Okay to AAL? - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Cherokee & Comanche Forums > XJ Cherokee Technical Forum > Okay to AAL?

Even Better Heim Pricing! From RuffstuffSteering and more from Ruffstuff!The Ruffstuff NOT Universal 4 Link Kit!

Reply
Unread 11-14-2012, 07:19 AM   #1
aguelzo89
Registered User
1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Holland, Michigan
Posts: 153
Okay to AAL?

Been looking to add a lift kit to my XJ, Its a 95 Cherokee Country. I was worried about my rear leaf springs being bad and sagging and after countless research and what not, i found the stock specs for the rear leaf highth. Long behold my rear leafs are sitting at an even 17 inches in the rear.

So after jumping up and down in celebration that I didn't need to buy new leafsprings I wondered, With the rears being good still, is an AAL kit going to be okay to use since there isn't any sag to the springs? Obviously they will sag over time as with any leafs but, im on a budget and thought that this would save me some money.

Take note, I do not do any hard wheeling, or mudding. I do plan on taking the jeep on very light trails and the dunes this spring. This is a daily driver. Would like a lift of 2-3 inches because In michigan, ground clearance is a godsend when flash blizzards and lake effect snow hit. (I live 10 minutes away from Lake Michigan).

aguelzo89 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 07:32 AM   #2
CJ7-Tim
Real Jeeps have dents.
 
CJ7-Tim's Avatar
2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: out in the garage - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 22,080
Many Web Wheelers simply repeat what they read someplace on some forum and have no actual experience with the AAL.

A point to remember is that no matter what type of lift you use, you are still required to extend your bump stops. 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.


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 in the area of the original stock main leaf that is already under stress and prone to sagging, near the spring eyes. 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 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 spring that is designed to handle the extra flexing and load carrying of an off road 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 Full Length 2.5 " AAL from Rubicon Express on my Cherokee with some un-sagged stock leaf packs along with an extra stock leaf. That netted me a little over 3 inches of lift. I ran this lift on two different week long trips to Moab, 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 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 products you choose for your lift will have an effect on its lifespan 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.

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.
__________________
.

Between 2009 when Obama took office, and 2013, median annual household incomes have fallen by more than $2,100.

Progressive Liberalism: Bringing you new Healthcare ideas so wonderful, they have to include mandatory participation ......

Originally Posted by Ronald W. Reagan: Government is not the solution to our problems; Government is the problem.
CJ7-Tim is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 07:56 AM   #3
aguelzo89
Registered User
1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Holland, Michigan
Posts: 153
Awesome info Tim, I really appreciate it! I accually printed this off and filed it. I di have another question, this has probably been asked before but i have seached and can't find the right answer. Im looking for either a 2-3 inch lift but, I can't decide. What are the pros and cons of the 2 inch and the 3? What can one do that the other can not? Im very new to off roading. This is my first 4x4 ever. Again I will NOT be doing rock climbing or mudding, I just want something that will give me good clearance for the snow here in Michigan and something that will get me through the light trails and woods.
aguelzo89 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 08:28 AM   #4
pokeyxj
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 151
Great write up by cj7-tim.
I have had several XJ's, stock and lifted. At 2" you shouldn't need to use extra brachets or spacers ( sway bar drop, T-case drop)but may need new shocks. At 3" you may need a t-case drop if you have drive line vibrations and will definately need new shocks. You can easily run 30/950 tire with a 2" and 31"s with a 3". (32's if you trim fenders). I ran a Rusty's 2" full length AAL (rear AAL and new coils and shocks) on a 92 XJ for several years and over 150K miles with 30" tires. Did all the SW Colorado and local trails. Never had a problem. I would recommend a full length AAL over the short version. Cost is a little more but worth it.
__________________
2000 XJ Limited, 4.5 Rusty's All spring lift; 265/75/16 BFG KM2's; 4.0, aw4, 242.
2001 XJ Sport, 4.5 Rusty's lift, 32x1150x15 Hankook Dynapro MT's. 4.0, aw4, 231, 8.25 rear with power trax locker.
08 f 150 2.5 lift, 33's, arb.
pokeyxj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 08:41 AM   #5
aguelzo89
Registered User
1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Holland, Michigan
Posts: 153
Would it be worth going for a 3 inch lift over a 2 incher? Im just confused about it. I plan on sticking with the 235/75/15 tires i have now. I dont want any bigger. What can a 3in lift do that a 2 inch cant?
aguelzo89 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 09:59 AM   #6
paintball10148
Registered User
1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Breckenridge
Posts: 355
IMHO go 3". It doesn't seem like much but 1 inch higher is still more clearence that you wouldn't have with a 2" While still keeping a relatively low center of gravity. I'm running a 3.5" lift and I have an aal and shackle setup in the back. No complaints

