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Newbie here.

I think I am going to go with an AEV lift for my new and unmolested 2017 Rubicon Recon JKU. I am considering doing the lift myself on my garage floor. Three things concern me. My age with getting up and down from the floor all day, actually wrenching on such a new vehicle (I'm Skeered), and most importantly, those unexpected problems that seem to arise with any install.

So my question is posed to all of you folks out there that have installed an AEV lift. What little issues came about with the install that were not foreseen in the instructions? What problems should I be ready for? How well did AEV answer your questions if you had to call them? Any tools not mentioned in the literature that might be of help? Any other advice you might like to share?

Thanks! I appreciate your help.
 

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Newbie here.

I think I am going to go with an AEV lift for my new and unmolested 2017 Rubicon Recon JKU. I am considering doing the lift myself on my garage floor. Three things concern me. My age with getting up and down from the floor all day, actually wrenching on such a new vehicle (I'm Skeered), and most importantly, those unexpected problems that seem to arise with any install.

So my question is posed to all of you folks out there that have installed an AEV lift. What little issues came about with the install that were not foreseen in the instructions? What problems should I be ready for? How well did AEV answer your questions if you had to call them? Any tools not mentioned in the literature that might be of help? Any other advice you might like to share?

Thanks! I appreciate your help.
I've done three of these lifts. They're are pretty straight forward to install(having an extra pair of hands helps), and directions are good. Having 2 floor jacks is an asset as well as some jack stands & basic hand tools. Wrenches and sockets from 15 MM - 22 MM. Make sure not to final torque the suspension bolts until the Jeep is sitting on the tires with all it's weight so the parts settle in their natural position.Make sure and center the steering wheel with wheels straight ahead when finished or you will have ESP lights on the dash to deal with!
 

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Newbie here.

I think I am going to go with an AEV lift for my new and unmolested 2017 Rubicon Recon JKU. I am considering doing the lift myself on my garage floor. Three things concern me. My age with getting up and down from the floor all day, actually wrenching on such a new vehicle (I'm Skeered), and most importantly, those unexpected problems that seem to arise with any install.

So my question is posed to all of you folks out there that have installed an AEV lift. What little issues came about with the install that were not foreseen in the instructions? What problems should I be ready for? How well did AEV answer your questions if you had to call them? Any tools not mentioned in the literature that might be of help? Any other advice you might like to share?

Thanks! I appreciate your help.
I tried to remember how many AEV lifts I have installed. At least 6. From 2007 to 2014 JKURs. All of these were either the 3.5 or the 4.5 inch lift. You didn't say specifically which lift you were planning to install. My comments relate to the two that I have installed.

1. As mentioned, two floor jacks really help, but not mandatory (I am not 100% certain as I always have 2 floor jacks anyway.) You will need some nice tall, sturdy as shit jack stands. I think Harbor Freight has some decent ones (4.5 tons??) for about $30. You need 2 at least. I used 4 as having the jeep tilted that much made me nervous. Didn't seem stable to me.

2. You will need all the basic metric hand tools, from 8 mm up to at least 22 mm (from what I remember). A couple of nice ratcheting box wrenches in 18 and 19 mm really help as well. Lots of those damn nuts to take off.

3. You will need to drill out the knuckle for the high steer kit (depending on which lift you are installing). Use a good quality step drill bit that has the final size in the hole size you need. (I think it is 7/8".) Home Depot sells them. The Irwin brand seems like a decent one. Much, much easier to get a straight and true hole with a step bit than with a twist bit. You will be amazed at how easily it cuts through that knuckle.

4. Torqueing all those damn bolts (actually you torque the nuts, not the bolts) is a real PITA. You can use a torque wrench and struggle your ass off trying to find the right angle with the right extension and then you can turn it about 15 degrees at a time. Too many people (IMO) are way too OCD about hitting exactly 125 ft lbs or 90 ft lbs or whatever. Its metal on metal, do you think 135 ft lbs is going to do some "harm"? No. Okay, I am on a soapbox, but I am going somewhere with this rant. Instead of busting your ass with a torque wrench, lying on your back (or side) cramped as shit, use one of these:

https://www.milwaukeetool.com/power-tools/cordless/2755b-22

It has 4 speed settings which if you "calibrate it" you can dial in a specific torque setting that will be "close enough". I played around with this tool and made a little cheat sheet. Setting number 1 with 3 bumps of the trigger after contact is XX ft-lbs. Setting number 2 is YY ft-lbs. And so on. The tool maxes out at like 220 ft lbs (from memory) so its not like you are going to break the bigger bolts on your suspension if you overshoot a bit.

