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Old 03-07-2010
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Default JK - AEV 3.5" lift

Well, I spent the last weekend installing the AEV 3.5Ē lift.

Why AEV and not Poly Performance?

I had some definite ideas on what I wanted from the lift. For me it was narrowed down to these two on both the performance and completeness. What swayed me towards the AEV lift was that in my mind from my research was that the Poly Performance lifts were more hardcore off-road orientated and the AEV was more of a touring set up albeit very capable off-road. As most of what my wife and I use the Jeep for is getting to the places we want to be away from the city life and not so much of the hardcore mud slog fest.

I had seen many reviews of the AEVís on-road manners many of which also espoused the lifts performance off-road. Whereas the Polyís reviews were focused off-road so it was hard to get a consistent view of how the Poly was on-road. I spoke to both Bill at DBOR and to Jeepkonection about the respective products and was really impressed by the potential of both. Another deciding factor was I wanted a complete lift, not something cobbled together. While Bill was adamant that he would have a package available when it was time for me to pull the trigger on a purchase the RHD as a kit was not a mature product whereas the AEV kit was already in the market place. The last factor for me was it had to be totally reversible without welding, grinding and cutting off the OEM components.

I have seen a couple of reviews on here where people had said that brackets on the AEV lift had bent but as Iíve said earlier I believe they may have bought the wrong kit for what they were after. They should have been looking more toward something like the Poly lift.
Realistically for me I know that my Jeep spends 80-90% of its life on the road, with the odd weekend foray onto the dirt/ beach or as a base vehicle to get us to the camp sites we like.

My set-up before the lift was 2008 CRD Unlimited manual with a Warn Rockcrawler front bar, winch hoop, winch plate, beam blocker and a T-Max 10 000 lb winch with wire rope. The Jeep also has stock rear bar and factory wheels and tyres, for the moment. The set-up adds 110kg (38 kg for the winch and 72 kg for the bar) to the nose of the Jeep and saw the stock springs sag so that the Jeep was running on the bump stops. A set of Rubicon Express 1 ĺĒ spacers saw the Jeep returned to level. This set up worked for a year although when I started the lift it was obvious that the suspension had consistently bottomed out on the bump stops.

I took measurements from the top of the centre cap of each wheel vertically to the guard. This eliminated any difference that tyre pressure had on the outcome. The measurements before were:
F/L 490 mm
F/R 485 mm
R/L 505 mm
R/R 495 mm
If you had looked into the AEV lift you would be aware the AEV 3.5Ē is supposed to give 4Ē to the front and 3Ē to the rear giving an average of 3.5Ē, from what Iíve read there is a settling period where the spring take a while to get to their set ride height. During the lift I removed the 1 ĺĒ spacers from the front spring tower and have put those aside for the time being, otherwise the Jeep would end up running around like a pre-runner. I measured again a week after the lift to give a little settling in time.
F/L 585 mm
F/R 580 mm
R/L 595 mm
R/R 585 mm
So, so far the lift has netted 95 mm up front and 90 mm at the rear. I put this down to the removal of the 44.45 mm (1 ĺĒ) spacers and the stock rear bar.

Other measurements that people may find helpful:
Overall height 1940 mm
To the top of the headlight 1100 mm (Qld limits headlights to 1400 mm)
Fuel tank clearance 360 mm
To the front trailing arm drop bracket 310 mm.

Before and after photos all photos were taken from the tripod at the same reference height

Front




Rear




Front Wheel

Rear Wheel


Springs

Front



Rear



Gotchas. While the kit itself is well put together and anyone who can loosen and tighten a nut can install the lift there are a couple of things that you need to be aware of. JK Wranglers simply are just not built straight, there is a lot of tolerance built into the components, plus the stock brackets may be bent and slow you down when installing the lift. Specifically I noted:

The factory front panhard rod and lower sway bar mounting point up front; they were installed out of alignment and required a little persuasion to enable the AEV brackets to fit as designed.

My rear bumpstop pads had been bent downward(by me I think as I can remember one bone jarring hit on the back end) and they needed to be adjusted to get the lock nuts for the bumpstop extensions on under the rear bumpstop pads.

When removing the upper drivers side control arm you need to either remove the exhaust or cut the upper mounting bolt and replace this as you wonít get it out when changing the arms to aftermarket or installing the drop brackets. There is not enough clearance to get it out. This is really only an issue caused by the production line assembly as the chassis and suspension are put together before the engine is fitted. So make sure you buy a replacement bolt before hand.

