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Discussion Starter #1
Does not look like anyone here is running a Carli kit on their Jeeps yet.

Why did I choose to go with Carli over all the other well-known manufacturers of Jeep suspensions out there? Very fair question. I was pretty close to going with the MetalCloak 3.5" GameChanger system, but also knew that Carli had these system in the works (There are two other kits w/ different shocks). I have ran their products on my diesel truck, and they are "the" name in top-quality dialed-in suspension systems that hold up to abuse. I say suspension system, because I truly believe they build more than just a "lift kit". I've been following along their products and testing for quite a few years now.

Then I started thinking of what this Jeep, really my wife's Jeep, is used for. 98% of the time it's to-and-from work, with the occasional trip out to Rausch Creek Offroad Park. Not doing any kind of crazy trails, rock crawling, and things of that sort where we would need maximum articulation etc. This Carli setup is tuned to give a great street ride, and support the off-road shenanigans too. Just not to the extreme extent some others are.

So with that, I decided to pull the trigger on the kit and give it a go.

I'll save the extra typing, and just link the kit I bought if you want to read the description.
Backcountry


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Discussion Starter #2
Before doing anything. Just washed it.
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Absolutely love the Milwaukee Rocket lights so much I bought another.
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Had to dig around a bit to find the locking lugnut key.
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Factory parts.
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All that crap yanked out. Damn those are some puny control arms!
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Front bump stop risers.
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Template provided for drilling.
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Discussion Starter #3
Front brake line replacement bracket.
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Front factory vs replacement sway bar end links.
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Misalignment spacers.
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Solid rod, knurled ends.
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Heim joint on one end of the front track bar.
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Can read more about the track bar and its joints here: Adjustable Track Bar, Front
Ended up buying a second big HF adjustable wrench to hold the heim joint in place while tightening this.

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Springs, end links, track bar installed. Cargo strap to pull the axle over a bit to line up the track bar bolts.
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Discussion Starter #4
Front end buttoned up minus tightening the top shock nuts.
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Brake lines routed.
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Need to get a little creative here.
Think I will grind down those tabs to make it a bit more rounded off, or wrap the line with some sort of metal somehow.
Have to see what people are doing.

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Front is done.
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Discussion Starter #5
Moving on to the rear end.
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Didn't get too far because I had a "helper"...but that time is worth way more than a little extra progress.
All the random conversations, boy talk, music etc. haha.
I'm glad she still wants to hang around me.

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Pulled out the shocks, end links, track bar, one brake line, installed brake line routing brackets.
Once I get the other brake line done, I can droop the axle far enough to drop the springs out.
I think. I hope.
I hope I don't need the brake lines disconnected in order to do the springs.
Guess I'll find out.

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Great write up with the pics.
What size tire are you planning on?
 
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Do you have any money left over for caster correction? What are you going with for caster correction as it didn't seem to include that in the kit?
So, straight rate springs up front and progressive / multi-rate springs in back. I wonder why they didn't go with matching springs front and back.
Cool template for drilling the front pads for the bump stop extensions. I just measured for center and drilled. But it isn't perfectly centered. Yours look to be more centered.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Do you have any money left over for caster correction? What are you going with for caster correction as it didn't seem to include that in the kit?
So, straight rate springs up front and progressive / multi-rate springs in back. I wonder why they didn't go with matching springs front and back.
Cool template for drilling the front pads for the bump stop extensions. I just measured for center and drilled. But it isn't perfectly centered. Yours look to be more centered.
Good questions. I can ask them about that. Is caster always an issue, or only sometimes? With as thorough and complete as their kits usually are, I feel it would have been addressed or mentioned if they ran into issues in their R&D. But that's just an assumption. I've also "heard" that they have arms coming out (yes have the money to continue buying parts, was hoping to get arms). I couldn't answer the question about the front/rear springs, but will provide what they say, in case it helps at all.

  • 3.0" Lift - Front Linear Rate Coil Spring
  • Slightly Reduced Spring Rate for Softer Ride
  • Cold Wound, Shot Peened, Pre-set and Powdercoated

  • 2.5" Lift - Rear Multi-Rate Coil Spring
  • Slightly Reduced Spring Rate for Softer Ride
  • Holds 500lbs 1" taller than factory springs
  • Cold Wound, Shot Peened, Pre-set and Powdercoated

The front linear rate Carli springs will lift your Jeep JKU 3.0″ while the rear is lifted 2.5” utilizing progressive coil springs.

