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Unread 01-27-2014, 07:41 PM   #811
jscusmcvet
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Metal Cloak LCA install


Having trouble loading pics, but here is a write up with no pics to get your mouth watering...


Received my order from Metal Cloak today. Not bad, even though they say 3 weeks, I ordered on Jan. 15 and received today. I appreciated the fact that they included UPS shipping info and that you can access the tracking info right from your account log in on the MC website. One note, MC requires UPS to get a signature to deliver, so consider that when ordering and make sure you have a way to make that happen. I had mine delivered to work, so 1) I could get a signature and 2) Fed Ex and UPS will not go down my road for deliveries

On to the install. Today was almost 70 degrees and sunny here in central NC. Supposed to be snowy and cold for the rest of the week pretty much so I bailed a bit early on work and came home to get started on install.

The box was torn, but the arms were packaged well, with the air filled packing bubbles and lots of tape, so arms arrived unscathed despite the 27 pound shipping weight. I was impressed with the build and heft of the arms. In the past I have had Currie LCA's and the old style Teraflex CA's. These arms were bigger and heavier than those, according to my memory.


A quick inspection of the bushings from the stock LCA's showed what I think may have been at least part of the source of my shimmy... they don't look as bad as I have seen, but they are still past it...


I used the ratchet strap to pull the axle forward a bit. I adjusted the new LCA to 16", so easy pull with the strap of only about 1/4". To make this easier I put straps on both sides, put tension on them, loosed all 4 LCA bolts, removed one side bolts, and cranked the straps to move the axle where I needed for that side. I left the bolts loose on the newly installed MC LCA, then moved to the other side. Once I got the other side off, I cranked the strap on that side and installed bolts. Then I tightened all bolts, semi hard (keep your mind out of the gutter) and removed straps. Once the straps were removed I went back and torqued down each bolt.

Light was fading fast and while I have the barn to work in, the lighting is not the best. I chose to hold off on the UCA install for another day. However, since I did not have the time for the UCA, but I did have the rear bilsteins to add, I moved on that. I already have bilsteins on the front, so this is part of my ride improvement strategy.

Of course, I had my regular "hired help" working with me today. Joe is actually getting to be a help these days, when putting the tires back on, I would get all 5 lugs started and he would spin them "tight" enough to lower and have Dad tighten things up. So much fun.


After we got it all buttoned back up, we went for a quick test drive. I have been in this jeep game for a while... I can say without a doubt that this simple mod of the front LCA from Metal Cloak has an amazing impact on smoothness. I am lucky enough to have to ride on dirt for almost a mile before I get to pavement. This "road" to our house is what most would consider a trail. This change made the ride smooth right out. Kind of felt like floating over the bumps. When I got to pavement things were smooth until about 51/52 and then I got a slight shimmy, much less than before, but at a higher speed. I am sure caster is off, since I extended the LCA's by 1/4 inch and have yet to do the UCA's. I am excited to get the chance to get the UCA's installed, get an alignment and see how that effects things. I am confident that I will get the correction complete.

I am not so very easily impressed and often choose a less expensive option, due to the expenses of "real life". I can say now with confidence that the MC control arms are a worthy investment. I will report further after some road miles and after getting the UCA's installed.

John

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Unread 01-29-2014, 05:30 PM   #812
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Just came across this on Facebook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OrFg...ature=youtu.be

Cool testing apparatus and a pretty straight-forward, no-BS test.

Until you run them, you really have no idea.

Might as well update while I'm in this thread--no news is good news. Zero issues, no wear, no change and they've been seeing snow, ice, road salt, lots of miles, and deep negative temperatures. The Jeep drives nicer than my DD Honda and it's my go-to choice in this crap. The joint barrels look perfect with no signs of rust and the joints themselves are clean, look brand new and have no signs of bushing/sleeve separation or sleeve rust. They don't make a peep, there is zero maintenance, and I don't have to worry about rusty center ball sleeves or grease. Clean, simple, and carefree. Tough to beat that combo.