5. I don't know what FCA is using to clamp the front brake lines in place on a 2017, but in the past, freeing the brake lines from the stupid ass clamps has been a real PITA. I have a giant, and I mean giant pair of slip joint (plumber's ??) pliers. They must be 2' long. That gives you the leverage to open that damn clamp. Again, not sure what it is on the 2017s, but be prepared to spend some time on that step.

6. Don't install any lift, at least one that involves new springs, without installing one of these:

https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/track-bar-brackets/8069-01-synergy-manufacturing-track-bar-brace-front

The POS factory track bar bracket is worthless. It will oval out and allow death wobble sooner or later. If you install this with the springs out of the way, it will take 10 minutes. If you install it with the springs in, you will be at it for an hour or more fighting to get the bolts in!

So there you have it. Now get out there and do it. You will know everything you need to know about your lift. And when your jeep is making a funny noise on the trail someday, you will be able to pinpoint it, because you know what is going on. If you take it to some shop, it will all be a mystery. And most shops won't be as thorough as you will be!
 

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5. I don't know what FCA is using to clamp the front brake lines in place on a 2017, but in the past, freeing the brake lines from the stupid ass clamps has been a real PITA. I have a giant, and I mean giant pair of slip joint (plumber's ??) pliers. They must be 2' long. That gives you the leverage to open that damn clamp. Again, not sure what it is on the 2017s, but be prepared to spend some time on that step.
If you grease the brake line and slide it through the bracket to get grease all through it, it should just slip right out. That's how I did it and many people have had success. Without grease you'll probably just wreck the brake line trying to pull it out.

You can also VERY careful use a rotary tool to cut the bracket in half but if you screw up even slightly you'll destroy the brake line.

6. Don't install any lift, at least one that involves new springs, without installing one of these:

https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/track-bar-brackets/8069-01-synergy-manufacturing-track-bar-brace-front

The POS factory track bar bracket is worthless. It will oval out and allow death wobble sooner or later. If you install this with the springs out of the way, it will take 10 minutes. If you install it with the springs in, you will be at it for an hour or more fighting to get the bolts in!
I don't know if I'd agree that this is so critical. If properly torqued, the track bar won't oval out the bracket. It only ovals out the bracket if you lose torque on the bolt. With or without a 1/4" thick bracket, a loose suspension bolt isn't really safe and will eventually cause problems.

I've thoroughly wheeled my Jeep with probably 50-100 hard days on the trail and countless thousands of miles of rough wash-boarded and potholed roads, and I don't think I've ever had a single properly torqued bolt on the entire Jeep ever lose torque including any OEM or aftermarket part. You might be having problems because you state that you feel torque wrenches aren't very important ;) I've had all sorts of things loosen up that were "less important and not worth grabbing the torque wrench". A properly torqued bolt really is an amazing tool at maintaining clamping force, and an improperly torqued bolt simply isn't.
 

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I don't know if I'd agree that this is so critical. If properly torqued, the track bar won't oval out the bracket. It only ovals out the bracket if you lose torque on the bolt. With or without a 1/4" thick bracket, a loose suspension bolt isn't really safe and will eventually cause problems.

I've thoroughly wheeled my Jeep with probably 50-100 hard days on the trail and countless thousands of miles of rough wash-boarded and potholed roads, and I don't think I've ever had a single properly torqued bolt on the entire Jeep ever lose torque including any OEM or aftermarket part. You might be having problems because you state that you feel torque wrenches aren't very important ;) I've had all sorts of things loosen up that were "less important and not worth grabbing the torque wrench". A properly torqued bolt really is an amazing tool at maintaining clamping force, and an improperly torqued bolt simply isn't.
I am not sure how you can make a black and white definitive statement such as "If properly torqued, the track bar won't oval out the bracket." The bracket was ovaled out on my first JKUR build and I did properly torque with a torque wrench. I checked it after 200 miles and at least 2 or 3 times a year. It still ovaled out.

When you look at the loading of that joint, the threads on the factory track bar bolt act as cutting edges against the inside of the bracket bolt hole. In my opinion, the 125 ft-lbs of torque load applied to that bolt is NOT sufficient to prevent the load on the bushing to be transferred to the bracket inside the bolt hole. Not even close. Therefore, there inside material is carrying lateral loading from the track bar. And the bolt, which is transferring the load, is threaded, thereby decreasing the surface area of the force and increasing the abrasion of the material. But of course, that is just my opinion. You may have an entirely different view.

