Clayton Premium Jeep Wrangler JK 4.5 Inch Lift Kit Installed... - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-16-2012, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Clayton Premium Jeep Wrangler JK 4.5 Inch Lift Kit Installed...

With the help of Ryan (Imposter), I recently installed the Clayton 4.5 Premium lift kit. I chose this kit out of the many options available due to its attractive price ($1,830 at Rebel Offroad at the time of ordering) while including all 8 (adjustable) control arms, a front adjustable track bar, brake lines (felt like a bonus), and a super-beefy rear trackbar axle-side relocation bracket (bolts around the axle tube and locates off the stock mount). In addition I wanted a kit that was both complete and bolt-in in case I ever decided to return to stock (to sell).

Packaging was great, individual pieces were wrapped to prevent damaging each other in transit. All pieces were received with coating intact and no apparent damage. The lower control arms are very beefy and I would not expect bending or failure. So while they have a lifetime warranty, I doubt it will be needed.

Install went smoothly, we did the rear first and then moved to the front. The instructions were for the most part easy to follow. However, I did not find recommendations for final caster/pinion angle adjustments (to set CA length or locate under springs), nor final track bar measurement (or a method to find it). In the end we measured from wheel hub to flare to determine if the axle was centered on the ground (initial given trackbar length was close enough). Setting the driveline angles was a little more frustrating as there is a lot of discussion online on what to run. In the end for the front I kept the initial settings Clayton provides (and they do call it that - initial) and found caster was ~3.2deg on a alignment rack. To maintain a decent pinion angle, I plan to keep this. For the rear we basically eyeballed it, splitting the angle between the two rzeppa CV joints of the stock driveshaft (this meant tipping the pinion up a bit).

While Clayton states on their web-site that a front driveshaft is needed only when equipped with an automatic, I found it is basically a requirement with a manual long-term as even when street driven only I found the t-case side rzeppa CV joint was spitting grease out after just 200 miles after install. The actual instructions are more conservative, stating that a front driveshaft may be needed for either 2 or 4dr models (not specifying transmission type). I would plan on replacing the front driveshaft with this kit; perhaps you can get away without on the 3.5" version.

I found the ride after to be very similar to stock, although I should note that I did not use Bilstein shocks as Clayton recommends but instead got the new monotube Rancho 7000MT's. I honestly don't know how much of the ride is due to the coils and how much to the shocks, but I am overall pleased with this combination. To me it feels near the stock Rubicon feel in harshness. Another note regarding the shocks (I do not know if this is an issue with the Bilstein's), but they do allow the front axle to droop so far down that the stock driveshaft slip boot is solidly into the heat shield for the exhaust, yet another reason the driveshaft will need to be upgraded.

Running the Clayton recommended tire size (37x12.5") and wheel backspacing (4.5") the tires rub the flares during articulation in multiple spots. I personally prefer the look of the stock full flares with the protection of inner liners and so this is a little troubling. I plan to contact Adam @ Clayton and ask about what they have found (their web-site shows a red JK with full flares and this kit flexing). One short wheeling trip and the tires definitely make contact in both the front and rear.

Overall I am happy with this kit. It was complete, and it is very beefy. Any questions you have/pics you would like, please ask.


Kevin

Shortly after install:








No pics fully flexed, but here is an idea of what it can do:








As mentioned, with the front axle at full droop the slip boot makes contact with the exhaust heat shield due to the amount of droop the shocks (which are not the ones Clayton recommends) allow. While you can not see it in the photo, grease is squirting up around the CV joint in the background, even when only street driven. This has been fixed with an aftermarket driveshaft.


Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Clayton Offroad Manufacturing (err... other than being a customer), opinions expressed here are my own, and your experience may vary.

Last edited by FalconKR5; 01-18-2012 at 04:59 AM.
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-16-2012, 02:53 PM
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Nice pics. Snow wheeling is cool......

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post #3 of 23 Old 01-16-2012, 02:54 PM
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Bad ass man! Love their products!


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I think I understand your question - but I am a two door guy.
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-16-2012, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Rock Krawler Suspension View Post
Nice pics. Snow wheeling is cool......