When lifting the front end of a straight axle vehicle, the front axle is pulled off-center unless the proper linkages are addressed. This system includes an Adjustable Track Bar that’s designed to extend – we provide this measurement – to correct the driver’s side axle shift. Included in the system, we provide extended sway bar end links with spherical bearings to accommodate the extended travel and maintain the factory Rubicon Sway Bar Disconnect. The last piece of the puzzle; extended stainless brake lines ensure the bottom of the new travel stroke can be reached without ancillary component stress. A short billet bump riser is included to match the front shock travel.

To match the front, the rear is lifted 2.5” with a multi-rate coil spring ensuring a supple ride and reasonable carry capacity. The rear geometry being similar to the front, everything is included to support flawless operation of all components. A rear Track Bar Riser and adjustable track bar correct the axle position and minimize yaw (side to side movement of the body as the axle travels), extended Sway Bar Links are included to accommodate the extended travel stroke as are Stainless Brake Lines and Brake Line Routing Bracket guiding the longer brake lines clear of all moving components. Fabricated rear bump risers.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Little more progress today.
Parking brake drop bracket installed.

Before:

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After:
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10mm GearWrench fell apart in the middle of it.
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Rear track bar relocation bracket took a little bit of time with the drilling etc.
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Test fit. Drops right on.
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Two 3/8" holes required to be drilled through top of factory bracket, using new bracket as template/guide.
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Only small issue I ran into with this 1/2" hole that I noticed/thought of after I drilled, is that the two tabs are slightly misaligned.
Because of that, the bolt won't go straight through the straight hole.
Opened up the hole in the original bracket slightly with a Dremel and all was good.

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Representation of the misalignment I ran into:
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Discussion Starter #13
Bolted in, ready to weld.
Has 4 bolts holding it in, to include one through the middle with a crush sleeve.

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Ready to weld the tab to the axle housing.
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Time to set the rear sway bar end links.
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Lifting reduces caster.
Less caster means less stable.
Longer or adjustable lower front control arms can add back the lost caster.
Another great option is geometry brackets. They add back the lost caster plus they correct the angle of the front control arms. That improves the suspensions ability to do what it does, resulting in better ride quality.
Either option is valid, but I would avoid cam bolts. They are a third option, but not a good option.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Lifting reduces caster.
Less caster means less stable.
Longer or adjustable lower front control arms can add back the lost caster.
Another great option is geometry brackets. They add back the lost caster plus they correct the angle of the front control arms. That improves the suspensions ability to do what it does, resulting in better ride quality.
Either option is valid, but I would avoid cam bolts. They are a third option, but not a good option.
Like a busted up old shopping cart wheel!

I spoke with a rep at Carli yesterday (Yeah I know, there are plenty of existing options). They confirmed that they are done with their JK control arms, and working to fit them into production.

They said with the new arms, I will be at just over 4°, and with stock arms, at just over 3°.

Should have pricing by the 1st of December and sending to production around the same time.

If they are anything like their HD truck arms, they are going to be pretty badass.

I have MetalCloak on my Ram 2500 currently, and they are great arms. I was going to buy those, but, I think I might have to give these arms a go.

I will also look into the relocation brackets, maybe run both. Jeep runs more on-road than rocks, so it would probably be beneficial.

I appreciate your input!
 

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Like a busted up old shopping cart wheel!

I spoke with a rep at Carli yesterday (Yeah I know, there are plenty of existing options). They confirmed that they are done with their JK control arms, and working to fit them into production.

They said with the new arms, I will be at just over 4°, and with stock arms, at just over 3°.

Should have pricing by the 1st of December and sending to production around the same time.

If they are anything like their HD truck arms, they are going to be pretty badass.

I have MetalCloak on my Ram 2500 currently, and they are great arms. I was going to buy those, but, I think I might have to give these arms a go.

I will also look into the relocation brackets, maybe run both. Jeep runs more on-road than rocks, so it would probably be beneficial.

