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post #1 of 11 Old 03-13-2013, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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A little help with control arm install?

I'm looking for just a bit of help on tackling my rear UCA install. I'm getting my full set of Metalcloak arms next week and I have never done these on a Jeep. I'll be fine with the fronts and rear lowers. Question is, can I support the diff by the pinion and pull both upper arms at once? I'm assuming the jack will support the axle if I do this so I can dial the pinion angle in with a load on the jeep and adjust the arms to length? Would it be better to support the jeep on the frame and pull them that way? One at a time? I'm just trying to work this through in my head to get a gameplan. I won't have help so I'm on my own. I've done plenty of suspensions stuff but all on SRA rear leaf trucks. I've searched but I see a lot of opinions on ways to tackle this. I'm basically looking for the best way while being able to adjust the pinion agle while doing it. Links or advice? Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-13-2013, 07:45 PM
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That should work OK. I usually do them with the wheels on the ground, one at a time side to side. However, if you're making big length changes it's better to support the rig & axle & do both at once. This is where the Synergy & EVO arms have a big advantage. I just had a TF Long Arm Upgrade installed and the shop blew the rear pinion angle. I had to run the uppers all the way in and then pull the lowers and run them out about 1/2" t get the angle. Each time I had to pull one arm, adjust, reinstall, go to the other side, pull, adjust, etc. until I got it dialed in. With the double adjuster style all you do is loosen the jam nut and adjust the length.

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post #3 of 11 Old 03-14-2013, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. I will give that a shot and see how it goes. I was thinking that maybe I would/could swap them and make some small adjustments side to side like you mentioned. I am also cutting off the perches and installing the JKS adjustable pieces soon so I may just end up taking the springs out a the same time anyway. I wish I knew what a ballpark length was for the rear uppers with 3 inches of lift. Maybe I can find out how much to lengthen them to get me real close from the start?

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post #4 of 11 Old 03-14-2013, 07:35 AM
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The holes never line up for me so use a ratchet strap attached to the frame and control arm bracket to pull the axle in the direction it needs to go.


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post #5 of 11 Old 03-14-2013, 08:11 AM
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I prefer doing one arm at a time. Start off by placing a jack under the pinion and providing enough force just to release the tension on the upper arms. Remove one arm and put a new arm in its place. Remove the other arm and adjust it to fit so that the bolt slides through. Before tightening the bolts or lowering the jack, you should be able to spin all 4 bolts by hand, ie there's no tension on either arm. This ensures that both arms will be equally loaded. If you're needing to also adjust the pinion angle during the install, do it now....slide both axle side bolts out, position the pinion where it needs to be, and adjust the arms so that the bolts slide through again. Torque them down and release the jack.

Don't worry about making the arms equal-length....very rarely will that end up being the case due to manufacturing variance at the frame and axle mounts. You want them to be equally loaded and whatever length they end up is just a byproduct of that.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-14-2013, 10:35 AM
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there was a thread on this recently and folks would rock the tire back or forth to rotate the axle and get those LCA bolts in/out...to me this was much easier when adjusting my RK arms out a little longer.

and if there is a next time, i will get the arms that adjust on the vehicle. nothing against the RK arms, but this is my 3rd time trying to get enough caster to drive decent, but not get DS vibes...so yeah i'll be lazy next time around


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post #7 of 11 Old 03-14-2013, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Cool. Thanks for the suggestions fellas. I'm probably over thinking it as I usually do.

'13 JK Rubicon-Nth springs, Metalcloak arms, Warn M8000, SPOD, LOD bumpers......
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-15-2013, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Don't worry about making the arms equal-length....very rarely will that end up being the case due to manufacturing variance at the frame and axle mounts. You want them to be equally loaded and whatever length they end up is just a byproduct of that.
^^^^This. Not that many people acknowledge this factoid and not only struggle their asses off trying to get bolts to fit by making both arms the exact length but also end up tweaking the axle if the mounting flanges are way off. And by tweaking I don't mean damaging, just twisting things up and causing unnecessary stress at the CA mounting points.

A good practice that I use is to set both lower arms at the same length to begin with. This gives you a basic reference point to start setting everything else up from. Next, plumb down from the frame at the same points on either side, down to the axle, checking to see if the axle is perpendicular to the frame. If it's off on one side or the other I make the necessary adjustment to the lower control arm until the axle is perpendicular.

Next I find the correct pinion angle and set one upper side control arm then the other. As Imped states, chances are they will not be the same measurement. I have seen them off 1/2" or more and this is completely normal. No need to twist the hell out of the axle or rotate the wheels or frame to get things to fit. Doing so will only put stress on the joints and wear things way prematurely.

Most critical part of this is getting the axle set up perpendicular to the frame. This is something that many folks just ignore. Setting it up correctly will have your rig tracking straight down the road which will alleviate much of your highway driving tire wear and as I stated previously, reduce the stress on your CA joints. It will also reduce the wear on steering components because you aren't fighting to keep your rig driving straight.

The other thing to keep in mind is that each manufacturer has a recommended maximum amount of thread to be extended past the jamb nut. Pay attention to that and heed their recommendations. Your warranty probably depends on that one critical measurement should you ever have a problem. Locktite your jamb nuts with red locktite only after everything is dialed in 100%. Once you are sure it's good then apply the locktite and typically 200lbs of torque, keeping in mind that you want to keep your joints aligned correctly.