I've also been using a hard top, re-installed the carpet (with some modifications to fit with the fuel cell and armor backing plates, etc) and lower shifter console, and have generally tried to make this thing as comfortable and quiet as possible again. For a high performance TJ on 37's, it's absurd. If only I got better than 15mpg, I'd drive this thing to California and back. The bushings are a large part of the pie in this quest.
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Unread 01-29-2014, 05:35 PM   #813
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
Just came across this on Facebook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OrFg...ature=youtu.be

Cool testing apparatus and a pretty straight-forward, no-BS test.

Until you run them, you really have no idea.

Might as well update while I'm in this thread--no news is good news. Zero issues, no wear, no change and they've been seeing snow, ice, road salt, lots of miles, and deep negative temperatures. The Jeep drives nicer than my DD Honda and it's my go-to choice in this crap. The joint barrels look perfect with no signs of rust and the joints themselves are clean, look brand new and have no signs of bushing/sleeve separation or sleeve rust. They don't make a peep, there is zero maintenance, and I don't have to worry about rusty center ball sleeves or grease. Clean, simple, and carefree. Tough to beat that combo.

I've also been using a hard top, re-installed the carpet (with some modifications to fit with the fuel cell and armor backing plates, etc) and lower shifter console, and have generally tried to make this thing as comfortable and quiet as possible again. For a high performance TJ on 37's, it's absurd. If only I got better than 15mpg, I'd drive this thing to California and back. The bushings are a large part of the pie in this quest.
Did you put carpet back in for insulation or noise, both? I'm thinking about putting carpet back in for next winter.
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Unread 01-29-2014, 05:40 PM   #814
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A little bit of both. With it, it certainly has a 'warmer feel' to it but that could just be in my head. But hey, when it's -15 it's tough to tell. With the carpet, the sound of the tires is definitely reduced. Compared to last winter (no carpet, soft top, JJ's) the Jeep is much, much quieter. I can comfortably have a conversation at 65mph and that wouldn't have been possible last year. The only noises I hear are the tires and the transmission, both of which are much more drowned out and distant. Music sounds fuller with less echo since putting the carpet in, as well.

Over the years, I took away all of the creature comforts and I'm starting to reverse that cycle for whatever reason. It's just a part of trying to create a great dual-purpose TJ with the fewest compromises.
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Unread 01-29-2014, 05:45 PM   #815
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My jeep buddy just ordered his for the rear to complete the MC package after replacing the fronts. He noticed quite an improvement just by replacing the front CA's!
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Unread 01-29-2014, 05:53 PM   #816
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
A little bit of both. With it, it certainly has a 'warmer feel' to it but that could just be in my head. But hey, when it's -15 it's tough to tell. With the carpet, the sound of the tires is definitely reduced. Compared to last winter (no carpet, soft top, JJ's) the Jeep is much, much quieter. I can comfortably have a conversation at 65mph and that wouldn't have been possible last year. The only noises I hear are the tires and the transmission, both of which are much more drowned out and distant. Music sounds fuller with less echo since putting the carpet in, as well.

Over the years, I took away all of the creature comforts and I'm starting to reverse that cycle for whatever reason. It's just a part of trying to create a great dual-purpose TJ with the fewest compromises.
That's what I'm going for too this summer, adding the creature comforts back and other smaller details.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 01:13 PM   #817
Gary2
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I removed the JJ's in my Savvy aluminum arms almost a year and a half ago to install Mc bushings . I have tried MC in all of the joints and a combination of the two brands ( not in the same arm ) and in the end I am going with JJs in the lower front. I have a much more relaxing highway diving experience . Much less if any wandering and naturally a lot less steering correction required . Expansion joints and small pot holes are a little more noticeable with JJs installed but I prefer the more relaxed ride with the more precise tracking/steering combination overall. I do still have OE bushings in the upper fronts and MC every where else . This is just a common short arm 2.5-3" lift and just my opinion . I am glad I kept most of my joints so I can find what works best for me . I am mainly just throwing this out there for those who like to experiment not to say negative things about either brand .

