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post #1 of 26 Old 04-21-2013, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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control arm question

I have a 2.5 teraflex lift with 35"s but the OEM Rubicon control arms. I am hoping to help with the freeway driving. How much of an improvement will I see with adjustable LCAs? I understand it will increase the caster but with a 2.5" lift how much has it been compromised? I am willing to buy them but I want to make sure it will have a positive impact.

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post #2 of 26 Old 04-21-2013, 09:57 PM
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It will definitely help on your alignment. I have a 3" lift and got mined aligned the other day it was drastically out of tolerance. After that was done my ride was better than it was stock. No more pulling hard to the right, steering isnt jerking me around. I used poly CA. Makes an alignment easy because you can adjust them on the Jeep.
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-22-2013, 05:53 AM
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3" lift on factory arms would not do anything to mess up your alignment except to make the steering wheel off center which is an easy fix by the owner. Your wheel base will decrease and your caster will be low causing a light steering feel, but it should not affect alignment or cause the jeep to pull to one side or another.

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post #4 of 26 Old 04-22-2013, 07:05 AM
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Some poeple have flighty steering after even small lifts. This would be the main reason to buy adjustable CA's. I bought them for my 2.5" TF lift but the are adjusted to the length of the stock ones. Mine are there for "cool factor" till I decide to go bigger.

Mike Hooper

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post #5 of 26 Old 04-22-2013, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
3" lift on factory arms would not do anything to mess up your alignment except to make the steering wheel off center which is an easy fix by the owner. Your wheel base will decrease and your caster will be low causing a light steering feel, but it should not affect alignment or cause the jeep to pull to one side or another.
I just installed a 2.5" RK flex lift on Saturday. With this, it has LCA's in front. I After the install, I find the steering slightly light feeling, but I get no pull either way. Still need to fine tune in the steering wheel. (was pretty comical before I adjusted it.) But it rides fine and I don't feel any concerns at all with the way it handles.
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-22-2013, 07:25 AM
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I would go to an alignment shop and ask for them to just give ya the specs on your caster before I bought anything. And tell em not to touch anything else so it's not actually an 'alignment' and you should be in and out of there for cheap. Place here charges me $20 for a printout since that's all I want them to do.


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post #7 of 26 Old 04-22-2013, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
3" lift on factory arms would not do anything to mess up your alignment except to make the steering wheel off center which is an easy fix by the owner. Your wheel base will decrease and your caster will be low causing a light steering feel, but it should not affect alignment or cause the jeep to pull to one side or another.
I think that sums it up. It is not mis-adjusted but there is a distinct light feel I don't care for

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Originally Posted by jvandy50 View Post
I would go to an alignment shop and ask for them to just give ya the specs on your caster before I bought anything. And tell em not to touch anything else so it's not actually an 'alignment' and you should be in and out of there for cheap. Place here charges me $20 for a printout since that's all I want them to do.


Vandy
That's a good idea. I have a place I used for custom alignments.

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post #8 of 26 Old 04-23-2013, 07:28 PM
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You might look into AEV's control arm drop brackets for the front. Lowers the frame side mounting point, corrects caster and improves ride & braking performance. I put an AEV 2.5" kit with a set of these on a club member's JKUR a couple weeks ago and was impressed with how well they worked. They do reduce clearance a bit but she did Behind the Rocks with us last Friday and the rig did fine.

Edit to add AEV's link:

http://www.aev-conversions.com/shop/...ckets-frt.html

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post #9 of 26 Old 04-23-2013, 07:31 PM
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Forget everything this guy said ^ and get some quality adjustable control arms. Why would you want to loose valuable ground clearance over some stupid brackets. Control arms are the answer.

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post #10 of 26 Old 04-23-2013, 07:50 PM
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You will always be fighting caster and pinion angles unless you get your C's turned or get a different axle housing. Things like a high steer kit can help with the flighty steering....but as far as caster goes, you are only going to be able to do so much.
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-23-2013, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maniacal_rick View Post
You will always be fighting caster and pinion angles unless you get your C's turned or get a different axle housing. Things like a high steer kit can help with the flighty steering....but as far as caster goes, you are only going to be able to do so much.
I can't say I fully agree with you here. Yes, a cut and turn or aftermarket housing make everything easier, but you can easily attain good driving characteristics with factory caster using lower control arms and a quality, balanced driveshaft. No flighty steering, no vibes.

