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Discussion Starter #1
I've been doing a lot of reading to find the most suitable way to lift my commander a bit to fit larger tires without breaking the bank, and it seems that a spacer lift is the best fit for me. I know a number of folks on here have had good luck with the Rough Country spacer lift, however I noticed this on the JBA website while looking into their replacement A-arms:

"So if you buy this cheap piece of junk do not complain to me if the JBA UCAs dont work. It is not the a-arms that are the problem it is the poorly designed spacers, they should have been half the thickness to equal 2" lift." Those are pretty strong words. It doesn't seem like they're trying to steer people toward their own lift, as I don't see anything similar listed on their site.

As far as I've seen, the only other spacer type lifts are Rocky Road and BDS, and maybe perhaps a few other generic types. I'm not interested in the Daystar type lifts, as I don't want to pre-load the springs.

At any rate, what I'm looking for is around 2.5" lift in the front, and maybe 2" lift in the rear to level the jeep (The JBA site says the RC lift is 3.5" in the front). I don't want to go any higher than that in order to keep the additional wear on the front suspension components to a minimum, and ensure that I can still align with the stock A-arms. I only go wheeling a couple times a year, and even then it's mostly rough logging roads.

What I'm thinking at this point is the Rocky Road spacer lift, with Bilstein stock 4600 shocks in the front, and the 5100 lift shocks in the rear. If/when my ball joints wear out, I'll replace the A-arms, but I think I'll leave it stock for now as long as I can get it aligned. I lifted my old KJ a few years back with OME springs, and wasn't all that impressed, so I prefer to stay with the stock springs, but I'll definitely be replacing the shocks while I've got the assembly apart.

Does anyone know if the spacer lifts are any different in terms of ride height, or is the Rocky Road the same as the RC?
 

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I don't know why it says the RC gives 3.5" of lift in the front because it does not. It gives 2 - 2.5". And you will be fine with the RC lift and the JBA control arms. That is the set up that I have. Oh, and the RC lift is NOT a "cheap piece of junk."
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's kind of what I figured, but I found it a little odd to find that info on the JBA website. They really have nothing good to say about the RC lift.
 

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I've never seen anyone complain of the RC lift being too high, and certainly not reaching 23.5" hub to fender.

I ran the Crown spacer lift for awhile (identical to the Rough Country lift, but can usually be found a little cheaper) and ended up completely level at 21.5" hub to fender.

With that being said, even if it did lift to 23.5", there wouldn't be any alignment problems at that height with JBA UCAs. 4" of lift is about the limit before needing a cradle drop, but I ran a modified OME at 23.5" for a few months with no issues at all.
 

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Weird, I'm running the "Piece of Junk" with JBA UCAs just fine. I wonder what prompted that claim to begin with.
 

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You see, lots of people here have the RC spaced lift with no problems.

I actually bought a brand new set, never installed, cause I went with a spring lift but nonetheless, have heard no issues with them.

I wonder if the person was trying to do some heavy off roading
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I kind of figured that was the case, I've read from a number of people on here that the RC lift is descent, so not sure why such negativity on the JBA website. I don't intend to install the UCAs until it becomes necessary down the road, but I do intend to replace the shocks while I've got it all apart.
 

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I've been doing a lot of reading to find the most suitable way to lift my commander a bit to fit larger tires without breaking the bank, and it seems that a spacer lift is the best fit for me. I know a number of folks on here have had good luck with the Rough Country spacer lift, however I noticed this on the JBA website while looking into their replacement A-arms:

"So if you buy this cheap piece of junk do not complain to me if the JBA UCAs dont work. It is not the a-arms that are the problem it is the poorly designed spacers, they should have been half the thickness to equal 2" lift." Those are pretty strong words.
I'll comment on this portion of your post in particular since I have some recent experience with this aspect of it.

I had a WK I ran with the 2 inch RC lift for about 2 years with no problems.

I ran the 2 inch RC lift on my XK with no issues for over 2 years up until recently and the issue I had was one of the bushings in my driver's side JBA UCA started to make an occasional clunk if I hit a bump just the right way - the JBA UCA's were only 11 months old when this revealed itself.

