"re-lifting/lowering/overhaul" of jeep LJ suspension - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 16 Old 03-31-2016, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
Nackl87
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"re-lifting/lowering/overhaul" of jeep LJ suspension

So here is the scoop.
I have owned a '06 rubicon LJ for about 8-9 years now. I lifted it around 2009 with a Rubicon Express 5.5" long arm lift kit, and it rolls on 315/75-16's.(35's). I have swapped gears to 4.56, ARB locker in rear to replace the failed factory unit, and treated 30 spline rear shafts.

At this point, I am not really happy with the lift kit, for a few reasons. Firstly, (as most of you probably know) the "hourglass" bushings in the control arms suck. I have replaced them twice in less than 35,000 miles. I want to get rid of that garbage.

Secondly, the jeep is just too tall and it doesnt suite me anymore. Between the whole LCG craze, and me getting older, i want it to be a little lower.

Thirdly, I just want it to drive better.


So, I would like some opinions on what you guys would suggest would be the best route to overhaul this jeeps suspension.

I dont really have a set budget, but if i can accomplish good results in a cheaper way, i am all for that.

I'm not sure if i want to try to squeeze 35's on something like a 3.5" spring, or just go to 33's.

I am kind of "out of touch" with what options are out there right now, but a have a few ideas i have considered. For example, metalcloak makes a bushing kit, where i can chop all the old rod ends off my rubicon express arms and weld the duroflex bushings on. They also have progressive rate 3.5" coils, which i thought looked nice.

They also sell complete radius arms, which look very similar to the rubicon express arms. Anybody know if those would bolt on to the rubicon express belly pan?

I guess i want to try to retain that belly pan, and replace arms(or just bushings), springs, shocks, ect.

Let me know what you guys think, and thanks

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post #2 of 16 Old 03-31-2016, 09:31 PM
sduncan
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Well..lets start with this..

1. How much do you want to invest in our "overhaul"?

2. Are you doing it yourself or having a shop do it?

3. If yourself, whats your tool availability/selection like?

4. How much downtime are you going to allow?


Since I have a similar RE kit and recently "re-did" mine, I have some suggestions that would certainly do what you are asking, but I (we) need answers to the questions before I get into that much detail.
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-01-2016, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
Nackl87
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Well, downtime is a non issue. As this is my secondary/ summer vehicle.
Also, I intended on doing all the work myself.(minus possibly an alignment when all is said and done).
I would like to keep the suspension work below 3k if possible, as I will be buying new tires and possibly wheels when the suspension work is done.

In terms of tools, I'm fairly well setup for a shadetree mechanic.
I have welders, torches and the like, at my disposal, as well as a all the "normal" tools.
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post #4 of 16 Old 04-01-2016, 07:52 AM
TheBoogieman
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Remove the LA kit for a 4" Savvy SA kit and buy some quality shocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
Springs have one job and one job only and it isn't to affect, determine, or create ride quality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrallen View Post
I'd rather get circumcised as an adult with no anesthesia than pull an exhaust manifold with precats underneath.
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post #5 of 16 Old 04-01-2016, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
Nackl87
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I wouldn't be opposed to something like that, but I would have to weld on some Lca brackets.
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-01-2016, 08:01 PM
sduncan
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You could do what BoogieMan said but it'd be more trouble that its worth I think. While LA on the LJ makes for some really low hanging lowers in the rear, If your not crawling over rocks and logs on a regular basis then don't worry about it.

Here's what I'd do..and sort of did..

1. Go to a set of 4-4.5 springs. For an LJ the slightly higher rate RE springs are not too bad. There are lots of options available though. If you like to load the jeep with camping supplies/equipment then the RE springs will do fine. With the right bumps you can still use 35s or use less bump and drop to 33s.

2. For a significant improvement in ride and handling, strongly consider outboarding the rear shocks. I am very happy with the way my TJ rides and handles now, especially in the rear. Part of this also has to do with using the RE Tri-Link and getting rid of the rear track bar. The rear axle can now move freely throughout its travel with no binding or interference. I used 12 in travel Fox reservoir shocks in Poly Performance mounts and set them for 6.5 in up travel/5.5 down with proper bumps and limiting straps to control the droop. I have RE 4.5 springs front and rear. Some folks may disagree with the Tri Link and say keep the track bar, but it'll work with what you already have and it will improve the way the rear end works. You can also relocate the upper spring mounts on the frame and straighten out the springs.

3. In the front, get rid of (which you probably have) the dropped pitman arm (go back to OEM) and the drop track bar bracket at the frame. Throw the RE TB in the trash and order a Metal Cloak TB. Add a set of 10-11 in travel (for 4/4.5 springs) Fox shocks.

4. FYI, Currie makes replacement Johnny Joints that replace the RE Super Flex joints if yours are bad. I will be doing the Metal Cloak Bushings for the other ends soon myself, but I have the earlier RE versions which have actually lasted very well.

This is pretty much what I did..and I'm very happy with the way mind rides, etc. You can save some $$ if you go with Rancho 9000XL shocks instead of the Foxes and still get good results.

