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2017 Ultimate Adventure Vehicle Skyjacker Suspension & Frame Buildup

Posted in Ultimate Adventure: 2017 on April 28, 2017
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Photographers: Verne Simons

It may seem like not a lot has happened since we outlined the build plan for the UACJ-6D last month, probably because we have still got a long way to go and a short time to get there. But Verne and the gang (there is actually no gang, just Verne, but Verne and the Gang sounds like an awesome 1970s throwback cover band) have been busy blowing the body off the 1971 CJ-6, rolling the unused chassis to a dark corner for use later on some yet-to-be-built project, and getting to work prepping the JK Unlimited frame to go under the patina’d sheetmetal.

It’s a natural that we would use a Skyjacker suspension under this thing since Skyjacker has returned as the official suspension and shock absorber of the Ultimate Adventure. But even if the company hadn’t returned, the LeDuc Series Coilover System is a fine piece of hardware. Sold individually, the front kit features remote-reservoir Fox coilovers, hefty coilover mount brackets, extended disconnect sway bar links, an adjustable track bar, and adjustable lower control arms with Currie Johnny Joint ends. The rear kit includes all these parts with the exception of standard extended sway bar links instead of the disconnect links of the front. Skyjacker offers the LeDuc Series JK suspension in either 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-inch or 4 1/2- to 6-inch adjustable lift heights. We opted for the shorter kit and plan on running it as low as possible.

Editor Hazel puts a lot of stock in letting Verne be Verne. So when Verne Simons wanted to shorten the frame 9 inches, Hazel didn’t bat an eye. Simons used a plasma cutter to zap the factory weld off the two-piece frame and then use a port-a-power to press the two halves apart.

We upped our order with Skyjacker’s adjustable lower control arms front and rear and Fox air bumps. And since we were starting with a blank JK frame and didn’t have any upper control arms, we ordered Skyjacker JK arms for good measure. After all, Verne would probably fold factory upper arms the first time we let him behind the wheel. He’s our destructive tester extraordinaire.

The Skyjacker suspension is designed as a completely bolt-on system that allows you to return the vehicle to stock—or, more likely, transfer it to your new Jeep if you wear out your old one. The only other missing components were a set of axles to which we could connect the Skyjacker control arms and factory bolt hardware with which to do it. The bolts were the easy part. We simply put in a call to Poly Performance and ordered all the suspension link and track bar hardware we were missing. Poly Performance stocks it all. And the axles? They were actually equally easy since one phone call was all it took to get a bolt-in set of Dana Ultimate 60 crate axles delivered right to the shop. Ultimate 60s for the Ultimate Adventure. How can we go wrong?

Tune in next time to see more of this suspension and a closer look at the Dana axles, some upgraded steering parts, and, if we are ambitious enough, the full steering system and an engine sneak peek.

After removing the offending extra framerail, Simons slid the frame back together and tack-welded it in place. Since it is a slip fit, we still have the option of lengthening or shortening it a few inches when it’s time to join the 1971 CJ-6 tub to the chassis.
We hope you will forgive our skipping the step-by-step install for this overall beauty shot of the LeDuc Series coilover system installed on the JK Unlimited frame. We are building the chassis at full bump to avoid any potential drivetrain interference issues, but you can see the slick Fox remote reservoir coilover and heavy-duty, bolt-on, powdercoated mounting brackets.
The optional Fox air bump mounts inside the factory coil bucket. We plan on running this system with the coilover adjusters cranked as low as possible toward the 3 1/2-inch-lift side of the scale, so chances are these bumpstops will get a fair workout during UA.
The adjustable Skyjacker lower control arms are massive hunks of beef with a standard bushing at the frame end and a bind-free, rebuildable Currie Johnny Joint at the axle end. The adjustable upper control arms are straight out of the Skyjacker catalog since we didn’t have upper arms to start with.
Out back, the rear coilovers employ a bolt-on upper mount that sandwiches the factory shock mount and a lower mount that ties into the factory lower shock mounts. It’s a tight packaging solution, but it keeps the coilovers from having to be mounted at a goofy angle or poke through the floorboards.
Like the front, we ordered Skyjacker’s heavy-duty adjustable lower control arms with Currie Johnny Joints in the axle end and Skyjacker adjustable upper control arms. We will pop the links off and adjust our pion angle after we get the full weight of the body and drivetrain on the tires.
Here is a sneak peek for next time. Check out that Dana Ultimate 60 rear axle and rear Skyjacker track bar. Check back next time to see more on the axles, steering, and who knows what else depending how far we get.

Sources

Skyjacker Suspensions
West Monroe, LA 71294
888-905-5044
www.skyjacker.com
Poly Performance
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
805-783-2060
www.polyperformance.com

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