My Overland Project, the RME JKU

Greg@RME

Adventurer
I don't think the paint was fully cured before I hit the road to Moab this morning! It had rained over night (mid-December.... rain?!?), then got cold enough to freeze early in the morning. I carefully made the drive to Moab, noticing how well the Alpine Long Arms had changed the way the JKU worked on the street. With stock-length arms and the heavier Outback coil springs there were some bumps and expansion joints that were a bit rough... but with the Long Arms, it rode very smooth! Those kind of bumps were reduced to hardly anything, just a cushy, smooth ride.

Once in Moab, headed to Poison Spider Mesa for the first offroad test. I aired down to 12 PSI in the rear and 14 PSI in the front... the first part of the trail is high-speed, so I disconnected the anti-swaybar in 2WD and cruised up the rocky road. I was very impressed with the changes, hitting rocks, ledges and bumps that would have been uncomfortable before were now hardly noticeable. The Alpine Arms have rubber bushings at both ends and really isolate the bumps in addition to the longer length of the control arm, letting the coil springs work with less restriction.

Once on the real obstacles that required 4 Low, the suspension seemed more compliant... more willing to simply work. It's a little hard to describe, but the change was very obvious. (My JKU is setup for overland travel, I'm sitting on TeraFlex Outback springs, which are made for a heavier load, and have SpeedBumps in the front, as well as limiting straps so my shocks aren't getting pulled apart under droop. With my setup I don't have a massive amount of low-speed wheel travel. If I were setting up a dedicated crawler, it would be a bit different but I'm happy with how my JKU works.)

Anyhow, here's some pics from PSM...















Then I headed over to Hells Revenge to play around... Hells is funny, I've been on it many, MANY times and it always gets my attention in certain areas!










Anyhow, I'm pretty impressed with the Alpine Long Arms... I kinda feel like my 35's are small these days! :eek:
 
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Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
For what it's worth, I think the stance and tire size is perfect. :beer:

Very well done.
Did you measure the length of the lower front and rear arms?
Just wondering how much difference between the long arm kit, and the T3 kit.
 

Greg@RME

Adventurer
For what it's worth, I think the stance and tire size is perfect. :beer:

Very well done.
Did you measure the length of the lower front and rear arms?
Just wondering how much difference between the long arm kit, and the T3 kit.
Yeah, you're probably right.... and I'm pretty happy with the driveability of 35's too. The thing that makes me think about 37's is how low the new lower-rear control arm mounts sit. A couple more inches of clearance by way of a larger tire would be nice. Not needed, but nice.

I would think the lowers are the same length, the instructions they send out for the install are for the Flex Arm joints and don't mention anything different with the Alpine Arms. I don't have the measurements in front of me, but can get them if you're curious.
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
It's more just curiosity. So, unless you were specifically going to measure something, please don't go out of your way.

There are some real advantages to to 37" tires, that's for sure.
In the mean time, there isn't many places your rig won't go right now. :beer:
 

Greg@RME

Adventurer
It's more just curiosity. So, unless you were specifically going to measure something, please don't go out of your way.

There are some real advantages to to 37" tires, that's for sure.
In the mean time, there isn't many places your rig won't go right now. :beer:
So the TeraFlex Alpine Arm longarms and FlexArm's use the same brackets, control arm length and measurements. The upgrade is the Alpine bushings on both ends. :cool:
 

Greg@RME

Adventurer
Last time I had the Jeep out my stock front driveshaft failed after some trail damage, I ended up having to drive out of a steep, snow-covered canyon in 2WD and was lucky to make it out. I decided it was time for an upgrade and I knew that I wanted the best possible parts, so I called up the guys at Tom Wood's Driveshafts in Ogden, Utah. I gave them the dimensions and they were very helpful with information and options. I ended up with a Jeep JK front driveshaft with 1310 u-joints as well as a replacement flange for the front pinion and new yoke at the t-case, as well as all new hardware, a package of LockTite and very detailed instructions. Tom knows driveshafts very well and he has come up with the strongest possible option for the JK.