The only con to a 3" is you will be spending a little bit more for new shocks.
__________________
1997 zj 4.0 np242 5.5" iro lift. 33x12.5r15 khumo mtrs.---- rolled and sold :'(
1997 zj ltd 4.0 np249 black np 4" rough country lift 33x12.5r15 mtrs.----sold
1999 xj sport 4.0 np242 waiting for 4.5." Lift and 33s :D
paintball10148 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 10:17 AM   #7
aguelzo89
Registered User
1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Holland, Michigan
Posts: 153
Very true but i dont want to have to run longer brake lines and drop the transfer case and all that jazz. Will i have to if i do a 3 inch lift.
aguelzo89 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 10:20 AM   #8
paintball10148
Registered User
1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Breckenridge
Posts: 355
No you will be fine with stock brake lines. Like you said you're not a hard core wheeler. And as for the drop kit it varies from jeep to jeep. If you do get vibes then drop kits are very cheap and easy to install.

Bottom line is you will have a more capable jeep with 3".
__________________
1997 zj 4.0 np242 5.5" iro lift. 33x12.5r15 khumo mtrs.---- rolled and sold :'(
1997 zj ltd 4.0 np249 black np 4" rough country lift 33x12.5r15 mtrs.----sold
1999 xj sport 4.0 np242 waiting for 4.5." Lift and 33s :D
paintball10148 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 12:14 PM   #9
MJ300
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 29
I would go 3" as well if I were you. Most if not all kits will come with aftermarket lifted coil springs. With something like a 2" budget boost you are limited to the travel you get out of the stock coils because you only have spacers. A 3" is definitely worth it in my book, and someday it might happen where you want another inch or two and you'll be stuck having to buy a kit anyway. Whereas if you get a kit now you have the option to go up an inch or two if you choose to do so in the future.

Bottom line: A 2" is perfectly fine, but make damn sure your going to stay there and not end up regretting it in a few years when you want a little more height. Happens to many of us, myself included.
__________________
2001 XJ (4.0AW4NP242D30D35) 3.5" RE lift, Treadwright MTR's, Rubicon wheels
MJ300 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
Weeder1
Registered User
1998 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Posts: 1,099
You can be very capable with a 3".

I have a rc 3" (springs, aal, and shocks) with jk moabs and 32s. I also dont have a sway bar but my jeep sees more trails.

Since then i have put clayton adj lowers and adj rubicon express track bar on it, and moved my lines lower(but wasn't necessary with the reg 3").
Ill throw two pics up one with just the 3" disconnected and one with clayton lowers.
image-4286778297.jpg   image-1094195269.jpg  
__________________
-98 xj sport-
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/weeder1s-xj-build-1391067
Weeder1 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 11-14-2012, 09:32 PM   #11
NJXJ91
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 1,030
Heres my personal experience with AAL.

I had a full length AAL that originally netted me 3". They were cool for a few months and after the intial shock of "Hey, my Jeep is lifted" I realized the mistake I had made. Yeah they are cheap to start, but the ride quality will bother you and it WILL sag eventually. You'll end up spending more money after you realize you want to upgrade to full packs. Save your money and it will pay off in the long run.
NJXJ91 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Tags
aal , add a leaf , budget boost , lift , lift blocks

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.
Note: All free e-mails have been banned due to mis-use. (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)
Don't have a non-free e-mail address? Click here for a solution: Manual Account Creation
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools






Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.