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Old 02-11-2014, 02:03 PM
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Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

I've been considering buying the RC 2" steel lift based on all of the positive reviews I've seen on here for it. I have another year left on my rubber so I'll probably wait until they're worn out for next winter to replace them with some more aggressive tread and/or wheel spacers depending on which tire size I go with later on. I think I'll stick with my 17" chrome-clads, but probably plasti-tip them so they don't look too funny with the aggressive treads.

I love the idea of deleting the rake of my Jeep, which was further accentuated when I installed my Monroe LL's (Jeep length, not F150). When i added the LL's, I also installed Monroe Sensa-Trac struts up front and couldn't be happier.

So here comes the question: I THINK (based on research) that I can use my Sensa-Tracs and LL's with the RC lift w/o modification. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong. However, when I installed my front struts, I kept the factory rubber insulators, strut plates, and springs in place. I think the install calls for compressing the springs, etc but I'm not sure what else. Should I consider upgrading these components during the install? Or will it not matter one way or the other?

FYI, the WK has 115k on it now. Also, I should add that I know I'll need an alignment after the fact. Thankfully I have the Firestone Lifetime Alignment and I'll get it done right away to avoid uneven/excess tire wear.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:36 PM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

Depends.....

Depending on what factory springs your WK came with, just upgrading to Bilsteins and MOOG isolators gave me quite a bit of lit, also using the factory replacement Monroe LL that you currently have. That's discussed with pictures here:

The "Mini" Lift

Since you have 115k on the original isolators, it will make a difference in overall lift height. They are really nothing more than rubber encapsulated steel "casings" that primarily are used for noise control and they give an ever so slight "pre-load" on the coils themselves. You will see when you take them out how over the years the coils make impressions in them, sometimes that can be deep enough to cut through the rubber part and sit on the steel core.

The RC Lift is a steel strut spacer system. It will bolt on top of you existing front strut assembly, and in the rear the steel spacer bolts to the upper rear coil spring mount. For the front, all you have to do is remove the strut unit as an assembly, and bolt on the front RC spacer, then bolt to WK. So unless you want to take the front strut assembly apart to replace the isolators or struts themselves, you would not have to do this. The rear is pretty straight forward. The only real issue in the rear can be that the rear spacer takes a factory length shock to it's near limit on extension, so a longer rear shock would be optimal, but not required. Just adding the RC lift and rear F-150 LL's I got nearly 4 inches+ when coupled with the MOOG isolators and F-150 LL's. Again, it might all depend on what coils your WK came with and what kind of shape they are in. All that is detailed here:

"Mini" Lift Part 2 (Hybrid RC Installed)

As far just wondering what or if you need to upgrade things, this really depends on what your current/future use is. Remember that a strut or shocks primary purpose is to control oscillations from the coil springs during movement. These damping rates as far as compression and rebound are built in on the factory stuff for a certain amount of weight in both static (vehicle weight and just how much of that weight is spread out at each location) and rotating (wheels and tires) weight. That's why if you add a front which/bumper or armor, larger and heavier wheels and tires etc..You not only need a heavy duty spring as rated in inch-lbs to properly carry that weight, but a bigger (to help keep the fluid cool and therefore the damping characteristics reliable) heavier duty (oversimplified=stiffer) strut and shock to better control all this extra mass and keep the oscillations (think "po-going") to minimum. The real trick is for an Engineer to balance all this with the right rates and such for the given application so the end user has the load carrying capacity, sufficient up and down travel for the intended use, and yet maintain a supple ride. This is of course a very long winded, (maybe even psycho-babble?) answer.

Short Answer=If you like your Sena-Tracs, no you would not have to change them. My experience is the average end user cannot tell a difference until the added rotating mass is increased by more than 5lbs per tire/wheel. Even then, some don't notice till 10lbs. Remember, any added mass that rotates gets multiplied roughly by three when the vehicle is moving (although some race shops go by 7-9 lbs for every additional pound in un-sprung mass). So, a new tire/wheel combination that weighs 10 lbs more per wheel/tire is in effect like adding 40lbs (or more) for that strut/shock to control force wise while moving.

As you lift using spacers, what you gain in lift you lose in travel. It just all goes back to what you want to do. So far, my Hybrid lift has been good. CV's are still good. No "Christmas Tree" going on in the dash, and I can still bury my foot to the floor and go past 100mph (not that I would ever do such a thing irresponsibly,.... seriously) without handling or vibration issues. I really strived to keep my aftermarket tires and wheels as close to factory combination weight as possible.