I never stated, nor did I imply that loose suspension fasteners where acceptable. Nor did I ever use the words "less important and not worth grabbing the torque wrench", yet you quoted me as if I did indeed said those words. What I was trying to get across was that not every single nut and bolt needs to be precisely torqued to a factory spec. When you are installing the end link brackets to the tab on the axle I don't think a precise torque value is necessary. If the factory says 50 ft-lbs and you go 75 I fail to see an issue. As long as you are not crossing the yield point of the fastener, what harm is there? Its not like you are trying to compress a head gasket to + or - .0001".

I always install a Synergy track bar bracket when I install a lift. Its cheap insurance, if nothing else. Its $100 and takes 10 minutes to install. It certainly does no harm. There are lots of threads on here and other forums about those bolt holes ovalling out. And You Tube videos as well. The evidence that it happens is there. But then I suppose all of those people could have simply not bothered to properly torque the bolt in the first place. And for the record, I only install a grade 8, 9/16" shouldered fine thread bolt with a locking nut. Why a fine thread? Because it does a better job of holding torque.

The OP asked for advice and I thought I offered something of value. If you don't think the track bar bracket is needed, that is fine. We disagree. But don't say that I was implying that proper torqueing of fasteners is not needed. To the contrary, I am very concerned about proper torque values, where it makes a difference. I think you will agree that getting a torque wrench on some of the suspension bolts can be a real challenge. (I have even seen people use a knuckle with a torque wrench. WTF!) You have to use an extension with the socket in some cases. This increases the likelihood that you may end up off of dead on vertical. What is the correction factor for being off 10 degrees with the wrench? I don't know, but there is one.

I know with my Milwaukee M18 impact wrench that at a certain setting and a certain trigger application I will be between 125 and 140 ft lbs. To me, this is a better way to tighten a track bar bolt than lying under the jeep, wrestling with a torque wrench at some unknown angle and then wondering if the torque value applied was really accurate. I would rather be a little over than a little under. But to each his own.
 

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Nor did I ever use the words "less important and not worth grabbing the torque wrench", yet you quoted me as if I did indeed said those words...

The OP asked for advice and I thought I offered something of value. If you don't think the track bar bracket is needed, that is fine. We disagree. But don't say that I was implying that proper torqueing of fasteners is not needed.
I was quoting myself in a scenario... when I'm quoting someone on a forum, it goes in a quote block. Sorry, this comes up a lot, I use quotation marks in every-day writing more than most people and I often get accused of quoting people when that was never even an intention and just a writing style. I need to try to not do that on forums.

Anyways, I guess my personal feelings on the use of an impact wrench for this job made me over-interpret your statement to implying that the torque on these bolts isn't that important, which was not your intention. My mistake.

No hard feelings, all just my opinions (I need to make that a footer on all my posts on forums!). I do fully maintain the opinion that a properly torqued and maintained track bar bolt in an OEM bracket is perfectly sufficient for all forms of driving other than collisions with things at speed, but it sounds like you've had other experiences, so we'll have to disagree on that one. If it wasn't sufficient, wouldn't a whole lot of Jeeps end up back at the dealer with loose factory suspension bolts?
 

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I was quoting myself in a scenario... when I'm quoting someone on a forum, it goes in a quote block. Sorry, this comes up a lot, I use quotation marks in every-day writing more than most people and I often get accused of quoting people when that was never even an intention and just a writing style. I need to try to not do that on forums.

Anyways, I guess my personal feelings on the use of an impact wrench for this job made me over-interpret your statement to implying that the torque on these bolts isn't that important, which was not your intention. My mistake.

No hard feelings, all just my opinions (I need to make that a footer on all my posts on forums!). I do fully maintain the opinion that a properly torqued and maintained track bar bolt in an OEM bracket is perfectly sufficient for all forms of driving other than collisions with things at speed, but it sounds like you've had other experiences, so we'll have to disagree on that one. If it wasn't sufficient, wouldn't a whole lot of Jeeps end up back at the dealer with loose factory suspension bolts?
Thanks for clarifying the quoting issue. And unless someone on here is one of the Jeep engineers, all of this is just opinion, mine or yours.

Not to beat the track bar bracket to death (I personally don't care if anyone uses one or not) but the bolt does not have to come loose in order for the bolt to eat away at the bracket hole. We know (and yes, this is not an opinion) that the metric bolt FCA uses is smaller than the 9/16" hole in the bracket. To verify this, simply remove your track bar and put the bolt by itself through the hole. You can wiggle it around ever so slightly. Now get a 9/16" shouldered bolt and put it in the hole. No, or significantly less movement.