The install was pretty straight forward, took about an hour to get it in and tested on the snowy Colorado roads! In 4WD the Jeep was nice and smooth, no vibrations and peace of mind knowing I now have a beefy, upgraded Tom Wood's front driveshaft!









 

Greg@RME

Adventurer
Nice, Ordered a DJI Mavic 2 weeks ago. Can't wait for it to show up.
That's what I'm filming with, had a DJI Phantom 2 but upgraded. I ordered my Mavic directly from DJI and it took me every bit of 8 weeks to get, but the wait was well worth it! The Mavic is incredible, filming in 4k makes for amazing footage.... even when YouTube shrinks it down to 1080p it's still impressive. I'm sure you'll love your Mavic!
 
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SES50

Observer
I have done enough research and playing with a buddies I was pretty sure you were flying a Mavic. 8 weeks! That sucks. I do not know if I can wait. Says on the website will ship in 5-7 days. I have a Death Valley trip at the end of Febuary and we were hoping to use it down there. Lets hope.

That's what I'm filming with, had a DJI Phantom 2 but upgraded. I ordered my Mavic directly from DJI and it took me every bit of 8 weeks to get, but the wait was well worth it! The Mavic is incredible, filming in 4km makes for amazing footage.... even when YouTube shrinks it down to 1080p it's still impressive. I'm sure you'll love your Mavic!
 

Greg@RME

Adventurer
I have done enough research and playing with a buddies I was pretty sure you were flying a Mavic. 8 weeks! That sucks. I do not know if I can wait. Says on the website will ship in 5-7 days. I have a Death Valley trip at the end of Febuary and we were hoping to use it down there. Lets hope.
Yeah, I was getting antsy at the end of my wait! Seems like they're closer to caught up now, I'm sure you'll have yours by the time they say.
 

Greg@RME

Adventurer
It's been a few months and there have been some changes! Time to update the build thread. ;) The biggest change was upgrading the shocks, I picked up a set of Falcon 2.1 mono-shocks and the Nexus EF steering stabilizer.




My experience and opinion is well documented in the TeraFlex Falcon Shock thread. I'll go ahead and copy what I said here...

So the very first thing we noticed was the new handling characteristics on the freeway... between the Nexus steering stabilizer and the Falcon shocks, the entire Jeep felt much more planted at freeway speeds. Hitting a big rolling bump on the freeway, which before would toss & rock the Jeep around, now made the Jeep react composed and stable. The suspension would compress and then decompress and the Jeep would recover with hardly any drama. Within the first 10 miles my wife in the passenger seat mentioned how different the Wrangler now rode. On I70, heading towards Moab in Utah the speed limit is 80 MPH... previously, my JK rode OK but at speeds over 72-73 (actual speed) the Jeep was a little 'wobbly'. Now with the Falcon shocks and Nexus stabilizer, the Jeep was absolutely planted at up to 85 MPH! Driving over bridges and expansion joints before would create a little wobble in the steering wheel and with the Nexus steering stabilizer, the steering wheel is totally firm.... it doesn't show any indication of upsetting the Jeep. We do a lot of on-road driving to get to destinations, from driving out to the Rubicon last Summer to our trip down to Baja and back, having a Jeep that handles well on the road is very important to me. I still need to put some longer road miles on, but I think long drives will be less stressful due to the way the JKU now drives. This is how a lifted Jeep should ride!

Offroad the result is similar, when you hit a big rock or drop off a ledge the suspension does it's thing and the Falcon shocks control the body sway and unwanted movement with little drama. The suspension reacts and the Falcons control the suspension better than any lesser shocks. You don't get that rocking & rolling that sometimes happens offroad. At a few different places in Moab, we were able to shift into 2 High and get some speed up and the control that the Falcons added to an already good suspension was now impressive... I could drive a lot faster than I should! :freak: It wasn't really warm out, but after a little high-speed driving the shocks seemed very liner with their performance. No changes after trying to get them heated up. I still need to do further high-speed driving to get a better feel for their performance at speed.