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Quite literally! LOL

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Bad ass man! Love their products!
Agree with this guy!
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-16-2012, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FalconKR5 View Post
With the help of my good friend Ryan (Imposter – thanks buddy), I recently installed the Clayton 4.5 Premium lift kit. I chose this kit out of the many options available due to its attractive price ($1,830 at Rebel Offroad at the time of ordering) while including all 8 (adjustable) control arms, a front adjustable track bar, brake lines (felt like a bonus), and a super-beefy rear trackbar axle-side relocation bracket (bolts around the axle tube and locates off the stock mount). In addition I wanted a kit that was both complete and bolt-in in case I ever decided to return to stock (to sell).

Packaging was great, individual pieces were wrapped to prevent damaging each other in transit. All pieces were received with coating intact and no apparent damage. The lower control arms are very beefy and I would not expect bending or failure. So while they have a lifetime warranty, I doubt it will be needed.

Install went smoothly, we did the rear first and then moved to the front. The instructions were for the most part easy to follow. However, I did not find recommendations for final caster/pinion angle adjustments (to set CA length or locate under springs), nor final track bar measurement (or a method to find it). In the end we measured from wheel hub to flare to determine if the axle was centered on the ground (initial given trackbar length was close enough). Setting the driveline angles was a little more frustrating as there is a lot of discussion online on what to run. In the end for the front I kept the initial settings Clayton provides (and they do call it that - initial) and found caster was ~3.2deg on a alignment rack. To maintain a decent pinion angle, I plan to keep this. For the rear we basically eyeballed it, splitting the angle between the two rzeppa CV joints of the stock driveshaft (this meant tipping the pinion up a bit).

While Clayton states on their web-site that a front driveshaft is needed only when equipped with an automatic, I found it is basically a requirement with a manual long-term as even when street driven only I found the t-case side rzeppa CV joint was spitting grease out after just 200 miles after install. The actual instructions are more conservative, stating that a front driveshaft may be needed for either 2 or 4dr models (not specifying transmission type). I would plan on replacing the front driveshaft with this kit; perhaps you can get away without on the 3.5" version.

I found the ride after to be very similar to stock, although I should note that I did not use Bilstein shocks as Clayton recommends but instead got the new monotube Rancho 7000MT's. I honestly don't know how much of the ride is due to the coils and how much to the shocks, but I am overall pleased with this combination. To me it feels near the stock Rubicon feel in harshness. Another note regarding the shocks (I do not know if this is an issue with the Bilstein's), but they do allow the front axle to droop so far down that the stock driveshaft slip boot is solidly into the heat shield for the exhaust, yet another reason the driveshaft will need to be upgraded.

Running the Clayton recommended tire size (37x12.5") and wheel backspacing (4.5") the tires rub the flares during articulation in multiple spots. I personally prefer the look of the stock full flares with the protection of inner liners and so this is a little troubling. I plan to contact Adam @ Clayton and ask about what they have found (their web-site shows a red JK with full flares and this kit flexing). One short wheeling trip and the tires definitely make contact in both the front and rear.

Overall I am happy with this kit. It was complete, and it is very beefy. Any questions you have/pics you would like, please ask.


Kevin

Shortly after install:








No pics fully flexed, but here is an idea of what it can do:








As mentioned, with the front axle at full droop the slip boot makes contact with the exhaust heat shield due to the amount of droop the shocks (which are not the ones Clayton recommends) allow. While you can not see it in the photo, grease is squirting up around the CV joint in the background, even when only street driven. This has been fixed with an aftermarket driveshaft.


Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Clayton Offroad Manufacturing (err... other than being a customer), opinions expressed here are my own, and your experience may vary.
Very nice looking jeep!


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post #6 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 06:52 PM
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Thanks for posting some pictures and information about your install.

