Lifted- Rear Axle ride quality & flexibility - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 12-22-2011, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Lifted- Rear Axle ride quality & flexibility

I am more researching than looking to buy, for right now, on what the best areas are to focus on. My rig has about 3-1/2" of lift on it, naturally the ride quality has taken a hit the higher it gets. I'm a bit sensitive to changes within my vehicles, I tend to pickup on very subtle things (due to that is what I did for a living).

The front does just about everything I want it to. Rides better (compared to the rear), flexes out well and is super low maintenance. The only thing I have to tend to is the aftermarket track bar, the front AEV brackets have taken care of the caster and have helped the ride by dropping the back of the arms down. Zero complaints up there.

The rear isn't getting along very well. It rides like an unloaded pickup in the back (w/stock Rubicon shocks and new Skyjacker Hydros). It also takes a ton of weight on it to get it to articulate (see pics). Tomorrow, just for kicks, I am going to loosen all the arms and allow them to find home. Just on the off chance I forgot when swapping the springs a month or so ago, may help...but probably not.
  • As far as the rear's off-road flexing. Is the rear sway bar even worth the trouble of removing for trail use? On road I want to keep it (not for debate), but off road..it seems like I can use all the help I can get to make the axle do some work. I have thought about a front anti-rock (or similar) to help force more weight over the rear axle, however that may just end up making the entire rig be more stiff than really "helping" it articulate.
  • As far as the rear ride quality. Is there a bracket setup out there that allows the rear shocks to run more vertical? I don't care for the angled shocks, due to the suspension is essentially fighting itself for the shocks to compress. But I understand why it is that way, for packaging constraints.
  • Is there a specific arm design (bent, straight, etc) that is available that is more ride quality oriented? If I do go with arms, I would like to push the axle back about an inch to recenter the wheel within the well.

As you can see the front sway bar is disconnected. The rear axle is about dead even with the amount of body roll...it's not doing anything and the front is having to do all of the work.




Here, the front bar is connected (hanging the left front tire) and that extra "leveling" load from the front bar is making the rear axle do most of the work. I had about 1/2" more down travel left on the passenger rear shock, ~1-1/2" more uptravel left on the drivers rear shock. Basically the coil is bottoming before anything else, I was checking for what size bump stops I should add to it.



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post #2 of 27 Old 12-22-2011, 09:06 PM
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I would think swapping out the springs would be your best bet for improvement. When I had 4 door rubi coils on my jeep it rode like a tank. Swapped them out for some 2" old man emu springs and shocks and it was like night and day. Much more compliant ride on and off road. The suspension articulates freely w/o the need for any additional resistance. I have since swapped out the shocks for some longer teraflex units and they are valved a little stiffer than the ome's were but it feels just about right. Just my 2 cents.

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post #3 of 27 Old 12-22-2011, 09:20 PM
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Great question. In that first picture your left rear should definite be stuffed and it's not. This is probably giving you issues on those off camber areas too.

What kind of rear sway bar links do you have? Could they be the limiting factor...or part of it?

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post #4 of 27 Old 12-22-2011, 11:52 PM
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Mike, 2 things.

When I removed the rear swaybar, I can tell no difference on the road. So I have no intention of reinstalling it. We'll have to see if that helps off road. I'll be at Hidden Falls in about 3 weeks so I'll test it out there.

And... When I had my first lift, the rear didn't want to flex out at all. The spring rate was just a little too firm. With my current springs the rear rides much softer. Having said that I have to admit that the rear of my rig still doesn't come close to the performance of my front. The rear has more design constraints so I don't think its easy to get an honest front to rear balance.

Looking forward to following this thread.

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post #5 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 05:41 AM
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I have removed the rear sway and i don't see how u guys are driving like that. Maybe its cause I'm on 5.5 springs. I put it back on. Shocks are your problem good set will get rid of the bounce feeling. New springs would help too. Dual rate springs that is.
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post #6 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlvrJK View Post
I would think swapping out the springs would be your best bet for improvement. When I had 4 door rubi coils on my jeep it rode like a tank. Swapped them out for some 2" old man emu springs and shocks and it was like night and day. Much more compliant ride on and off road. The suspension articulates freely w/o the need for any additional resistance. I have since swapped out the shocks for some longer teraflex units and they are valved a little stiffer than the ome's were but it feels just about right. Just my 2 cents.
Now I swapped out the Unlimited Rubicon springs I had for the 2.5" Rough Country..it rode noticeably better right after that. However I wasn't quite happy with the height of the Rough Country springs, so I put my 2" rear and 2.5" front spacers back in it. Making my ~3.5" fraken lift after all my accessories. That change is where the ride quality changed most, in my opinion.

As the Jeep gets higher over the axle with stock arms both the angle of the control arms to the ground, and the angle of the rear shocks worsen. The shocks are already at an angle at stock height, bump it up 3.5" and it gets pretty noticeable, which does not allow them to function as much as they should.

I am somewhat planning to try the shock theory out with some homemade (but probably not trail worthy) extensions to see how they do a little straighter (as close to 90* to the ground as I can). However, that should not affect my articulation a whole lot (the shock angle) on a "static flex" like that. Despite how they want to react to the road, they shouldn't have a problem compressing like in the first picture.