One of the things I love about the Nexus stabilizer is how it works with the stock (or upgraded) tie rod, but now is relocated above the axle centerline and behind the tie rod, out of harms way. I've destroyed 2 steering stabilizers in the last couple years in the stock location and feel like the raised Nexus will be very well protected. Also, combining the axle end mount of the Nexus stabilizer with the track bar mount/bolt is genius as well, great use of a big bolt hole!

To wrap it all up, I think the Falcon shocks and Nexus steering stabilizer are nothing short of damn impressive. I doubt there is a better JK shock & stabilizer out there, bolt a set on your JK/JKU and you'll instantly see the difference in how your Wrangler works on road and off.
And my tech, install & on-trail review video...



Next up, I picked up a set of body-colored White JK fender flares that were new take-off's. I scored them from John Williams at Impulse Offroad in West Valley, Utah. John has helped me out with parts many times on this build and it's always fun to see what else he is working on. He has a massive network of businesses and can get you almost anything for your build. The removal of the black flares and install of the white ones wasn't too hard, the clips are a bit of a PITA. I think the end result was well worth it, I love how the body-colored flares look!


Lastly, I picked up an ARB Awning (2000 x 2500) from Kurt Williams at Cruiser Outfitters. Kurt and his crew are another great source for quality parts, very knowledgeable and helpful. We talked about what I was looking for, the dimensions of my roof rack and settled on the perfect size.


So here's how it all came together! I drove the JKU to Overland Expo West 2017 in Flagstaff and stopped in Valley of the Gods for the night. The weather was perfect, so I camped out under the ARB Awning and it was simply amazing!







 

SamP

New member
Probably the single best purpose built I have seen EVER.... well done. As others have rightfully stated in the past on this thread, I too am drooling, jealous, envious and everybit of in awe....

I have an ST3 teraflex 3" kit with Falcon shox on an overland build as well (albeit like the half baked step brother of your build) and with my rear kitchen, fridge, roof rack etc, I am sagging big time. I have been thinking about the outback springs but I am wondering if that would be enough to level out the rig when loaded or if I am still going to be lower in the back??? what's your experience with the springs? Others have tried to dissuade me from going with Teraflex springs but i love the company and the products and they are terrific folks to deal with!

I'd love to get your opinion on this.20245697_10211500426678943_9049347609520715159_n.jpg
 

Greg@RME

Adventurer
Probably the single best purpose built I have seen EVER.... well done. As others have rightfully stated in the past on this thread, I too am drooling, jealous, envious and everybit of in awe....

I have an ST3 teraflex 3" kit with Falcon shox on an overland build as well (albeit like the half baked step brother of your build) and with my rear kitchen, fridge, roof rack etc, I am sagging big time. I have been thinking about the outback springs but I am wondering if that would be enough to level out the rig when loaded or if I am still going to be lower in the back??? what's your experience with the springs? Others have tried to dissuade me from going with Teraflex springs but i love the company and the products and they are terrific folks to deal with!

I'd love to get your opinion on this.View attachment 415863
Thanks Sam, I really appreciate that!

IMO..... the standard TeraFlex springs are built for good all around suspension travel offroad, a good ride on road and covering 85-90% of MOST peoples needs. For what you're talking about, I think the Outback Springs would be one of the best options available. I have loaded my JKU up with way too much gear (including lots of water & gas) and the Outback springs handled the load with stride. There was a bit of a 'squat' with excessive weight compared to being unloaded, but not quite what I'd call a saggy rear. I would guess that the Outback Springs have about a 30-40% stiffer rate, which is quite significant. It does change the ride of an unloaded JKU, making certain bumps more harsh.... but it's not terrible. Once you load it up with some weight, the ride and support you get from the heavy springs is very welcome. For a JKU, if you're into the Overlanding thing I think the Outback Suspension is a great option.

Hope that helps!
 
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