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Superlift - good, bad, okay?

1713 Views 19 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  johncanfield
Our '05 LJ came with a 3" Superlift and I got the impression the general feeling around here is the Superlift isn't a preferred product. The Rubi seems to ride fine, no wobble and I don't have any issues (that I'm aware of) with the suspension, but I haven't put it though an off-road test as yet.

With so much stuff to buy for the LJ, I would rather not redo the lift, but if it will be a problem when we go wheeling, I would prefer to deal with it now. Advice is appreciated :)
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It sounds like your rig's off/on-road manners are great so just leave it as it. I found it is best to learn how the rig reacts off-road and upgrade as necessary. Eventually you will upgrade parts for your wheeling style so just do it one step at a time.
If it isn't broke, leave it alone...especially if you are happy with it. If you arn't, then mod it 'till it's broke.

while it isn't a Jeep, i've had a Superlift setup on my truck for about 4 years now. I love it. One of the smoothest riding Bronco's out there. I've had zero issues.
That's pretty much what I figured - thanks again guys for my education :cheesy:
I only have one experience with it. JimmyB's dad had one on his jeep. I don't know if it was the springs, or shocks. But my God it rode like a tank. Hands down worse than any leaf sprung jeep I've ever rode in. Hopefully you've got a better setup than him. As stated, If you're happy with the ride keep it. If not, I would change shocks before an entire suspension redo.
For what its worth. I never had a superlift on anything, and I dont think I will (personal preference). Like others said, if it works leave it alone. Upgrade when time comes.
The original lift I put on my 04 Rubi was a 4" Super lift. It was actually pretty good. After 50K miles the front springs started to sag so I replaced them with 4" currie springs. All my control arms and track bars are adjustable Super lift and are still going strong. I do have to say that I don't wheel as hard as most on this forum and I do make sure that all the joints are well greased. I use my Jeep a lot on the hwy and for exploring off road for places to hunt and camp and so far it does really well.
I am not really familiar with the superlift that you have, but how it rides/flexes is not necessarily what you should base your judgement on. I have a skyjacker on mine, that as soon as my bonus comes, will be getting ripped off and thrown in the dumpster as quickly as possible. It rides pretty decent actually, and wheels pretty good as well. The problem is the lift itself. It has a sub frame that is corroding from the inside out, and I think it is moving a little bit. It has short arms on top, screwing up the geometry, which led me to rip off my rear track bar, so I haven't wheeled in about 4 months now, until I get my new lift on. So check your links, are they bushings on both ends? Those can rip mounts off. So you would probably want to replace them when you can. Just some things to keep in mind.
bojang said:
... So check your links, are they bushings on both ends? Those can rip mounts off. .....
Sway bar links? If so, my sway bar links have bushings.
No, your control arm links.
i had a 4" superlift on my old 97 tj. i thought it was a little stiff. i wheeled it fairly hard for about 6 years, and never had an issue. the stiffness on a tj might be perfect on an lj though. run it as is.

good luck
Thanks! Yup - we're keeping the lift and the tires as-is for now, no reason to change at this point. with any solid arm lift with poly bushings, you are very....VERY limited to how much articulation you're lift kit can provide. This is simply due to the fact that poly bushings will only give so much before actually splitting out...once this happens, something else has to give and that is usually the welds on the axle side control arm mounts. If you do not disconnect, you're lift and brackets will obviously live longer. As for the ride....if the poly bushings split, your ride will get sloppy, rough and potentially you will develop severe death wobble. If the jeep seems to ride rough, the springs may also be a little stiff. Some companies, believe it or not, think that all springs are applicable to all vehicles...jeeps are obviously smaller than full sized full length pickups so the ride will be stiffer.

If your wheeling habits lead to the need to disconnect the front sway bar, my advice would be to at least upgrade your control arms to either a rotating style (JKS) or the Johnny Joint type (Rokmen, Currie)....You will save yourself repairs.

Happy wheeling....and happy travels.
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I had superlift on my old 92" yj. I have to say it was the best riding Jeep I have been in. Of course I am very partial to Leaf springs. I never had a problem flexing with the superlift kit, and the road manners were just amazing.
Red Dog Leader said:
If your wheeling habits lead to the need to disconnect the front sway bar, my advice would be to at least upgrade your control arms to either a rotating style (JKS) or the Johnny Joint type (Rokmen, Currie)....You will save yourself repairs.
Disconnecting the front swaybar is an issue I have been pondering for the last few days. At first I was hot-to-trot to get disconnect sway bar links, then I was thinking I need to wheel a little first, then decide.

