front and rear using tires that are slightly less than 35's to keep from rubbing stock fenders. This will give me significantly more flex and droop than a typical kit set up. Also, jadmt has this exact spring and shock combo and has given a big thumbs up.

Homemade F&R bump stops - Hockey Pucks

I will use 2 hockey pucks on all 4 corners to set my initial bump stop height. I can then fine tune as needed with fender washers or using a 2" hole saw on 1/4 aluminum plate, etc.

Rubicon Express RE1607 Rear Track Bar bracket

Although the common TF bracket could be used, I wanted a full 4" of roll center adjustment as well as in my analysis of design, I feel like the additional bends in the other brackets create a flex point where the in-line mounting design on the RE will provide excellent strength. It is also made of a thicker material than the TF.

Rubicon Express RE1508 and RE1507 Brake Line brackets

These brackets have the locating tabs for positioning that some other brackets do not have. I know that I may have to replace the lines.

Teraflex 1252000 Sport Fixed Lower Control Arms

I intend to use adjustable uppers both front and rear and fixed lowers both front and rear and the TF seemed like the logical choice as they were quite a bit less expensive than the Synergy arms and I believe at 2.5 this is the best form of caster correction.

JKS OGS121 Front Track Bar

Having seen and installed multiple other bars, the JKS is the premium bar in my opinion. When I analyzed the bar diameter and material thickness compared to the other bars from an engineering and materials perspective, it was clear that the JKS bar would have less deflection and higher resistance to flex than even the solid bars from other manufacturers.

Superlift 5771 Rear Track Bar

Since I am using a bracket that raises my roll center more than most, I needed a bar that would adjust shorter than stock. I contacted many manufacturers and came to the conclusion that the SL bar was the best for this application. It has a lifetime warranty, high mis-alignment bushings that feel great and it has the LOWEST price.

Multiple users seem to agree: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/shorter-rear-track-bar-1183905.html

Rubicon Express RXT2000BJK Steering Stabilizer with relocation

This was more a cost based decision as it was inexpensive and included the relocation brackets and hardware. If I wasn't going with a Fox ATS, I was going simple.

Rubicon Express RE1157 Extended Rear Sway Bar Links

Best link I found in the length I wanted.

Rubicon Express RE4532 Exhaust Spacers

Spun aluminum straight through design just like the TF, which I feel is better than the Rugged Ridge.

Rugged Ridge ORV-1830360 Parking Brake Hanger

With as much droop as I expect, I felt I needed to extend the parking brake cable.

Rear links to the front until I decide what disconnects I want to run.

Grade 8 bolts in both track bars and the lower control arms.

Here is what it all looks like before I start:



I'm in at just over the cost of an RK 2.5 Flex with a lot more parts and nothing that I feel is a big compromise.
 

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AWESOME!! Dude, you are way, way, way organized! Looks like a good time. I'll be following along so take a bunch of pictures and some schooling would also be good. :)
 

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looks very complete. You will be pleased with the results. Good call on the parking brake hanger extenders as they get very tight otherwise. I use zip ties to hold the cables to the wire hangers but I like your idea better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
So I got started on the install, went to the rear first just because of how it was parked in the garage. Had my parts laid out and put up a folding table for tools...

I was asked before about my electric impact, it's the HFT cheapo and it's great for dis-assembly and also for running the bolts in before torquing.



Once I had it all broke down I started putting it back together. First was the parking brake extension. This little guy is quite a chore to get to without a lift. My future son in law is a little smaller than me and was very helpful in the contortion needed to get this bad boy tightened down. Interestingly enough, at full droop now, the lines are still mega tight and I'm going to try to bend the arms a little to see if I can get them loosened up.




Then I did the brake line drop brackets. Pretty straight forward, but even with the amount of drop, the passenger side doesn't allow for full droop. New rear lines are a must and will need to go on before flexing in the real world.



Next was the homemade bump stops. Using the imprint on my bump stop pad, I determined the front hole would be the best location. The pucks drill easy and mounted in minutes. Really solid and simple.




Springs, track bar and bracket were non eventful. Although spring retainers are on the shopping list, they don't come out at full droop, but get loose. Track bar was easy to center and with the jam nut on the frame side I didn't need to remove it to get it locked down.



The rear sway bar links turned out to be a good length as the bar is dead nuts flat at ride height. So far, so good...



Not a great shot of the rear, I didn't realize the too much muffler angle.




Once I get the brake lines swapped out, I'll get some flex photos up. At this point, I can just say it's got a truckload of droop...

Now to organize the pics on the front install. :happyyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, the first delay was on the front... Just removing the wheels took an extra 30 minutes to deal with this POS stock lug nut. I never replaced them because wheels were always on the shopping list.

 

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Ok, the first delay was on the front... Just removing the wheels took an extra 30 minutes to deal with this POS stock lug nut. I never replaced them because wheels were always on the shopping list.
O come on! This lug looks like you used it to zero your scope on the 50 cal. Lmao It's looking great.

I love the hockey pucks. Getting up in those break line brackets with a wrench....AArggh.

Do you like the SL track bar? I think it's nice.

There is only one thing I can't stand and I can't get by it, the big ass exhaust. It's ugly and needs to die and be planted in the ground. Other than that looks perfecto. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
O come on! This lug looks like you used it to zero your scope on the 50 cal. Lmao It's looking great.

I love the hockey pucks. Getting up in those break line brackets with a wrench....AArggh.

Do you like the SL track bar? I think it's nice.

