JKU Overland build - AEV 2.5" Lift - Over capacity - should I add OME HD springs?

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rkcreative

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Traveler I

I have a 17" JKUR Hard Rock, the vehicle came equipped with AEV 2.5" lift, on 35"s with AEV geometry correction brackets.

I got the jeep in February, since I have outfitted the the rig to make it more trail ready. I've added a front winch with steel line,gobi roof rack with a smittybuilt RTT, AEV rear bumper with a tire carrier ( I also put water in it), metal flat fenders and aluminium fender liners, high lift jack and etc.

I packed the rig up with recovery gear, tools, cooler and etc and headed out to Drummond Island over the Labor Day weekend.

043747A0-2551-459D-9E05-C15CA62A811F.JPG

IMG_1482.jpg

Jeep performed beautifully. However, loaded up with all the accessories, gear, food and water I am definitely over the AEV recommended 250 lbs above stock weight limit, and I could feel it driving the jeep.

I am perfectly happy with the lift height and the over all capability of the jeep.

What would be some options to increase the load capacity aside from going to another lift? I started doing some research and I came across Old Man Emu 2620 2.25" Lift Rear Heavy Load (660lbs) Coil Spring. What are your thoughts on adding those springs to my existing set up? Has anyone run this combo?

I should mention that 99% of the time the jeep serves as a daily, I keep the rack on while I remove the tent and other stuff. I am looking into building a rear drawer which will add weight back in.

Feedback is greatly appreciated.
 
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ArmyofMike

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I too suffer from phat bottom girls syndrome. I don't have the AEV coils/lift, but have RE Progressive coils and upon loading up my Jeep for overlanding or multi-day offroading, the tail gets quite heavy. I have thought of adding a puck lift .5 rear/.75 front to equate for the heavy squatty-ness, but think that pucks may negatively affect the progressive coils. I have tried to lighten my load (I don't even have an RTT) but it always proves challenging to take everything I want without some weight.

Interested to see some feedback too.
 

MidOH

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Get your highlift jack out, and tell us your sag settings. Sag should be less than half travel, often 1/3 travel.

Safe bet you need firmer springs. They're cheap. Where can you lose weight?, should also be a conversation.
 

Enthusiast III

Two different questions, and I’m glad you asked them. That’s a nice looking Jeep and I’m sure it’ll treat you very well. A Jeep just looks “right” with a Gobi rack and an RTT!

1) Can I add stiffer springs or some other component to help my Jeep carry the load better?

These aren’t your exact words, but the short answer is technically yes. A stiffer spring, or even better a progressive spring, will mean that your JK will handle a heavy weight better. As for mixing an OME spring with an AEV system, I would suggest you speak to AEV directly. AEV is one of the only aftermarket companies that worked directly with Chrysler on their JK suspension systems, and the system is designed to work with all the other bits and pieces both in the system and on the vehicle. That isn’t to say that OME stuff isn’t designed to play nice, but springs and shocks are typically tuned to work together, so mixing brands may invalidate that tuning. However, you may find that AEV offers a stiffer progressive spring for your application that they’ve used a thousand times before, so it could give you more certainty and less experimentation.

2) My Jeep is really heavy, what should I do?

This is a question that has been discussed in a few threads and I’m a bit vocal on heavy overlanding rigs so you’ll see my posts there too, but your experience really is identifying the Achilles heel of the Jeep. The payload of the JK is scant; for Rubicon models the GVWR is only 850 lbs. Once you put passengers and gear in there, most people are over their GVWR. This is before all the accessories, btw. Legally, the GVWR is fixed everywhere the JK is sold except for Australia, where an engineer can sign off on a new GVWR. In the USA, that number is fixed at the factory and cannot be changed. While your suspension may help the Jeep ‘feel’ better and handle the loads better even to points well beyond GVWR, it still shouldn’t be over that GVWR from a ‘best practices’ perspective. Practically speaking this GVWR is not heavily policed in most states for non-commercial vehicles, so unless you are travelling internationally you probably don’t need to worry about it much from the perspective of the legalities/liabilities of it all, but check your local jurisdiction to be sure.

The real issue with driving a heavy Jeep is that even if the suspension is up-rated to carry the extra weight, there are a ton of other components that are not designed for the extra weight and driving heavy will increase the risk of premature wear. Brakes, clutch, gearbox, diffs, etc. All work harder in a heavy vehicle than they do in a light vehicle. In my opinion is is unwise and unpractical to upgrade all of these components, so your best bet is to lose weight. Here is what I suggest, even though it seem laborious:

1) Grab the bathroom scale, and weigh everything not attached to the Jeep and enter those weights into a spreadsheet.

2) Go to the manufacturer’s website and find out how much each of your accessories weigh. If you can find individual accessory weights, add them to a different part of your spreadsheet.

3) Go to a weigh station and find out how much your empty Jeep weighs with a full tank of gas. Subtract your measured weight from your GVWR and you will get your “Payload” — how much stuff you can take before you exceed GVWR.