You need to make sure you have a Torque wrench, as the instructions for the kit say ďtoo tight is just not rightĒ but also tight is not right either. A couple of days after driving around the Jeep started handling poorly in corners, I had done up the bejezzus out of the front panhard rod but failed to torque it up while visually it looked ok to get it to the 125 ft lbs required was another two full turns on the bolt (I suspect it had gradually worked loose, because it was handling fine to start with). How many times has it been said that it all has to be done up properly? I agree.

You need a ratchet strap to help with the alignment of bolt holes when reassembling components.

There was one component I was not happy with in the install and that was the bolt used to join the two brackets that make up the panhard rod/ steering stabiliser bracket. Itís too short, during my aircraft trade training I was taught that buts need to have three threads protruding from them, this one doesnít even come all of the way through, so that will be changed out in quick order for one of the correct length.
Back on torque for bolts, the AEV instructions do not tell you the factory torques for the components make sure you get a hold of these and list them down before you start it will save you running up and down the stairs during the process.

For the rear end install the rear bumpstop extensions after re-torque the trailing arms as you wonít get clear access to the bolt to torque it.

For mine the panhard rod in its new location does not correctly re-centre the rear end, this could be because it hasnít fully settled in yet but with stock offset wheels the right rear tyre will rub the swaybar during droop. Not much but enough to notice.

The rear springs do not remain seated under full articulation, the shocks have more than enough length to unseat the springs, this may lead to lose of the rubber isolator down the track. There are a couple of solutions to this, 1) buy longer springs, not an option for me as I bought the set up for itís manners, changing the spring will change that. 2) limit the travel through limit strap or a spring retainer kit. There are a few around which only do the bottom mounts (youíd still lose the isolator) and there is the Currie Enterprises one which retains the top and bottom. I think I will go this route.

One thing I didnít like so much was the loss of my Teraflex swaybar disconnects, they wonít work with the AEV lift as you canít get them off of the lower pins. I looked at a couple of options there and ended up getting the Teraflex S/T swaybar disconnect system. These are on run-out on the Teraflex site as they are bringing a new one out with forged arms, so instead of paying US$600 I got it for US$300, they still have them on their site for that money. I couldnít pass it up at that price. I had considered the Currie anti-rock but was turned off by the degradation of the on-road ride. I havenít installed this yet as I donít weld and Iím having a couple of nuts turned into flag nuts as I donít want to pull my front bar off again, lazy I know, but I also know how heavy that bitch is. Iíll do a write up on that once I put it on.
So am I happy with the lift, yep. I havenít had a chance to really work it off-road, I just did some light stuff the other day and it seemed to work well for what I wanted. As this is my DD I needed it to have really nice road manners and yes they are exceptional. The Jeep is sitting around 4Ē higher than stock (my wife falls out now, thatís some funny shit!) and it doesnít drive like it. No boat like handling, no more body roll than stock. I donít get as much head bobble as the suspension soaks up the bumps really nicely. Iím still getting used to the ride but overall I like it. I can recall a couple of others not liking the firm rear end without any weight in it, but in reality it is not that harsh. I know SJS (Steve) had some issues with corrugations out West, but I felt the stock suspension exhibited the same tendencies of being really twitchy over the same track. Iíll remeasure the lift in another couple of weeks to see how it has settled in.

I know this is a long post but I feel happy with the kit and if I can make someone else's decision on which lift easier all the better

Jas
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2010
Yom  Yom is offline
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good to hear you're happy with it.

I agree, i doubt anyone will find a way to stop the JK's arse end from being twitchy without major changes. I have been told as for the ride the AEV kit doesn't improve things, there's bugger all uptravel with those shocks and panhard bracket. Mind you, most monotubes seem to have the issue of having poor compression/extension.

Last edited by Yom; 31-05-2011 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 03-07-2010
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What lift does Yom recommend, if the AEV kit doesn't improve the ride?
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Old 03-07-2010
Yom  Yom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mud'N'Guts View Post
What lift does Yom recommend, if the AEV kit doesn't improve the ride?
Whatever coils you want, teamed with adjustable shocks. There is no other way to get a ride which can be fine tuned to suit whatever you're doing (which is the problem, there's no one setup which is perfect for everything, only compromises).
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Old 03-07-2010
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Ok, so disregarding shocks, what is your opinion on the AEV kit? Good, bad, miracle, mediocre?
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Old 03-07-2010
Yom  Yom is offline
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my opinion is only valid for me, it is not valid for others due to their preferences.