There is only one thing I can't stand and I can't get by it, the big ass exhaust. It's ugly and needs to die and be planted in the ground. Other than that looks perfecto. :)
That's what I had to do to it to get on the "real" nut and get the POS off. Although a Barrett 50 cal sounds funner...

Very happy with the SL track bar. Perfect fit and exactly what we expected it to do.

The exhaust will go at some point... I'd really like an aFe High Tuck. Will have to wait a bit though, still need to pay for tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So after the lug nut BITCH, I got back to business.

Front apart and drilled and tapped for bump stops, next went in the springs. All business as usual.




Then I went to work on the front brake lines. I was just going to pop them out of the brackets like most do but decided I would try the elevated mount. I had a set of drop brackets but they are not really needed so I bent the tab and mounted them so that the factory mount was up behind the spring. Cycling the steering and springs and it looks like a winner. It just fits in between the shock and spring.




The front bump stops, just like the rear, are 2" hockey pucks center drilled just like a Metalcloak without the fancy gold anodized washer. Easy peazy lemon squeezy.




JKS front track bar is the bomb. Nothing else to be said... The only way it could be better is to not be a jam nut design. This shows the steering cycled full right to check for clearance.




Relocated steering stabilized was as easy as it gets also. She's a little tight and I like that... (loved typing that)

See the scissor jack? A couple of spots I needed a little more height to get my jack stands in and out and that did it.



Last piece to go in was the new arms. Also a piece of cake.



So....

How about some before and after??



 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
So here's the measurements... I was a bit taller than normal to begin with and had a 1" puck in front already.


Front.


I was getting 10-3/4 before lift. That was with the 18's and a TF 1" puck.

Now I'm at 12-3/4. So that's 2" more than I had and about 3-3/8 above stock.

Rear.


I was at 5-1/4 with the 59's and now I'm at 7-1/2. So I picked up 2-1/4.

I basically went up 2" fr & rr from where I was with the leveling puck in front. My opinion at this point is even though I am light, I didn't get as much "over lift" as many others report.

Wife says it's nose high... :pullinghair: I'm willing to let it settle a bit and get the wheels and tires on it before deciding what I think about that.

Drives great, cut the right pull I had in half... I'll get out and get a pinion measurement when I can. Right now I gots to go get ready for a family dinner.

:beerdrinking:
 

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for the rear parking brake line just loop a zip tie around the wire hanger and the brake line and that gives plenty of slack. I am surprised that your rear brake lines don't have enough slack as mine have plenty of slack at full droop. I wonder if the Tera flex brake line bracket relocator is longer.
 

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P, that's a gorgeous blue. Some big tires, ummm, that's going to be a sweet rig. It has a classy feel to it. I really like it.
I need to do my SS. I really need to stop buying crap so I can get some cool wheels and tires. :)
Good write up and lots of pics. Thx
 

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I also would countersink the bolts into the hockey pucks so they don't tear off your stock bumpstops. I used a wood boring bit to do mine when I was using pucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I also would countersink the bolts into the hockey pucks so they don't tear off your stock bumpstops. I used a wood boring bit to do mine when I was using pucks.
That's an idea, I actually have button caps ordered but they didn't get here in time. I'll look at countersinking them.


for the rear parking brake line just loop a zip tie around the wire hanger and the brake line and that gives plenty of slack. I am surprised that your rear brake lines don't have enough slack as mine have plenty of slack at full droop. I wonder if the Tera flex brake line bracket relocator is longer.
I'll measure when I get a chance, let's compare them.


*
 

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That's an idea, I actually have button caps ordered but they didn't get here in time. I'll look at countersinking them.




I'll measure when I get a chance, let's compare them.


*
this is at full droop with the 28.25" long shocks and you can still see plenty of slack. Perhaps yours droops further then mine as looking at the photos your relocation brackets look to hang down about the same as mine.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
this is at full droop with the 28.25" long shocks and you can still see plenty of slack. Perhaps yours droops further then mine as looking at the photos your relocation brackets look to hang down about the same as mine.

Ok, let's analyze this a little. My drivers side seems marginally ok, it gets pulled straight, but the shock tops out. The passenger side comes up about 1.25" short... You are showing drivers side, have you drooped the passenger side the same to compare?

Also, do you know for sure that your fully drooped there? When my shocks top out, I can see a tiny bit of shock shaft under the dust boot. If your boots are the same, it looks like your shock isn't fully extended.

Look at Ken's shock picture:

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/add-bump-stop-or-shorter-shock-1249793.html#post19153889

Fun stuff this maximizing our suspensions is... :beerdrinking:
 

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both sides the same. they are fully extended in as much as the rear tire is slightly off the ground and the shock measures about 28" from center of bottom bolt to the top of the mount so specs say the shock should be 28.25" fully extended and about as close to that in actual extension as can be. I am running a jks adjustable rear link that is adjusted to 12.25" eye to eye. now it is possible that my stock control arms are limiting further droop and in this photo I did roll back slightly to get rear tire on ground for an accurate rti. but when tire was off ground still had slack. I will say my drives side flexes slightly more then passenger side before lifting the rear tire..
 

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I missed this ... :eek:

I would take the time and cycle the axles without the coils. Whats showing for shock shaft and actual up travel differ because of the CA arc.
I found this out yesterday :eek:

I like how you drilled the rear stops :)
RC has a section of Square tubing drilled 2 ways 2/4" i believe. For $20 why not ?
 
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