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Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon - Air Rocks - Tech

Posted in Features on July 1, 2003
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It seems too good to be true: An adjustable off-road suspension that not only offers height variations (read: ground clearance) but also side-to-side and corner-to-corner body pitch control - all at the push of a button. Though one might expect this cutting-edge technology in a concept vehicle or possibly a high-priced custom vehicle, seeing such a system function in a production 4x4 equipped with 37-inch tires and offering 6 inches of lift is simply awe inspiring. Add to that the fact that the on-road ride quality of a vehicle equipped with this new suspension system is comparable to the factory ride, and we were pretty much blown away, particularly considering the endless abilities off the highway. It's air suspension, folks, and it's very cool.

The AiROCK Suspension System from Off Road Only is essentially a spring replacement kit designed to be compatible with any 4- or 6-inch aftermarket lift kit. That means if you've already equipped your Jeep TJ with a lift kit, AiROCK's air springs can function as icing on the cake. If you're starting fresh, you'll still be allowed the opportunity to explore the possibility of using long-arm suspension options instead of the factory-style short-arm setup. Whether you use your vehicle to tackle hard-core obstacles or just to play in the dirt isn't an issue, either, because the AiROCK system is well-suited to any type of terrain.

One of the features adding to the AiROCK cool factor is the on-demand ground clearance, which is not only a great assistance in slinking through nasty obstacles but also an excellent means of easing ingress and egress of the vehicle. Push one button and the vehicle will settle to its predetermined highway ride level. Push the button a second time and the vehicle will pitch one direction or the other, allowing occupants a short hop to the ground. While on the trail, this function serves effectively in forcing articulation, or forcing a tire to the ground for added traction, by increasing the pressure in one or more of the air springs. The 4-inch AiROCK kit allows as many as 8 inches of height adjustability, and the 6-inch kit permits as many as 10 inches. Testing of both systems by the company resulted in an RTI score of 1,000 on a 20-degree ramp.

Many of the concerns we've heard voiced about air spring/airbag-type suspensions have dealt with spring rate. If you install an AiROCK system, will you be losing the traditional benefits of a coil spring suspension? The answer is no. Being that a softer spring offers the needed droop and compression of the suspension to twist through tough obstacles, and a stiffer spring allows for less body roll and a plusher highway ride, the AiROCK air springs were designed to meet the needs of both. The air springs function at a true progressive rate, increasing and decreasing as the springs compress and decompress. The spring rate will, however, remain constant when driven at a constant height, such as when the system is set at the highway ride level.

Because the AiROCK system is sold as a spring replacement kit, you will need to install the associated items necessary to maintain the suspension and steering geometry. Recommended items include adjustable control arms, a slip-yoke eliminator, a body lift kit, an adjustable sway bar or extended links, and a rear CV driveshaft. Many of these components are included with aftermarket 4- and 6-inch suspension systems. Suggested retail price of the AiROCK system is a little less than $2,500, and it's available at several dealers across the country. Check the photos for the skinny.

Sources

Tri County Gear
Pomona, CA 91766
909-623-3373
www.tricountygear.com
Off Road Only
St. Paul, MN 55104
651-644-2323
www.offroadonly.com

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