If done properly, a lifted WK is quite impressive. This whole "Polar Vortex/Snowmageddon" non-sense we have had up here, my WK just shrugs it off It's really impressed me as there have been times I got to find out just what it could really do Hope this helped
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:37 PM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

I see that the RC lift recommends that the max tire size you go with is 31". When I need to replace my tires (probably just before next winter) I'm thinking of putting on 31's. Will I need to add some spidertrax spacers to make those work?

Additionally, I did notice that when I replaced my struts, that the factory isolators had a pretty heavy indentation from the factory springs. It looks like my best bet will be to replace all the isolators at the same time with MOOG components (I'll start shopping on rockauto). I figure if I go to all the trouble to take the assembly completely out, it's not too much more trouble to compress the springs and replace the isolators. Been there done that 2yrs ago so there likely won't be any stuck bolts even.

The only remaining question is about the LL's. I already had to do an interesting jack combo to get the WK length LL's to fit into the factory spacing for the rear shock (though I guess that will change with lift?). Should I seriously consider upgrading to the longer LL's? Last I checked, they were still priced cheaply at around $100 for the pair...

P.S. - Was there a specific reason that you ordered new control arms?
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:54 PM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

You do not need a spring compressor. I did it without one quite easily.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:13 PM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenwayer View Post
You do not need a spring compressor. I did it without one quite easily.
I'm thinking that I'm going to replace the worn out factory isolators and plate mounts while I'm in there. Something I should have done when I replaced the struts but didn't. That's the part which will require the spring compressor.

I'm very curious about his new control arms...
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:44 PM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

I went with new control arms for two main reasons:

1. The way the control arm is made for a small lift means that when the strut type lift the pushes the strut assembly down, coupled with the offset plane that the upper ball joint is in, it will ride in a neutral plane. If you were to crank up the front lifting the way I did it with the factory upper control arm, the factory upper ball joint would be at an angle (pointing down but towards the engine), and "bound up". This would limit travel (down travel especially) and possibly over stress the factory part, breaking it. As we all know the way that front ball joint is designed on a WK, if it fails you lose that whole side as the top of the knuckle and everything attached to it just lays over. The new control arms allowed me to have near stock alignment and handling. I discuss these things and show the alignment in that thread.

2. The new control arms have not only a replaceable and greasable ball joint, but one that is massive compared to the factory piece. In the WK application, it is most likely under stressed and will last who knows how long in my application. Even the dealership was impressed with them, and my dealer is an authorized AEV dealer and does new JK builds all the time, so they have an eye for good stuff and so-so stuff.

The rear F-150 LL's I added to compensate for the added stereo equipment and to also better match the lifted height as far as shock length extension. I like them and they match my Bilstein 4600's well.

Your tire question:

By 31" tire max size on the literature, most of those folks are referring to 265/70/17. Which is odd because that actually measures out to between 31.5 to 31.7" tall, depending on brand and type. Wheel width can have an effect on this also. On a stock width wheel the biggest I have seen is 265/65/17 (30.5"-30.6" tall) that clears the bolt, but slightly rubs the pinch weld. Running 265/65/17 on the AEV Pintler wheels that had the WK specific offset clears the bolt and pinch welds until at full compression turned. Using at least 1 inch spacers on stock wheels allows you to run the 265/70/17's clearing the bolt, but you will still have to deal with the pinch welds. This is the constant dynamic at play with the WK when it comes to tire height, width, the Bolt, and the pinch welds. I got tired of trying to compensate for all these factors and made life easier by just dealing with the pinch welds regardless. That way, all I needed to "clear" was the bolt, which I did not want to cut because it was very handy to have during the "Mini Lift" when I had to take apart/re-install the upper control arm. Most common spacers that are ready to go (in stock, no special order) are sold either at 1.25" or 1.5" widths.

Whats really a pain in the tail is that there are no flares for the WK. It burns me to no end that Bushwacker has flares for every F'n Jeep made, except the WK. Heck, they have what appears on their site a damn flare for just about any vehicle, but not the WK. If I ever was extremely wealthy, I would buy Bushwacker and threaten to close the place down unless they came up with WK flares. No, I'm not kidding. I'm "That Guy". Anyways....... The reason this is important is that you will find out there that all the aftermarket offsets on Jeep bolt patterns are primarily geared for the JK. These are +10, 0, -6 and so forth. Which just hangs out the tread and such past the fenders on the WK. You couple that with something that has some decent tread on it, you are gonna be in "slop city" nearly all the time. Most may not care, but I just can't see spending the kind of money these particular Jeeps cost (mine stickered for over 41K new-in 2008!) just to shower the sides and so forth with debris, all in the name of clearing a damn bolt, brakes, pinch weld or any combination thereof. Furthermore, nobody makes a wheel that fits our hub bores exactly. I had to get hub-centric rings from Discount Tire for my wheels. I will not run wheels without matching the hub bore. The only folks that might are AEV's WK specific Pintler wheel, but I cannot find it anymore, and maybe Rugged Ridge's Jeep Wheels, but they are a JK offset. I discuss this also in the Hybrid Lift thread. If you just want to wheel your WK and aren't worried about all that, by all means I'm just particular
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:19 AM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosier View Post
I went with new control arms for two main reasons:

1. The way the control arm is made for a small lift means that when the strut type lift the pushes the strut assembly down, coupled with the offset plane that the upper ball joint is in, it will ride in a neutral plane. If you were to crank up the front lifting the way I did it with the factory upper control arm, the factory upper ball joint would be at an angle (pointing down but towards the engine), and "bound up". This would limit travel (down travel especially) and possibly over stress the factory part, breaking it. As we all know the way that front ball joint is designed on a WK, if it fails you lose that whole side as the top of the knuckle and everything attached to it just lays over. The new control arms allowed me to have near stock alignment and handling. I discuss these things and show the alignment in that thread.

2. The new control arms have not only a replaceable and greasable ball joint, but one that is massive compared to the factory piece. In the WK application, it is most likely under stressed and will last who knows how long in my application. Even the dealership was impressed with them, and my dealer is an authorized AEV dealer and does new JK builds all the time, so they have an eye for good stuff and so-so stuff.
Okay I think you've sold me on the new control arms (I've already been hyper-paranoid about the ball joints failing since mine are originals and I'm at 115k). What did they cost you?

Edit: wow I've now realized I cannot afford lift if I need those UCA's as it more than doubles my lift budget:

http://4xguard.com/grand-cherokee-20...ted-wk-xk.html
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:52 PM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

I don't want to give you the impression that you absolutely HAVE to run the new upper control arms, it's just good insurance for the future and/or if you run a Hybrid lift. At 115k on yours, a replacement of some type I feel is inevitable though. You could always get a new aftermarket pair from Rock Auto or something until you save the coin for JBA's. There is also these folks:

Crawl Offroad

They are selling the RRO arms, which are a good bit cheaper. Those arms look just as good. This place also sells some Hybrid lifts as well as Super lift and OME and such. As I'm sure you are aware, the WK is pretty darn capable stock. A proper lift just amplifies this. I'd say just wait and save till you have enough to get what you really want. Say, just go to Google, type in "mainsails build" and go check out the link. This person is running the 265/65/17 on the original WK specific AEV Pintlers with no lift and it takes them wherever they what to go. You could just do those wheels/tires (keeping in mind the offsets on how the WK Pintlers were setup), and add new upper control arms from Rock Auto, then just add a front Rustys spacer (1/2") lift on top of your strut assembly's since you want to get rid of the "rake", keep your front Sensa-Tracs and keep your rear Monroe LL's that you have on there now. Then you'd have another "Mini Lift" to play around with
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosier View Post
I don't want to give you the impression that you absolutely HAVE to run the new upper control arms, it's just good insurance for the future and/or if you run a Hybrid lift. At 115k on yours, a replacement of some type I feel is inevitable though. You could always get a new aftermarket pair from Rock Auto or something until you save the coin for JBA's. There is also these folks: Crawl Offroad They are selling the RRO arms, which are a good bit cheaper. Those arms look just as good. This place also sells some Hybrid lifts as well as Super lift and OME and such. As I'm sure you are aware, the WK is pretty darn capable stock. A proper lift just amplifies this. I'd say just wait and save till you have enough to get what you really want. Say, just go to Google, type in "mainsails build" and go check out the link. This person is running the 265/65/17 on the original WK specific AEV Pintlers with no lift and it takes them wherever they what to go. You could just do those wheels/tires (keeping in mind the offsets on how the WK Pintlers were setup), and add new upper control arms from Rock Auto, then just add a front Rustys spacer (1/2") lift on top of your strut assembly's since you want to get rid of the "rake", keep your front Sensa-Tracs and keep your rear Monroe LL's that you have on there now. Then you'd have another "Mini Lift" to play around with
I think instead of waiting to get the upper control arms and then doing the lift, you should do the lift then get the control arms. If anything happens at all you will wear out your upper ball joint and since you will be replacing the UCA's down the road anyways, and they come with a new upper ball joint it won't matter. All you will really lose is about 1 hour of install time by not doing it together.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:48 AM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

Just keep in mind that when they go, it's not pretty.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:53 PM
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Re: Advice for thoughts on buying a RC 2" Lift

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosier View Post
Just keep in mind that when they go, it's not pretty.
That's definitely what I'm afraid of!
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