-Mike
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-23-2013, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jerseyjeep95 View Post
Forget everything this guy said ^ and get some quality adjustable control arms. Why would you want to loose valuable ground clearance over some stupid brackets. Control arms are the answer.
Not necessarily. Stock arms work just fine with a 2.5, the issue is front caster and the brackets not only restore it, by dropping the mounting points at the frame they fool the suspension into behaving like it's still stock. The clearance difference with a 2.5" lift is maybe 1" and isn't really going to compromise trail performance much at all. She just ran Behind The Rocks with some big rigs and did fine. Not your average trail by any means.

Edit to add that TNT Customs has the same type of drop bracket available but in a welded single bracket. A bit more expensive.

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post #13 of 26 Old 04-23-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the reply's and the suggestions. But here is my problem, as a newbie when it comes to jeeps and lifts I am amazed there isn't a consensus of how to fix seemingly common problems on a lift. On this thread alone there has been the suggestions of control arms, control arm drop brackets, and a high steer kit. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the assistance but I am suprized there isn't a clear cut answer. As someone mentioned, I don't want to start throwing things at it in the hope I get it right. I assumed a higher end lift (insert your favorite name) would have these issues worked out.

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post #14 of 26 Old 04-23-2013, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apexeater View Post
Thanks for all of the reply's and the suggestions. But here is my problem, as a newbie when it comes to jeeps and lifts I am amazed there isn't a consensus of how to fix seemingly common problems on a lift. On this thread alone there has been the suggestions of control arms, control arm drop brackets, and a high steer kit. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the assistance but I am suprized there isn't a clear cut answer. As someone mentioned, I don't want to start throwing things at it in the hope I get it right. I assumed a higher end lift (insert your favorite name) would have these issues worked out.
You have to ask yourself, why would you want a set of weak stock control arms hanging extra low with drop brackets when you can buy beefy adjustable ones like Rock Krawler, Clayton, Synergy, ect.

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post #15 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 03:37 AM
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Lift and drive .. Don't like the way it drives ? Decide then what you want to do.
Drop brackets are inexpensive and do a great job.
Control arms are preferred by most because of their adjustability in the future.

Caster AND pinion, highsteer should not be in the discussion unless lifting 4" plus.

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post #16 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 03:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedirtman View Post
3" lift on factory arms would not do anything to mess up your alignment except to make the steering wheel off center which is an easy fix by the owner. Your wheel base will decrease and your caster will be low causing a light steering feel, but it should not affect alignment or cause the jeep to pull to one side or another.
How do u center the steering wheel???
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post #17 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 05:49 AM
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How do u center the steering wheel???
Loosen the 2 15mm bolts on the draglink and turn the collar with a pipe wrench.

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post #18 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjeeper10 View Post
Lift and drive .. Don't like the way it drives ? Decide then what you want to do.
Drop brackets are inexpensive and do a great job.
Control arms are preferred by most because of their adjustability in the future.

Caster AND pinion, highsteer should not be in the discussion unless lifting 4" plus.
About sums it up.

The brackets are great for a mostly daily driven and light duty use rig. Yes you lose ground clearance, but they are a great way to go working on a budget. And I have yet to see someone fold in half a FRONT lower control arm. They are preset so there is no guessing on length.

If you can swing control arms, you will have more versatility to dial in geometry specific to your setup.

-Mike
2007 2dr X, 6sp, 35's on D44's, 2" lift, cage, hydro, etc.
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post #19 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apexeater View Post
Thanks for all of the reply's and the suggestions. But here is my problem, as a newbie when it comes to jeeps and lifts I am amazed there isn't a consensus of how to fix seemingly common problems on a lift. On this thread alone there has been the suggestions of control arms, control arm drop brackets, and a high steer kit. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the assistance but I am suprized there isn't a clear cut answer. As someone mentioned, I don't want to start throwing things at it in the hope I get it right. I assumed a higher end lift (insert your favorite name) would have these issues worked out.
There are several ways to skin a cat, which is why you won't find "consensus". Smaller lifts in the 2" to 2.5" range are often limited in the number of components supplied because the manufacturers assume the buyer is more budget minded than the guy going 3.5"+. A true 2.5" lift (not just one advertized as such) usually doesn't need a full set of adjustable control arms. Stock JK arms are quite strong and have a lot of benefits on a rig that will see mostly street use. Dialing adjustable arms in to their correct lengths will generally result in them being virtually the same as the stock arms, with minor variations to accomodate caster / pinion angle. Some mfr's will use cam bolts to achieve this, which work but can loosen over time and cause issues. Some vendors just ignore the issues entirely, and other's "suggest" adjustable front lower and rear upper arms to dial everything in.

