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Unread 04-01-2013, 10:04 AM   #1
JeffBowser
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Control arm questions for the patient

Patient as in, this topic is already covered endlessly... I'm perusing the search function and I'm not finding with confidence what I'm looking for. I'm hoping some of you suspension experts up here still have patience to school someone yet again.....

The scenario is my 97 with the 2"-3" OME lift (never sure how much they actually do lift but I have the HD springs,including one spacer pad all around).

I'm looking to refresh my front end, starting with the control arms. I do not have a sense that going Savvy or other pricey adjustable is going to be a good bang for the buck. I do not rock crawl. At the most I fallen tree crawl.... In this scenario, will I actually gain anything from an adjustable, or will it be good enough just dropping in new factory arms, which seemed to do fine for me for the last 16 years.....

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Unread 04-01-2013, 10:25 AM   #2
joe_jeep
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i did break 2 sets of front uppers on my first tj, without trying too hard.
i see you dont need the ultimate in flex, but strength is another point to quality arms.
i guess you could use new ones, and keep your old ones as spares?
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Unread 04-01-2013, 11:59 AM   #3
JeffBowser
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The only reason I need to replace them at all is the bushings are dry rotting. They seem to be plenty strong for me. I'm wondering if I'm missing out on subtle improvements with more expensive arms, or if it will be too subtle to be worth the money.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 12:13 PM   #4
afusco1222
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I would think you would be. Being able to extend your wheel base by a few inches is pretty important in ride comfort.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 12:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by afusco1222 View Post
I would think you would be. Being able to extend your wheel base by a few inches is pretty important in ride comfort.
If your reasoning is revolving around a flatter arm angle, it will be absolutely negligible. Plus, how is he going to lengthen the wheelbase 'a few inches' without doing all of the necessary work to gain the room to do so? Assuming a few = 3, he would experience all kinds of interference situations before it could all work.

Jeff, stock arms will probably work fine for you. There are very few arms actually worth spending money on and all of those options cost considerable money. Find some lightly used stock take-offs for cheap and roll with them.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 12:27 PM   #6
JeffBowser
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Thanks, Imped. I know somewhere up here is a tutorial on installing new arms, but I can't find it. I am assuming I can do one at a time, with the jeep sitting on the ground, as simple as that. Or am I going to be worried about pre-load and that cam bolt going back in right?
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Unread 04-01-2013, 12:36 PM   #7
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stock arms should be fine. adjustable lowers in front will help you dial in caster better, if you're not using the cam bolts. if you are using the cam bolts (which did come on 97s supposedly), and you're happy with the return to center & caster you have now, then don't worry about it.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 01:13 PM   #8
JeffBowser
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Yep, it seems fine by way of return to center and caster. And yes, it does have cam bolts.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 03:01 PM   #9
JeffBowser
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Vid of my front end from last weekend, don't know if it shows anything useful.... http://www.bowseronline.com/Photogra...3831&k=56nhDjh
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Unread 04-01-2013, 06:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JeffBowser View Post
Vid of my front end from last weekend, don't know if it shows anything useful.... http://www.bowseronline.com/Photogra...3831&k=56nhDjh
thats a great video to illustrate how the axle moves in the real world.

I can't see the cam bolts clearly...just make sure they're oriented forward, like so:
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Unread 04-22-2013, 06:44 AM   #11
JeffBowser
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When I went to replace the control arms this weekend, only one of my cam bolts pointed forward, the other was oriented upwards. I had presumed this would be set to each Jeep's individual needs. You're statement leads me to believe that both should be pointed forward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited04 View Post
thats a great video to illustrate how the axle moves in the real world.

I can't see the cam bolts clearly...just make sure they're oriented forward, like so:
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Unread 04-22-2013, 06:53 AM   #12
Patrick H
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Originally Posted by JeffBowser View Post
When I went to replace the control arms this weekend, only one of my cam bolts pointed forward, the other was oriented upwards. I had presumed this would be set to each Jeep's individual needs. You're statement leads me to believe that both should be pointed forward?
Technically they should be, but my experience with aftermarket cam bolts (2 different Jeeps) is that they fit so poorly and loosely that by the time you get them both rotated to set your caster and with no bushing binding, the cams aren't always indexed the same. I'd hope the stock cams on the '97 fit better.
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Unread 04-22-2013, 07:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffBowser View Post
When I went to replace the control arms this weekend, only one of my cam bolts pointed forward, the other was oriented upwards. I had presumed this would be set to each Jeep's individual needs. You're statement leads me to believe that both should be pointed forward?
generally, they should both be pointed forward. you wouldn't use adjustable control arms of varied lengths, would you?
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Unread 04-22-2013, 07:14 AM   #14
JeffBowser
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Aye, makes sense, but then, why make them adjustable at all.... I'll rotate the one forward tonight and see what it does. I tell you, those rear control arms, frame mount at 130ft-lbs was a *****. Not a lot of room to finangle a breaker bar, and my torque wrench didn't even go that high. I breaker bar-ed it 1/8" of a turn at a time until i figured it was tight as I dared.
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Unread 04-22-2013, 07:16 AM   #15
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Aye, makes sense, but then, why make them adjustable at all....
so you can adjust axle rotation with non adjustable arms. not a ton of rotation, but enough to work with a 2" lift
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