Now I'm also thinking I need to protect the oil pan. Beginning to understand Just Empty Every Pocket.

Protecting the oil pan with some form of underarmor is definitely a good thing. While you're at it, you can to a tummy tuck to lift t-case a bit and gain clearance underneath. More protection for your vitals and more clearance at the same time. I currently run the Medic stuff but will likely be swapping to aluminum through Savvy once the Rubi version is released. I've been slowly lightening my rig over time, switching things out to aluminum to shed some weight. Makes a big difference in handling of the rig.

On the disconnects-I'd highly recommend AGAINST simple disconnects and would instead, highly recommend a Currie Anti-Rock from AND universal rear anti-rock swaybar setup. If you only do one, do the front now and the rear later. These make a HUGE difference in stability, control, predictability, traction, handling, etc. over plain disconnects. I've tried every way imagineable and will not recommend any of my friends run disconnected, ever, period. I run a swayloc up front with AR in the back, but if I did it over, would be AR at both ends for simplicity and ease of use. The difference when your suspension is actually working together front/rear is amazing. Being disconnected, your front axle is "live" and on it's own, doing it's own thing. Not a good thing to have, especially in off-camber steep terrain.

Definitely agree with RDL above-when you're ready and when the time comes, upgrade to arms with JJ's throughout. Will make a big difference in both articulation, but also ride and handling as well. I run the full set of Currie arms with JJ's throughout and the addition of the JJ front upper housing kit as well-was one of the best things I've done to my rig and I'm sorry I waited so long to do this mod. After several years now on them, they're still excellent as new and holding well. With the poly stuff in there-keep an eye on things as mentioned and catch the problem before it occurs if you can.

Best of Luck,

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Thanks Mike! I know sway bar discussions seem to be very polarized towards or against a particular product or design idea. I believe it was one of your posts that had me seriously questioning the wisdom of disconnecting the fronts. I might just do an oil pan skid plate and then wheel and see what we've got. We are signed up for the Texas Spur (Llano) Jamboree in March 2011, so that should provide a really good idea of shortcomings (mine and the Rubi's!)

One of my requirements for handling is the Jeep must be a good performer on the highway since it will be the primary vehicle we drive when we're traveling in the motorhome. I'm not building a rock crawler with highway performance as a secondary and unimportant consideration. I want a good trail vehicle that can easily handle moderate trails, and be safe and predictable on the highway.

I know dear wife is getting to the point of 'enough already' for the Rubi, but that's going to settle down after Christmas :cheesy: .

Oh - one more thought.. whatever I wind up doing for a front swaybar, it needs to be compatible with my new front bumper. Eddie builds the bumpers in consideration of the factory sway bar, any after-market product would need the same footprint on top of the frame rails as the factory bar.
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Your build criteria is exactly what mine has been from the beginning. Handle DD useage first and foremost as it's our main vehicle so it MUST be safe in evasive or panic maneuvers when my wife is driving, yet on the flip side, MUST also handle off-road wheeling with ease. I installed the dual-rate air-actuated swayloc on my rig for these reasons as it's actually two bars in one. Locked up in "street" mode, it has both internal softer rate solid stock bar locked together with the outter, more rigid hollow bar to yeild a "solid" ride similar to or tighter than the factory swaybar. Unlocked in "off-road mode", the outter hollow rigid bar disengages via air cylinder from the inner softer solid bar to yeild full wheel travel with balanced transfer, identical to a Currie Anti-rock. You do pay for it though. Because customer service goes a long way with me, I will NOT recommend you buy this bar, but instead, wait for Blaine to finish his setup. When he's done, Savvy Off-road will stock it and I may be up for swapping my swayloc out for one. How a swaybar reacts though is not soley on the bar-it depends on your entire suspension build and setup. How tight your rig is overall as a whole will play a large roll on how well the AR style bar works. If your rig is very loose and sloppy, your AR will respond accordingly and thus, also be a little more on the loose/sloppy side so street manners will be effected more so than with a rig otherwise in good "tight" shape, where the AR would be more tight as well. I can't describe that in words, you'd have to ride two different rigs to tell but basically with good springs, good shocks, good CA's with JJ's and an AR, you'll have a better/more solid ride than a similar rig with worn factory bushings or worn poly bushings, crappy springs, worn or crappy shocks-that AR wouldn't handle as well as on the tighter rig-it's the sum of the whole that creates the best overall condition and handling-if that makes sense at all. The dual rate bar might be a better alternative for you, but again, if you do so, hold out for Blaine to finish the Savvy design. You'll be glad you did.

