Front upper control arms - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Front upper control arms

Hello, I'd want to change my front upper Synergy control arms on my JK 3.8L Rubicon. I'm not satisfied of them because it wasn't so easy to set their lenght without removing them from the vehicle ,exspecially on driver site. Now I'm looking for Rock Krawler or Currie Enterprises. Did anyone install them on? Any advice about them? Thanks a lot.
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post #2 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 08:41 AM
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Confused, your major complaint about the Syn arms is difficulty adjusting the arms on the vehicle and the new direction is to inquire about arms that have no ability to be adjusted on the vehicle...

I have run RK arms for the past couple of years and have no complaints. Have had to rebuild a couple of joints which is not an issue with the right tools. Did I expect the joints to last longer, yes. Jam nuts are a bit of a struggle given there are no flats on the arms but again nothing the right tools can’t handle.

Would I buy them again, don’t know, several good choices out there now.
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64fabius View Post
Hello, I'd want to change my front upper Synergy control arms on my JK 3.8L Rubicon. I'm not satisfied of them because it wasn't so easy to set their lenght without removing them from the vehicle ,exspecially on driver site. Now I'm looking for Rock Krawler or Currie Enterprises. Did anyone install them on? Any advice about them? Thanks a lot.
What is the issue you're having with adjusting the arms?

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post #4 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Chris, thank you for the reply. The issue is: when it was necessary to adjust the lenght of driver site upper front control arm to set caster without removing it, I loose the pinch bolt but it wasn't so easy to turn the adjust sleeve because there isn't enough space to work on it with a wrench and so it was difficult to adjust it rightly. In my opinion it would be better if you had realized a control arm equipped with a double adjust sleeves, on both extremities of the control arm, rather than only one too near to the front axle.
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 64fabius View Post
Hi Chris, thank you for the reply. The issue is: when it was necessary to adjust the lenght of driver site upper front control arm to set caster without removing it, I loose the pinch bolt but it wasn't so easy to turn the adjust sleeve because there isn't enough space to work on it with a wrench and so it was difficult to adjust it rightly. In my opinion it would be better if you had realized a control arm equipped with a double adjust sleeves, on both extremities of the control arm, rather than only one too near to the front axle.
You are correct, there is not a lot of room under the Jeep to work. But, even with the limited room, our adjuster assembly is still easier to adjust than any of the others you mentioned which have to be removed, adjusted, re-installed, and then checked again. Not to mention, you have to get the jam nuts VERY tight (100's of lb-ft depending on jam nut size). You generally can't get them tight enough while on the vehicle, so once they are adjusted correctly you still have to remove them to tighten the jam nuts, typically in a vise, then install again.

Our adjuster assembly lets you set the length on the vehicle, then just tighten the pinch bolt to 90 lb-ft, which is easily manageable while on the vehicle.

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post #6 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Are you sure regarding the other competitors? I'm not. In fact, both RK and Curries upper front control arms can be adjusted even if they are installed on the vehicle without removing them. Please look at their web site and you could see what I've written.
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 11:18 AM
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I looked them up. Currie still offers the style that needs to be removed to adjust. It looks like they are now also offering an aluminum version that uses a jam nut on each side. RK's new version is similar, although they used to offer a version where one end was fixed.
https://www.quadratec.com/products/16189_2116_07.htm

I still don't understand how you think either of those will be easier? Instead of just turning an adjuster sleeve with a wrench, you now need to torque a jam nut on each side of the arm to 100's of lb-ft. I know Rock Krawler recommends removing their adjustable components and tightening jam nuts in a vise. You do not want jam nuts coming loose on the vehicle because with enough time the ends can pull out of the bar and that is extremely dangerous.

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post #8 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 11:26 AM
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I would not use RK stuff if you paid me. There are many many complaints about their arms and keeping the jam nuts tight. Like said above you have to remove the Currie and RK arms to adjust, like most on the market.
You might be tool challenged not control arm challenged. Look for some crows foot wrenches in the size you need for synergy (I think its 1 5/8"). Synergy has maybe the best arm on the market as far as quality, ride, and ease of adjustment (with proper tools)

