Ok - parts received last night and installed last night update. The Jeep steers pretty close to stock again. I can now one-hand drive 70mph down the interstate, so caster is back. The ride is darn near back to factory, but going from 29" to 35x12.50" M/T, adding in a 4" suspension lift, you can't expect exact same OEM results. The ride is also less jarring, as the control arm geometry is now close to parallel to the ground, effectively minimizing the Y-axis input of force into the control arm up into the Jeep frame. Front drive shaft angle looks awesome. Those last two items wouldn't be resolved by adjustable control arms, so that's a benefit to me. Others would prefer to not lose the ~1-1.5" of ground clearance.
My measurements from the lower spring perch to the bottom of the frame was 7.25", as outlined by AEV in the install instructions. That called for hole #2 on the upper control arm AEV bracket. I elected to go to the bottom hole, adding a touch more caster, as I didn't want to mess with it again. My lift is a true 4", which states I should be in the bottom hole, per AEV. My MEASUREMENTS
indicate I should be in hole #2. My decision was driven by not wanting to find I didn't have enough caster and mess with it again. All-in-all, pleased with the results, especially for $99 and 1 1/2 of my time.
My experiences with the AEV correction brackets:
- The kit was easy to install, but had to take the drivers side upper control arm off the axle to get it out of the frame side bracket (clearance). No big deal, just retorque when installed
- The passenger upper control arm frame bolt JUST cleared the exhaust hanger with no prying. Driver's side bolt was put in from Jeep in the correct direction to allow the bolt to slide out to the outside of the Jeep, not interferring with the exhaust to the inside (ie no need to cut any bolts)
- Dont know what older JKUs have for heat shields, but my 2013 has one around the upper control arm, frame side to protect the bushing from catalytic converter heat. The shields need to be formed by hand back around this area after AEV bracket install. No provision in bracket to reinstall the lower heat shield bolt. No big deal, but will need to center punch, drill and tap a hole if you want it held by 2 fasteners. Should be room to do this, even after install
- Ratchet straps make life VERY easy when shifting axle around to align bolt holes
- Would be nice if all the supplied hardware has the same socket size as the OEM (no biggie)
My $.02, pleased with the results.