The initial measurements are there to get you in the ball park so you can get everything installed under its own weight and then go back and make necessary adjustments. We provide the front lower, front upper, rear lower and trackbar lengths. These can and will vary depending on how much weight you have added to your Jeep. These measurements will get you close, and then we provide this final adjustment proceedure.
Final Adjustments
1. Make sure all springs are properly seated and lower vehicle onto its own weight.
2. Front trackbar alignment and caster angle procedure.
a. Make sure steering wheel is unlocked.
b. Remove trackbar at frame end.
c. Use bottle jack to hold axle from twisting forward or backwards and remove both upper arms at the axle end.
d. Use bottle jack to set 4.5-5 degrees of caster. (DO NOT install arms yet)
e. Set vehicle track.
f. Once track is set, double check caster angle and install both upper arms at the same time. Meaning do NOT install
one upper arm, remove the jack and then install the other. This will cause unequal load on one arm, and cause the
bushings to wear out faster. Upper arms do NOT have to be the same length.
3. Rear pinion angle procedure.
a. Put jack under rear pinion.
b. Remove both upper arms at axle end.
c. Set pinion angle.
d. Install both upper arms at the same time for the same reason as the front uppers. Upper arms do NOT have to be the
same length.
4. Go through the entire Jeep and tighten all suspension bolts and any other items you may have unbolted or loosened.
5. Tighten all suspension jam nuts. Lowers use a 46 mm wrench. Uppers use a 1 7/16 wrench.
6. Properly bleed brakelines and check for any leaks and a firm pedal.
7. Check tire clearance on rear body panel. Depending on tire size, lift height, rear arm length you may need to trim this lower
piece accordingly. See Photo # 8.
8. We recommend doing a test drive with the ESP manually disengaged. We highly recommend this system be updated to
properly function with you new lift height and larger tires. A proper alignment is a critical part to having the ESP function
properly.

We just added this digit angle finder to our online store. We find them helpful in setting these angles.

http://claytonoffroad.com/product_in...roducts_id/372
And after that for best results a qualified alignment shop.
As for the driveshafts, yes a front driveshaft is recommended. However since it will not rub on the side of the transmission on a manual model it is not crucial to do it right away. Yes that CV boot is over worked on a lifted JK, but we have not found that it will cause immediate issues. We ran our stock front driveshaft for about 2 years even with it being an auto. When we upgraded to the Tom Woods shaft we did notice that the CV boot was ripped, but it did not cause us any problems during that time.

Many customers email or call me to ask about this, and then I go into all the details. It usually comes down to the customer and another $450 dollars. But yes I would agree that on a lifted JK a front driveshaft upgrade will need to be done sooner or later.

As far as the rubbing, this comes down to actual tire size, backspacing, shock lengths and bumpstops. Most customers want maxium flex with minimum lift.

Here is a review on our premium 3.5" kit, and the installers actually decided to run 37s with our 3.5" and then comment how nicely it fits.

http://www.off-road.com/jeep/tech/cl...kit-53325.html

Well I hope I answered all your questions. I really do appreciate your feedback.

JK oil pan and t-case skids are in stock. They would look nice under your JK. Our new HD cross member should be available shortly. Shoot me an email for more info.

Adam
Clayton Off Road Inc.
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton Off Road Mfg View Post
Thanks for posting some pictures and information about your install.
Thank you for the solid product.

About 2.5 months to fine tune everything and then really test it at EJS. More pics will have to follow...
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-17-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FalconKR5 View Post
Thank you for the solid product.

About 2.5 months to fine tune everything and then really test it at EJS. More pics will have to follow...
Cool. We will be out at EJS 2012 this year. See you out there.

Adam
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 12:22 AM
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Great looking rig! Also, a greatly informative post by Clayton. Good work everyone!

Greg
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 11:40 AM
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love the mimimalist bumpers

I really like the short bumpers that don't get in the way of obstacles. Many bumpers I see are overbuilt and reduce approach angles at both ends of the vehicle. I see guys on the trail get hung up on their Burly aesthetic add-ons, that often end up damaged....where if they didn't have all that junk hanging off the rig, they would have cleared the obstacle. Oh well, different strokes, right....
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post #11 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 07:21 PM
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Hey FalconKR5 - i remember you from when I was back on JK Forum 9and we went wheeling at Bundy Hill with Wings Fan when you were still stock....i think you broke side steps or a bumper or a fender, something like that). Jeep's looking a lot different from when i last saw it.

