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Tule

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 #1 
Trauma makes some good points.  I would add that there are two conflicting issues with configuring the suspension upgrade.  The first being how heavily loaded your vehicle is when traveling back country, and the second being how it rides in every day driving.  Where I ran into problems with my Jeep was being--by necessity--heavily loaded down while heading out to remote sites like SV. Swing-out rear bumper, extra spare, 2 jerry cans, 10 gal of water, camping gear, coolers and me, I hit almost 600lbs of payload.  With a heavy payload I fried a set of rear shocks coming in on South Pass when it was solid wash board.  The challenge was to find components that are engineered for the type of driving I do.  I went with Old Man Emu as they engineered their kit for exactly what I do.
TRAUMAhead

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 #2 
Toyo and Nitto are sister companies and their mud terrains (Open Country and Trail Grappler) are pretty damn bullet proof, good choice.  Unless you're fully armored out (bumpers/tire carrier/skids/etc), the Bilstein 5100s are pretty stiff shocks, some other good options would be either Fox 2.0 IFPs, Old Man Emu, Rancho 7000 or Rancho 9000 (adjustable).  Rear sway bar links are long enough, you'll most likely be replacing the fronts.  Once you get 33s, I'd recommend keeping overdrive off around town to help out the transmission from constantly shifting and lugging the engine.  Only time I could use overdrive with the stock gears (4:10s) and 35s was flat land with no head wind or going downhill.
VegasNaturist

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 #3 
Have only been lurking occasionally, so I haven't responded in a while... After researching the different types of springs ie (forgive my terms) single rate vrs progressive vrs multi-rate and their effects on load carrying and handling, I think I've finally decided on a kit that I believe suits our needs. We're going with the AEV 2.5 dual sport with CA relocation brackets. The kit comes with a rear track bar, and I'm going to add an adjustable front track bar to recenter the front axle and also new rear sway bar links. I'll move the OEM rear links to the front and eliminate AEV's front link extension brackets. The kit also comes with Bilstein shocks.

I've also decided on new wheels and LT295/70R17 (33X11.50R17) tires. Most likely these...

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/mtt-1179431/overview/

http://toyotires.com/tire/pattern/open-country-mt-off-road-maximum-traction-tires

The reason I'm only going 33's is because I also tow a 3,200# boat with the Jeep, and even with the OEM 32's, climbing up the hills out of the marina's is a struggle. Don't want to add to that with 35's.

John
TRAUMAhead

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 #4 

Been all over DV with a stock 2010 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.  Goler, Mengel, Lippincott, Steele, Saline, Hunter, Hidden, Butte, etc.  Only bottomed out once on Mengel.  First thing I'd recommend is adding a transmission cooler.  There have been several cases of Jeeps burning up because of the transmission overheating and spilling ATF on the exhaust crossover since the ATF dipstick and breather tube is right over it.  Second is c gussets.  Prone to bending when adding bigger tires.

Current setup is 1" spacers all around, 2" Rancho springs in the front, stock in the rear, cut fenders, Nitto 35s".  Looking to add a 2.5" MetalCloak lift in the next month or two.

Tule

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 #5 
Vegas,

I see Chainsaw is now a forum member.  That's his JK in the pics I posted.  He's the guy to ask when it comes to Jeep mods.
XPBC

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 #6 
Whatever lift you end up with it will sag when loaded like I load mine for ten days out.  Roof rack, swing out bumper with cans, etc.  I looked into heavy duty springs and even air bags to compensate for loaded sag and hard hits on the bumpstops.  I ended up with Timbren Suspension Enhancement.  Basically replaces the bumpstops to a large thick rubber bellows to actually ride on when loaded.  I have 4" Full Traction long arm with Bilstien shocks, bumpers, full under skid, ect.  Best mod I have done to the Jeep!!  I have these on all fours on the Jeep and after one trip to Saline "when the road wasn't there" I was sold forever.  Since I have added Timbrens to the rear of my Dodge Ram 1/2 ton to haul a Lance camper off road.  I drove that rig to Saline Thanksgiving, again "when the road wasn't there" and wow what a big difference.  Sorry if I sound like a salesman but these things really work.
Tule

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 #7 
VegasNaturist

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 #8 
Interesting read Tule. I got to about page 4 and I think the dead horse was thoroughly beat. Everything from spacers to guns to M/C tires, and even zombies...LOL The one point I did take away from that discussion was the cost of new wheels minus what I could get for my take-offs might make the net cost of the spacers about the same as new wheels. Something to consider. And I'll get back to you on those shocks. Definitely interested...

John 
Tule

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 #9 
John,

If you are at the point where you are replacing the tires, you should probably go ahead and replace the factory shocks.  Get the right fit and best quality you can afford.  Coincidentally, I've got a full set of Rubicon Express (Bilstein 5100s) from an RE 2.5 lift that have about 500 miles on them sitting in my SoCal garage.  They look brand new.  Make me an offer I can't refuse!

Here's a pretty good thread on spacers:

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/are-wheel-spacers-safe-54446.html



VegasNaturist

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 #10 
Oh, and thanks Tule, you're making me think this through which is a good thing...[wink]
VegasNaturist

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 #11 
Tule

I was typing while you were responding, so I didn't see it until after I posted. I follow Wranglerforum and JK-forum. Good real world advice on both sites. I'll have to check out Jeepforum. And JEEP is certainly true LOL...

There does seem to be a lot of discussion on both sides of the wheel spacer debate. You seem to be on the NO side of that debate, fair enough. I don't have an issue with them AS LONG AS they are good quality, properly installed, and not excessive. One inch to an inch and a half tops is typically okay, any more than that and you're shifting too much stress(?) to your outer bearing. I've been in the automotive field a long time and have used them in the past on medium duty vehicles with out issue, within the caveats I mentioned.