I don't like how little uptravel it has particularly in the rear (this is partially also a result of the lifted panhard bracket). Everything else appears to be perfectly suited to the sort of customer use they've aimed it towards. Another 4dr it is fitted to here in brissy works quite well with it offroad and I assume so onroad. Likewise I have seen a JK 4dr with a mix of Polyperformance coils/shocks and AEV relocation brackets doing its thang and it works quite well offroad too and I believe the owner is very pleased with it onroad and considers it to be leagues ahead of his previous Old Man Emu setup.

Last edited by Yom; 03-07-2010 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 03-07-2010
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thanks for the write up, i'm researching that same kit for my JK
just need someone in Melbourne down south who can install it
with some 35" tires to match

m
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Old 03-07-2010
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You can install it urself if you have few spanners its not hard.
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Old 04-07-2010
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I do not know which version of the AEV kit you have, but the current LHD kit is not the original AEV-it is the now-defunct Nth Degree kit-which was actually designed by a few ex-Jeep guys, using the original CATIA information for the original truck.

Being designed with the original data, the Nth Degree kit is the best fitting kit-bar none- in the world. This kit is the ONLY kit that has minimized the panhard rod/ steering linkage issues of the original over-constrained 5 link suspension. NOT eliminated (that is simply not possible) but MINIMIZED.

Last edited by Bob_Sheaves; 04-07-2010 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 04-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yom View Post
Whatever coils you want, teamed with adjustable shocks. There is no other way to get a ride which can be fine tuned to suit whatever you're doing (which is the problem, there's no one setup which is perfect for everything, only compromises).
G'day Yom, yeah I like how it handles and it is right for me, it achieves what I want it to do. The purpose of my post was to give my experience with the lift and a couple of insights that I found, of course these are all laced with my opinion.

I do agree that all designs are compromises and you the consumer will have to decide where that compromise will be. I have to disagree with you on the point of simply picking a set of shocks and then masking a potential problem by using adjustable shocks (well dampers really). The roll of the spring it to absorb the shock, where it will start to oscillate. The role of the shock is to damp that oscillation. I know there is a cadre of people out there who don't believe this but I can bet you left nut that none of them are mechanical Engineers. AEV have put out a piece on this http://www.aev-conversions.com/12thi...lve_things.pdf it's good reading to get an understanding of what I'm talking about. Points 3 and 4 specifically, a lot of the rest is fluff apart from the roll centre arguement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by litestorm View Post
thanks for the write up, i'm researching that same kit for my JK
just need someone in Melbourne down south who can install it
with some 35" tires to match

m
No worries as I've said if I can help with someone decision then this has done what I intended, and as JK07 has said you can do it yourself unless you are time poor. The instructions give an install time of 12 hours for the DIY crowd and that is fairly accurate. The instructions are clear and although some of the pictures are difficult to make out the details, you can look at the instructions here http://www.aev-conversions.com/pdf/i...structions.pdf. This is not a lift that is beyond the ability of anyone who can, do their own oil change or change a wheel. You bolt everything together and there are a four holes to drill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob_Sheaves View Post
I do not know which version of the AEV kit you have, but the current LHD kit is not the original AEV-it is the now-defunct Nth Degree kit-which was actually designed by a few ex-Jeep guys, using the original CATIA information for the original truck.

Being designed with the original data, the Nth Degree kit is the best fitting kit-bar none- in the world. This kit is the ONLY kit that has minimized the panhard rod/ steering linkage issues of the original over-constrained 5 link suspension. NOT eliminated (that is simply not possible) but MINIMIZED.
Bob I agree with you regarding the minimisation of the problems with the steering set up and yes the RHD version is based on the Nth kit, the designer/ former owner of Nth now works for AEV I believe. The newer addition of the drop brackets for the front end has removed the need for replacement control arms and Cam bolts. Allowing the suspension to respond more as it was originally designed up through the spring when soaking up a jolt rather than transmitting the force through the trailing arms and the body. Drop brackets are nothing new though, Rancho had them a while ago.
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