The flexing issue is going to have to be in the arms and maybe the spring rate (some, as mentioned it rode noticeably better with the RCs).

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Originally Posted by TCdawg View Post
What kind of rear sway bar links do you have? Could they be the limiting factor...or part of it?
The rear sway bar end links are plenty long and I do plan on removing it to test and see how it does. The weight distribution of a 2dr is pretty darn good (shows 50%/50%), so it's hard to say there "isn't enough weight over the rear end". It is not so much that it's "limited", it just takes a lot of effort (front sway bar hooked up) to get it to want to work.


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Originally Posted by TEXASKEV View Post
Mike, 2 things.

When I removed the rear swaybar, I can tell no difference on the road. So I have no intention of reinstalling it. We'll have to see if that helps off road. I'll be at Hidden Falls in about 3 weeks so I'll test it out there.

And... When I had my first lift, the rear didn't want to flex out at all. The spring rate was just a little too firm. With my current springs the rear rides much softer. Having said that I have to admit that the rear of my rig still doesn't come close to the performance of my front. The rear has more design constraints so I don't think its easy to get an honest front to rear balance.

Looking forward to following this thread.
That is good to know on the sway bar. I may do a little testing to figure out just how much it does want to do. Jack under a tire and measuring the body height versus wheel lift with the bar on/off should give me a basic idea of how much it is functioning.

I am looking to get "something" out of the rear, I don't plan on getting the performance out of the front. But there has to be a somewhat simple reason why my rear axle is absolutely parallel with the body in the first picture. If it's a major binding sob and I need to swap the joints out, that's one thing. Spring rates should be similar, bushings are similar, weight distribution is similar. My biggest difference in the front is the dropped AEV brackets (which actually let it flex noticeably more over w/o using stock arms).

I don't plan on re-engineering the rig, but I'd like to find out just why it takes so much more to get it to work!

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post #7 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by frankie945 View Post
I have removed the rear sway and i don't see how u guys are driving like that. Maybe its cause I'm on 5.5 springs. I put it back on. Shocks are your problem good set will get rid of the bounce feeling. New springs would help too. Dual rate springs that is.
As mentioned, I am not quick to jump on the spring rate wagon just yet. The Jeep rode very well (in the rear) when before I put the pucks on top of the Rough Country springs. That +2" change of arm/shock angles is what I think is contributing most to my rear ride quality (not as much applied to the flex, but some).

Nor are the shocks my "problem" either in the static flex department. The factory shocks rode just a touch lighter than my Skyjacker Hydros. The stock shocks/ride was just fine before the added pucks.

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post #8 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 06:20 AM
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Right after new years I will have my take off oem rear upper and lowers that has a 1 inch stretch if you want them you can have em. At most you would have to do is grind off the weld on the uppers. I put a large enough sleeve in there you can re adjust for pinion angle and weld it back up, your two door pinion angle is probably little different then mine. No biggie if u want them pm me your address.
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post #9 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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Have any pics of what you are talking about? How long have they been "stretched"?

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post #10 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 07:00 AM
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these are set at RK measurements for the 4dr with 3.5 springs.

3.5 Front Track Bar Assembled Length = 32.625
3.5 Rear Track Bar Assembled Length = 39.75
3.5 Front Lower Control Arm Assembled Length = 23.125
3.5 Front Upper Control Arm Assembled Length = 19.375
3.5 Flex System Rear Lower Control Arm (2 Door) = 19.50
3.5 Flex System Rear Lower Control Arm (4 Door) = 20.00
3.5 X or X+ System Rear Lower Control Arm (2 Door) = 21.00
3.5 X or X+ System Rear Lower Control Arm (4 Door) = 21.375
3.5 X System Rear Upper Control Arm (2 Door) = 19.50
3.5 X System Rear Upper Control Arm (4 Door) = 18 15/16
3.5 X+ System Rear Upper Control Arm (2 Door) = 19.375

The lower you would have to let be because I machined the sleeve to fit. But the upper I will grind it off for you so you can measure and set it for pinion angle. It's just solid rectangle that slides in. Ive put 4 hard wheeling trips on these arms and they hold up just fine. I just did this to save some money on buying new rear arms they worked out great.
[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

Still riding on Teraflex 2.5 shocks they are way to short.
[IMG][/IMG]
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post #11 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 07:18 AM
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the rear sway bar i pretty darn weak, you can move it by hand pretty easily with the links off so I doubt thats causing you much problem

I'd look at springs, RC kind of has a rep for not being the best spring out there.

a new pair of springs is only about $150 and if you dont like them, you can resell them and get most of your money back pretty easily.

cjb321's 2dr rides and drives better than stock with his 3" poly stage 3 setup


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post #12 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 07:55 AM
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Goody, I'm off for the next week swing by. We can pull my control arms off and put them on yours. Fully adjustable and we can dial yours in.

If you want a set I have some tube here, all you need is some joints and a lathe to cut the threads.

I'm not a fan of springs being the problem, but the control arms and shocks are a big deal.

