Long Arm vs Short Arm vs Standard - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-16-2009, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Long Arm vs Short Arm vs Standard

So I am pretty budget conscience at the moment and am considering putting a lift on my new JK. I really would only like to run MAX 35s so I feel like a 3 inch or so is probably about what I need. However, I dont want to sacrifice buying a lift now only to replace it with a better one down the road cause the one I bought wasnt up to the task.

So my question...are the differences between a "standard" lift kit like http://www.quadratec.com/products/16190_0001.htm and a long arm or short arm kit so great that I will be dissapointed in a few years?

I plan to use my jk as a daily driver but I would like to be able to take it up to Colorado from time to time. What are your thoughts? Is the standard lift sufficient for the occasional roust or should I save up and wait for when I can put on a long or short arm?
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-17-2009, 07:24 AM
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To be honest, if you are thinking of starting with a system like that, be sure to choose one that is upgrade-able so you can continue to progress as your needs to. For example, a customer can start with our 3.5" Entry Level System and then jump right to a full long arm system with a long arm upgrade. All of our systems are easily upgraded so the build can progress nicely.

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post #3 of 8 Old 08-17-2009, 12:54 PM
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You wrote of using your Jeep as a DD and some offroading. That is the approach I will go. Take a look at your stock control arms and note the angle that they have while sitting on a level surface. They should be fairly level and that is why you have a nice ride when stock. As you lift your Jeep the angle of your control arms steepens if nothing is done to lengthen the control arm and change the mounting locations.

The steeper the angle 'rougher or bouncer' the ride becomes. Long arm lifts change the angel back to stockish angles. Therefore the ride is smoother. Off road a long arm will allow more travel (articulation) which will keep your wheels on the ground longer which gives you better traction and smoother transition between flexion and compression of the suspension.

Money is almost always a factor and you mentioned it too. So look for a kit like Rock Crawler suggested that you can upgrade to rather then completely replace. If you can jump into a long arm then do so straigt off. After my second Wrangler we put on a long arm and wow was there a difference in ride, handling and offroading. My wife now insist on a long arm for every Wrangler we have had and this is the fifth Wrangler.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-17-2009, 01:10 PM
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Not to be an a$$, but I would say the search function is your friend. There's a lot of information on here that I think would be helpful for you as you make up your mind. I hate to make assumptions, but it sounds like you are new to the JK and when I first got my jeep it took me a year to figure out what I needed (time behind the wheel, time to read, time to figure out MY needs). If you're an old jeeper and not new to the JK, just ignore the rest of this.l

I did run the teraflex 2.5" spacer lift with shock extension for a year until I decided on a more complete kit. It worked fine and got me off road better than some of the other "built" looking rigs I saw out there. Lots of companies have really cheap spacer kits that will allow you to fit 35".

Expensive full blown kits are great if you have the coin and there are lots of reviews on why one is better than the other.

Anyways, lot of great threads and even product reviews.

- Ruskin
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-17-2009, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by themaniam1 View Post
As you lift your Jeep the angle of your control arms steepens if nothing is done to lengthen the control arm and change the mounting locations.
This is very true, but the arms on a JK are quite long to begin with. The angle increase for anything below a 5" or so lift on JK's is minimal, especially when compared to a TJ. The long arm definitely helps when you go much taller, but for shorter lifts I don't think the small, if any, gains in performance are worth the cash.

Going with something upgradeable is definitely a good idea. It costs more initially but saves you lots later on since you can reuse a lot of the same components.

The "must have" mods on older Jeeps don't necessarily carry over with JK's. they're a totally different animal and are capable of a lot better performance with less modifications.

JK "short" arms are by no means short.

Garrett @ Poly Performance
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-17-2009, 01:19 PM
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This is the same route I'm taking starting with there entry level kit which by the way rides great and slowly upgrading as needed. I already have my eye on the 3-link for the back.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-18-2009, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by CJBeavJK View Post
MAX 35s
quoted so later on when you are on 38's or larger

Doc-14 Tactical Products:
When it absolutely, positively needs to be made from random crap found in the back of my garage.

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post #8 of 8 Old 08-18-2009, 09:30 AM
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Take a look at

The Rancho 4" SPORT kit, after install all your control arms sit flat as stocks and on road ride is fantastic.....I know as I replaced my old lift with Rancho and it rides great. Shop where I had it installed hates short arm lift kits and swears by long arm....Mechanic commented after install and test drive it was the only "short" arm kit he has seen that rode like a long arm. Rancho uses drop brackets and reuses all your stock arms. They also claim it is stock drive shaft friendly even at full disco.

I can't compare it to a long arm as to off road, I will assume the long arm would be better for extreme stuff !

Not pimping anythign here, just want to share what worked for me !

Oh and kit costs under 1k with no additional parts needed and that is with the Rancho 9000xl 9 way adj shocks. Not sure how upgradeable it is or is not, some one with more exp than I could chime in with their thoughts. I'm a 90% DD so on road was quite important to me !

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