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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a while WF.....I need some advice/ help making a decision.

I recently picked up a full set of lower adjustable control arms. My jeep is lifted 2.5" in suspension and 1.25" with a body lift. I still have stock track bars front and rear. I bought the lower control so that I could get everything lined back up. I just talked to a very reputable 4x4 shop here in Burlington and he said the arms will line things up better than they are now but it won't be perfect without the adjustable track bars. That's understandable, but I started thinking is it really worth putting in the lower control arms? It's cold here and I don't have a garage to put them on myself and they charge $90 and hour then + an alignment. However I know they will do it right the first time because they know there stuff.

My question is, will the arms really benefit me enough to have them put in? Besides get the jeep a little more aligned what else will I benefit from them that will make this worth it? My other option is to just leave it the way it is and sell the LC arms. What do ya think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I do my own alignment as well but by alignment I mean adjusting the control arms to the proper length etc... I can do the front end myself but I may as well have them do the front end while they have it on the machine while doing the rest of the alignment.

Yes it's very squirrely on the road, has been since I put the lift on a year and a half ago. You think the arms will help that?
 

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What kind of arms are they? That's needed to first verify that they've got any value.

Don't view adjustable control arms as being needed at x" height. Your control arms are the most important pieces of your suspension and will, therefore, make the biggest difference in how your rig drives, feels, and handles. Adjustment is absolutely needed to dial in proper caster, pinion angle, and to position the axles where they need to be but the wrong bushings/ends will give you more headaches than they're worth. The control arms hold the axles in place so if they're not up to the duty of doing that while also complying with high amounts of travel, you'll soon have a wobbly, clunky rig that drives like crap.

Short and sweet: Control arms can make or break your rig.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here is what they are. I've gotten a number of things from these guys and it's all been quality stuff. The rig drives like crap now so I figure it can only make it better but I guess I don't know. What do ya think?

IRON ROCK OFF ROAD: Heavy Duty Control Arms
 

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Good news: Not bad

Bad news: Could've done a lot better

You're dealing with Clevite rubber bushings in a solid arm. The reason the stock bushings hold up fairly well is because the arms can twist in a torsional manner, which helps to save the bushings. A solid arm won't do that so now all of the torsional forces will be directly applied to the bushings, which have next to no misalignment to allow for that movement. Fortunately, that only applies when this rig is off the road so as long as it's not a wheeler, you're fine. But, once the bond between the sleeve and bushing starts to fail, that's when you get wobbles, clunks, and an overall crappy experience.

If your stock bushings are shot, then these will really help. Unbolt one arm, bolt up the new arm and repeat. You should have no reason to adjust longer than stock since that will just lower your pinion and increase caster--the opposite of what you probably need. Without adjustable uppers, you can't position the axle where you want it (front to back) AND also dial in proper pinion/caster for your tire size and drivetrain height requirements. So, I'd just set them to stock length and run them--like I said, unless your stock bushings are trashed, you shouldn't notice much of a difference. There are plenty of other reasons why your rig may be driving like crap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info!

So basically putting in these adjustable LC arms in my case isn't really going to do much? Last time I had it aligned the thrust angle was off and so was caster. I'm guessing an adjustable rear track bar would take care of thrust angle and adjustable uppers would do the caster? So I'm taking it I should just put in the arms myself and do a front end alignment and call it done? I don't have any drive train vibration or anything it's just squirrely all over the road, I'm used to it but figured it was time to maybe try and fix it. I got those control arms for a steal so that's why I went with them.
 

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Questions you should be able to answer so that you can tackle this yourself:

Do you know what caster is and understand what's going on?
Do you know how to adjust it? Do you understand what else that's adjusting?
Do you know what range your caster should be in for your tire size?

The same goes for thrust angle. If it's off, your axles aren't square to the frame. Adjustable arms will help you achieve this since it's not always perfect from the factory.

If you can't answer all the questions above, I suggest you do some research online before you start. If possible, a smooth, flat garage where the Jeep can sit level is ideal. You're shooting in the dark if the rig isn't sitting level when your'e doing this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No and that's why I don't really want to tackle this myself. I've done some research and I understand what caster is but I'm not comfortable adjusting it myself. So will the lower arms help adjust anything except the thrust angle? I guess for what I'm going to pay to have them installed and adjusted I'd like to know there going to do me some good. I understand thrust angle and how they will help solve that problem that's why they need to be adjusted and not left to the same length as the stock arms.

I would be able to install the arms no problem but I don't trust myself to adjust them properly.
 

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Just THINK. Nothing about this is outside the realms of a normal afternoon and a normal guy. Just don't overcomplicate it.

If you know what caster is, then it should be obvious how it's adjusted. You rotate the axle housing by adjusting the length of the control arms. I don't know what size tires you have but 33's need to be in the 5-7* range and 35's need to be in the 4-6* range, etc.

The control arms keep the axle in place so obviously adjusting the lengths will position the axle differently (think thrust angle). I use the t-case skid bolts as a point of reference and measure to a common point on each side of the axle tube. You want to adjust the lowers in order to make the distances equal. Then you'll want to verify that the axles are square by cross-measuring common points from the RR to the LF and vice versa. Those distances need to be the same and if everything agrees, you're square and thrust angle is good. In order for those numbers to agree, the axles need to be centered, aka you need adjustable track bars.

It's really common sense. Don't overcomplicate things and you'll be fine. I can ASSURE you that you'll do a much better job and with 30 minutes of research, will understand what needs to be done much better than any monkey working at a Firestone.
 

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I replaced my lower control arms, trak bar, drag link and tie rod - now my jeep rides solid and doesn't feel like its wandering all over the road. I used stock control arm lengths.
 
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