Looking good.

1972 Commando on Tons & 40s
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post #12 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joneszj View Post
Hey FalconKR5 - i remember you from when I was back on JK Forum 9and we went wheeling at Bundy Hill with Wings Fan when you were still stock....i think you broke side steps or a bumper or a fender, something like that). Jeep's looking a lot different from when i last saw it.

Looking good.
I think he broke all of the above...lol.
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post #13 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joneszj View Post
Hey FalconKR5 - i remember you from when I was back on JK Forum 9and we went wheeling at Bundy Hill with Wings Fan when you were still stock....i think you broke side steps or a bumper or a fender, something like that). Jeep's looking a lot different from when i last saw it.

Looking good.
Never steps on this... but both bumpers. You ever in MI anymore?
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post #14 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 10:52 PM
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Turned out great. Sweet rig man.

08 2Door Red Rubicon. Rock Krawler 5.5 Longarm Coilover, Polly rear Coilovers. AEV hood & wheels, 37"KM2s, JE Reel 1350 shafts, 5.38 Yukon gears, Superior axles, Shrockworks stubby, Fab Fours rear, sPod, Rebel Offroad brakes, Warn winch and lots more.

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post #15 of 23 Old 01-19-2012, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conrman View Post
I really like the short bumpers that don't get in the way of obstacles. Many bumpers I see are overbuilt and reduce approach angles at both ends of the vehicle. I see guys on the trail get hung up on their Burly aesthetic add-ons, that often end up damaged....where if they didn't have all that junk hanging off the rig, they would have cleared the obstacle. Oh well, different strokes, right....
Agreed. And even though the front and rear are different manufacturers, the powdercoat finish is really quite similar; they really match well.
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post #16 of 23 Old 01-19-2012, 07:58 PM
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Jeep looks great! I am running the 3.5 clayton premium, have been for a year now, and it has been flawless! I also just ordered the same tires you have!
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post #17 of 23 Old 10-28-2013, 08:10 PM
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FalconKR5,

Now that you have had the lift for awhile can you give us an update on your experience with it? How is it holding up? Still running smooth and quiet? I am considering this lift for my JKUR so any more pics are appreciated. You rig is looking sweet!
-Hopkins
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post #18 of 23 Old 10-29-2013, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopkins View Post
FalconKR5,

Now that you have had the lift for awhile can you give us an update on your experience with it? How is it holding up? Still running smooth and quiet? I am considering this lift for my JKUR so any more pics are appreciated. You rig is looking sweet!
-Hopkins
I have had 0 issues with the lift thus far. Everything is tight and quiet. And that is with two trips from MI out to Moab. I would recommend the lift.
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post #19 of 23 Old 10-29-2013, 06:43 AM
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Clayton makes great stuff. One of my local club memebers has their suspension under his race LJ (sponsored by Clayton) and is doing great with it. KoH, etc. abuse, no issues to report.

'09 JKRU. 4" Teraflex long arm, Teraflex R44 housing, Teraflex / Fox Resis, Poly Performance skids, Nemesis Billy Rockers, Nemesis flares, 37" ATZ P3s on 17" 5x5.5" Trailready HDs, Spyntec hubs, Teraflex BBK, Mopar BBK master/booster, Superior front & Alloy USA rear axle shafts, CTMs, Reids, Synergy drag link & tie rod, WTOR hydro-boosted steering, 5.38s, TF Dual Rate front bar, TF bumpers, Warn Powerplant, Tom Woods shafts, AA xfer case cable, Kilby canister relo, RH4x4 cage.
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post #20 of 23 Old 10-30-2013, 03:59 PM
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Nice shock match up! : )


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post #21 of 23 Old 10-30-2013, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Nice shock match up! : )
Thanks... great shock for the money.
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post #22 of 23 Old 10-30-2013, 05:23 PM
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Nice pics!
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post #23 of 23 Old 10-31-2013, 05:08 AM
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Nice pics and write-up. Looks great and the snow wheelin' pics are COOL! especially for us in the "don't snow here ever" areas!

Thanks,
Bill
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