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  1. #1
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    Default Long Arm vs Short Arm?

    Whats the difference between Long Arm and Short Arm other than price?

    I have tried researching this and there is very little about this question in this forum from what I have seen and in other forums it seems to be a mixed message. Looking at the Full Traction kits and while there is quite a price difference from the 3" basic kit ($1200) to the Long Arm Kit ($2800) I have seen the Long Arm in action and it looked like it rode well and performed well in the rough stuff. I also know it can be upgraded at a later time to the long arm kit if you were to start out with the basic kit.

    Ultimately I just want to know which is best or what I even need. My JKU is my daily driver but so far it has seen a lot more trail action than I thought that it would leading me to want to know a little more about a lift and tires. I will not be mudding it but at the same time not rock crawling more than likely. Just solid trail riding with the need to get over obstacles better.

  2. #2
    JK Freak ink42o's Avatar
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    Longer control arms allow your axle to articulate down further then stock or even mid arms would. So what happens is allow to drop off one or both tires further the you normally would, as long as the longer control arm isn't hit a rock that is.
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  3. #3
    JK Super Freak danmojo82's Avatar
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    If you can afford it go with the long arm kit. It will give you better ability offroad and a smooth on road ride. With what youre saying though, youd be fine with a short arm kit. Long arms arent really needed until 4 inches of lift and higher, but they never hurt.
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  4. #4
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    Better geometry for those higher lifts too. The further back the arm is mounted the straighter the axle path is. I haven't tested any back to back but I would suspect better road manners.
    - surly

  5. #5
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    The real difference is smoothness and added articulation. Think about the length of the arm and where they connect to the frame. Although they may provide the same lift height, the long arm is at a much flatter angle. Under compression, or impact, that arm transmits less energy to the frame and more into the shock and spring.

    On the articualtion side, the benefits of the 2 designs really depend on your use. Some guys want a lot of articulation and others want more stability. Up travel is usually very similar in both systems as the body and frame are frequently the limiting factor. Down travel is where you'll see the biggest differences. Added down travel can actually require you to limit your up travel due to axle angle under extreme droop on one side. For the average, even pretty hardcore guy, a 14" shock usually provides plenty of suspension.

    The downside to long arms is the arms themselves. In a rocky environment they can really hurt your ground clearance. Some kits also drop the belly pan or replace it with a lower version. A flat belly pan tucked up tight to the frame is the very best option.

    There isn't a perfect system as every system has its drawbacks. Me? I'm a bit partial to mid length arm kits.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EpicCosmo View Post
    Whats the difference between Long Arm and Short Arm other than price?

    I have tried researching this and there is very little about this question in this forum from what I have seen and in other forums it seems to be a mixed message. Looking at the Full Traction kits and while there is quite a price difference from the 3" basic kit ($1200) to the Long Arm Kit ($2800) I have seen the Long Arm in action and it looked like it rode well and performed well in the rough stuff. I also know it can be upgraded at a later time to the long arm kit if you were to start out with the basic kit.

    Ultimately I just want to know which is best or what I even need. My JKU is my daily driver but so far it has seen a lot more trail action than I thought that it would leading me to want to know a little more about a lift and tires. I will not be mudding it but at the same time not rock crawling more than likely. Just solid trail riding with the need to get over obstacles better.
    the real question you should be asking is, how tall of a lift and how big of a tire are you planning to run? as mentioned, long arms will help correct your suspension geometry and make it flatter on a lift that's pretty tall. and, what you should know is that where you'll feel the benefits of long arms the most is ON pavement. if you're just planning to run 35" tires and a 3"-3.5" lift, i'd say stick with a standard short arm kit. hell, on a JK, the short arms really aren't that short anyway and are significantly longer than what you would have found on an old TJ. if you're going big like 4.5" or more and running 37"-40" tires, long arms would be something i would recommend.

  7. #7
    Sponsoring Manufacturer TeraFlex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ink42o View Post
    Longer control arms allow your axle to articulate down further then stock or even mid arms would. So what happens is allow to drop off one or both tires further the you normally would, as long as the longer control arm isn't hit a rock that is.
    Unless your running less bumpstop/longer shocks, you will have the same travel as a short arm kit. TeraFlex uses the same coils/shocks combination with our short/long arm kits. The higher you lift a JK, the harsher the ride and the more the ride quality suffers. Long arm kits help to correct this issue by improving the angles of the control arms. With the arms closer to parallel the smoother the ride and the handling is improved.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynatrac View Post
    The real difference is smoothness and added articulation. Think about the length of the arm and where they connect to the frame. Although they may provide the same lift height, the long arm is at a much flatter angle. Under compression, or impact, that arm transmits less energy to the frame and more into the shock and spring.

    On the articualtion side, the benefits of the 2 designs really depend on your use. Some guys want a lot of articulation and others want more stability. Up travel is usually very similar in both systems as the body and frame are frequently the limiting factor. Down travel is where you'll see the biggest differences. Added down travel can actually require you to limit your up travel due to axle angle under extreme droop on one side. For the average, even pretty hardcore guy, a 14" shock usually provides plenty of suspension.

    The downside to long arms is the arms themselves. In a rocky environment they can really hurt your ground clearance. Some kits also drop the belly pan or replace it with a lower version. A flat belly pan tucked up tight to the frame is the very best option.

    There isn't a perfect system as every system has its drawbacks. Me? I'm a bit partial to mid length arm kits.
    What would be considered a Mid-Length Arm kit?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeraFlex View Post
    Unless your running less bumpstop/longer shocks, you will have the same travel as a short arm kit. TeraFlex uses the same coils/shocks combination with our short/long arm kits. The higher you lift a JK, the harsher the ride and the more the ride quality suffers. Long arm kits help to correct this issue by improving the angles of the control arms. With the arms closer to parallel the smoother the ride and the handling is improved.
    So what I have gathered from this the most is that if I only plan on going with 3-4" lift and 35's then a short arm kit is fine?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by EpicCosmo View Post
    So what I have gathered from this the most is that if I only plan on going with 3-4" lift and 35's then a short arm kit is fine?
    yes, a short arm kit (what you have on your jeep now) would be more than adequate for your needs. if you're only planning to run 35's, i would recommend that you go with a 3"-3.5" lift as that will be all that you need and it will help to keep your center of gravity lower. also keep in mind that most lift kits yield more lift than what is advertised.

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