I appreciate your input!
Are their new arms adjustable? Or just a fixed length longer arm. You typically want to be around 5 degrees of caster, by the way.
I would really suggest you consider geometry brackets. They will give you a better driving Jeep. Unless you will be wheeling hard in the rocks the brackets are probably the better option. You can run brackets and arms, but only if the arms adjust to stock length (or near enough). You can't run the brackets AND fixed length longer arms.
Rancho make what are probably the gold standard geometry brackets. But I run MetalCloak. Harder to install, but I like the gold zinc finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Are their new arms adjustable? Or just a fixed length longer arm. You typically want to be around 5 degrees of caster, by the way.
I would really suggest you consider geometry brackets. They will give you a better driving Jeep. Unless you will be wheeling hard in the rocks the brackets are probably the better option. You can run brackets and arms, but only if the arms adjust to stock length (or near enough). You can't run the brackets AND fixed length longer arms.
Rancho make what are probably the gold standard geometry brackets. But I run MetalCloak. Harder to install, but I like the gold zinc finish.
Good question. I'll find out in a couple weeks when they make the information public.
I'm not opposed to adding anything functional that is built well. I noticed that the brackets also come with multiple holes for adjustment.
I'm kind of opposite on the color, I dislike the gold finish on the MetalCloak (mainly because the Jeep is basically blacked-out (Back Country), but it's easy enough to paint them.
Also surprised to hear a recommendation for Rancho...I usually equate them with low-budget lift kits for K5 Blazers.:LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Last thing we left off at was needing to get that track bar relocation bracket support welded to the axle tube. I have a nice welder, but, needed to get power out to the driveway. Built an extension cord to run from the dryer outlet to the driveway.
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OK cool. Got my welder out there. Crap. I can't weld. Well, I "can make metal stick together" but not at the point where I trust the safety of my family to my ability to weld chassis components. Guy from the local off-road shop was kind enough to swing by and hit it for me.

Better than the majority of the welds on the frame.
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Other side.
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Eh, it's what I had around. Good enough.
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Discussion Starter #19
I spent WAY too much time trying to get the dang springs in. I just could not get enough droop in the axle. I un-did everything I could, to include pulling the brake hard line bracket back off, sway bar holding brake line relocation brackets, parking brake cables back out of their holder, and unplugging the vent tube.

Still hung up on the wiring for the electronic locker. Then my light died. I was about to pack it in for the night, and then, picking up tools, looked on the other side of the rear diff and felt like an idiot. I don't know why I didn't look to check for electrical connectors. From the back it looked like the wires just went straight in. My fault for working when I was so over-tired. Also my fault for not doing things in a logical sensical order.
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Finally got them in after some more work.
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Put in the sway bar end links next.
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Passenger side end link not quite as vertical, but consensus is not to sweat it and it will get more line on the ground with more weight/settled in.
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Next up moving this thing over to the outside hole, away from the driveshaft.
Just re-using an existing threaded hole, drilling one new hole, and using a long bolt/nut on the rear hole. Quick work.
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Shifting it away from the driveshaft, toward the outside of the vehicle.
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Discussion Starter #20
Next thing was the Fox 2.0 Bypass shocks. These kicked my ass for a few minutes. They are just a VERY tight tolerance up there, but they will go. Factory shock has slots instead of oval holes, so they are a lot easier. Once I got the 2nd bolt in where I thought it should be, and got over my fear of cross-threading, I got it to go in.
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Looking like a suspension again.
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At near-full-droop, you can see the vent tube, e-locker wiring, and passenger's parking brake cable are all pretty tight. Vent is easy to fix. Other two not so much, but as long as she's not jumping the thing it should be OK. Should also be fine, I would imagine, with one side or the other dropping. (And yes, I flush-cut the zip-ties after!)
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Next up -- let's bleed the brakes! Last couple times I've had to bleed brakes, I've had to bug my wife to help me. I thought this time, I'll get the vacuum-assisted bleeder and save myself that trouble. Picked this up from Harbor Freight.
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Quick bench-test to see if it seals, yup, all seems to be good to go.
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Get out there, go to pull a vacuum, gauge is reading, but damnit, not sucking ANY fluid. Tried a few times, nothing. Said screw it, called out the wife, and did it the old-fashioned way.

Get back in the garage, messing around with it, and the realize it was set for pressure and not vacuum this whole time. Mega facepalm. I'm sure a couple of you astute mechanics picked that up in the pictures as you were scrolling through.

Decided I'd had just about enough for the night after that. 😂 But I was too close, couldn't stop there.

Looks like a suspension again.
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Aaaand back on four wheels again. Time for a test drive!
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Start driving around the block. Making a bit of weird noise in the brakes it seemed like. Traction Control (ESC?) light kept kicking in near-constantly. Took it back home to figure that out. All I could think of is "How did I mess something up THAT badly?!?"
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Did a bit of reading online, and another dumb oversight.

I hadn't set the drag link yet for the new suspension height yet (just wanted to see quick how it rode!), and the steering wheel was off center. I guess if the wheels are straight, but the steering wheel is turned, it causes some kind of sensory conflict. I just need to adjust the drag link to center up the wheel, and then hopefully it is OK. Been raining all night, so I didn't get the chance tonight to get under it. Hopefully tomorrow.

Almost to the end.
 
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