As I said before, the clamping force of the bolt is insufficient, IMO, to prevent the lateral load from the track bar being transferred to the bolt and into the bolt hole of the bracket. (If that makes sense....) Thus, even though the factory bolt is tight, and remains tight, that minute amount of play between the bolt and the bracket hole will allow wear to occur, accelerated by the use of a fully threaded bolt and not a shoulder bolt. On my first JKUR, the bolt (nut actually) never lost its torque value. Yet the hole ovaled out.

If you get a chance, remove your track bar at the frame and look at the bracket hole. And look inside the bushing in the track bar. I bet you will see where the threads of the bolt have eaten into the material of both. At least, that was the case on mine.

Okay, too much brain damage over too irrelevant a topic. The op branded himself a newbie, so I was trying to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow! This a lot of great information. I am glad I asked the question. Please keep the info flowing. After installing the lift, 2.5" is what I am leaning towards, and if the dash lights should get all blinky, will the AEV ProCal reset the dash or not?

Thanks Guys
 

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On the new AEV 3.5/4.5 you do not have to drill the knuckle on the highsteer. It now comes with a no drill Steersmart draglink which is very nice and easy. Also I have done no less than 10 sets on newer wranglers that require the brake line be removed from the bracket and if you use a quality pair of channel locks they bend open easy peasy. Just need to grip them and pull down and they open right up. Also I found the stock brake lines on newer jks are actually longer than the brake lines that come with the metal cloak 3.5 lift.
 

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Wow! This a lot of great information. I am glad I asked the question. Please keep the info flowing. After installing the lift, 2.5" is what I am leaning towards, and if the dash lights should get all blinky, will the AEV ProCal reset the dash or not?

Thanks Guys
If you straighten your steering wheel you wont get all blinky on the dash. If you get bigger tires you want the procal or similar device to correct for the oversize tires so your speedo is accurate and if auto your shift points are back to stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
6. Don't install any lift, at least one that involves new springs, without installing one of these:

https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/track-bar-brackets/8069-01-synergy-manufacturing-track-bar-brace-front

The POS factory track bar bracket is worthless. It will oval out and allow death wobble sooner or later. If you install this with the springs out of the way, it will take 10 minutes. If you install it with the springs in, you will be at it for an hour or more fighting to get the bolts in!
Does this bracket change any of the geometry? Or just beefs up a weak link? Thanks for tolerating my ineptitude.
 

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Wow! This a lot of great information. I am glad I asked the question. Please keep the info flowing. After installing the lift, 2.5" is what I am leaning towards, and if the dash lights should get all blinky, will the AEV ProCal reset the dash or not?

Thanks Guys
after one wheeling trip on my new AEV 2.5 lift, i ditched the control arm drop brakcets in favor of adjustable lower front control arms. the brackets were great for handling on road, but dragging all over the rocks offroad.

as others have mentioned, you need really tall jack stands in addition to all the "normal" tools.
 

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2.5" lift

I installed my lift, solo, over a Friday evening and into early Saturday afternoon.
I have a pair of jack stands. I borrowed a friend's floor jack, which proved to be defective, so I had only the Jeep's factory jack and another car's scissor-type jack.

I did the work, alone, I really had no difficulty, except for getting the 2nd front coil into its pocket. I finally used two ratchet straps to partially compress the spring. Had a there been a friend around to raise the other end of the axle, the spring probably would have dropped right in, without compression.

I am 68 years old, and about 5' 4" short, so certainly no huge guy. Also, I should mention that my 2.5" lift is a Teraflex with Rancho shocks. I was seriously leaning towards AEV's lift, but I really didn't want Bilstein shocks. Nonetheless, the assembly operation of either of these kits is pretty much similar. BTW, I was urged to get the Teraflex instead of the AEV by the local 4WD shops where I asked. I have no complaints at all about the Teraflex's ride.

Good luck & enjoy. If you're in western Michigan and would like help, send me a PM. Edit: I just noticed the Texas flag & "Bob Wills" Avatar, so I know where you are. (As Waylon says, "Bob Wills is still the king".)
 

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I did not want to believe it at first but long ago on this very forum, folks warned me that I would replace the AEV suspension piece by piece and that is exactly what I did.

I've installed the 3.5 then went to the 4.5 then back down to the 3.5 and then I ditched the progressive AEV springs and shocks in favor of evo linear 4" springs all around with yellow montecristo tubos shocks. The AEV 4.5" was too high IMHO and rode awful on my heavy 4 door hard top. It was worse with no top or doors.

The brake line drop brackets got displaced by longer braided brake lines.

The rear track bar is just a stock one with a bend in it and it flexed like crazy. Replaced by Synergy rear track bar and bracket.

The only thing still AEV on my jeep are the bump stops - and I had to modify the passenger rear one anyway by hacking a notch into it after installing adjustable control arms.

