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· The Wheelin Man's Friend
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this on my Facebook page but I want to bring it here for some discussion. This is my opinion and I'd like to hear yours whether you agree or disagree.

Here are my thoughts...

Almost everyone I talk to starts out mentioning that their JK is a daily driver. That statement is often followed up with "Do I really need all those adjustable arms and expensive suspension components?"

Well, here's my response to that.

You shouldn't ever buy suspension components to just go wheeling. Almost everyone daily drives these newer Jeeps that owns one, and the most important thing about owning one is being able to comfortably drive it down the road or across the country. They will all do fine off road no matter what. They will even hold their own in stock form. It is getting down the road in comfort that is not as easy to accomplish.

That is why I recommend higher end components for your Jeeps. :) Not because they are pretty and will flex better off road, but because you will be able to dial in all of your steering and suspension geometry and keep it driving as it should.

Marcus
 

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Marcus, I fully agree. Go forth and fight the good battle my son.

You’re the first line of defense for those who want to use the equivalent of a wooden block to raise their ride-height and then complain of a harsh ride or excessive body roll at highway speeds.
 

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Marcus,

You are preaching to the converted. Thank you for all of the advice and help on sourcing a few bits to get everything done the right way. I will post up a full review after I get the new parts dirty - I need to weld those nice looking gussets you sent over :).
 

· The Wheelin Man's Friend
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Marcus, I fully agree. Go forth and fight the good battle my son.

You’re the first line of defense for those who want to use the equivalent of a wooden block to raise their ride-height and then complain of a harsh ride or excessive body roll at highway speeds.
:beer: :thankyou:

Marcus,

You are preaching to the converted. Thank you for all of the advice and help on sourcing a few bits to get everything done the right way. I will post up a full review after I get the new parts dirty - I need to weld those nice looking gussets you sent over :).
No problem at all Agent K! ;)

Take your time and choose wisely and your build won't cost you any more than you're prepared to invest. :)

Marcus
 

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I think being able to build upon a suspension is pretty key to having a Jeep that is fun to drive. Something like an AEV really offers nothing for the future without tossing what you already bought. RK seems to have tailored to this with varying lifts that help do what you're trying to do Marcus. Budget, knowledge and the "I want it now" [see budget] factors will easy cloud someones judgement when it comes to their first setup. You have to also consider that many people don't have a damn clue what they're looking for when they call you, some just want "the best", some just want "the cheapest" and some just want to be told what to buy. I've dealt with this on a fairly small scale and it's a pretty grueling task to keep up with the never-ending questions..kudos to you on that!

Suspension systems are extremely intimidating, something that can go from $200 to $3000 in a heartbeat and it's also something with hundreds of different combinations..it can certainly grow a ton of questions. 3 years ago I picked up my JK, it's the first 4x4 I've ever owned and that also leads to it being the first solid front axle vehicle I've ever owned...I was once in the same shoes as many others without a clue on what I wanted or needed to do.

Right out of the gate I wanted a cheap lift. I didn't care what else it did, but I wanted it higher. Now. So I bought what I figured to be a reasonable kit to get me started, which was a Rough Country 2.5" puck lift with shock extensions. It rode alright, looked much better and I wheeled the everloving crap out of it for 2 years. My intention has always been to long arm it since I had an idea of what was sought after, and that is still my goal with the rig.

So everything I've done to it since has had the mindset that "I will be replacing this". It's been used, cheap, inexpensive, donated, hand-me downs, you name it...but everything has a function and it does what I want it to do. With ~$500 in suspension parts on my rig, I think I've done pretty well. I drive it daily, still waiting to do a "real" suspension, but also still extremely able to go out and thrash on it off road...but it's all in what you want to do. I've got lots of time reading and doing small modifications like making 1" rear upper shock extensions, raising the lower mounts 1.5", raising front lower mounts 1.5", measuring bump stops, etc. Stuff very few of us actually do to optimize what they have available.

I see tons of mix-matched Wranglers out there. The local JK meet will have 50 rigs out there on Wednesday, many with mix-matched roll centers, drop pitman arms, 4.5" of lift with stock steering, stock control arms, shocks with 3" of uptravel left at full bump stop, it's all out there. Unfortunately it's not as easy to explain to a mass amount of people how and why certain things should be done. I'm far from a guru, but I have a pretty basic understanding of a decent JK dual purpose setup and have spent hours talking to people at various meets or online trying to get them headed in the right direction.

It's a never-ending battle my friend! Good luck!
 

· The Wheelin Man's Friend
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think being able to build upon a suspension is pretty key to having a Jeep that is fun to drive. Something like an AEV really offers nothing for the future without tossing what you already bought. RK seems to have tailored to this with varying lifts that help do what you're trying to do Marcus. Budget, knowledge and the "I want it now" [see budget] factors will easy cloud someones judgement when it comes to their first setup. You have to also consider that many people don't have a damn clue what they're looking for when they call you, some just want "the best", some just want "the cheapest" and some just want to be told what to buy. I've dealt with this on a fairly small scale and it's a pretty grueling task to keep up with the never-ending questions..kudos to you on that!

