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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been in the Jeep / Offroad game for most of my life. I started when I was 5 with ATV's and Dirtbikes, and over the last 18 years (since I purchased my first Jeep) I have been hooked!

Over the years I have tried many different combinations of lift kits, tires, and general off-road products. I have had good experiences and bad over the years with many different products. I wanted to take a few minutes and provide some information regarding my latest upgrade to my 2016 JKUR. This Jeep like many before it has gone through several "phases" as money became available and honestly as I continue to learn more about pros and cons for different setups.

I have been running Metalcloak 4.5" short arm kit on my Jeep for most all of its relatively short life, and ran the 3.5" Metalcloak lift on my last JKU. Before that I have run teraflex and rubicon express as a few other examples.

The reason for this upgrade to the Clayton Long Arms was for several reasons. First, anytime you lift a vehicle the control arms and driveshafts get steeper angles on them. There are three schools of thought on lift hight:

1.) Big Lifts of times past: When I first started wheeling years ago it was go as high as you possibly can to get as much clearance as possible and run larger tires. This is good for break over angles and driving over large obstacles. However, this is terrible for off camber and general on road drivability. On top of the poor handling characteristics you have to deal with the wear and tear on all the driveline with steep angles. I personally ran a TJ on over 6" of lift with 35" tires (crazy by todays standards) and it was VERY tippy. Go watch some of my videos of the Black TJ in Colorado, it was scarry!

2.) Low center of gravity (LCG): This has been a very trendy thing recently and the school of thought is to keep your CG very low so that you have good handeling characteristics on road and little wear and tear on driveline with shallow angles. I have nothing against this philosophy and honstly it can work really well as long as you can overcome the biggest disadvantage which is breakover angle and belly clearance. Generally, this requires very large tires and quite a bit of custom modification (cutting grill, notching frame, etc.) to provide clearance for large tires (40"+) to match the belly clearance and break over angles with the huge lifts. To do this right you are spending a great deal of money or have really good fabrication skill. Go look up the lower 40 as an example that Mopar showcased a few years ago. Even with the money you still limit your up travel quite a bit with this type of build.

3.) Good Balance: To me, what I am after is a good balance of lift size, drive-ability, and cost. I wanted a 4-5" lift hight with decent sized tires that didn't compromise the driveline angles to much. In comes a long arm kit with a 4.5" lift. I am after this good balance!

My build started with metalcloak 4.5" short arm lift as I described. However, with that much lift the handling characteristics just aren't that great (compared to my last JKUR with teraflex long arms). So, I wanted to go long arms with my rig. I decided to run the Clayton Long arms because it offers very large and strong control arms with a lifetime warrantee. Additionally, their setup is completely bolt on (that can be welded after the fact) and coupled with their skid plate system everything is tied in nicely!

I am putting together a series of videos to document my installation process, my initial thoughts / impressions of this long arm upgrade kit, and then some wheeling with this new setup over at Windrock.

I will continue to update this post as complete the build and finish the videos...I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful if you are looking at a long arm or skid plate solution.

Video 1 (Clayton Long Arm Installation - Front, AFE Loop Delete, & HD Crossmember)

Video 2 (Clayton Long Arm Installation - Rear & Gas tank removal)

Video 3 (Clayton Complete Skid Plate Installation)

Video 4 (Initial Thoughts and Impressions)

 

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Did you take different measurements prior to removing the CA’s ? The idea is to position the axle back to the same spot using the lowers. Then caster is easily set after.


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Discussion Starter #3
Did you take different measurements prior to removing the CA’s ? The idea is to position the axle back to the same spot using the lowers. Then caster is easily set after.


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Not sure what you mean, I put the lowers at the recommended length and verified that it kept everything aligned. As a side note the position of the axle didn’t change going from the Metalcloak arms to the Clayton arms, if that was your question.


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Discussion Starter #5
Good video, Clayton makes stout shit to hold up to abuse.


Thank you, I really appreciate your compliments. I am about to have the second video published and I definitely learned how to remove the gas tank. I had never done that before on a JK (did a TJ years ago) and the fuel line connectors have gotten complicated...


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Thank you, I really appreciate your compliments. I am about to have the second video published and I definitely learned how to remove the gas tank. I had never done that before on a JK (did a TJ years ago) and the fuel line connectors have gotten complicated...