Don't get me wrong when I say wandering its almost for lack of a better word , it is very slight with the MC but I feel the difference.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 03:14 PM   #818
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
: ]


I don't have to worry about rusty center ball sleeves or grease.
This statement is my biggest concern with J/J's, Is that alone a reason to choose a Duroflex bushing over a Johnny Joint?

Would you say a J/J run in the salt belt could last 50k miles with reasonable care?
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Unread 02-02-2014, 03:15 PM   #819
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Originally Posted by Dave02TJ
Would you say a J/J run in the salt belt could last 50k miles with reasonable care?
I have that easily on my set.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 03:18 PM   #820
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary2 View Post
I removed the JJ's in my Savvy aluminum arms almost a year and a half ago to install Mc bushings . I have tried MC in all of the joints and a combination of the two brands ( not in the same arm ) and in the end I am going with JJs in the lower front. I have a much more relaxing highway diving experience . Much less if any wandering and naturally a lot less steering correction required . Expansion joints and small pot holes are a little more noticeable with JJs installed but I prefer the more relaxed ride with the more precise tracking/steering combination overall. I do still have OE bushings in the upper fronts and MC every where else . This is just a common short arm 2.5-3" lift and just my opinion . I am glad I kept most of my joints so I can find what works best for me . I am mainly just throwing this out there for those who like to experiment not to say negative things about either brand .
I appreciate this post and information, it doesn't make choosing one over the other any easier though lol.
I hadn't heard about wandering issues with the MC joints. I suppose logic would indicate that would be more possible with a MC joint than a J/J.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 03:20 PM   #821
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary2 View Post
I removed the JJ's in my Savvy aluminum arms almost a year and a half ago to install Mc bushings . I have tried MC in all of the joints and a combination of the two brands ( not in the same arm ) and in the end I am going with JJs in the lower front. I have a much more relaxing highway diving experience . Much less if any wandering and naturally a lot less steering correction required . Expansion joints and small pot holes are a little more noticeable with JJs installed but I prefer the more relaxed ride with the more precise tracking/steering combination overall. I do still have OE bushings in the upper fronts and MC every where else . This is just a common short arm 2.5-3" lift and just my opinion . I am glad I kept most of my joints so I can find what works best for me . I am mainly just throwing this out there for those who like to experiment not to say negative things about either brand .
I noticed exactly zero difference between JJ's and Duroflex bushings in regards to road going stability. My Jeep drives phenomenally on the road and I'm not sure there's much else that could improve it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave02TJ View Post
This statement is my biggest concern with J/J's, Is that alone a reason to choose a Duroflex bushing over a Johnny Joint?

Would you say a J/J run in the salt belt could last 50k miles with reasonable care?
It's a very minor thing that pleases someone who hates rust like me.

And yes, JJ's can and will live beyond 50k miles in the salt belt and that's with absolutely no care at all. I've done it.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 03:20 PM   #822
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Originally Posted by geiman View Post
I have that easily on my set.
Is their any noticeable degradation of the joint?
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Unread 02-02-2014, 04:01 PM   #823
Gary2
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I use the Currie bolts that have a grease fitting and I also drilled a small hole in the steel ball . They are in an original JJ housing that also has a grease fitting so no area goes with out grease no rust problem . We sure have had our share of salted roads here in Jersey to create plenty of rust not to mention I live at the shore. I swapped the joints a number of times to be positive that their was enough of a difference to make it worth posting having a pretty good idea what kind of posts would likely follow .
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Unread 02-02-2014, 04:05 PM   #824
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Man, I can't wait to install my control arms!
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Unread 02-02-2014, 04:07 PM   #825
geiman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave02TJ
Is their any noticeable degradation of the joint?
No. I had one set that I mistakenly tightened incorrectly so the joints were rotated opposite one another; in short, they were unable to rotate so no grease ever touched the exposed side on that arm. By the time I noticed what I did, they had rust on the exposed part of the centering ball. I took the joints apart, sanded the rust off, put them back together with fresh grease and they've been fine since; that was over two years ago. It was completely my fault, and like I said it was just the one incorrectly installed arm.
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