The AEV, Rancho & TnT Customs drop brackets are ingeniously simple and give you correction, along with something that approximates the effect of a long arm suspension. The downward angles of stock arms on a lifted rig cause ride impacts and brake dive. Even if you install adjustable arms these issues remain. Using the brackets to lower the control arm mounting points get the lower arms in a fairly horizontal plane and the upper arms angled slightly upward. These alignments are what you'd find in a quality long arm suspension system. AEV doesn't supply the drop brackets with their 2.5" kit, they are an option. They come standard with their taller lifts. I've seen a number of these working great out on the Moab trails and a friend with a Jeep Rental business & driving school in Sedona swears by them. Resistance to them usually centers around the loss of clearance behind the front tires, however in pactice it's a minor issue compared to the positives. FWIW, I have a very expensive Teraflex 4" long arm on my JK and where it used to land on the trans skid as the rig crested big ledges & other obstacles, now it will occasionally hit the front control arms. Doesn't really matter.

RE: steering correction, a 2.5" kit shouldn't need it and might even cause interference. Bump steer generally shows it's ugly head with 3" and taller lifts, at which time fliping the drag link and raising the track bar mount at the axle becomes a solid fix.

Hope this helps.

'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 26 Old 04-24-2013, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SoK66 View Post
There are several ways to skin a cat, which is why you won't find "consensus". Smaller lifts in the 2" to 2.5" range are often limited in the number of components supplied because the manufacturers assume the buyer is more budget minded than the guy going 3.5"+. A true 2.5" lift (not just one advertized as such) usually doesn't need a full set of adjustable control arms. Stock JK arms are quite strong and have a lot of benefits on a rig that will see mostly street use. Dialing adjustable arms in to their correct lengths will generally result in them being virtually the same as the stock arms, with minor variations to accomodate caster / pinion angle. Some mfr's will use cam bolts to achieve this, which work but can loosen over time and cause issues. Some vendors just ignore the issues entirely, and other's "suggest" adjustable front lower and rear upper arms to dial everything in.

The AEV, Rancho & TnT Customs drop brackets are ingeniously simple and give you correction, along with something that approximates the effect of a long arm suspension. The downward angles of stock arms on a lifted rig cause ride impacts and brake dive. Even if you install adjustable arms these issues remain. Using the brackets to lower the control arm mounting points get the lower arms in a fairly horizontal plane and the upper arms angled slightly upward. These alignments are what you'd find in a quality long arm suspension system. AEV doesn't supply the drop brackets with their 2.5" kit, they are an option. They come standard with their taller lifts. I've seen a number of these working great out on the Moab trails and a friend with a Jeep Rental business & driving school in Sedona swears by them. Resistance to them usually centers around the loss of clearance behind the front tires, however in pactice it's a minor issue compared to the positives. FWIW, I have a very expensive Teraflex 4" long arm on my JK and where it used to land on the trans skid as the rig crested big ledges & other obstacles, now it will occasionally hit the front control arms. Doesn't really matter.


Hope this helps.
Yes that does help. I do have concerns about clearance since my rig is a weekend toy and is used to climb rock and such but you have given me something to think about.

Were you referring to Nina? Great lady, I took one of her "101" classes this spring.

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post #21 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 08:09 AM
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Drop brackets are a fine product for the person that will run mainly dirt trails and fire roads or trails that do not include rock crawling and severe off camber situations. Or those that just want bigger tires on their rig and never or rarely wheel it. They will restore the ride to a nearly stock feel but you will have a reduced roll center and a loss of ground clearance.

If you are running those milder trails a drop bracket will be the inexpensive bolt on solution that will do the job and you should not really have to worry about stronger control arms or joints that have more misalignment to them.

