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Old 07-18-2008, 05:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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TJ Long Arm Build

Hey y'all,

Well, I guess I have a build some of y'all will find mildly entertaining. After dealing with my 4.5" short arm lift for about 6 months I started planning a long arm build. Why? 'Cause I was tired of the hopping on steep climbs and the awkward jacking it would do, both due to all the anti-squat this setup had. Here it is stopped in the middle of a left turn. Ugly.



Purchasing a kit was out of the budget, plus I like to make stuff so I started searching. I found several threads on the topic and decided to build a radius arm setup in the front and a semi-triangulated 4 link in the rear. Tried and true stuff. It would use square tubing like the Clayton stuff primarily because I got it for free from a friend of mine who is a steel contractor. I'd use OEM bushings, Currie Johnny Joints, and some weld-in inserts from 4WDfactory.com.

Here is a link to all my photos from the build:
http://tommyr.smugmug.com/gallery/45...65285906_kbcVJ


Here's some of the stuff I started with when I began the front build....







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Old 07-18-2008, 05:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Front arms taking shape....


Some trial fitting and front bracket cut off...


Front bracket coming together...




Both lowers in and welded.


Now to the uppers...




Time for paint!
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How long are your links? Is the rear mount back right up against the crossmember, i can't tell if it's is or isn't? Also, the plate on the radius arm looks like it needs some bracing. Im not a 4 link guru, but I can see that steel flexing with the arm mounted that high. Have you cycled the suspension yet to check for clearance?


It could just be the picture angle too. Looking good though. Keep it going.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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And installed...


But then I realized I couldn't tighten the jam nut for the upper. The bracket was in the way!


So I trimmed it. I also added some bracing to the backside of the mount for the uppers (on the lower arms).


And holding its own weight!


I stretched the front a bit so I had to relocate my passenger side sway bar bracket. It's not pretty, but it works.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Then I wheeled it at the Jeep Jamboree in Llano, TX. It did great! Here it is posing. Unfortunately, you'll see my brake line acting as a limiting strap! Well, it wasn't in that much tension, but it obviously wasn't "okay".








The front did great, but the rear was still up to its old tricks. Notice my shrinking wheelbase and rear jacking.




I really needed to get rolling on the rear suspension!
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So here I go... I was rushing trying to get it done before the Texas Twister at Trees Ranch. First up was to cut off some brackets for the control arms (on the chassis) and the track bar.




I'll clean this up one of these days...


Test fitting a rear lower control arm.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Front brackets taking shape. I was under a time crunch so they didn't come out as clean as I'd have preferred.




At full bump.


Rear truss and arms taking shape. The uppers use LH and RH threads so I can adjust lateral axle location and pinion angle without removing the links.


At full compression the bracketry gets into the e-brake assembly. Not a big deal as long as I don't go hitting Baja.


Twisting up a bit.


Removed for final welding.


Paint time!
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Final assembly!




Yes, I know I've got a leaky pinion seal!


It's stretched about 2.5"+ compared to the short arm setup, but overall it's only about 1.5" longer than stock (~95" IIRC).




Had to relocate the breather tube. I later secured the brake/e-brake lines.


Supporting its weight again!
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Initially, the rear axle was shifted to the passenger side about an inch. A few twists of the uppers and it was square again. Took it for a spin around 2am when I got it back on the ground and it's never driven better! It rode SO much better than with the short arm lift!

So the next day I ran to 4 Wheel Parts and ran it up their RTI ramp to check for clearnances and such...


Front not quite to the bumpstops.




Other side of the front obviously unseated. Note the relocated brake line hanger.


Rear nearly bottomed.


Rear getting into the rear fender flare a bit (sway bar is still attached).




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Old 07-18-2008, 06:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Apparently my buddy who "torqued" the bolts on my sway bar mount......didn't. So I ended up losing a bolt while I was trailering it. So I just removed the rear bar altogether. I have to say that it still worked really well and was never unsettling. I also subjected the thing to a lot of abuse....by far the most abuse I'd ever put it through....and took it without complaint!!

Anyway, I found a pretty tall rock so I decided to test for clearance issues once more.






Rear is getting into the flare a bit more now that the rear bar is gone.


I've wheeled again since this trip and it once again performed great! I still haven't put the numbers into a calculator (I plan to soon), but so far I couldn't be happier with how it's performed.

