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Unread 03-08-2010, 11:13 PM   #1
Eggdashure
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WJ Control Arms on XJ (Write-Up)

Hey guys,

Ok, go easy on me, this is my first write-up!

First of all, let's talk about why I did this swap. The WJ Control Arms are MUCH beefier than XJ CA's. The WJ Arms also have the NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) bushings which really does make a difference in ride quality. And lastly, the S curve in the lower arms. The S curve makes it possible to run larger tires and not rub on the control arms as evidensed in the following pic.


So, step 1: Procure a set of WJ Control Arms...I scored all four of mine on eBay for $40.99 (including shipping) I saw people selling just the LCA's for $65. A Junk Yard visit may yield results too.
Step 2: I began by soaking any and all control arms bolts with penetrating oil. Might want to do this and let it sit for a while (2-3 days?). I then "broke" the bolts on my drivers side tire and lifted this side of the Jeep carefully placing jack stands under the axle and frame, then remove the tire and place it out of the way. Now I have a clear view of my task.
Step 3: I began by removing the bolts on the lower control arms. NOTE: Breaker bar makes this manageable! Once the nuts are off just use a hammer to pound the bolts out, I had to use a crow bar to pull them out the rest of the way. Be careful because one CA's fell right out and almost clocked me! (Yes, I am safety incarnate! ) Now you can see how pitiful the old arms are in comparison to the new ones! The WJ arms look a lot longer, but are the same measurement hole to hole.
Step 4: The WJ arms are approximately 12.5mm wider at the uni-body end. I tried to squeeze these into the bucket but couldn't make them fit, so I resorted to machining down the excess. (Just a side note, when the guy pulled the arms off the above axle the bushing housing was mangled slightly. I tried to correct this, but ended up machining the ends down too far. I had to squeeze a couple washers in the bucket to keep everything from rubbing.) Make sure to grease up the bolt holes in the arms to keep them squeaking. I found it easier to start installing at the axle end and finish at the uni-body end, but that's just me. At the axle end, I just widened the mount with a BFH! And used my jack to push it in place.
Step 5: Repeat on passenger side! For some reason the drivers side bolted right up just fine. Passenger side took some creative thinking! I just used my standard issue Jeep Jack to fine tune the back and forth position of the axle until things lined up properly.

If you only plan on doing the Lower Control Arms, great your done!
If your foolish like me and want the Uppers installed too, continue on!

The upper arms present more of a challenge because they aren't quite a direct bolt in. If you are running a stock rig, you could probably bolt them up and go. If your running a 3 inch lift like me...well just make sure you have an angle grinder and a fair amount of patience. If you look at the pic below, you'll see that the WJ arms arch downwards and the XJ arms arch upwards. What happens is the WJ arms can contact the bottom of the bucket and limit axle droop. The red circle is a clip on the arm that holds the axle breather tube on the drivers side.
Step 1: You should already have the tire off and your Heep on jack stands, with the bolts already oiled. I began on the drivers side at the axle mount, this requires a long 15mm socket (Harbor Freight here I come!). I'm not sure what year Jeep did this, but on my 99 I have the little arm that is SUPPOSED to catch on the control arm and provide resistance to remove the nut. Notice in the pic above the shiny circle around the old arms axle end mount. Here's how I eventually got this stupid bolt out, I found a piece of square tubing and pounded it on the little strip that is SUPPOSED to catch, and used the axle as a pivot point.
Step 2: The uni-body end worked just fine, but it's like playing operation when trying to remove the bolt from in it's hiding place. Just take your time and work it out slowly. If you drop it, a strong magnetic wand is your friend!
Step 3: On the frame itself is a small piece of metal that protrudes out this needs to be cut back an inch or so to allow droop of the arm. Then you will need to grind down the uni-body bucket roughly a quarter of an inch...depending on your lift you may need to adjust this accordingly. Time will tell if this weakened the bucket or not. I highly doubt it given the strength of the metal. Special thanks to Comanche Club for this adaptation!
Step 4: For the upper arms I found it easier to start at the uni-body end and finish at the axle. Why, I dunno! Only worked one way for me. Again the passenger side wanted to fight me, I had to use a come along attached to a hole in the frame near the center cross member and at UCA tower to get this SOB to line up. Sorry, no pic of the come along, I was running low on patience and time.

All done!!!