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post #9 of 26 Old 03-22-2019, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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I accept your considerations regarding both the need to torq a jam nut on each side of RK or Currie arms and the use of proper tools. But for me I was unconfortable to rotate the jam nut at the end of the driver site Synergy arm near front axle. In my opinion, it would be better if the adjust sleeve was been placed on the other site like the Synergy lower arms.
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post #10 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64fabius View Post
I accept your considerations regarding both the need to torq a jam nut on each side of RK or Currie arms and the use of proper tools. But for me I was unconfortable to rotate the jam nut at the end of the driver site Synergy arm near front axle. In my opinion, it would be better if the adjust sleeve was been placed on the other site like the Synergy lower arms.
I have custom arms with hex tube ends and still use a pipe wrench on the link itself for adjusting and holding while I try my best to torque jam nuts. Be happy with what you have, Jam nuts are a bitch. Or spend money on a competitor despite what everyone has recommended here and find out for yourself. Lessons are best learned from mistakes.
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post #11 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 06:07 AM
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I have custom arms with hex tube ends and still use a pipe wrench on the link itself for adjusting and holding while I try my best to torque jam nuts. Be happy with what you have, Jam nuts are a bitch. Or spend money on a competitor despite what everyone has recommended here and find out for yourself. Lessons are best learned from mistakes.
Off topic slightly, but could you post a couple pics of your arms? Im looking into either building or buying mine right now
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post #12 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 09:30 AM
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I have seen it mentioned by RK to remove the arms completely to torque the jam nut. Thats fun.

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post #13 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 10:16 AM
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I recently asked about tightening the Metalcloak long arm jam nuts. They said to just use a big ass wrench with the arm fully bolted in. I'm skeptical... Seems like the axle side arm ends would end up twisted and bound up on the brackets.

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post #14 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 10:18 AM
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Actually with the metal cloak arms you can use the joints catching the brackets for the leverage you need and they will spring back since they are self centering. You only need one wrench to tighten them. Very easy compared to others.
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post #15 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
Actually with the metal cloak arms you can use the joints catching the brackets for the leverage you need and they will spring back since they are self centering. You only need one wrench to tighten them. Very easy compared to others.
Thank you sir. Very good to know.

To the OP, so I guess Metalcloak is a good alternative to the Synergy arms. BUT I gotta say that Synergy and Metalcloak make some damn fine products. I now have a mix of both on my rig: Synergy tie rod, drag link, front track bar, F&R frame side TB bracket braces (with the sector shaft brace). Metalcloak F&R control arms, rear track bar, and rear middle seat support plate (lol).

Definitely recommend a generous coating of marine grade anti-seize on all joint threads. After 3 years ~40,000 miles and off road ~1x/month I had to cut off most of my joints and buy new replacements (I used the silver anti-seize initially). The pinch bolt joints were the least troublesome.

I also had the RK track bars and DL back in 2014. The joints on those links seized so completely that they're basically destroyed now. The DL bolt was also seized in my Reid knuckle so badly I replaced the knuckle (may be able to salvage the knuckle though - just need a 40-ton press or something). Tried to get them to at least send me a new aluminum end for their "off road pro" DL and got nothing but crickets from them.
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post #16 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 10:49 AM
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I put Metal Cloak at the top of my list with Synergy being a very close second. I like the double adjusters that synergy uses but the Metal cloak joints are a bit softer and flex better, Many people don't like the gold finish on the Metal Cloak arms but they function well.

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post #17 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
I put Metal Cloak at the top of my list with Synergy being a very close second. I like the double adjusters that synergy uses but the Metal cloak joints are a bit softer and flex better, Many people don't like the gold finish on the Metal Cloak arms but they function well.
I'm a fan of the gold zinc. Probably because I worked on a lot of Japanese cars in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was used a lot on those cars.

I've swapped out my track bars and front sway bar links to match the control arms. The MetalCloak long sway bar links (14.5") are black, though. I had to call and give them a hard time about that.
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post #18 of 26 Old 03-23-2019, 01:50 PM
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I just picked up a big-ass crescent wrench from home despot. Works fine.

When I see that the arm twisting in the mounting brackets, sometimes I stick a wrench or pry bar between the joint and the bracket to limit how much it can rotate while I tighten the nut.

I've had a couple of lock nuts come lose so I use a tad of blue locktite on there.
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post #19 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 08:27 AM
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Actually with the metal cloak arms you can use the joints catching the brackets for the leverage you need and they will spring back since they are self centering. You only need one wrench to tighten them. Very easy compared to others.
Correct! That's what I did with mine and also put a little bit of red loctite on the threads under the jam nut and have't had to re-tighten them in 2 years of driving it. Can't get a better control arm than metalcloak in my opinion.