So there's my 2 cents on it. You can keep some of what you already have, modify and/or replace some inferior parts, and end up with a decent riding and workable jeep. It takes some work, but in my experience it was well worth it.

Others here will certainly have some ideas too. I'm just telling you what I did since I have the same RE LA and how its worked out.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-01-2016, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
Nackl87
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Thanks Sduncan, that's some awesome first hand details!
I have considered ouboarding the shocks for years, so that suggestion wasn't a surprise.
Everything your saying you did is pretty much on par with what I was imaging doing, though I am seriously considering going a 3.5" spring and 33's.
Do you (or anyone else) know, is there anything inherently wrong with the geometry of the Rubicon express lift, or does it get its bad rap mostly because of the bushings?
Also, is there any issue retaining long arms with only 3.5" Springs? Thanks
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-02-2016, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nackl87 View Post
Thanks Sduncan, that's some awesome first hand details!
I have considered ouboarding the shocks for years, so that suggestion wasn't a surprise.
Everything your saying you did is pretty much on par with what I was imaging doing, though I am seriously considering going a 3.5" spring and 33's.
Do you (or anyone else) know, is there anything inherently wrong with the geometry of the Rubicon express lift, or does it get its bad rap mostly because of the bushings?
Also, is there any issue retaining long arms with only 3.5" Springs? Thanks
RE is right up there with RC and Skyjacker because of quality (it's cheap) issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblaine View Post
Springs have one job and one job only and it isn't to affect, determine, or create ride quality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrallen View Post
I'd rather get circumcised as an adult with no anesthesia than pull an exhaust manifold with precats underneath.
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-02-2016, 07:02 AM
sduncan
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Yup. It certainly has some issues. But they can now be pretty much taken care or with other pieces now available. Remember... The OP and myself both bought these kits 9 years ago... Long before most of the now "top shelf" systems were available.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-02-2016, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sduncan View Post
Yup. It certainly has some issues. But they can now be pretty much taken care or with other pieces now available. Remember... The OP and myself both bought these kits 9 years ago... Long before most of the now "top shelf" systems were available.
x2.

I have a RE 3.5" Superflex kit that was installed in 2005... My Jeep wiggles like a bowl of Jello going down the road as many of the bushings are shot.

A complete set of control arms is in my future...

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post #11 of 16 Old 04-02-2016, 07:41 AM
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I as well bought the RE 4.5 sa kit for my 05 Rubi 7yrs ago now and have since then swapped out everything but the springs. Ride quality is #1. I guess I would ask yourself if it was dialed in would you still want to drop it down ? It "might" be a lot cheaper to fix the handling problem however if your def set on dropping it as you implied then as others stated going to the 4.5 springs would probably be a more manageable height for your desire
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post #12 of 16 Old 04-02-2016, 09:14 AM
RockWoRM
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I'll be watching this. I'm kinda in the same boat.
Bought the Jeep set up the way it is. It sits VERY high. RC long arm with MC 6"/5.5" coils. And with 37's, I can't even fit it in the garage! LOL! Since I am relatively new to TJ's, I think it rides very good... but I came from a YJ.
The high COG has me a bit concerned. Especially for my upcoming trip to Moab... but I'll try to stay off the extreme trails.

Again, don't mean to hijack the thread... so I hope to see what you come up with!

'05 LJR, 6sp, RC long arm w/MC 6" coils, 5.13 D44's w/chromo shafts, MetalCloak fenders/sliders/body armor, 37x12.50 MTR's, Warn 9.5, RockHard swing out w/full spare. <><
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post #13 of 16 Old 04-03-2016, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
Nackl87
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Any other suggestions out there?
One of my main questions has still gone unanswered. Is there anything inherently wrong with the geometry of the rubicon express long arm kit? Will i be happy just re- bushing my existing arms, and new springs, shock,s trac bar ect?
I realize that not too many are fond of the radius arm setup.
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post #14 of 16 Old 04-03-2016, 09:38 AM
sduncan
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I believe that there is some binding that can occur when the front is crossed up (check the video from MetalCloak they have for the Lock-n-Loaded radius arm they make) and also some caster changes that can happen when the front cycles . Other than that, while not ideal, it's not bad. Would I like a nice mid arm 3 link in its place? Sure, but my exhaust routing won't really allow it so I'll stick with what I have.

Just make sure that the steering components are tight and in good condition, use a quality TB and an OEM pitman arm, get the alignment right and it should steer pretty well.
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-03-2016, 10:25 AM
pmcjeep
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I'd look into changing all the joints to currie jj. If you want to stay with 35s look at the re 3.5 springs or 4 in springs from other places and add 1in body lift plus nice set of shocks to match or just use the springs, and new shocks with some 33s.

01 tj 4.0,bds springs,ROKMEN arms, ecgs 8.8 and hp30 both locked with 4.88s,35in STTs,Smittybilt bumpers,8k winch,hylined MCE flatties,TKHfab rocksliders,and lots more to come!
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