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What skid system did you go with? Will it work with the stock skid still in place?

Even with aftermarket "heavy duty" gas tank skid that thing will get beat to shit as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What skid system did you go with? Will it work with the stock skid still in place?



Even with aftermarket "heavy duty" gas tank skid that thing will get beat to shit as well.


I got the entire Clayton skid plate system and no you remove the stock gas tank skid


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What made you go with the radius arm setup rather than the 3 link version they sell?
I'm guessing you wanted a simpler install, and not as much messing with the exhaust, but you had to do that a bit anyways

Most, or even, all of the radius arm setups I've seen for TJ/JK's have been pretty bad at the end of the day, and usually ended up not flexing well, and/or ripping the brackets off the control arms or axle :(

Looking forward to the other videos :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What made you go with the radius arm setup rather than the 3 link version they sell?
I'm guessing you wanted a simpler install, and not as much messing with the exhaust, but you had to do that a bit anyways

Most, or even, all of the radius arm setups I've seen for TJ/JK's have been pretty bad at the end of the day, and usually ended up not flexing well, and/or ripping the brackets off the control arms or axle :(

Looking forward to the other videos :smile2:


I have witnessed radius arms Offroad and seen a few videos of them performing really well. I agree they can bind but the point they start binding to the point of causing any issues is far beyond where most shocks would limit you anyway.

I do like the ease of install with the radius arms and honestly wanted to try them out and see how well they perform. Clayton is now using a new giiro bushing that is very flexible and this combined with narrow Jonny joints they should flex pretty well with little to no binding. The Jonny joint alone provides between 30 and 40 degrees of misalignment.


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Discussion Starter #10
I do plan to video my experience and provide a real world review of how it does


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Discussion Starter #11
I just updated this to include the second video in the series. This video shows the removal of the gas tank and the installation of the rear long arms.
 

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I’ve had the Clayton kit since it was released and been really happy with it. Adam and the crew over at Clayton are real responsive to questions and concerns and been right there to assist when I’ve broken something.

I’ve been running the Bilstein 5100’s and they been fine, eventually I’ll go with a coilover, but that is way down the to-do list.

I do suggest you ditch the radius arms and go with the 3-link. It will be worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I’ve had the Clayton kit since it was released and been really happy with it. Adam and the crew over at Clayton are real responsive to questions and concerns and been right there to assist when I’ve broken something.



I’ve been running the Bilstein 5100’s and they been fine, eventually I’ll go with a coilover, but that is way down the to-do list.



I do suggest you ditch the radius arms and go with the 3-link. It will be worth it.


I would consider the 3-link when I move to 1-tons. I don’t think I will be disappointed with the radius arm setup but time will tell. Maybe at some point I can change it out and do a honest comparison between the two setups.


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I would consider the 3-link when I move to 1-tons. I don’t think I will be disappointed with the radius arm setup but time will tell. Maybe at some point I can change it out and do a honest comparison between the two setups.
LOL, That’s exactly what I said after I saw Clayton released the 3-Link.

This week the XD60 and D80 are in along with 40’s.


 

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Discussion Starter #15
LOL, That’s exactly what I said after I saw Clayton released the 3-Link.

This week the XD60 and D80 are in along with 40’s.




That’s a good way to spend some change!!! Exactly what I would do! How did you do the truss bracket for the front 3-link with prorock XD?


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Discussion Starter #16
I just updated the original post with my third video showing the installation of the skid plate system.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Did you put a fumoto valve in? If not you should next oil change.


I just looked that up and it’s awesome!! I wouldn’t run one without a skid though.

I will have to invest in one


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I just looked that up and it’s awesome!! I wouldn’t run one without a skid though.

I will have to invest in one


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Make sure you get the one with the long nozzle, it makes putting the damm tube on a lot easier. Trust me on this one.
 
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That’s a good way to spend some change!!! Exactly what I would do! How did you do the truss bracket for the front 3-link with prorock XD?
I didn’t do the 3-link yet. Im still in the middle of other upgrades. Also, I’m curious about this Lock-n-Load upper arm that Metalcloak makes. In simple terms they take the passenger upper arm and when off road, there’s a spring that gives under load. Eliminating the binding. However, I’m not home for another week, and I’d need to lengthen the arm an inch or two to work. Metalcloak claims it has an operating range of 16-17 inches, but the Clayton arms are set closer to 19.
 

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