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Unread 12-23-2009, 11:42 AM   #1
Muddeprived
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RC LA install write-up

This is a writeup and product evaluation on Rough Country's new long arm kit. It's pretty fresh on the market so there's not a whole lot of info on it yet. Hopefully this thread sheds some light on it and answers any questions ya'all might have regarding this kit.

The Story:

The jeep was once mine but I handed it over to the lady and I have future plans for a TJ. My goal was to get it riding as nice as possible (caddy-like......YES IT CAN BE DONE ON A JEEP! ) and still be capable if she feels like getting it brown. I knew long arms were the way to go in order to achieve that nice ride quality. We had four options in mind: Frankz's LA's, Trek's, RC's upgrade, or RK 3-link and ended up settling with RC's upgrade. A little later I received some money from stock at my old job and we figured since we have a little more cash that we'd just get the full kit. Yeah...why not? Next thing I know I got an order for the 4.5" LA kit through 4wheelingplus.com. (Awesome company to deal with by the way and no this ain't no paid advertisement ) It was backordered for a couple days but I got it within a reasonable amount of time.

Bye bye short-arms forever.......:hi:

The Goodies.....

I went to do some last minute shopping today and came home to see 9 boxes stacked up like a pyramid in front of my door. They all had "Rough Country" labeled on them so I figured it must be for me.

After dragging em upstairs....



Now a smart thing to do with all kits is to inspect all the hardware to make sure everything is there before you start tearing apart your rig. Out came the jeep knife specifically purchased to open boxes containing jeep parts.

Box 1: Brake lines, U-bolts for either 35 or 8.25, sway bar discos, and what appears to be brake line brackets.



Box #2: Coil springs



Box #3: AAL, center pints, and leaf spring clamps. I have no idea how much the AAL nets but I'm guessing 2.5" or so since my kit came with a 2" shackle. I will most likely sell the AAL and hardware cuz I already have 3" OME leaf springs and can use em with the shackles.



Box #4: Transfer case skid plate



Box#5: Adjustable shackles and all hardware. Hmmm these seem very familiar......



Box#6: Double sheer trackbar and drop bracket plus hardware. Something caught my eye when I took it out of the box. I noticed the bushing end was crooked a little. Maybe it was welded on that to compensate for angles...or not. I dunno yet but we'll find out. I will admit that the trackbar could've been made a little more beefier. It's rather small compared to my current JKS setup but if will be just fine for what my gf's driving style.






Box#7: Shocks and mounting hardware plus 4 cool stickers. When I took these out of their individual boxes, the first thing that comes to mind is jenny craig. These babies are FAT! The are much larger than ordinary shock absorbers and look cool as hell. I dig the rubber bumpstop on the shaft...that's neat. NOTE: these are mounted can up.



Box#8: Lower and Upper arms, flex joints, t-case crossmember side brackets, pitman arm, and nutsert. My god these arms are BEEFY.



Box#9: The Crossmember



Included were detailed instructions and part list. Everything was included, no parts were damaged, and all boxes were intact. Nice job gettin the product to me! Parts seem to be very well made and welds are good. The only questionable component in the whole kit were the sway bar discos. I think it relies on a little horizontal ball and socket to handle the vertical forces of the sway bar/axle. I never used this type of setup so I can't really say for sure if it would cause problems so I just gotta wait and see. It'll probably be fine anyways.

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Unread 12-23-2009, 11:44 AM   #2
Muddeprived
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I'm still waiting for my new rear springs to show up but here's what goes down when you install it:

My buddy lent me his garage for a couple days. He injured his knee and couldn't assist much so I was on my own.

Pulling in..


My plan was to gut the entire front end, pulling out the axle and giving me more room to work on the t-bar and other parts.

First I had to remove the shocks. The upper bolts are in the engine bay:




Then the lower bolts on the axle are removed and shocks are off:


The kit comes with new SS brake lines for the front and rear but I'm holding that off until spring when I do all the brakes together. So i'm just disconnecting the calipers and hanging em up out of the way:





Next comes the sway bar. The kit includes sway bar disconnects but I'm not sure if I want to use them or not. I'm sticking with the solid links for now. Remove the lower nuts with 18mm socket and upper 4 bolts with 15mm socket:





Driveshaft gotta come off too...



I then disconnected the upper arms using 15mm socket and lower arms using 21mm socket:





Two other things to disconnect that I didn't get pictures of are the trackbar axle bolt and pitman arm. Once those are off then the axle slides out:



Next came the trackbar bracket. The two lower bolts are 18mm and uppers are........i forget but I think 18mm too.





bye bye trusty JKS...

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Flux Capacitor Heat Machine

Last edited by Muddeprived; 01-01-2010 at 10:21 AM..
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Unread 12-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #3
Muddeprived
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Now we got this:




The arms came off next using 21mm for the lower and 15mm for the uppers:





Bye bye short arms FOREVER:



Now the fun part is removing the crossmember for the new one to be installed. Place a jack and piece of wood under the tranny pan:



(those blocks are emergency blocks. I had a situation a while ago where the jeep just narrowly missed falling on top of me so i'm quite freaked about that still)

Remove the four tranny mount bolts and 4 framerail bolts:





Bye bye stock crossmember...FOREVER



This is where you get excited and start installing the new parts. I started with the crossmember:



Get that under there and secure it temporarily with the four tranny bolts:



Place the side brackets on and bolt em down but do not tighten yet. Mark the holes on the side of the framerail.