The other thing is the front control arm bracket and SS are still on there. They work well.

The drop brackets came off because I could not compress the Metal Cloak LCAs to be short enough to work with the brackets. I did smack them up a bit on the rocks but they're just scratches. They do poke down a bit and get in the way from time to time but they don't suck overall.

I sold the programmer because I bought one with a superset of the functions (engine tuning, for example).

I've got the whole lift sitting aside except for a few parts that are still on the rig. Just got to get around to finishing the job and putting it all up for sale.

edit: Oh and IMHO, the install was cake but I was a factory trained / ASE master tech back in the 1980's and have a lot of suspension work under my belt. Like @boopiejones said, get the larger sized jack stands. That and if your garage is somewhat height constrained like mine you can only lift the rig so high but then make sure you remove the wheels so you can drop the axle all the way down. It can be a little painful trying to stuff the springs (the 4.5" AEVs were a bear for sure) with the stock control arms on there because they don't flex as easily.

after one wheeling trip on my new AEV 2.5 lift, i ditched the control arm drop brakcets in favor of adjustable lower front control arms. the brackets were great for handling on road, but dragging all over the rocks offroad.
Was I there? ;)
 

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I did my own but it has been several years now and the details are fuzzy. I don't remember any real snags but in addition to the other suggestions people have offered, here are a suggestions I'd offer:

1) Nucleophile's #6 - Good advice. 3# of prevention for death wobble that WILL eventually come, and is not only annoying but can be really dangerous as well as damaging other components. Don't let it start. The larger the tires (and the heavier the tire/wheel combo), the more important the brace becomes. And while you have everything apart anyway is the time to install it.

BTW @ Christensent, what size tires are you running? About 30k on 37s left my frame-side track bar bolt almost fused to the bracket (see my build thread). It was properly torqued initially, and periodically checked (especially before a trail run). Simple fact that as Nucleophile stated, the OEM bolt is undersized for the hole. Further they used a bolt that has threads in the hole, acting like a file with every slight movement; It should have been a shoulder bolt. And the OEM torque spec provides sufficient clamping force for the forces created by OEM spec tire/wheel combos, not 37's on 45# wheels. More mass = more inertia = greater clamping force required to prevent movement. See my build thread for pictures of what happens when it moves around.

1.1) As a corollary to #1, I'd suggest also adding the steering box brace at the same time. Opinions vary, but IMO it's a good thing. And again, while it's apart anyway is the time to go ahead with this.

2) Set your tire pressure no higher than 28 psi, and expect the suspension to be a little rough until it breaks in. That's AEV's recommendation on tire pressure, or at least it was in 2012 when I did mine. Bear in mind that this is an expedition suspension. That means it's designed to be loaded up. When you think you have too much gear loaded, this suspension will really shine. It will do everything you want it to do offroad (under those load conditions) and on the road will be the smoothest offroad suspension you could ask for. If you just throw on the lift and still have plastic bumpers, no winch, nothing else loaded in your empty rig, etc., you're probably going to think it's too rough. Again, it will break in. And you'll get used to it somewhat as well. But for it to really shine, you're going to want to add those other heavier components as well.

I've got over 50k on mine now and like White13JKUR, I have replaced some things (now have Synergy ball joints, front track bar, tie rod, and drag link, and have replaced the shocks once), but am still very happy with the suspension for my use -- primarily on the road with occasional overland and trail runs. It's not a flex monster, but will do surprisingly well even on very demanding trails. And despite all the nay-sayers, I have never been hung up on the geometry correction brackets. All in all, I would not hesitate to buy an AEV lift again, nor to install it myself (even at almost 55 & creaky -- just takes more time now :D )
 

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OP: To reiterate, the instructions are pretty good and installing it in your garage on your back and with hand tools is pretty easy.

One thing that nobody has mentioned, is that at full droop, I was seeing the springs loose enough to rotate in place or perhaps loose enough to be yanked out by hand. IIRC, the fronts became looser than the rears at full droop. .

I recommend two things here (short of adding in straps).

For the front, I picked the teraflex spring retainer clips. Easy install. CHeap part.

For the rear, I recommend the Synergy Coil Wedges. I would put these in during your install. I saw a little spring bowing in the rear before adding these. It got a little worse with the adjustable control arms.


But yeah, the on road manners with the AEV progressive springs and tuned shocks was great and more like my BMW than a Cadillac.

I still have fantasies of putting the AEV progressive springs back in the rear to make it more like OE (linear up front and progressive in the back). With linear 4" all around, I have a rake. It would be nice to reduce it slightly by putting those AEV springs back in the rear plus it will better compensate for load when I have all the gear in there.
 
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