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4x4 Suspension Upgrades - A Better Ride

Rubicon Three Quarter Front Suspension
Kevin Blumer | Writer
Posted January 28, 2014
Photographers: Courtesy Of The Manufacturers

Suspension Upgrades for Big and Small Budgets, Young and Old Rigs

Suspension. It’s what separates the capable rigs from the ones that get parked at the trailhead. It’s also the single biggest factor in whether you’ll have a fun backcountry experience or not. That’s a pretty sweeping statement, but all other things being equal, virtually all of us would rather experience a smooth ride instead of feeling pounded and pummeled over every irregularity.

Aftermarket suspension has become more sophisticated over the years as the ’wheeling public and the off-road industry have collectively become more performance-savvy. We used to measure suspensions almost solely by the lift height they produced. These days, lift height is seen as one factor, but it’s far from the only one. Facets like ride quality, geometry, and center of gravity are better understood. Who wins? Everybody! Today’s suspensions work better, ride more smoothly, and are more durable than their ancestors. It all results in a better ride.

Here we’ve assembled a collection of sorts. It highlights several different vehicle models and crosses a broad spectrum of intended uses. We’ve found off-roaders could be described that way, too. Our common thread: We all enjoy fresh air, exploration, and dirt under the tires.

AEV 2.0 JK Spacer System
If you need just a little more height from your two- or four-door JK Wrangler, the AEV 2.0 spacer system is an ideal solution. Gain clearance for slightly larger tires, and continue to enjoy factory ride quality.

  • Two-inch polyurethane spacer system is easy to install and easy on the wallet.
  • The kit includes polyurethane coil spacers, front and rear bumpstop extensions, extended sway bar links, shock extension brackets, and front brake line drop brackets.

For more information, contact:American Expedition Vehicles
(877) 685-0278, aev-conversions.com

Stable Steering for the WJ
The 1999-2004 WJ Grand Cherokee uses a solid front axle just like the classic Jeeps that came before it. Like many rigs with solid front axles, it is prone to front-wheel shimmy under certain driving conditions. Adding larger tires and altering the suspension can exacerbate this situation, making the shimmy (a.k.a. “death wobble”) more common. BDS Suspension has a solution in its dual stabilizer kit for the WJ.

  • Stabilizer kit uses a pair of hydraulic shocks mounted end-to-end. Choose from BDS-5500 and BDS-9500 shocks.
  • Bolt-on kit offers quick and easy installation.

For more information, contact:BDS Suspension
(517) 279-2135, bds-suspension.com

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Clayton JK Long-Arm Kit
Clayton Off Road offers a long-arm kit for the JK Wrangler that features bolt-in installation. The front suspension is converted to long radius arms, while the rear four-link arms are stretched substantially compared to the short stock arms. The Clayton long-arm kit may be used as an upgrade or can be purchased as a complete 3.5- or 4.5-inch lift system.

  • The center of the front crossmember is removable, so the transmission may be pulled without disturbing the suspension components.
  • The system was designed using the latest SolidWorks computer software. Plate parts are CNC laser cut, and CNC bending is used for the formed sections of this kit. High-quality welding and heavy-wall materials are used throughout.

For more information, contact:Clayton Off Road
(203) 691-8593, claytonoffroad.com

Fox Steering Shox
Fox Racing’s shocks are found on some of the most high-tech trucks in Baja, but you don’t have to race the Baja 1000 to appreciate Fox’s innovation and quality. Fox produces a steering damper that gives high performance, efficient heat dissipation, and complete adjustability.

  • Through-shaft design provides consistent damping force, whether you’re steering left or right. Piggyback-mounted nitrogen-charged reservoir keeps damping force consistent over a wide range of operating temperatures. The heat-dispersing aluminum damper body is hard anodized to resist wear.
  • Both axle-end and tie-rod-end damper mounts contain spherical bearings to eliminate slop in the mounts and transfer all steering forces into the damper. An external adjuster features 24 possible settings. Damping can be very light, very stiff, or somewhere in between.

For more information, contact: Fox Racing Shox
foxracingshox.com

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Metalcloak Covers the JK and TJ
Metalcloak’s products span generations and iterations of Jeeps. Today, we offer you a JK product and a TJ product, which are samples from the extensive Metalcloak product lineup.

The Metalcloak JK Adjustable Rear Bumpstop system recognizes you want as much bump travel as possible, but not so much that your rear tires crash into places on your Jeep where they shouldn’t. This bolt-on, modular system lets you extend your rear bumpstop strike pad height from 1 to 4 inches over stock.

The Metalcloak TJ/LJ adjustable aluminum suspension control arms feature 1-1/2-inch extruded aluminum hex bar stock, and Metalcloak’s exclusive Duroflex joints. The hex stock looks great, but the utility is that it provides full-length wrench flats that make for easy adjustments. Dial in your U-joint angles and steering geometry exactly the way you want it.

For more information, contact: Metalcloak
(916) 631-8071, www.metalcloak.com

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Rough Country Track Bar Options
Rough Country offers different solutions for different Jeep vehicles, such as the XJ Cherokee and the TJ Wrangler.

  • The XJ track bar kit includes a complete replacement track bar made from heavy-wall DOM tubing. The length is adjustable, so the axle can be perfectly centered under the vehicle at ride height. Compatible with any lift kit height between 4 and 6 inches, and every XJ model year.
  • The TJ track bar kit consists of a track bar drop bracket and a dropped pitman arm. Use the drop bracket and dropped pitman arm with your stock track bar in conjunction with a 4-inch lift kit, and add an adjustable-length, factory-style track bar for use with a 6-inch lift kit. Quarter-inch-thick steel plate construction is used for the bracket, and the pitman arm is forged. It’s rugged stuff worthy of the Rough Country name.

For more information, contact: Rough Country Suspension
(800) 222-7023, roughcountry.com

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JK Long Arm, Rubicon Express Style
Did we mention that JK owners have options? Here’s a great way to go from Rubicon Express.

  • Choose from lift heights of 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 inches. Adjustable chromoly upper and lower control arms offer superior strength and inspire confidence. Rubicon Express’s own Super Flex joints are used throughout.
  • Adjustable chromoly track bar and drag link. The kit is available with mono-tube or twin-tube shocks and is backed by the Rubicon Express Advantage Lifetime Warranty. Made in the USA.


For more information, contact: Rubicon Express
(877) 367-7824, rubiconexpress.com

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