Drill both holes using a 17/32 drill bit and then enlarge the REAR HOLE ONLY using 25/32 drill bit. It appeared that I only had to drill the outer frame rail with 25/32 bit and leave the inner frame rail at 17/32 cuz the crush sleeve fits flush with the framerail:



Reinstall the side plate and find those flag nuts included with the kit. The flag nut and bolt are used on the front holes:






Go ahead and bolt it all down but don't tighten fully yet. The crossmember uses the two stock crossmember bolt holes PLUS one hole in front of them that already has a nut welded to the frame. My nuts were rusted up and I couldn't install that bolt until I re-threaded them. I ended up doing that two days later with a 10mm x 1.5 pitch tap and the bolts went right in, no problem.

Now this is where my camera battery light decided to start blinking. I had to choose which pictures to take in order to get some pix of the entire install before the battery died completely.

After you get the crossmember on, you gotta cut off the lower control arm mounts. You can use a plasma torch, cut off wheel, or sawzall. I used a cut off wheel, 4" and 7".

Bye bye CA mounts....FOREVER:

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Flux Capacitor Heat Machine

Last edited by Muddeprived; 01-01-2010 at 10:23 AM..
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Unread 12-23-2009, 11:46 AM   #4
Muddeprived
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Next comes installing the new arms. Press in the bushings and metal sleeves, bolt on the upper arms to the lower arms and then install it on the crossmember and axle. Lower arm length: 29 3/4 Upper arm Length: 15 1/4"



Now the arms are on and I need to start connecting stuff back onto the axle. I went ahead and installed the trackbar bracket:



and then the drop pitman arm:



Once all the new parts are on I went ahead and installed the coil springs:



This is me trying to reinstall my bumpstops but I'll modify and adjust em later on. They are my 3" bumpstops from my previous lift. Better than nothing.



Next I installed the draglink into the new pitman arm:



Then it was time for the shocks. They went on easily and then a sticker was stuck on em.







Once all that stuff was done I mounted the tires and put it on the ground so I could center the axle with the new trackbar:



Front end done and aligned:




You are probably wondering where's the rear setup. Well you either get an AAL with shackles or full leaf packs with shackles. I planned on re-using my OME springs with two OME AAL but they aren't giving me the height I need back there so I installed the RC AAL and it rode like crap. It's all bouncy back there. I ordered up some RC 4" leaf springs from 4wheelingplus.com and i'll include the install here when I get them next week. But for now no rear write-up but I do have some pictures of the rear OME/AAL setup and shocks and some pix showing how the rear isn't high enough:











Rear spring install to be continued.....

So far the front end is completely different. NO bumpsteer, NO wobble, NO shakes or shimmies, and it drives perfectly straight and true. The shocks and coil springs are perfectly matched. You don't feel those cracks and little bumps in the road anymore. The road noises that used to be transferred through the short arms to your feet are no longer there. It's nice and smooth and controlled.....except for the rear which likes to hop around thanks to the AAL.
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Last edited by Muddeprived; 01-01-2010 at 10:25 AM..
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Unread 12-23-2009, 11:51 AM   #5
XJisTHErightWAY
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Nice work. Can't wait until mine comes!
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Unread 12-23-2009, 03:21 PM   #6
99Greenmachine
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Gettin me all excited for when I order mine
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Unread 12-23-2009, 03:28 PM   #7
keaton
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So what are you doin with those short arms?? Sellin maybe??? First dibs lol.
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Unread 12-23-2009, 03:29 PM   #8
Muddeprived
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keaton View Post
So what are you doin with those short arms?? Sellin maybe??? First dibs lol.
Yup...soon.
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Unread 12-23-2009, 08:27 PM   #9
keaton
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Shoot me a pm with what brand they are n how much you want for em. I'm in desperate need of ca's.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 01:36 AM   #10
AustinTexasXJ
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damn I have already been beat the short arms.

nice loooking XJ
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Unread 12-24-2009, 09:04 PM   #11
Stout95YJ
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Awesome dude, great pics and write up!
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Unread 12-24-2009, 10:39 PM   #12
Cliff333
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Very nice writeup and pics! Its great to see a review since I will be ordering mine soon! Thanks
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Unread 12-24-2009, 11:26 PM   #13
AustinTexasXJ
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why did you go with the 4.5 not the 6.5"
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Unread 12-25-2009, 07:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTexasXJ View Post
why did you go with the 4.5 not the 6.5"
6.5" is too high.
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Unread 12-25-2009, 08:41 AM   #15
adamsclarke
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How do the spring shock combo ride.....caddy like....or brick like.....or somewhere in the middle?
Anyone know how those 2.2 are valved and ride?
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