Last edited by Eggdashure; 03-09-2010 at 09:34 AM..
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Unread 03-08-2010, 11:16 PM   #2
Eggdashure
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Verdict: I was quite shocked when I took the Jeep to work the next day, a much more responsive and smoother ride. I had been struggling with some DW and bumpsteer and it's no wonder given the shape my bushings were in.

It's nice to be able to get full lock steering without using washers at the steering stops. No awful rubber on metal grinding noise when I'm trying to park. The improvement in ride quality was both shocking and welcome. A very potent mod indeed!
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Unread 04-30-2010, 08:41 AM   #3
lowicz96
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Awesome right up but i have a question. Whats the purpose of installing WJ upper arms? Is it just for the better ride due the bushings?
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Unread 04-30-2010, 02:46 PM   #4
Eggdashure
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Yea the better bushings help the ride. But the upper arms are also boxed like the lower so they are stronger and more rigid as well. The set I got had one bad bushing I have to replace, but otherwise they have been working great. No serious wheeling with the upper arms yet, though I have confidence!
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Unread 06-05-2010, 09:28 PM   #5
jk_surgeonfish
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Thanks for the write-up on this. I did this on Friday for just the LCAs and am very happy in how it rides not. Much smoother. In order not to heat the bushing up I just cut them using a hack-saw by hand Did not take very long at all.

Since the WJ arms are a little bigger (not longer) I noticed that I lost a little travel in axle droop. To remedy, I cut away a bit of the metal on the shock mount. You will see what is hitting when you allow the axle to droop. Just cut a little bit away and it helps.

When installing I found it easiest to do the unibody end first and then the axle end. I used a come-along to pull the axle toward the front. Hooked it to my front hitch.
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Unread 06-06-2010, 08:16 AM   #6
Eggdashure
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Glad they worked out for you!

I have not run into the droop limitation, though I can't say for sure I won't in the future if I go higher.
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Unread 06-28-2010, 09:35 AM   #7
ISUzj
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Hey, Tried this on the ZJ, I can't get the Oblong End to go on the Uni-body,I ended up putting them in backwards, was it a tight fit for you or did they slide right in?
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Unread 06-28-2010, 02:35 PM   #8
jk_surgeonfish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISUzj View Post
Hey, Tried this on the ZJ, I can't get the Oblong End to go on the Uni-body,I ended up putting them in backwards, was it a tight fit for you or did they slide right in?
I did the Unibody side first. Was easier to align the axle using a come-along to get the bolt in.
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Unread 06-28-2010, 03:18 PM   #9
Crunch
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Which end goes to the axle, and to the unibody on the lca's?
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Unread 06-28-2010, 06:51 PM   #10
Eggdashure
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The oblong bushing goes to the Unibody, the round bushing goes to the axle.

Did you machine down the oblong bushing on the Unibody end? In order for the WJ arms to fit on my XJ I had to cut down the oblong bushings to fit.


If you have already done the machining, make sure they aren't too long in the bucket. I can only confirm this mod on an XJ...but I'm pretty sure the ZJ's aren't that much different.
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Unread 06-29-2010, 07:24 AM   #11
ISUzj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggdashure View Post
The oblong bushing goes to the Unibody, the round bushing goes to the axle.

Did you machine down the oblong bushing on the Unibody end? In order for the WJ arms to fit on my XJ I had to cut down the oblong bushings to fit.

If you have already done the machining, make sure they aren't too long in the bucket. I can only confirm this mod on an XJ...but I'm pretty sure the ZJ's aren't that much different.

Yes I did machine the ends down, the same way as it is described above. But it seemed like The depth back in was not enough for the Oblong end to go in, but I will try to tackle it somtime and maybe get a pic..

I am assuming that running them backwards, Oblong end on the Axle is not the Advised way to go....
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Unread 06-29-2010, 08:32 AM   #12
Eggdashure
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Quote:
I am assuming that running them backwards, Oblong end on the Axle is not the Advised way to go....
Yea, the oblong bushing gives more cushion to the body end. I found this over at JeepsUnlimited: WJ control arms work on a ZJ? - JeepsUnlimited.com Forums
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Unread 01-19-2012, 02:45 AM   #13
bfh_american
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hey guys, nice write-up. I know this thread is older, but where are the pictures??? for some reason they're not coming up!!!???
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Unread 04-14-2013, 09:22 PM   #14
rossd14
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I have 1.75'' coil spacers in the front. I have 2 stock leafs added to my pack in the rear. I gained 2.25'' in the rear. I have the grinding on the LCA's at full deflection. I talked to a guy who had did this mod and totally fixed the issue. I will be doing this very shortly!
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