The general consensus seems to be with a lift under 2.5", pinion angle and steering geometry effects are minimal or not an issue, which is why I want to stay mild. I have looked at both front and rear t/bar relocation brackets, and LCA relocation brackets and they are in the plans. Although I'll most likely just get new track bars. Rancho makes a really stout LCA bracket which gets great reviews.

One thing I'm on the fence on is shocks. Extensions or new shocks. Right now I'm leaning more toward new as I don't want to risk collapsing or extending too far and damaging a shock. Thoughts?

I haven't priced out OME stuff yet, but it's an option. I have a friend who put an OME lift on a Samuri and likes it. I was considering a Teraflex basic 2.5" kit (again undecided on shocks), and then go from there.

John
VegasNaturist

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 #12 
Hi Salt Peter

What you're saying is NOT bad advise! And I appreciate the input. We've run some trails here in Southern Nevada and have never had an issue. The reason for my mods is we love to camp, and when we camp we don't travel light (insert embarrassed smilie here). All the stuff we carry won't quite fit inside the Jeep, so we have a roof rack on the way. Also, looking under the Jeep, I felt the engine oil pan and tranny pan were vulnerable and wanted to better protect them. And I wanted a winch. If I have a winch, I'll never need it. If I don't, I'm at the mercy of Murphy...LOL The lift kit I'm considering is mild by off road standards, and is really just to compensate for the added weight. I'm not really looking for additional ground clearance per se, although that will be a side benefit. As for the tires, I currently have BFG KM2's (255/75R17) with about 1/3 tread remaining. Tires are going to be in my near future anyway. The price difference between the stock KM2's and other comparable stock tires and the Toyo Open Country M/T's I'm looking at (295/70R17) is negligible. And they will fit on my stock rims per Toyo's tire spec's. The advantage of these tires is a wider tread for soft sand and such.

Trust me, I'm not one to go off the deep end with Jeep mods just because (okay, the winch was just because, but I can have just one, can't I?). I mean, you should see some of the modded out Jeeps I see parked at the shopping mall. [rolleyes]

John
Tule

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 #13 
There are probably as many opinions on this subject as there are off-roaders.  Here's what I have learned:

The rule of thumb for upsizing tires is a 10% loss in power/performance for each inch of increase.  You should be able to satisfactorily run 35s with 4:10s but you will experience power/economy loss.  Other factors such as tire tread pattern, lift size, roof racks, etc. play into the power/economy equation.  When it comes to DV roads, the most critical components are tires and shocks.  As for a 4" lift, by the time it settles it will be around 3.5".  If you plan on adding a swing arm rear bumper for gas cans, that's 70lbs of "sprung" weight (meaning the effect will be amplified) beyond the rear axle and the factory tailgate mount isn't really suited for the additional load. Thus you'll be looking at new rear bumper which means more "sprung" weight in the rear. 

The factory shocks are crap.  As for wheel spacers, no.  Too risky.  I know a lot people run them but then again, a lot of people do things they shouldn't.  Note that most spacer manufactures specify they are for off road use only.  From the Spidertrax web site:

"Wheel spacers and adapters fall in a gray area under current legislation as the Department of Transportation (DOT) does not regulate this type of product. No existing federal law says wheel spacers and adapters are illegal for on-road use, however local inspection offices do have the authority to say otherwise.  In either case, due to the nature of products that we sell, all products Spidertrax Off-Road designs and manufactures are intended for off-road use only."

Basically, they are saying there is some degree of risk and you on the hook legally if they fail.

In either case, due to the nature of products that we sell, all products Spidertrax Off-Road designs and manufactures are intended for off-road use only.

Pinion angles: Any quality lift kit comes with upper and/or lower control arms and/or a transfer case lowering kit that resets the pinion angles to zero. 

I suggest you take a look at what Old Man Emu has to offer.  It sounds like their kits are in line with your needs.  I have an EMU kit on my '03 TJ and I love it.  Great ride!

Salt Peter is correct in the sense that an experienced off roader can manage just fine in most all situations in DV with a near stock Jeep or the like.  There will always be something that needs tweeking on your jeep.  You can get the best info on this subject at Jeepforum.com or Wranglerforum.com.  JEEP = Just Empty Every Pocket. [smile]

Salt Peter

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 #14 
I challenge you to run most, if not all the trails in Death Valley in your current configuration. Reason I say this is that I have done most in DV with my stock Tacoma supsension/wheels and also the best in the San Juan's in CO. Try it out before you mod it to death unless you have money to burn.
VegasNaturist

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 #15 
Thank you for the reply Tule,

I may have to look at 35's, it's only an inch more (hub to ground) than the 33's I was looking at. My Rubi has the 4.0 transfer case and 4.10 gearing, so I'd be okay there. How much did the 35's change your MPG and performance? The Jeep is my daily driver and I occasionally tow a 3,300 lb Bayliner runabout so that would be a consideration. The Jeep came with 255/ 75R 17's which is basically a 32 X 10 tire, so a true 33 isn't much taller. Really just looking at getting something wider for the soft sand. Backspacing I can adjust with quality spacers. As far as the lift goes, I debated spring pucks vrs taller springs to compensate for the added weight, and my research led me to a spring lift kit for a variety of reasons. 4"! Wow, not sure I'll go that high. I would be concerned about pinion angle and my drivelines. I'm just a poor, underpaid Jeeper so I have to watch where and how much I spend. LOL. Nice looking Jeep you've got...

Thanks again for your response. Now I have more food for thought!

John
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