If at this point you’re scratching your head wondering what the length of a person’s arms has to do with suspension, hold fast. As a Jeep is lifted, the stock control arms (what connects the axle to the Jeep) become more and more angled as they try to cope with the new spring height. At a certain point (exactly when this point is can be debated), the ride and performance decrease to the point of needing to replace them with longer control arms. This allows improved flex as well as moving the axle back forward to where it was stock.
The first step was to remove the stock control arm mounts on the frame; the holes were covered and made to look like they’d never been there. Next was to weld on the brackets for the longer and beefier control arms. The rear axle was also modified with a truss to accommodate the new 4-link suspension design. After relocating the control arm mounts, the belly pan was installed. This item in particular was evidence of the heavy duty nature of the Clayton kit; the shipping label told us it weighed a whopping 125lbs and gave a comical little pictogram of the various ways not to lift it.
The steering was also modified and beefed up, including a new track bar bracket and a drop pitman arm. The whole front end was capped off by a set of JKS Quick Disconnects for the sway bar. The rear was removed for increased flex, a nearly unanimous choice among Jeepers.
When it was all buttoned up, a set of 35×12.50 Interco Trxus M/Ts were mounted on black steel wheels and it was ready for the trails. Being a Rubicon, it already had Dana 44 axles with electronic lockers, and 4.10 gears. With the AW4 automatic and the 4:1 transfer case, Greg should be able to delay having to re-gear for a while. Next on his list are bumpers and rocker protection, but it should be a very capable rig as it sits.
Though I didn’t drive the completed rig, the reports were unanimous that it drove and handled amazingly well for a vehicle running 35’s and 5.5” of lift. I know those who watched it come together are looking forward to seeing it on the trail soon. Thanks again to John and Jason at Auburn Car Repair & Offroad, and Greg for letting us watch his Jeep grow up.
Related – Outfitting Your Jeep Vehicle 101: Snorkels
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