You are getting so many answers due to the fact different people do different things with their rigs and what you do with it will dictate what you need to do to it. You will also find lots of different budgets and skill levels on here.

Not everyone has tools, a tig welder, plasma torch, and a lift in their full blown shop to custom build everything to the hilt. Some people use the factory jack in the parking lot of their apartment complex to do their mods. Luckily the jeep world has a solution for just about any problem or budget.

Ask yourself what you are planning on doing with your jeep, along with your budget, and that will dictate your build. You don't need 40's, beadlocks, and hydraulic steering for a rig that sees the pavement for 75% of its life.

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post #22 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Apexeater View Post
Thanks for all of the reply's and the suggestions. But here is my problem, as a newbie when it comes to jeeps and lifts I am amazed there isn't a consensus of how to fix seemingly common problems on a lift. On this thread alone there has been the suggestions of control arms, control arm drop brackets, and a high steer kit. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the assistance but I am suprized there isn't a clear cut answer. As someone mentioned, I don't want to start throwing things at it in the hope I get it right. I assumed a higher end lift (insert your favorite name) would have these issues worked out.
Ha Ha...this subject is such a tough one as each jeep for whatever reason reacts extremely different to the same lift. There are numerous factors that cause this anomaly. For example, the factory "C's" may be installed at slightly different positions, enough so that it makes getting the caster even close on both sides almost impossible. Although pressed on before welding, they may also be tilted slightly inboard or outboard too depending on how accurate the milling was done which makes the camber tough to deal with too. These two issues alone wreak havoc on alignments especially after lifting only as much as 2 1/2".

Add to those possible problems, control arm mounts that aren't located in just the right position on both the axle and frame sides and use fixed ca's and then your twisting things up even more. I've seen differences on ca's as much as 1/2" which is huge when you think about it, but again very common.

Now imagine that you have only one adjustment available to you where all other variables are fixed. This is the toe in or out on the tires, not much one can do with that so the dealer or some lift kits include a caster cam kit. Essentially this simply replaces your lower control arm bolts with bolts that have one side flattened which mates to a hole on an eccentric washer. These washers hit little hubs on the lca mount and allow you to turn the bolt which in turn lengthens or shortens the arm position. The stock lca munts have square holes which have to be ground out a little longer to allow for pushing the axle forward slightly, lowering the pinion angle or pulling it back raising the pinion angle.

This is the same adjustment that takes place with adjustable control arms. Adjusting the pinion angle up or down also adjusts the caster positive or negative. Once you get the alignment correct by one means or another, you may end up having to make allowances with the draglink and panhard. Typically these two need to run exactly parallel with one another in order to avoid bumpsteer issues. Blah, blah, blah...

And so goes the battle until you find the formula that works best for your rig. Seriously though, we find that after doing a lift on one jeep and going out for the test drive that all it needs is the steering wheel straightened and it's done. Others need all sorts of adjustments and sometimes extra parts just to get the same results. Again, the variables are so vast that you really don't know until you lift it what your gonna have to do to correct things. We do battle much less on 2" and lower lifts though. 3" and up, war on. lol Good luck man

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!

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post #23 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 08:57 AM
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Were you referring to Nina? Great lady, I took one of her "101" classes this spring.
Lol, yes. Nena runs AEV and OME stuff exclusively on her rentals and says they're the only brands that hold up to rental use. Surprising, given how they're configured. She obviously has to keep costs down so the less intrusive the mods the better, but here customers sort of define the term "Drive it like a rental". Good endorsement.

'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 #24 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 10:40 AM
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Lol, yes. Nena runs AEV and OME stuff exclusively on her rentals and says they're the only brands that hold up to rental use. Surprising, given how they're configured. She obviously has to keep costs down so the less intrusive the mods the better, but here customers sort of define the term "Drive it like a rental". Good endorsement.
The parts that are actually seeing wear are still, for the majority, OEM parts.....control arms, steering linkage, track bars, etc. I can think of plenty of other stuff that has superior long term durability than OEM parts and I know of other springs and shocks that hold up just as well, if not better, than AEV and OME units.
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post #25 of 26 Old 04-24-2013, 04:31 PM
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Probably so. She has to be cost concious and seems to sells the rigs off after about 25k miles.

'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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