Now despite what Marlin says about the RC spacers, I'll say this: JBA UCA's come with a LIFE-TIME warranty for the Upper control/A-arms but only a 1 year warranty on the bushings.

Now, I may not be a mechanic - but that tells me that he knows that the JBA UCA bushings are the Achilles heal of that product. Now to give Marlin his due credit, he sent me a new set of JBA UCA's at no charge (which I had installed last week) - when I only asked him for 1 replacement JBA UCA. He even pre-paid for the shipping for me to send back the old ones, which I did.

Now all that being said, I can tell you with confidence that the 2 inch RC lift is probably the most reputable & proven spacer lift on the market at present.
 

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I've run plenty of spacer lifts without a problem, I can't image why the Commander would be much different that it can't take a spacerlift. If I could afford it I'd drop the ~$400 to get the HD OME springs, but if you can get the same look and clearance (for bigger tires I mean) with a spacer for just under $200, do it.
 

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I've run plenty of spacer lifts without a problem, I can't image why the Commander would be much different that it can't take a spacerlift. If I could afford it I'd drop the ~$400 to get the HD OME springs, but if you can get the same look and clearance (for bigger tires I mean) with a spacer for just under $200, do it.
I've really had no problems with my 2 inch RC Lift and I've run it for over 6 years in 2 different Jeeps including the last 3 years that I've been running it in Big Blue.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I just got the RC 2" spacer lift in the mail. Looks well made. Got a set of Bilstein 4600s and new strut mounts on order for the front, and I'll soon be ordering some 5100s for the back. I think I'm going to hold off on the UCAs for now. Will probably have to wait a couple weeks before I have time to install this stuff anyway, but I can't wait!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, I just installed the RC 2" lift. I didn't bother to measure anything, but the front is definitely MORE than 2" higher, probably at least 3". As many other threads have mentioned, the front appears higher than the back now, which I do not like. Now, normally I'm of the thought that getting more than what I paid for is a good thing, but not in this case.

I left the stock springs all around, and put Bilstein 4600s in the front and 5100s in the rear. I replaced the shock isolators in the front, but forgot to order for the rear, so maybe that contributed, but not 1/2". I understand that the fenders make it appear a little higher in the front, but measuring from the ground to the bottom, when front is compared to the rear, the vehicle is about 1/2" higher in the front. Regardless of the cause, I'm looking for solutions, ideally ones that don't involve going back into the front suspension, since that's a lot of work.

I have decided to give the Monroe 58643 F-150 load levelers a try, since I would actually want the rear to sit a little higher than the front to account for heavy loads. An additional 1" lift in the rear would be ideal, which I hope the Monroes will give me.

That being said, I'm now having trouble returning the Bilstein 5100s to RockAuto. They were installed and driven for about 10 miles. If they don't come through, I'll likely be trying to sell those. Would be a shame if they fight me on this. I will generally order from them even if the price is a little higher, but if I can't count on their customer service, this will be the last order.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Took the Jeep in to get aligned today. Took it to two different shops. First one told me I need UCA bushings and ball joint on the right side, and the inner tie rod on the left side. Took it to a second shop, and was told I need both upper ball joints, control arms and bushings, as well as both lower control arm bushings and ball joints.

The second shop also basically blamed me saying I damaged the lower control arm bushings when I installed the lift. They also said that my steering knuckle is hitting the spring at full steering lock, which it isn't that I can see.

That combined with the fact that this Rough Country lift is WAAAY more than the 2" that it advertises, at least the front anyway, which is really NOT a good thing.

Not sure if installing the JBA or Rocky Road UCAs will hit the spring, since the other threads seem to point to them having that issue.

Not sure what to do, but seriously considering just pulling this RC lift out and fixing whatever I need to in order to get this aligned.
 

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Took the Jeep in to get aligned today. Took it to two different shops. First one told me I need UCA bushings and ball joint on the right side, and the inner tie rod on the left side. Took it to a second shop, and was told I need both upper ball joints, control arms and bushings, as well as both lower control arm bushings and ball joints.