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This is exactly why we need to practice proper gun control.

If he was aiming down the sights correctly and had plenty of practice rounds under his belt, there would only be one side of this story.
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post #13 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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the rear sway bar i pretty darn weak, you can move it by hand pretty easily with the links off so I doubt thats causing you much problem

I'd look at springs, RC kind of has a rep for not being the best spring out there.

a new pair of springs is only about $150 and if you dont like them, you can resell them and get most of your money back pretty easily.

cjb321's 2dr rides and drives better than stock with his 3" poly stage 3 setup
I agree on them not being the best spring out there, but as mentioned, it rode noticeably better before tossing the pucks on top of them. The added height seems to have put a bind on things.

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Goody, I'm off for the next week swing by. We can pull my control arms off and put them on yours. Fully adjustable and we can dial yours in.

If you want a set I have some tube here, all you need is some joints and a lathe to cut the threads.

I'm not a fan of springs being the problem, but the control arms and shocks are a big deal.
Thanks for the offer John, but I rather not take parts off your rig to test out on mine. I know it's a pain to setup arms and such, but I appreciate it.

Which arms do you have? Happy with them?

I am interested in making my own rear arms however. I'm not so sure my 110amp welder w/flux would be enough to get a good burn on them. Just looking at others arms that are out there, the task shouldn't be too complicated. Just checking out options for now.

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post #14 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 08:28 AM
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Maybe I missed it somewhere, but are you still on the stock arms?
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post #15 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe I missed it somewhere, but are you still on the stock arms?
Yes, all around. Front just has AEV drop brackets.

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post #16 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 08:51 AM
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It's not a pain at all, out in 20 min. (Power tools rock) I'll just take the measurements before we adjust them. Had them out a few weeks ago changing zerks.

I made mine using ballistic joints.

I used 1.75 x .375 wall tube. Turned the ID and tapped for 1.25 threads. A bit stronger then standard threaded inserts.

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Originally Posted by Jscwerve View Post
This is exactly why we need to practice proper gun control.

If he was aiming down the sights correctly and had plenty of practice rounds under his belt, there would only be one side of this story.
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post #17 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Would you mind sharing what you had invested in the rear arms with the ballastic joints? I'd likely go the bung method for ease of assembly.

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post #18 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 09:02 AM
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I dunno, I just dont see the arms being the problem
I'm still on stock rear arms too

true its a 4dr tank, but they dont seem to limit things and I'm running more lift than you and dont have rear ride problems


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post #19 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 09:08 AM
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ok time to play captain obvious, you added pucks & the ride went to hell, right?
you sure your rear shocks are long enough?
if theyre topping out that would explain the shitty ride....


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post #20 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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ok time to play captain obvious, you added pucks & the ride went to hell, right?
you sure your rear shocks are long enough?
if theyre topping out that would explain the shitty ride....
Yes, actually I put new shocks on 3 days ago. They are 26.57" extended for the rears. They are what Skyjacker calls for a 4-5" lifted Jeep.

At ride height I have 5" of downtravel and 6" of uptravel before bottoming out one way or the other.

I had a bottoming out issue with the fronts which is what caused the quick shock replacement soon after. I had 1" of downtravel in the front with the stock shocks + extensions!

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post #21 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 09:41 AM
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I have about $90 a link in mine without the tube. I bought a full stick 8 yrs ago and still had some left from my bronco build.

I like them, I would go with the new Summit Machine joint or EVO joint if I had did it again.



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This is exactly why we need to practice proper gun control.

If he was aiming down the sights correctly and had plenty of practice rounds under his belt, there would only be one side of this story.
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post #22 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by venom View Post
I dunno, I just dont see the arms being the problem
I'm still on stock rear arms too

true its a 4dr tank, but they dont seem to limit things and I'm running more lift than you and dont have rear ride problems
It is weird, my buddy has a similar issue and he asked me about my arms. The rear seems a bit harsh, but on his It feels more like a shock issue then anything else.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jscwerve View Post
This is exactly why we need to practice proper gun control.

If he was aiming down the sights correctly and had plenty of practice rounds under his belt, there would only be one side of this story.
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post #23 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 09:53 AM
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Put the front up on something I think that will show you how much flex you are having in the rear. Least the up travel that is. That is how I measured for my rear bump stops. Droop is droop only thing stopping droop is shocks and sway links. That can be resolved easily.

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post #24 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 10:59 AM
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I dunno, I just dont see the arms being the problem
I'm still on stock rear arms too

true its a 4dr tank, but they dont seem to limit things and I'm running more lift than you and dont have rear ride problems
When I changed my stock control arms to the RK arms my rear flex improved greatly, as did the location of my axle, it's now pushed back one inch.

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post #25 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 01:44 PM
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On the shocks being straight up part... Doesn't the rear axle arc towards the rear when compressed? I know mine goes back and touches the rear bumper at full flex and my shock looks almost vertical on the compressed side.
If I moved my axle back a inch I would most likely tear my stock bumper off while flexing.
( I have stock rear uppers and skyjacker fixed lowers with 37 mud grapplers)

You smell that?
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Rottenbelly is offline  
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