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4x4tographer

"Oki": 4x4tographer's 2018 Jeep JLUR

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2 hours ago, 4x4tographer said:


You had me worried! I pulled in 1/2 way to measure the garage door clearance and I’ve got 5” of space left. 35s will technically bring me to 4” of clearance, so I’m sure I’m good. No roof racks in my future though 😅.

With my rack I have to push the door all the way up and have less than a 1/4" clearance.

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2 hours ago, 4x4tographer said:

Lift update! Got it off tarmac for a little shakedown run last weekend to see how it flexed out.

 

I’m super happy with the stance.

 

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We hit up a “sexy flexy” spot to check for any rubs, binds, or errant hoses.

 

YIuqlcc.jpg
 

During the test we found that the bump stop extensions Clayton provided were a little too long, eating into some lost articulation. The rears look great with just enough room for some 35’s, probably 37’s. The front was pretty limited, with enough spare space on the stuff corner to stuff my entire head in and look around. 😁
 

Between the extensions and my new Metalcloak Durospring bump stops, there was approx 1” of space before they’d engage. This was not only limited flex, but was leading to a noticeable *bump* just backing out of my driveway. It didn’t seem to cause any real issues on the trail. I’m guessing that’s a testament to the durosprings.

 

Here’s a shot of the small gap.

 

FDNq93t.jpg

 

Ended up pulling the extensions and cutting 1.75” off in my miter saw. They’re now 2” of total extension. Bonus, they’re thin enough to remove without needing to remove the coils, which is a PITA solo.

 

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No longer getting into the bumpstopa so quickly backing out of my driveway or hitting the local speed humps. Looking forward to hitting that spot again to see how much flex Oki gained.

 

Heres a few more shots from the shakedown run. 

LgwMBpd.jpg

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SEfNhoB.jpg

I see you found my cousin wandering the desert. 🤣

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It looks awesome @4x4tographer! I'm really happy for you; the lift will definitely open you to more types of trails you can do. That's @theksmith for you, he's spent many hours over here helping get stuff done. He's just a super-friend that way.  

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Another Oki Update....... I did a thing.

 

Also, a quick reminder that I'm a complete amateur with all of this. Figured I'd document my first time experience in even thinking about the below. 😅

 

1xXWfEI.jpg

 

 

After the Clayton lift, I began experiencing some "Death Wobble" in pretty unpredictable circumstances. Getting a lot of great advice from a bunch of you ORP'ers, I went through and checked torque/re-torqued literally every suspension component. 

 

Initially, I found the new front track bar was a little loose at the axle-side bracket, so tightened it and called it good. Death Wobble was temporarily banished, but eventually returned. So back to another round of re-torquing, and everything checked out.

 

We then moved on to checking other components, such as the tie rod ends, ball joints, and the drag link. BINGO - the ball joint on the drag link at the pitman arm was pretty sloppy and producing a clunking noise. Bounced a video of it off of several folks and they all agreed it was toast.

 

For reference purposes, my Jeep is a 2018 JL Rubicon with 36,000 miles. Based on my Gaia GPS records - about 4,500 of those miles were off-road.

 

So - replace the drag link end or upgrade? With my long term goals, upgrading made sense. After talking with @theksmith it made sense that if the ball joints on the drag link were going bad, the tie rod ends might not be much further behind it.

 

 

So - pulled the trigger on Metalcloak's complete steering set up with 1 ton end joints. Here's a side-by-side.

 

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The camera doesn't quite do it justice, but the new TRE's are yuuuuuuge and pretty substantial when compared to the factory TREs.

 

aPwbxFQ.jpg

 

 

Like any project, it looks pretty simple. Drop the tie rod, pull off the drag link, stick the new ones on. And sure enough, everything was going smoothly (for once).

 

  1. Zapped off the tie rod in about 30 seconds with both ends simply falling out after removing the bolt.
  2. The passenger-side drag link end joint was the same. Removed the bolt, popped it once with a hammer, and it fell right out.
  3. ....
  4. Then I had to commit a murder.

 

XlfSDjC.jpg

 

 

The ball joint at the pitman arm simply would NOT give up. Part of the problem being clearance. The Jeep's frame and radiator are just above and next to the pitman arm, giving you a small amount of space to get in there with a box wrench. You're only real access is through the drive side wheel well.

 

Removed the bolt, and...... nothing. It was stuck. REALLY stuck.

 

Time for specialty tools - a Pickle Fork (or "tuning fork") and a BFH.

 

Ti3Js8g.jpg

 

Concept is simple enough, insert the fork between the ball joint and the pitman arm and wail on it until it separates. The fork acts as a wedge.