Suspension systems are extremely intimidating, something that can go from $200 to $3000 in a heartbeat and it's also something with hundreds of different combinations..it can certainly grow a ton of questions. 3 years ago I picked up my JK, it's the first 4x4 I've ever owned and that also leads to it being the first solid front axle vehicle I've ever owned...I was once in the same shoes as many others without a clue on what I wanted or needed to do.

Right out of the gate I wanted a cheap lift. I didn't care what else it did, but I wanted it higher. Now. So I bought what I figured to be a reasonable kit to get me started, which was a Rough Country 2.5" puck lift with shock extensions. It rode alright, looked much better and I wheeled the everloving crap out of it for 2 years. My intention has always been to long arm it since I had an idea of what was sought after, and that is still my goal with the rig.

So everything I've done to it since has had the mindset that "I will be replacing this". It's been used, cheap, inexpensive, donated, hand-me downs, you name it...but everything has a function and it does what I want it to do. With ~$500 in suspension parts on my rig, I think I've done pretty well. I drive it daily, still waiting to do a "real" suspension, but also still extremely able to go out and thrash on it off road...but it's all in what you want to do. I've got lots of time reading and doing small modifications like making 1" rear upper shock extensions, raising the lower mounts 1.5", raising front lower mounts 1.5", measuring bump stops, etc. Stuff very few of us actually do to optimize what they have available.

I see tons of mix-matched Wranglers out there. The local JK meet will have 50 rigs out there on Wednesday, many with mix-matched roll centers, drop pitman arms, 4.5" of lift with stock steering, stock control arms, shocks with 3" of uptravel left at full bump stop, it's all out there. Unfortunately it's not as easy to explain to a mass amount of people how and why certain things should be done. I'm far from a guru, but I have a pretty basic understanding of a decent JK dual purpose setup and have spent hours talking to people at various meets or online trying to get them headed in the right direction.

It's a never-ending battle my friend! Good luck!
Eloquently stated Goody. I have always admired your patience and ability to make do and far, far beyond with what you're given to work with. I remember when I first got back into Jeeps and the JK game and followed in your and PlanMan's paths of building simply and budget minded. I learned what I have because I took things slow and have tried variations of systems even when I jumped in and bought a complete system. I ran my first X-Factor as every variation of system on RK's 2.5 line up and then finished with the X-Factor that wasn't to market until months later.

I think it was you who mentioned all of the feedback being skewed because most of us don't have anything to compare what a properly dialed rig feels/drives/handles like. It is hard out here on the interwebs, but we are all learning and growing collectively which is cool.

Thanks for the post man. Much appreciated!

Marcus
 

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I see tons of mix-matched Wranglers out there. The local JK meet will have 50 rigs out there on Wednesday, many with mix-matched roll centers, drop pitman arms, 4.5" of lift with stock steering, stock control arms, shocks with 3" of uptravel left at full bump stop, it's all out there. Unfortunately it's not as easy to explain to a mass amount of people how and why certain things should be done. I'm far from a guru, but I have a pretty basic understanding of a decent JK dual purpose setup and have spent hours talking to people at various meets or online trying to get them headed in the right direction.
Well put man, this is exactly the problem I see the majority of the time. Most people expect when they buy a lift that the kit they purchase will be dialed in perfectly for their setup out of the box. I've learned over the last few years that is almost never the case. It's damn near impossible for a manufacturer to make a perfect kit that is affordable, and with every calculation (control arm lengths, bumps, shocks) set perfect for every rig.

Most of the time these people turn to forums for the how and why, and in what way they can make their setup function and drive better. Most of the time I see a bunch I people say what worked for them, flooding the person with numbers, and one or two guys like goody, explaining the basics of why. And those important facts get lost a lot of the time.

Also, a thing that sometimes really gets me is when someone desires a good daily driver, and slaps on 3"+ of lift, and 37's+.... Often without regearing. With a lot of money and time the jeep can drive well, but it often baffles me why someone makes such drastic changes to a vehicle that is primarily driven on the street. It usually isn't long before that same person will complain about something with the rig and driving it daily.

Just my observation :shitstorm:
 

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awesome info here Marcus and Goody

I fall into this category. When I got the JK this time last year, I wanted a lift to get me going. went with what I had available funds wise and got the RC lift. knowing in time I would replace it.

I have been replacing it all with better stuff. Poly brackets on the axle sides. going with Bilstein shocks now, and hoping to land some RK coils soon. I know I dont have funds for arms yet so I will be going with AEV brackets for now. which some day will get replaced.

It has been fun. I have learned a butt load here on JKO. and I think Goody said it best that most of us have nothing to compare to. well...I am converting and for the first time I will have a better setup to compare to and am looking forward to it.