Tommy
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Old 07-19-2008, 08:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Looks good I am about to do the exact same thing only with a stretch. Was just wondering did you fab or buy the brackets you used for your rear uppers on the truss?
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Old 07-19-2008, 09:08 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Looks a lot like Claytons kit, how long did it take to get it together. I'm assuming you didn't do all this yesterday
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Impressive work. I think you convinced me to just link my rear. Problem is, I don't have any hookups in the metal industry.
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for the compliments, y'all. I'll try to answer all your questions...

Quote:
How long are your links? Is the rear mount back right up against the crossmember, i can't tell if it's is or isn't? Also, the plate on the radius arm looks like it needs some bracing. Im not a 4 link guru, but I can see that steel flexing with the arm mounted that high. Have you cycled the suspension yet to check for clearance?

It could just be the picture angle too. Looking good though. Keep it going.
I'd have to measure the links. Bolt hole to bolt hole I think the fronts are about 35" and the rears 33.5", but I'll try to get a tape measure on them soon. And there is a 1/4" gap between the skidplate and the chassis mounts (front and rear). Good catch on the bracing, but yes, I reinforced it. And it's been cycled (front and rear) to check for clearances. I think for the most part you can see that in some of the other pics I posted after your post.

peccavi18, I fabbed up all the brackets myself.

bsdboy, I did the front over about two weeks back in March. The rear I did in about a week in April. Surprisingly, the rear went faster than the front even though it was more involved. I guess by that time I had enough confidence to move faster.

jpfrk2001, I've only got maybe $500 in the whole deal. I think buying the square tubing would've likely only added maybe $200, if that.

Here's a bit more info...

FRONT and REAR:
Lower links are 2" sq. tubing x 1/4" wall using OEM bushings and sleeves (from Rubicon Express) and 1.25" Johnny Joints.
Upper links use 1.5" sq. tubing x 1/8" wall using 1" Johnny Joints.
All brackets were made with 1/4" plate or hacked up rectabgular tubing except for the forks on the front uppers. Those are 3/16".

REAR:
The rear truss is 2.5" sq. tubing.
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Nice work, hope to see you on some of the trails.

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Old 07-19-2008, 12:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks! I've wheeled it like it is only twice since it's been done, but on the last trip I managed to twist my driveshaft, break a u-joint, and made my drag link a boomerang.

So now I'm in the middle of fabbing up a pseudo-high-steer setup and I'll be replacing the driveshaft and axle. Fun stuff.

Tommy
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy R View Post
Thanks! I've wheeled it like it is only twice since it's been done, but on the last trip I managed to twist my driveshaft, break a u-joint, and made my drag link a boomerang.

So now I'm in the middle of fabbing up a pseudo-high-steer setup and I'll be replacing the driveshaft and axle. Fun stuff.

Tommy
If you need a good local driveline shop checkout Driveshafts Unlimited in San Antonio off of WW White and IH 10 they do good work.
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks, but I've got everything I need already. I'm just putting stock stuff back in for now. Alloys will come later on...

Tommy
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:33 PM   #19 (permalink)
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thats friggin sexy..short arms suck balls
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks for doing a write up on this, I am looking at doing something similar, My short arms are givin me the same issues you were having, Now that it is done, Is there any thing you would change if you did it again?
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:47 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I have RK's LA and I'm getting ready to add new axles and stretch the rear.
I gleamed a few ideas from your setup. Looks good, but why didn't you 4 link
the front too while you were at it?
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:49 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I don't think there's really anything I'd change at this point. I maybe would've considered ponying up for some DOM instead of square tube, but that's just for aesthetic reasons. The long arms drag on obstacles and reduce my clearance, but I'm still happy with them. I certainly wouldn't want to go back to short arms again!

I did a radius arm setup up front because I wanted something that's been tried and true. I've got enough death wobble issues as it is. I didn't want to push the envelope any further by trying something that's not as common.

Tommy
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:54 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Awesome work ,you have defintly inspired me..........to get ahold of my welder fabricator friend LOL, seriously though I have been wanting to build my own short arms and now I think I will just do the long arms as well.
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:45 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I ran that front setup on my last TJ.

It puts an incredible amount of stress on the arms when you flex. It almost acts like a sway bar in itself. I know alot of lift companies build their stuff that way, but I don't think it works as well as a radius arm on one side and a lower only on the other. Flexes much better as well IMO. Try removing one of the uppers and drive it over something big. You will notice that it flexes faster and with less resistance. I know it's nice to have redundancy in you uppers, but it will work better without it. Mine would actually break 1/2" grade 8 bolts in the front upper at the axle side.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:14 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info, Matt. That's a very good point. I'll look into removing one of the uppers and giving it a try.

Tommy
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