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Discussion Starter #1
I went from an RE 4.5" SF lift down to AEV 3" springs this year and found some unexpected items I had to address. Thought others might benefit if I posted them up.

With the height change I also went from 35 x 12.5 DC Mud Country's on 15" rims down to 33.5 x 10.5 KM2's on stock Moab rims, installed Currie AntiRock, and a Savvy gas tank skid to pick up clearance that I lost. Over the past couple years I've also replaced the RE control arms with JKS and Rokmen to get away from the constant bushing issues I had with RE, but that doesn't really matter the key part is they're adjustable control arms.

The bottom line is I love the 3" lift and it wheels better than the RE 4.5" did. The front doesn't unload on climbs as much, probably because the control arm angles are flatter to start with. The AntiRock is a huge improvement over wheeling disconnected and helps with the unloading as well as keeping the front tires on the ground as well. The narrower tires haven't been a problem at all, I expected they wouldn't "wrap" as well but really have not noticed any difference at all. Having proper backspacing also should help my axle u-joints and ball joints live longer as well, not to mention keeps mud out in the fenders and off the passengers when the doors are off! And road manners are better by a mile -- the narrower tires don't get hung up wandering in the road grooves, braking distance is reduced, and power is better with less rolling mass.


Anyway, here's a summary of what needed to change, but wasn't expected:


  • 1. Rear Trackbar Bracket: the RE bracket was a little too tall and hit my fuel line at full stuff (with bumpstops set appropriately for shock length). So I removed the RE bracket and went a while without any TB bracket but found I had some rear-steer taking corners, so I installed an OME TB bracket that's about a half inch shorter and cheap ($17 on Quadratec).

    here's what the bracket looks like in action:


    Note I'm still running the RE rear TB that came with the 4.5" lift; I did adjust it shorter and it's actually the same length as my stock TB now, oddly enough...but flexes better than stock so I've kept it.

    2. Rear Swaybar Links: the RE links snapped last time out, I believe because they were too long and flexing with a shorter lift put too much stress on them. JKS makes a set of adjustable links that go for about $40, I picked up a set and will be installing them about an inch shorter than the RE's were.

    3. Front Trackbar: I had installed a RockKrawler frame-mount TB bracket and front TB, but with the lower lift the bracket contacted the tie rod at stuff. Jerry and Blaine from JU had already found a solution, which I copied. Just chop the bracket off the bottom of the mount and weld it to the side of the mount. The trackbar did have to be shortened as well...I had a shop do this as I wasn't sure exactly how much to take out or how to sleeve it properly; they cut about 2" from the middle diagonal section to shorten both length and height, and then sleeved it.

    If you start with a stock jeep you probably don't have to worry about this, but I still prefer the TB mounted in double shear and I'm not sure what options are out there for a 2-3" lift.

    Before:


    After:

    (note I switched back to a stock pitman arm as well)

    This is the TB sleeve, kinda hard to see:


    This is Jerry's on JU. Blaine notched the bracket for him, which gives him room to do a tie rod flip, I would have given up some steering geometry if I did this because of the pitman arm length/height so decided not to.


    4. Rear diff cover: I was running a Warn diff skid, with the new gas tank and lower lift it made contact, so I ditched it and went with a Solid cover. The Warn worked fine for the time I had it, but it stuck out a good half inch more than it needed to.

I think that's it, if I think of anything else I'll post up. Here's how it sits now....and wheels:





CR
 

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Jeep looks good man, I think I've seen it at RC before. Posts like this always make me wonder if I should've bought that RK 5.5" LA.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks man. I think it looked better with the 35's, but it wheels as well with these 33's and is more family friendly, which is top priority so I can have my 2 year old ride shotgun (not on real trails yet...but camping, fire roads, etc). He loves jeep rides!

Honestly I don't see running a LA unless you're planning 37's, and I don't see 37's on a rubicon...these axles just aren't up to it. The maintenance was killing me with the 35's, wheel bearings, ball joints, etc...

Don't get me wrong I'd love a jeep on 37's and a LA...but not this one!
 

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Thanks for the info. The jeep still looks good (but i like the old way better :laugh: ) i seen ya going down College headed torwards George a few thursdays ago. I was parked in the chip trucks waiting for one of yorks fine corner stores to open. We'll have to get together for a Rausch run sometime.
 

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mikem04rubi said:
How do you know when your wheel bearings are going?? Is it a " rock tumbler" sort of noise?

Yes and when the tire is in the air, push in the top and bottom of the wheel. If it moves, you have a major problem.
 

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CRJeepin said:
Thanks man. I think it looked better with the 35's, but it wheels as well with these 33's and is more family friendly, which is top priority so I can have my 2 year old ride shotgun (not on real trails yet...but camping, fire roads, etc). He loves jeep rides!

Honestly I don't see running a LA unless you're planning 37's, and I don't see 37's on a rubicon...these axles just aren't up to it. The maintenance was killing me with the 35's, wheel bearings, ball joints, etc...

Don't get me wrong I'd love a jeep on 37's and a LA...but not this one!
How often did you do wheel bearings and ball joints?
 

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With 33's, not once in 7 years. 33's are the reasonable limit on TJ stock axles. You don't need brakes or gears or axle shafts or U-joints or anything else in terms of extra maintenance. On the slightly larger axles on a JK you might be able to get by on 35's but gears and brakes are needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the comments. I didn't intend to turn this into a discussion of max tire size or build philosophy, but it's worth noting that the 33's I'm running haven't held me back yet and require less maintenance than the 35's did. Glad others feel the same way.

CR
 

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With 37s, I didn't do wheel bearings or ball joints... but I did have upgraded shafts/gears... and I didn't upgrade brakes (felt pretty good with stock brakes on manual). 33s would have held me up out west on a number of occasions (and comfort difference too).

CRJeepin, I'm glad you're happy with your setup... our rigs are all a matter of what we enjoy and need/want for the places we go and the things we do. Thanks for posting up the transition... your rig looks good!
 

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I've been running 1 to 8 rated trails for 5 years now on 33's" and a SA on my 05 Unlimited. I've logged on average 1,500 to 2,000 trail miles each year and averaged 100 trails as well a year. Not once have I seen someone running larger tires have more advantage than myself on getting over obstacles, in fact the exact opposite. On steep ledges they unload and couldn't get enough air out of their tire to improve their footprint if they removed the valve stems. I air my BFG A/T's down to 12 and it's got the traction of an M1 Abrams. 5 years not one ball joint, Unit Bearing, or Tie Rod replacement........though I'm getting close on one side. All that said I am considering going through the modification process so that I can fit 37's" up underneath. As to why, I haven't the foggiest. I must be over compensating for a lack somewhere else. :D
 

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While I JUST recently did my front end work-had one bad bearing and a couple bad joints-it's the first in 5 years of wheeling, most of which was on the 255/85's (true 33's). I'm hard on my rig and the traction mentioned above with this size is one of the reasons I love them so much. Yeah, I bang/clang/drag bottom everywhere on my LJ and I don't have a strait bracket or piece of armor underneath the rig anymore, but hey, she still goes everywhere I want without issue.

I'm toying with the idea of reducing the carnage underneath and moving to 35's for TRAIL only use, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. I don't feel comfortable going any bigger than that due to maintenance issues on the 44's. 33's are great, 35's are probably the limit in my mind and 37's on the Rubi 44's probably wouldn't last too long on my rig. Of course, the other alternative is going high-clearance with everything underneath. Now THAT I can work on in my spare time without too much out of pocket... :lildevil:

Speaking of the 255/85's-will have another set of Toyos ordered here real soon... :D

Best of Luck,

Mike
 
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