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Are Long-Travel Arms Better Than Bushings?

Posted in How To on July 1, 2001
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Photographers: John Cappa
The Rubicon Express XJ Extreme Duty 5.5-inch lift makes quite an improvement to any Cherokee. The kit is complete, and drastically improves off-road prowess, and looks. The Rubicon Express XJ Extreme Duty 5.5-inch lift makes quite an improvement to any Cherokee. The kit is complete, and drastically improves off-road prowess, and looks.
The Old Man Emu shocks work well on- and off-road. The shock length seems to be the limiting factor to front suspension articulation, but hey, it’s best that they limit the twist before something twists off. The Old Man Emu shocks work well on- and off-road. The shock length seems to be the limiting factor to front suspension articulation, but hey, it’s best that they limit the twist before something twists off.
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Here you can see the difference in how the two types of arms flex.  The Super Flex uses the spherical end to do most of the twisting (top). The rubber bushings of the Super Ride arms (above) do all of the twisting. Here you can see the difference in how the two types of arms flex. The Super Flex uses the spherical end to do most of the twisting (top). The rubber bushings of the Super Ride arms (above) do all of the twisting.

Buying a suspension system for your late model Jeep is kind of like buying a house. You have to know what you want, and how much you are willing to pay for it. And while our dream is to one day live in an old gas station with two or three service bays we really should not be allowed to give any further advice about where you should live. As far as suspension systems we have a few opinions, and a bit of experience.

Most suspension companies offer at least a few options with each system. You can spend a few more bucks and get the “super bounce” uranium-charged shocks, or perhaps the new Super Acorn Gizmo squirrel-activated sway bar disconnects, but we always wondered about the various control arms available. Almost all suspension companies offer a few different options when it comes to how your axle will be held in place. The base line is generally a control arm made of three pieces of steel tubing with two rubber, or polyurethane, bushings. The other extreme is to have more expensive, (sometimes much more expensive), threaded rods with rod ends, or some other type of intricate super-flexy ends to replace the rubber bushings. Now how you spend your money is your business, but we always wondered how much articulation is gained by spending some more money for the super-flexy jointed, Jimmy jointed, whatever, control arms. Well, we got a chance to try out two sets of Rubicon Express’ arms, and here is what we found.

Sources

Rubicon Express
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
877-367-7824
www.rubiconexpress.com

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