Originally Posted by van7559
I can bury my pinky in the rear, and just barley feel it, the front is a little easier, but still seems low to me!

I fist fuck life with a nuclear powered pneumatic fuck hammer for 60, 70 hrs a week...
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-15-2013, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M&M's View Post
^^^^This. Not that many people acknowledge this factoid and not only struggle their asses off trying to get bolts to fit by making both arms the exact length but also end up tweaking the axle if the mounting flanges are way off. And by tweaking I don't mean damaging, just twisting things up and causing unnecessary stress at the CA mounting points.

A good practice that I use is to set both lower arms at the same length to begin with. This gives you a basic reference point to start setting everything else up from. Next, plumb down from the frame at the same points on either side, down to the axle, checking to see if the axle is perpendicular to the frame. If it's off on one side or the other I make the necessary adjustment to the lower control arm until the axle is perpendicular.

Next I find the correct pinion angle and set one upper side control arm then the other. As Imped states, chances are they will not be the same measurement. I have seen them off 1/2" or more and this is completely normal. No need to twist the hell out of the axle or rotate the wheels or frame to get things to fit. Doing so will only put stress on the joints and wear things way prematurely.

Most critical part of this is getting the axle set up perpendicular to the frame. This is something that many folks just ignore. Setting it up correctly will have your rig tracking straight down the road which will alleviate much of your highway driving tire wear and as I stated previously, reduce the stress on your CA joints. It will also reduce the wear on steering components because you aren't fighting to keep your rig driving straight.

The other thing to keep in mind is that each manufacturer has a recommended maximum amount of thread to be extended past the jamb nut. Pay attention to that and heed their recommendations. Your warranty probably depends on that one critical measurement should you ever have a problem. Locktite your jamb nuts with red locktite only after everything is dialed in 100%. Once you are sure it's good then apply the locktite and typically 200lbs of torque, keeping in mind that you want to keep your joints aligned correctly.
i would love to see pics or more tips/tricks to setting them up this way...and does this require totally level ground? where are you measuring from?

shop i have access to is nice but the floor is crooked as shit. and still lots to learn over here


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post #10 of 11 Old 03-15-2013, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvandy50 View Post
i would love to see pics or more tips/tricks to setting them up this way...and does this require totally level ground? where are you measuring from?

shop i have access to is nice but the floor is crooked as shit. and still lots to learn over here
In a perfect world all our floors would be dead level but we all know that just isn't reality. Hell, in a perfect world our jeeps would all be dead nuts square and our mounting brackets would be perfectly in alignment too. haha

Just try to do this on as level of a floor as you can. If it's like your trying to do it on a rock garden then things won't end up very good in the end. A little out won't kill you though.

Don't drive yourself too crazy with this. To do this in your garage or carport should be a pretty painless job. Your simply doing the alignment shops job here and as most of us know, the alignment shops suck and really don't care about getting things as they should be. We should all know how to do a basic alignment on these pigs in order to keep them running smooth.

There are a few reference points on the frame that should be as close to accurate as you can get. The end of the frame, assuming the bumper is off, or one of the crossmembers can be used as a plumb point. Check them for square with a framing square from both sides of the frame and you will find out if they are square or not. You can also just make your own reference marks by squaring across and double checking from both sides. Scribe the marks onto the frame so they are there forever should you need them again in the future.

Ideally you make the marks in front of or behind the axle so that when you level or plumb down you are able to measure off the inboard or outboard side of the axle tube to your plumb line or level.

Once you have reference points it pretty easy to plumb down and see how far out your axle is. Adjusting it of course is only possible with adjustable control arms unless you are using fixed factory CA's and are installing all new CA mounts which isn't a likely thing for someone to be doing. If you are installing new adjustable control arms then start with the recommended length and install both lower arms. The axle will want to roll on you with the upper arms out and your driveshaft disconnected so just leave the driveshaft connected if your able. Measure both sides from your reference points and adjust one side or the other until the measurement is the same on both sides. Again, make sure you haven't overexteded the threads on whatever flex joint you are using.

Making adjustment from this point on should be as simple as removing the CA and turning the flex joint in or out equal amounts of turns on both sides to move the axle equally in or out. Adjust your pinion angle with one of the upper CA's and once set, simply adjust the other upper CA to whatever length is needed to easily slide the bolt in place. Of course you may need to adjust the lowers in or out a little depending on your setup but you probably already figured that out.

Basically this process is no different than adjusting your axle to one side or the other with the panhard. If you think of it that way it will probably make it easier for you to visualize. This is the redneck method I use and it seems to work out pretty well and usually doesn't take that long once things are squared up. Cheap insurance that your axles are perpendicular to your frame and therefore running as true as you can get them.

Originally Posted by van7559
I can bury my pinky in the rear, and just barley feel it, the front is a little easier, but still seems low to me!

I fist fuck life with a nuclear powered pneumatic fuck hammer for 60, 70 hrs a week...
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post #11 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 10:19 AM
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alright, think i need to mark me some permanent ref points. i have just had a hell of a time getting the last bolt in/out every time. i was curious that if i can tweak the axle to get my last bolt in, sometimes with help from a buddy, how you guys knew the axle wasn't crooked as hell even though the bolts just slid right in. but now thinking that everything is NOT perfectly square from the get go, it makes more since as long as everything lines up


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