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2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Suspension - Project Con Artist

Posted in Project Vehicles on February 1, 2008
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Photographers: Ken Brubaker

We were in the early planning stages of Project 'Con Artist, when we contacted the crew over at Rubicon Express to see if they would be interested in putting a long-arm system on our JK. After all, we have always been impressed with the quality and performance of Rubicon's system on the TJ and they were the original innovator of Jeep long-arm suspension systems back in 1998. Two years before that, in 1996, Rubicon Express was formed and has built up a solid reputation of being one of the premier players in Jeep suspensions.

When Rubicon's JK Long Arm system was released, it quickly became one of the most controversial suspension systems on the market, utilizing a radius-arm design on the front (similar to the TJ) and on the rear, something that has been done on great factory four-wheel-drive vehicles such as the Range Rover, but never tried in the aftermarket. We heard all types of comments, from editors to armchair enthusiasts telling us why radius arms would never work off road, but none of them having real radius-arm experience to back up their claims. We decided to forge ahead and test the myths about radius arms.

We wanted a long-arm suspension for the advantage they hold over short arms, such as a shallower control-arm angle over the range of suspension travel, as well as the angle being closer to stock at an increased ride height, resulting in reduced squat. Radius arms have the added benefit of keeping the wheels from moving toward the center of the vehicle during droop and being self-canceling for torque, nearly eliminating troublesome axle hop on loose surfaces. They also result in more stable handling, because as the body rolls, the wheelbase increases on the outside of the turn and eliminates the front-end lift under hard acceleration.

Another plus is that Rubicon Express goes the extra distance in quality of materials, using chromoly for the arms, which is formed in a 100-ton press, not shaped in a bender, preserving material strength. They also specify rigorous criteria for quality of components, such as the consistency of the rubber in the bushings.

A competent shop should be able to complete the install over the course of a full day. Follow along as we point out some of the highlights of this suspension system and installation done at Rubicon Express' facility in Rancho Cordova, California.

PhotosView Slideshow
PhotosView Slideshow
PhotosView Slideshow

So far we have wheeled from Moab to the Mojave over just about every terrain imaginable, including rocks, snow, mud, and sand. In every situation, our Rubicon Express Long Arm suspension has inspired confidence in good lines and in bad. Having the strength of chromoly arms is a huge benefit, especially since the arms can be used as skids to help ramp the rear wheels up to a shelf. Another area the RE system excels is in fast washes and over small whoops. Just because it has solid axles does not mean it can't be enjoyed in fast terrain.

In every day driving we have had no issues with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) or the Brake Assist System (BAS) activating and we have been pleasantly surprised that the Rubicon Express system has enough flexibility and stability to get us over the gnarliest rock gardens, yet is compliant enough to take a Four Wheeler editor on a 50-mile commute through LA's concrete jungle. Perhaps this is the reason Mopar has decided to private label the Rubicon Express lift and offer it through your neighborhood Jeep dealer. It is that good.

Whether it is bombing down a wash or crawling around in 4-Lo, we haven't once been disappointed by our decision to go with Rubicon. In the near future we'll be trying out a new wheel-and-tire package on the 'Con Artist and we'll let you know how it goes.


Rubicon Express
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
Don-A-Vee Jeep

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