 

Only it wasn't so simple. It took me 2 hours to get the drag link off.

 

After a few smacks with the BFH it began to separate. More wailing, more separation. Then it all just stopped. For whatever reason the darn thing just wouldn't come off. 

 

I hit up my neighbor who is a cool dude and mechanically inclined. He recommended go ahead and tear off the remainder of the boot that surrounds the ball joint. It was already pretty mangled. His theory was that the rubber boot material was acting like a shock absorber and interfering with the wedge process. So we went about cutting and prying the boot off to get more room.

 

Back we went with the hammer and fork. A few more pops and BOOM off it went!

 

Then we realized the problem. The pickle fork I had bought wasn't quite wide enough for the factory ball joint. I needed to have gone up a size. We had basically buried the fork and were bending the tines outwards. You can see it pretty clearly on the above and below photos. The tines were originally parallel.

 

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Here's a shot of the pitman arm and the lack of space.

 

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Here's a shot of the passenger-side knuckles.

 

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Here's a shot of everything mounted before snugging up the jam nuts. I picked up a new steering stabilizer clamp mount for the tie rod since my old one was too small.

 

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A shot of the clearance between the tie rod, drag link, and stabilizer. It too a little fiddling to adjust the drag link "bend angle" to get it to clear both the stabilizer and tie rod at full steering lock.

 

RYBfWFx.jpg

 

 

So here is my next project. Wheels and tires.

 

I'm running factory wheels. While the Jeep is perfectly drivable in normal street driving. However, I'm unable to go all the way to full lock due to the size of the tie rod ends.

The below image is of the passenger tire, wheel turned full driver as far as it would go, and then released. The tension on the tires sprung it back slightly. 

 

I should have a few more degrees of steering but will grind the TRE on the wheels until I either get spacers or wheels with a better offset/clearance.

 

uI9fCrv.jpg

 

 

Here's a look at the full front end. I'm digging the gold zinc coating on the Metalcloak components and how they play well visually with Clayton's gold zinc coated jam nuts.

 

uCGXXLn.jpg

 

Metalcloak milled in some nice wrench points on the tie rod and drag link to help with adjustments and when you're torquing down the jam nuts.

 

The tie rod has counter-clockwise and clockwise threads on each end for super fast toe adjustments. Loosen the jam nuts and just twist the tie rod until you get the measurement you desire.

 

At the moment, I'm set about 1cm "toe in" measured at the tires (33"). I'll need to get it into for an alignment check, but did a test drive around the hood and 2 exits on some bumpy highway and it drove great!

 

 

 

Here's the double adjusted on the drag link for quick steering adjustments.

I'm not a super big fan of the 2 different sized jam nuts here. I have to carry a total of 4 crowfoot wrenches in the tool bag now in order to keep up with all of the jam nuts on the Jeep now.

 

lq1rRGv.jpg

 

 

Front end shot. Looking forward to filling the wheel wells with bigger tires at some point.

 

I8Pwqid.jpg

 

 

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looks good Ryan! hopefully that fully cures your wobbles.

 

i'm not sure if the JL knuckles have normal steering stop adjuster bolts, but if so then you might want to go ahead and adjust them out for now - just to make sure your wheels don't push on those TRE's and prematurely wear them. unless you're getting those new wheels very soon.

 

 

1 hour ago, 4x4tographer said:

the ball joint on the drag link at the pitman arm was pretty sloppy and producing a clunking noise.

 

FYI, those are commonly just called TRE's on the ends of the drag link too - though i'm sure there's a more correct technical term that covers that style of joint regardless of location - spherical articulating joint or something fancy like that!

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19 minutes ago, theksmith said:

i'm not sure if the JL knuckles have normal steering stop adjuster bolts, but if so then you might want to go ahead and adjust them out for now - just to make sure your wheels don't push on those TRE's and prematurely wear them. unless you're getting those new wheels very soon.

 

Awesome suggestion man! I didn't know this was a thing. I'll look into it for sure. 

 

Wheels are "on the horizon". When we do it, it's going to hurt my wallet, so I'm trying to ride these tires out for a few more months. I kicked around the idea of spacers, but it's a little silly to run spacers "just to get by".

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Also forgot to share this. Found a pretty great video that walks through every aspect of your front end, how to check things, explanations as to why things are they way they are.

Worth a watch. 

 

 

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Sure enough @theksmith, I've got the adjustment bolts. 

 

I'll crawl under there after work today and check them out. Thanks again man!

 

QMhyxkw.jpg

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You're my real world application tester. Been thinking about upgrading our front end with Metal Cloak bits & pieces also. Looking forward to a trail report.

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