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Unread 11-29-2008, 09:47 PM   #1
HornedFrogHooah
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Call me stupid, tell me I didn't search the threads-too bad I did. AAl vs RLS

I'm still fairly new to all this and I still have those dumb questions every once in awhile.

why does everybody say get the rear leaf spring instead of the add a leaf?

See, I'm looking at RE's 3.5" SuperFlex and I'm stuck. Most people say "If you have the money, get the RLS. You'll regret getting an AAL." I can afford it, but just barely and don't really want to spend all that cash. I probably take my XJ offroad once in a blue moon, but I know if I had a kit and get the BFG All Terrains like I want... I'd be out every waking minute getting dirty.

So, once again, What is the big deal about RLS and why should I avoid AAL?

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Unread 11-29-2008, 09:52 PM   #2
bigbike
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Full leaf packs will ride much better than an AAL because AAl are very stiff. An AAL also has a tendency to sag a lot quicker than a full leaf pack because like I said before it is one very stiff leaf in a typical saggy original leaf pack. The full packs are going to be better if you tow a trailer or put a lot of stuff in your XJ.
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Unread 11-29-2008, 09:54 PM   #3
bikedude189
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generally; they cause poor ride because they are a higher spring rate than stock. they cause premature spring failure. they cause axle wrap. that's all i got but its enough to stay away from them. if you must, go full length and try to match the spring rates, and only use on a good spring pack.
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Unread 11-29-2008, 09:55 PM   #4
T baggin98
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Like said above... They tend to sag, I put a 4.5 RC lift with AAL's and they sagged out nearly to stock in about a year or less.
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Unread 11-29-2008, 10:08 PM   #5
HornedFrogHooah
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Hmm - dang. I was hoping by some miracle yall would say something like "I don't know what those crazy people are talking about, AALs are just fine!" but nooooooo.

Alright, I guess I'm splurging this Christmas.
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Unread 11-29-2008, 10:15 PM   #6
HornedFrogHooah
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See, with this next follow up question, you're definitely going to know I'm new to all this. I probably could look this one up, but if y'all are cruising this thread, hopefully you wont mind answering.

I know once you hit 4" or so you have to start getting all the extras so you can drive normal, but the RE 3.5" SuperFlex Kit should come with everything I need right? Don't need to drop my transfer case, get an SYE, or any of that other jargon that guy at 4 Wheel Parts was throwing out at me.

Sorry for being clueless - I just wanna be coooooool.
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Unread 11-29-2008, 11:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HornedFrogHooah View Post
See, with this next follow up question, you're definitely going to know I'm new to all this. I probably could look this one up, but if y'all are cruising this thread, hopefully you wont mind answering.

I know once you hit 4" or so you have to start getting all the extras so you can drive normal, but the RE 3.5" SuperFlex Kit should come with everything I need right? Don't need to drop my transfer case, get an SYE, or any of that other jargon that guy at 4 Wheel Parts was throwing out at me.

Sorry for being clueless - I just wanna be coooooool.
regarding the SYE; Some will say yup got to have one, others will say maybe not and I will say I don’t need one and I’m running a 4.5 SF.

Depends on how you set things up I would say install your lift then decide
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Unread 11-30-2008, 07:04 AM   #8
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In my case anyway I did the same lift, I had to lower my tc 1.25" to clear up my ds binding. I probably should get an sye but I've been running it for a couple yrs. like that now with no real problem. As for the trac bar the kit will tell you to drill a new hole in the bracket but my experience was the bracket wasn't long enough to drill a new hole and have my axle centered. I just customized the bracket to make it work till I got the adj. trac bar, well it worked so well I didn't ever get a new trac bar still running it that way to but you should plan on buying a new one. Last thing to consider is longer brake lines for the front they tell you to relocate the hard line but you can brake the hard line and it's not as good anyway. I also wish I installed bar pin eliminators
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Unread 11-30-2008, 07:19 AM   #9
lcarney91
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With a 2001 model, you WILL have to address the driveshaft in one way or another. Either TC drop or SYE, with the SYE being a more "permanent" fix, but more money also. 97+ models are more prone to driveline vibes than the older ones, for whatever reason.

To put a little perspective in, I put overload springs on the rear of my '99, gave me about 3/4" of lift over stock, and had moderate driveline vibes about 35-42 mph.

I don't plan on anything over 2" without a SYE on mine. Yours may be different. They are all different, but you may as well plan on spending some coin and fix yours. Especially with that RE 3.5" kit, with full packs, you'll be gaining closer to 5", unless you're heavily armored/bumpered/loaded.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 09:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendrika View Post
why does everybody say get the rear leaf spring instead of the add a leaf?
I am going to take the other side of this discussion.

Many Web Wheelers simply repeat what they read someplace on some 4x4 forum and have no actual experience with the AAL.