You all keep dishing out good advice and I will keep reading. :)
 

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Although a newb with a million questions and no knowledge can be annoying (I know, In some respects pertaining to a lot of things, I still am :) ), its how we learn. Some will have the wisdom to recognize that in this business, you pay for what you get, and save for quality components, and others will not due to budget. But, either route you take, it is a learning process and there is a big curve. Hindsight vision is always 20/20! :)
 

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I've done the whole learn my way through a budget(not budget minded but just plain cheap) build with my last TJ as well as my Bronco II which was a very dark time in my past. Learned some valuable lessons there when it came to driveablity.

I decided this time that I wouldn't do any real suspension mods until I had the funds to do it right. I actually didn't even realize when I bought the Jeep that it already had a leveling spacer lift installed because it was sitting on stock tires with flat fenders. Now with 35's I'm almost happy with it.

Luckily for me I'll be in a place here shortly where I can finally buy and install a full suspension system and not have to piece together a lift, and after all the reading on this site over the past year I have the best understanding of steering geometry, suspension geometry and everything else than I ever have. Luckily for me that kinda stuff comes easily to me.
 

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The JK world of suspension started out with alot better information and products than the TJ ever did! The funny thing about this thread is that everyone's Point of View is 100% correct each in their own right!

One thing you will notice as JK's get long in the tooth is that they will become more and more dedicated wheeling rigs for some!

Heck, we just had our first 2007 with rusted in shock bolts over the weekend that got a 2.5" Max. Travel installed here at our new fascility. We try to do an install at least every other week to stay on top of our game and it is interesting to see what is happening to them as they get older!

We know some want to get their JK up in the air, quick, and as cheaply as possible and all we can say is invest wisely! It does not matter who's products you choose! When you are spending your money, as many have pointed out, do your homework so you do not put yourself in a bad position with alot of unexpected extra expenses! Nothing is worse than that!

RK
 

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...but it often baffles me why someone makes such drastic changes to a vehicle that is primarily driven on the street....
The same component replacements that assist our beloved Jeeps on the trails, do offer improvements when driving on-road as well.
I found my previous Jeep handled badly repaired roads or badly plowed roads much better after the 2.5" lift and larger tires. Not to mention parking becomes less of a chore when you know you can put it on any convenient snowbank or berm, and leave the sissy spots to the prius crowd.

I've been in situations where a major Interstate was closed due to an accident, and the authorities were waving those who could off onto dirt paths or small embankments to help clear the backup. Unfortunately, on that day, I was riding my sportbike, not my Jeep. 80 degree sunny days in full gear, not moving....ouch!

I already have plans on lifting the new Jeep and adding different wheels. However, this time around my plan is for a true suspension lift, rather than a puck lift. I enjoy the increased height because it allows for greater visibility around traffic, greater response to adverse terrain, and....

you can see the 'seat covers' in the adjacent cars much better. :thefinger:
 

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I like mine stock. The stock aftermarket suspension, the stock aftermarket bumpers, gearing, tires, top, lights, and not to mention all the stock axle mods I've made. That's my story and the wife believes it. The money I've spent is known as bad investments in the aftermarket business. Lol
 

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I use mine as a daily driver most of the time, but I wouldn't have bought a jeep if it weren't for it's off-road capabilities. I wanted a vehicle that could get me to the places where I really want to go, where I really prefer to be and there simply aren't paved roads that lead to those places. If there were then they wouldn't be the places where I want to be. I despise cities, with their concrete and pavement and what-not, but for now they are just a fact of my daily life as the city is where my good paying job lies, so I have to compromise some things. That's life.
There are lots of off-road vehicles out there, many of them possibly better at off-road driving than a stock jeep, but I doubt that I'd be happy with them as a daily driver. My brother owns a unimog, it's an impressive vehicle off-road, but not something anyone really wants to drive anywhere other than off-road. Obviously it isn't his daily driver. I'd rather have a single vehicle that is capable and comfortable in both realms. Besides that I don't have enough room for a bunch of single purpose vehicles right now.
I love my JK. I've had more fun in it than any previous vehicle I've owned, and that includes several Corvettes including a C6 Z, all of which I drove to their stock limitations and modded when I wanted more than stock allowed. My JK serves just fine as a DD, but it also takes me to those places I really want to be. Without a doubt, it is quite capable off-road, perhaps most especially because it's a Rubicon. But there are still places I want to go, places that might just put a bit of a hurtin' on a stocker. Pushing something to it's limits is fine, but it's also nice to raise the limits and have just a little bit of a buffer. Because of that I'm about to install a lift and put some bigger tires, because of those things I'm also going to have to beef up and reinforce some things, regear it, etc... Few of us love to spend our hard earned money just to spend it. We all want things but want to keep as much of our money for ourselves as we can too. But I want right over cheap as much as budget allows. It's not always an easy balance, but sometimes saving a few dollars not might cost you a lot more down the road when things break, and sooner or later they probably will. When they do then it becomes a matter of how much it will cost, not IF it will cost.
The great thing is that I've chosen a vehicle with one of the largest communities of enthusiasts in the world and a huge after-market of things for it. This forum has been helpful and educational. The knowledge base and experience from members here is an incredible resource. For that I am thankful to you all. There is still a whole lot to learn and mod though, I look forward to that.
 
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