So I started out with an RC 4" X-Flex lift about two years or so ago. Since I do not desire to beat a dead horse, I won't go into its shortcomings here. A friend has been telling me for a year how I should triangulate the uppers and get rid of the rear track bar. So I finally decided to pull the trigger.
I began procuring parts. I started with Gen-Right combination frame-side brackets. Lowers are angled out about ten degrees and uppers are angled in about 25 degrees if I remember right. I bought their lower shock mounts (the expensive ones) and their coil spring relocation kit. Also got axle side lower mounts from them. I bought the Savvy/Currie aluminum arms with stars in my eyes. The number one selling point for me besides the obvious splendiferousness of aluminum was the right hand thread on one side and left hand on the other. Doesn't get any easier than that, right?
I planned to employ a rear axle bridge given to me by my friend who cut it off his Jeep when he did a rear stretch. It is made by Rock Slide Engineering out of Logan, Utah. I really liked the design, though in hindsight, it may or may not be a stellar design and I will probably have to box it in soon.
All of these purchases were made before using the four-link calculator on the assumption that Gen-Right knows what they are doing and I'm sticking with short arms, so shouldn't have to make any huge changes, right? Wrong.
1. First thing I learned was it is not nearly as tedious or difficult to cut all the stock mounts off as I had originally thought it would be. Angle grinder, thin cutting disc, BFH and a torch took me one afternoon
I cut the upper control arm mounts off the axle, lowers off the axle, lower track bar mount off the axle, upper track bar mount off the frame, upper coil mounts off the frame, and frame side upper and lower control arm mounts. Cake.
After grinding everything smooth, I started mocking up my stuff. Tacked the axle bridge first after some redesign to the bridge. Then I mocked up the lower control arms, saw where they pointed to on both the axle and the frame and tacked my lower axle mounts on along with the gorgeous Gen-Right combination brackets on the frame. This is where it gets interesting. Due to my lack of preparation, I did not realize until now that my Gen-Right brackets pointed the upper control arms about 7" further out toward the ends of the axle then my bridge mounts were placed. So, the way I saw it, my options were to cut the bridge up, order new upper control arm mounts and weld them to the bridge where the Gen-Right brackets pointed them to. Or.... Wait for it.... the other option was to move the Gen-Right bracket 6"-8" forward so the upper control arm mount pointed directly at the mount on the axle bridge. This would mean my sensational Currie-Savvy lowers will no longer work.
2. Second thing I learned.... don't buy or make lower control arms without first doing all the calculations, trigonometry, geometry, algebra etc to ensure all the crap you purchased will work together.
Long story short, I ended up deciding, after talking to Imped over the phone on a Sunday afternoon during an Indianapolis Colts game, to move the Gen-Right brackets.... I think his exact words were "No, I don't think you'll have any problem at all moving the axle side uppers out that far... but then again, a MID-ARM SETUP WOULD BE PRETTY COOL, TOO.
So I scrapped my Savvy/Currie lowers, planned to use the JJ ends and ordered up some new 1 3/4" 7075 aluminum arms from Ballistic Fab. My conversation with Ballistic Fab went something like this... "I want aluminum lower control arms. I want them. I'm using JOHNNIE JOINT ENDS. Make them 19" long. Bye."
$300 later, I got my arms in the mail. Almost three weeks later, by the way... Finally get time to go thread my beautiful Johnnie Joints into the rods at around midnight last Friday night and what do I find? Well, I'll tell you... the JJ's go about 1.65" into the arms. Then they stop. So I take the JJ out and look at the threads. What did I see, you ask? Well, I saw the thread went a little over 1.5" into the links. What does this mean? Well, I'll tell you. It means two things. It means my arms will be three inches too long. It also means I was a moron for thinking aluminum was cool and I needed it.
So I call Ballistic and tell them politely that the arms they sent me are not threaded deep enough for JJs. Guy says, "Well, you can just cut the shanks on your JJs. That's what most guys do." I say "But I don't want to cut the shanks." "Partially because that was the whole point to have that adjustability built in and I would not have any adjustability if I cut them and secondly why are they only threaded 1.5" when that would be the mininimum amount of thread I would want in there since the shanks are 1" in diameter." Then I ask the guy why they weren't threaded deeper since I told them they would be for Johnnie Joints. Guy says... I swear, he says this... "I don't know... umm, it's just really hard to thread aluminum deeper than that."
Disgusted, I thank him and terminate the conversation deciding immediately that I will build my own arms out of chromoly like the uppers.
3. I learned that if I'm going to foollishly throw money at something because it's cool, at least specify exactly what I want with the vendor since the vendor may or may not care what you are actually using the cool widget for
Okay, where were we.... oh yeah, so this last Monday, I go to Nevada Off-Road Buggy and find some rod inserts (left hand and right hand) for some 1 3/4" .120 DOM I have laying around. Flame away. I know they aren't big enough. Yes, I know they aren't thick enough. It is temporary. I am going to use .250 wall 2", but want to get it running again, so .120 it is for now.
I lamented my woes to the old guy at Nevada Off-Road Buggy and guess what he told me that the guy at Ballistic Fab didn't? He said, "Well, they threaded them for Rod-Ends. They don't make Rod-Ends longer than 1.5." For all I know, I could have been talking to the janitor at Ballistic, but who cares. I now know that if I'm going to have machine work done, I need to be clear and probably get it in writing exactly what I'm wanting.
The only part of the project that went completely without a hitch is the upper spring relocation parts and the lower control arm tabs.
So, that's about it for now. Tired of typing and this is long. I uploaded a few lame pictures. Photobucket is down right now, but I do have some better ones on there. I will attach them when it comes back up. The last picture is the new lowers I built out of the .120 wall.
That is all.