It's been a few weeks
since I put the long arms on the front of the LJ. You can
definitely tell the difference between the long and short arms.
On the road the direction of the Jeep is no longer dictated by the
bumps in the road, were the rig used to bounce along it now rides
smooth as glass and is easily driven one handed. The same goes
for unpaved roads, the rate of travel is only limited by how much of
a bump the shocks can absorb. Speaking of which I really need to do
something about the rear bump stops as they don't seem to work and
the rig bottoms out hard on the rear shocks. I also think the
rear shocks could be valved a little harder (Bilstein 5100's), I
doubt the weight of the long hardtop was take into account and the
valving is really for a standard TJ.
I have also been happy
with the performance of the MT MTZ's I put on the Jeep a few weeks
back. After last weekend I even got to try them out in snow
and they worked great in everything but the really deep powdery
stuff. On the wetter snow I could easily move forward at a
steady pace and as long as I didn't spin the tires forward momentum
was maintained. In the deeper powder the rig felt a little
underpowered so I dropped it into low range. I suppose this
means the tires were digging well.
With the front
suspension working good I took a look at the rear suspension.
The 4.5" lift springs put the rear lower control arms at a really
steep angle even at rest (I measured roughly 23 degrees). This
steep angle is part of the reason TJ's tend to pick the front tires
on climbs. Obviously longer control arms in the rear would greatly
reduce the angles just like the front but until I can come up with a
budget long arm kit for the rear I had another temporary solution.
A friend had mentioned re-drilling the stock control arm mounts and
after some examination it looks like you could easily re-drill both
the axle and frame end control arm mounts to reduce the angles on
couldn't see a way to get a drill in to put a new set of holes on
the axle brackets without pulling the rear axles out. The
frame end brackets were anther story, I didn't even have to pull the
tires off to get a drill in position. Before pulling the
control arm off I used a string and a pen to mark the arc the
control arm would travel in from the axle bracket. I then
marked the hole position so the nut flange was flush with the bottom
of the bracket. From there I drilled a 9/16 diameter hole thru
both walls. This was also a good time to do some maintenance
on the control arm flex joints, I tightened and greased them after
discovering they were dry and loose.
Here is the finished
position of the lower control arm. This new hole reduced the
angle of the rear links by 5 degrees. I also chose to weld a
hardened washer to the control arm bracket under the nut to give it
some more meat for the threads of the bolt to ride on.
I should mention I did
have to trim the bracket at the outer corner for control arm
clearance. Also, if you do one side at a time you don't even
have to jack up or support the jeep.
Time will tell how
much a difference this small change makes but right off the bat I
did notice that when I hit the gas from a stop the Jeep didn't seem
to torque over as much as it did before the change. If I ever
throw some upgraded axles in the rear D44 I will re-drill the axle
I am starting to
wonder if TerraFlex did any sort of product testing on their high
steer kit. I managed to bend the drag link by just driving my
Jeep around on unimproved roads. It bent about 8 inches from
the pitman arm and validates my concerns that 6061 is not strong
enough for steering linkages. I have sleeved the drag link
just like I did the tie rod so bending should not be an issue.