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post #20 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys, I've read all your interesting opinions about upper front control arms. But I've still a dubt: in what way do you generally set the caster angle, if you don't have a control arm adjustable on vehicle without removing it? Let's me to know your experiences...
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post #21 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 64fabius View Post
Hi guys, I've read all your interesting opinions about upper front control arms. But I've still a dubt: in what way do you generally set the caster angle, if you don't have a control arm adjustable on vehicle without removing it? Let's me to know your experiences...
For me it's just trial & error. Try to position the axle at your target pinion angle and measure hole-to-hole for the necessary arm length. Put in one arm and see how close you are. Repeat until your angle is acceptable. I think you'd really only need to adjust using one arm (passenger is easier??). When you're happy there, adjust the driver side arm till it fits.

Yeah the on-vehicle adjustment feature is nice and would save some time, but I don't feel they're that much of an advantage to not consider the other designs. Shouldn't have to adjust arm lengths very often. BUT you'd definitely want to take the arms off approx. once a year or so regardless, disassemble, clean threads and re-apply anti-seize just to keep them from becoming fixed-length arms for good lol.
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post #22 of 26 Old 03-25-2019, 07:27 PM
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I like the double adjusters that synergy uses
They're great when they're new, but talk about a corrosion issue in the design. Since there's a slit through the threads, all the threads get wet (I don't know any way they could improve this, it's sort of just a compromise to the design). Even with anti-seize I'm looking at an afternoon with hammers, cheater bars, and a torch trying to get those adjusters free after less than a year on the Jeep. Been through it three times now for alignment adjustments. All my conventional joints have never seized in the slightest even some without anti-seize left alone for years.

I do really like Synergy products, but I review everything objectively and that is one very unfortunate aspect of their design.
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post #23 of 26 Old 03-26-2019, 08:09 AM
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I guess it can be an issue if you don't keep your rig clean and maintained. They would be a bad choice for the upper mid west three the east coast. I have had their adjusters on my custom arms for 5-6 years with no issues. An easier option is to just build your own arms with a left and a right end. Loosen both jam nuts and spin the tube to adjust.

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post #24 of 26 Old 03-26-2019, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by christensent View Post
They're great when they're new, but talk about a corrosion issue in the design. Since there's a slit through the threads, all the threads get wet (I don't know any way they could improve this, it's sort of just a compromise to the design). Even with anti-seize I'm looking at an afternoon with hammers, cheater bars, and a torch trying to get those adjusters free after less than a year on the Jeep. Been through it three times now for alignment adjustments. All my conventional joints have never seized in the slightest even some without anti-seize left alone for years.

I do really like Synergy products, but I review everything objectively and that is one very unfortunate aspect of their design.
Most things are corrosion-resistant, but nothing is corrosion-proof. We don't have any control over what happens to our products after they leave us and maintaining finishes is always going to be on the customer, unfortunately. We do our best to mitigate corrosion by powder coating or zinc plating our components and applying anti-seize when they are assembled. We've been recommending this for a while now, but products like Fluid Film do an amazing job keeping components under the vehicle working, functioning, and looking like new. For those who live in the midwest, it's pretty much a requirement if you ever plan on working on your vehicle again.

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post #25 of 26 Old 03-27-2019, 12:54 PM
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I’ve had a RK X-Factor lift and the Metalcloak Gamechanger. I swapped the RK kit when a shop tightened jam nut came loose destroying the joint. I had the older style arms with only one adjustable joint but they have a few problems: the arms are threaded close to the joint making getting to the nuts very difficult while on the vehicle. The doubt adjuster will make setting the length easier for sure but you will still have to remove the arms and put them in double vices to properly tighten the jam nuts. The joints are very strong but are fairly loose. I made my own custom shims to install on the vehicle I now sell but if you can’t get to the nuts it won’t help.

I now have metalcloak arms and I’m very happy with them. With my shims I can tighten them on the vehicle. Setting the arms you can do one at a time a few turns (just keep count) and go back and forth. It doesn’t take too long and you can use a ratchet strap to add some holding tension to the axle.

I love my metalcloak. The nuts are all accessible even on 2.5” lift and the joints hold their position quite well though I’d still use a shim. I tightened all my arms on the vehicle fully installed.

Synergy also makes a good product. The Durometer bushings have a lot of similarities to metalcloak’s. If you can’t get to the adjuster just unbolt one side and adjust it like any other arm then reinstall. I don’t think you find a huge difference to the positive with another brand, at least not enough to warrant the cost.

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