A severely sagged stock leaf spring will in fact, be harder on any AAL than a stock leaf spring pack in decent condition. That is simple physics and plain common sense. Success with an AAL lift can, and will, depend on the condition of your original leaf pack and with the AAL type used (short overload leaf type or a long full length leaf), and brand name of the AAL. A short AAL has to very stiff to lift the rest of the saggy stock leaves. I think the first Cherokee AAL kits were the short overload leaf types, and this may be where the bad ride, quickly sagging, Internet stories started. A Short Leaf/overload leaf AAL also concentrates its lift effect near the spring eyes of the original stock main leaf which are already under stress and prone to sagging even on stock XJ's with little to no off-road usage . A Full Length AAL on the other hand, spans between both spring eyes and reduces the weight load each leaf below it has to carry. Spring sag usually begins at the ends of the main leaf near the spring eyes, and progresses to the smaller leaves flattening them out. XJ Cherokee factory original leaf springs are well known to be prone to sagging even with 100% street use. The spring rate or stiffness of a full length AAL will be less than a short AAL. It will ride a little more firmly than stock, but shouldn't be objectionable with good quality shocks.

I have owned or helped my Jeep Club buddies repair or install all types of lift. Our local Cherokee club has 14 lifted rigs and I have owned and built 3 lifted Cherokees and a lifted CJ-7. My XJ started with extended shackles on factory stock leaf packs and so did one of the local XJ's. A week long 4x4 trip proved that the extended shackles will sag and ruin the stock leaf springs very quickly. With a replacement lift kit spring that is designed to handle the extra flexing and load carrying of an off road 4x4 trip, extended shackles are just fine, and actually help smooth the ride and increase the flex. One of the local XJ's had 2" lift blocks and not only did the leaf spring sag, it went S shaped from axle wrap and then it cracked the main leaf in two. We just built a bastard pack for another Cherokee using an S-10 spring pack and the original Cherokee Main leaf. This set up works well on the road and trails and gives a little over 4 inches of lift. It gives a smooth ride and reasonable flex on the 4x4 trails. You can vary the lift height achieved by using fewer S-10 leaves or by mixing and matching S-10 and XJ leaves. Another XJ with a 3" AAL and and extra stock Cherokee leaf flexes and rides very well and has not sagged at all.

I ran a Bastard Pack built from a Full Length 2.5" AAL from Rubicon Express on some un-sagged stock XJ leaf packs along with an extra stock XJ leaf on my 2000 Cherokee. This netted me a little over 3 inches of lift. I ran this lift on two different week long trips to Moab, and a week in the central Colorado Mountains, and regularly hauled 300+ lbs of cargo. It did well on the trails and never sagged in the least in the 3 + years this set up was on my Cherokee. It was maybe 10-15% firmer than stock, but it was smooth on the roads. My current RE 3.5" lift kit Replacement Leaf Spring packs are smoother and flex better than the AAL, but they also cost more than the $100 total cost I spent buying and installing the RE 2.5" AAL.

Ride stiffness is more dependent on your choice of shock absorbers and the brand name of lift parts you install, than on the actual type of lift parts, AAL vs brand new lift spring pack. The cheaper brands of lift parts have a tendency to be more stiff riding. All lifted vehicles will ride differently than stock and you should expect some compromises and/or changes in ride quality when driving a lifted Cherokee.

Lift blocks contribute to axle wrap and are the least desirable lift option. Lift blocks are also the most likely lift option to cause excessive leaf spring sagging due to the addition of axle wrap to the lift equation. An AAL does not contribute to axle wrap and will actually help prevent spring wrap.

The brand name of the lift kit parts you choose for your lift will have an effect on its lifespan of the parts, and on the quality/stiffness of the ride, both on or off road. The only way to make lift parts cheaper is to reduce the quality of the materials used to make those parts.

Over flexing any leaf spring will cut its lifespan dramatically, no matter what type of lift you install. Leaf springs simply cannot deal with the stress of over-flexing due to inadequate bump stops. So take note, no matter what type of lift you use, you are still required to extend your bump stops and you may need to buy additional parts not provided in the kit you purchase.

Your lift decision should be based more on your budget, and performance goals, than on any Internet mythology. If your leaf springs are in good condition, an AAL is a reasonable choice to add lift and will meet the needs of most 4x4 users.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 09:41 AM   #11
XJ96PA
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Originally Posted by HornedFrogHooah View Post
Hmm - dang. I was hoping by some miracle yall would say something like "I don't know what those crazy people are talking about, AALs are just fine!" but nooooooo.

Alright, I guess I'm splurging this Christmas.
I don't know what those crazy people are talking about, AALs are just fine!
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Unread 11-30-2008, 09:44 AM   #12
EricsXJ
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Thanks CJ7-Tim for that well written answer.

The advice given is 100% dead on.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 10:00 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by EricsXJ View Post
Thanks CJ7-Tim for that well written answer.

The advice given is 100% dead on.
I'll x3 that, and follow up with the fact that I added a stock top leaf of an old XJ pack onto my stepdad's XJ and it lifted it 1.5" over stock, and he drives it all day for work, and frequently carries a few hundred pounds of tools in it. and it has yet to sag.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 10:03 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
I am going to take the other side of this discussion. Many people simply repeat what they read someplace on some forum and have no direct experience with the AAL..
exactly!
all of his information i co-rect
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Unread 11-30-2008, 11:19 AM   #15
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i really dont mean to hi-jack the thread but i feel that my question belongs here. i just replaced my leaf packs with new stock leaf packs, the old ones were sagging, not inverted but pretty much flat. i want to build a bastard pack with the main and second leaf from my old packs and the brand new leaf packs i just installed. i also want to add an extended 1.5" shackle. is this a bad idea? i dont want to ruin my new leaf packs
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