The second shop also basically blamed me saying I damaged the lower control arm bushings when I installed the lift. They also said that my steering knuckle is hitting the spring at full steering lock, which it isn't that I can see.

That combined with the fact that this Rough Country lift is WAAAY more than the 2" that it advertises, at least the front anyway, which is really NOT a good thing.

Not sure if installing the JBA or Rocky Road UCAs will hit the spring, since the other threads seem to point to them having that issue.

Not sure what to do, but seriously considering just pulling this RC lift out and fixing whatever I need to in order to get this aligned.
The earlier versions of the JBA and RRO UCA's had that problem, it has since resolved, or at least my RRO arms have not touched the springs. Not sure how you would have damaged the lower control arms installing the lift, might just be the age of the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The earlier versions of the JBA and RRO UCA's had that problem, it has since resolved, or at least my RRO arms have not touched the springs. Not sure how you would have damaged the lower control arms installing the lift, might just be the age of the vehicle.
Yea, that was my thought exactly. The ball joints seemed ok to me, although I wasn't using any special tools other than the push/pull test with a jack under the control arm to relieve the pressure. At any rate, it will need some work from the sounds of things and if I'm going to do the upper bushings and control arms, makes sense to put in some JBA or RR UCAs. I'm leaning toward the Rocky Road ones, but not totally sold.

I'm honestly not that happy with the Rough Country lift. It's too much lift in the front, and sits about 1/2 higher in the rear as I measured it... springs are stock. I think those front spacers should be just a little smaller, perhaps the Rocky Road kit would have given me that... not sure.

At any rate, just trying to figure out if I should rip it all out, or just throw in some upper control arms and have a shop put in the rest, I'm getting tired of dealing with it at this point. I also discovered a coolant leak during this process that I haven't had a chance to look at yet. I'm hoping it's coming from a hose up there, but my gut tells me that a water pump replacement will be a project in my future...
 

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Yea, that was my thought exactly. The ball joints seemed ok to me, although I wasn't using any special tools other than the push/pull test with a jack under the control arm to relieve the pressure. At any rate, it will need some work from the sounds of things and if I'm going to do the upper bushings and control arms, makes sense to put in some JBA or RR UCAs. I'm leaning toward the Rocky Road ones, but not totally sold.

I'm honestly not that happy with the Rough Country lift. It's too much lift in the front, and sits about 1/2 higher in the rear as I measured it... springs are stock. I think those front spacers should be just a little smaller, perhaps the Rocky Road kit would have given me that... not sure.

At any rate, just trying to figure out if I should rip it all out, or just throw in some upper control arms and have a shop put in the rest, I'm getting tired of dealing with it at this point. I also discovered a coolant leak during this process that I haven't had a chance to look at yet. I'm hoping it's coming from a hose up there, but my gut tells me that a water pump replacement will be a project in my future...
Can you post some pics?

The front end looking higher than the rear is usually more of an optical illusion than anything else, because of how much higher the front/top of the fender flares go in relation to the front fender sidewall, as opposed to the top of the fender flares on the rear fenders which don't go up the rear fender sidewall nearly as high; the 2 inch RC lift should have raised your front end about 3 1/2 inches and the rear about 2 inches which should have leveled you out - that's what it's designed to do.

I've only seen one member where the front end was truly higher than the rear by about an inch and a half and it turned out that he was sent the wrong spacers - and that wasn't even an RC lift - I believe it was the Heavy Metal Spacer lift kit that that particular member ordered.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Can you post some pics?

The front end looking higher than the rear is usually more of an optical illusion than anything else, because of how much higher the front/top of the fender flares go in relation to the front fender sidewall, as opposed to the top of the fender flares on the rear fenders which don't go up the rear fender sidewall nearly as high; the 2 inch RC lift should have raised your front end about 3 1/2 inches and the rear about 2 inches which should have leveled you out - that's what it's designed to do.