Regarding fitment-any bumper can be made to work with the AR style bars. I'm not sure what bersrk did with his style. The factory swaybar setup will be removed and the AR will fit through the front crossmember on the Jeep. I ran an ARB bullbar for a couple years that totally housed in that crossmember and made running an AR style bar NOT an option-at least not without a LITTLE work. I ended up cutting/trimming my bumper behind the bumper itself to open up that crossmember and allow fitment of an AR or swayloc swaybar setup. The benefits of running an AR bar are MUCH MORE important than overall looks of a bumper. Done properly, your bumper will be fine and you'll have the bar for stability and balance. Eddie may have already built that feature in, I don't know what yours looks like. Either way, if it isn't, I'd highly recommend having it modified when you get to that point. It IS worth it.

You are correct-swaybars are a huge debate for many folks, as well as the disconnect idea. I've tried it, nearly rolled and could have died doing it and since then, will NEVER recommend any of my friends run disconnected again. Having run every combination of swaybars being conneted or not with disconnects front/rear, AR style front, rear, both, on, off, etc., bottom line is both bars front rear is the best you can do for any given situation-be it street or trail, when tuned and setup properly. This is MY stance on the subject from what I've tested and done myself and other "theories" I've proven wrong in the past. I guarantee my front/rear bars have saved me from many rolls that would have otherwise resulted in serious injury if disconnected. It is a heated debate for the diehard disconnect users, and that will never change. It is a bit of work to setup and install then tune properly, but once done, you'll never look back. Be it street or trail, my wife has NO issues or fears of handling the rig and I have NO issues or fears of turning her loose on the city streets with the other idiots running loose, knowing full well an evasive or panic maneuver could be right around the corner. The Jeep handles it better than stock, the benefit is the off-road use is far better than stock. Best of both worlds. Work-yes, learn the meaning of J.E.E.P. yes, have an upset wife for a bit-yes. Eventually you'll get there and she'll approve though... :D (just don't tell her I told you so, otherwise she may blame me! ) :rotflmao:

I do definitely agree with wheel what you've got at first, learn what it can do and what it's shortcomings are, then go from there. I wheeled mine bone stock for a while and every mod I've made was to address an area it was lacking or needed improvement. It's taken a LOT of time, and I'm not done yet, but it's definitely better than the beginning and doing better with every change. It's a Jeep and will never be "finished" as things are always evolving. That's just part of the fun! :laugh:

If you haven't done so already, I would again recommend some armor underneath. My factory gas skid was the very first thing I destoryed and ended up putting a gouge in my plastic gas tank. I installed a Kilby skid and ran that for years before pulling it and swapping to Savvy to save weight going with aluminum. I've beat the hell out of my Savvy gas skid and show no worse for the wear so for me, I'm slowly evolving to a lighter, more nimble rig with aluminum parts over steel. When Savvy is done with the Rubicon version of the underarmor TT, I'll pull my medic skids and swap to those. Aluminum and about 1/2 the weight of what I have now, plus another inch of clearance roughly over what I have now. You might give them a look when you decide you're ready.

I like your approach to the Jeep and wheeling-learn it and build what you NEED rather than what you want. Wise choice.

Best of Luck,

See less See more you are in Texas, consider calling Scott @ Diamond Off Road NW of Fort Worth. He's a great guy and will lend a very straight forward hand in building your Rubicon correctly and will have you satisfied from the beginning. I'll PM you his info.
Mike - wow, that's a lot of info to chew on. Much appreciated. My Rubi handles pretty well now on the road and I don't think we have any suspension or handling issues at the moment. I have looked at Savvy's stuff and was very impressed - they are definitely at or near the top if the list for products to consider.

There's a private ranch about an hour's drive away that's open on weekends for wheeling, so the plan is to try the Jeep there after I get the bumpers and winch mounted/installed. I prefer to have a little experience with it before wheeling in a large crowd at the Jamboree :wink: .

Jeremy - I answered your PM before I read this.. disregard the question in the PM.
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