I've only seen one member where the front end was truly higher than the rear by about an inch and a half and it turned out that he was sent the wrong spacers - and that wasn't even an RC lift - I believe it was the Heavy Metal Spacer lift kit that that particular member ordered.
Here are some before and after pictures. It's not an optical illusion, i measured it. From the bottom of the vehicle, bottom of the door, anywhere, front is 1/2" higher than the rear. It's not terribly noticeable, but it's there. The RC lift is supposed to be 2", and it's clearly a bit more in the front, which in my opinion isn't great as I don't want to over stress the IFS components up there too much. Was going to put an extra isolator in the back to see how it looks.

The question now however is what to do about this alignment problem. One shop quoted me $900 and change to replace an upper control arm, and an inner tie rod and maybe one of the lower ball joints... can't remember. At any rate, that included the alignment after the work was done.

Another shop, never got the number, but they told me all the ball joints and bushings were shot. I'm sure they would be much more than the first.

I could throw some UCAs in there, but then I'm still gonna have to deal with lifting the rear a little, and will still have some other stuff to address to align it.

I'm thinking I'll just pull the spacers out, put it back to stock, have them fix whatever they need to in order to get it aligned and call it a day. I'm more than frustrated at this point, and am not happy with how high the front ended up being on this. I don't want to wear out my CVs and everything else up there.
 

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When I first lifted mine, I did all the tricks to make the front OME HD as high as possible. It came out about 1 1/2" over the rear... Way higher then I wanted and looked like it was taking off the runway. I put the Monroe f150 load levelers in the rear and that leveled it out. After 2 weeks I got use to it and it looked normal. Not high, but the way it should be.

If the lower bushings and ball joint are wearing out, get the Moog lower control arm, it comes with new ones for $130. Half off the bolts to install need to be loosened to align anyway. The upper control arm is 2 bolts and a nut on the ball joint. I don't see how they are charging so much, an alignment should be between $80-$100. Upper and lower control arm should be around 2 hours labor.

Oh, and I highly doubt installing the lift hurt anything... It is just normal wear from age.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
When I first lifted mine, I did all the tricks to make the front OME HD as high as possible. It came out about 1 1/2" over the rear... Way higher then I wanted and looked like it was taking off the runway. I put the Monroe f150 load levelers in the rear and that leveled it out. After 2 weeks I got use to it and it looked normal. Not high, but the way it should be.

If the lower bushings and ball joint are wearing out, get the Moog lower control arm, it comes with new ones for $130. Half off the bolts to install need to be loosened to align anyway. The upper control arm is 2 bolts and a nut on the ball joint. I don't see how they are charging so much, an alignment should be between $80-$100. Upper and lower control arm should be around 2 hours labor.

Oh, and I highly doubt installing the lift hurt anything... It is just normal wear from age.
The prices quoted were in Canadian dollars, so add about 30% to US prices.

I was thinking the same thing about the worn bushings. He said that there were fresh tears in I think the lower bushings caused by me installing the lift. That I should do all these parts and have a "mechanic" install them. I was a bit put off by that. I'm in agreement that those 12 year old bushings were probably pretty worn to begin with, and had never been extended that far in their life, so when those spacers were put in they probably just gave out.

I suppose that's a road I could take, just install some Rocky Road control arms up top, and a set of those Moog control arms on the bottom and take it back in. That way it will have all new bushings and ball joints.

One thing that's a little unclear in the service manual is the removal of the steering knuckle. I'm sure I can do the top without removing it completely, but not sure about the bottom. I would like to be able to remove the bottom control arm assembly without disconnecting the brake lines etc... maybe just hang them from some bailing wire to protect the hose. Doesn't seem like they should have to be completely removed like the book says. Anyone have any experience with this?
 

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Regarding expected change in height, when I had my RC 2.25" lift and new tires installed I gained 4 1/4" height in the front and 3 1/2" in the back. If I had stayed with stock tires (subtract 1.1") it would've been about 3 1/4" in front and 2 1/2" in the back. I had no other suspension changes done. Here's my post from then.
 
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