From these three steps, you are going to know how much your gear weighs, how much your aftermarket accessories weigh, and how much room you have to work with. If you can make everything work under the GVWR, and simply want a performance boost, then some upgraded springs or suspension is probably the way to go. However, if you are over GVWR, you have only one option — lose The extra weight! Some low-hanging fruit that will save you a ton of weight right away:

- Swap your steel winch cable with a synthetic one
- See if any of your gear can be replaced with a lighter option. For instance, do you need the cast iron frying pan, or will an aluminum non-stick work?
- Swap steel accessories for ones made from aluminum. Bumpers can easily be over 150 lbs when made of steel, but only 40 -50 lbs when made of aluminum.
- Leave the Hi-Lift in favour of a bottle jack if you can. The hi-lift weight-to-usefulness ratio is not very good with limited payload.
- Re-evaluate your camp setup. THink more “Ultralight Backpacker” as opposed to “Car camping” and you’ll find those little weight savings really add up.

You’ve got time to evaluate this stuff and figure out how to maximize your weight savings versus the cost of changing gear; the above exercise also has an excellent side benefit of documenting all your gear for insurance purposes, so if you happen to be chilling in Salem, Oregon and some meth-head smashes your car window and steals over $6k worth of equipment, you will have a written record of your gear so that when you claim your insurance you won’t forget to claim anything, and it’ll make the process much more simple.
 

Baipin

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For my Subaru, I suffered from saggy butt syndrome too... What helped was taking out all my gear, organizing it by "theme" (e.g. recovery, camping, repair, etc.), putting that stuff in bins, weighing it, and distributing those groups of gear as evenly as I could throughout the vehicle.
 

rkcreative

Rank 0

Traveler I

Get your highlift jack out, and tell us your sag settings. Sag should be less than half travel, often 1/3 travel.

Safe bet you need firmer springs. They're cheap. Where can you lose weight?, should also be a conversation.

Thanks for the tip and info. Is there a particular spot I should be measuring the sag rate on the front and the back? As far as loosing weight? HI lift jack could be it, but honestly I consider it an insurance item while out on trail.

Other than that, the set up is pretty basic; front Hard rock bumper, winch, gobi rack with RTT, rear aev bumper with tire carrier, rc flat metal fenders. What I packed;
- basics tools and recovery gear ( 150 pc mechanic tool set, tree straps, shackles, snatch block, noco boost XL power bank / jump starter)
- High lift jack mounted to the cage in the back
- cage mounted small fire extinguisher, cage mounted medical kit
- Coleman cooking stove with two small camping size propane bottles
- aluminium collapsible camping table
- 50 qt rotomolded bear proof cooler - I used frozen plastic bottles of water so that I am not wasting weight on ice packs
- 5 gal of drinking water, 5 gal of water in the AEV bumper
- 2 camping chairs
- small camping light and some mosquito spray candles, camping cooking utensil, disable plates and etc.

I really don't see packing anything less on similar camping tips to be honest.
 

rkcreative

Rank 0

Traveler I

Two different questions, and I’m glad you asked them. That’s a nice looking Jeep and I’m sure it’ll treat you very well. A Jeep just looks “right” with a Gobi rack and an RTT!

1) Can I add stiffer springs or some other component to help my Jeep carry the load better?

These aren’t your exact words, but the short answer is technically yes. A stiffer spring, or even better a progressive spring, will mean that your JK will handle a heavy weight better. As for mixing an OME spring with an AEV system, I would suggest you speak to AEV directly. AEV is one of the only aftermarket companies that worked directly with Chrysler on their JK suspension systems, and the system is designed to work with all the other bits and pieces both in the system and on the vehicle. That isn’t to say that OME stuff isn’t designed to play nice, but springs and shocks are typically tuned to work together, so mixing brands may invalidate that tuning. However, you may find that AEV offers a stiffer progressive spring for your application that they’ve used a thousand times before, so it could give you more certainty and less experimentation.

2) My Jeep is really heavy, what should I do?

This is a question that has been discussed in a few threads and I’m a bit vocal on heavy overlanding rigs so you’ll see my posts there too, but your experience really is identifying the Achilles heel of the Jeep. The payload of the JK is scant; for Rubicon models the GVWR is only 850 lbs. Once you put passengers and gear in there, most people are over their GVWR. This is before all the accessories, btw. Legally, the GVWR is fixed everywhere the JK is sold except for Australia, where an engineer can sign off on a new GVWR. In the USA, that number is fixed at the factory and cannot be changed. While your suspension may help the Jeep ‘feel’ better and handle the loads better even to points well beyond GVWR, it still shouldn’t be over that GVWR from a ‘best practices’ perspective. Practically speaking this GVWR is not heavily policed in most states for non-commercial vehicles, so unless you are travelling internationally you probably don’t need to worry about it much from the perspective of the legalities/liabilities of it all, but check your local jurisdiction to be sure.

The real issue with driving a heavy Jeep is that even if the suspension is up-rated to carry the extra weight, there are a ton of other components that are not designed for the extra weight and driving heavy will increase the risk of premature wear. Brakes, clutch, gearbox, diffs, etc. All work harder in a heavy vehicle than they do in a light vehicle. In my opinion is is unwise and unpractical to upgrade all of these components, so your best bet is to lose weight. Here is what I suggest, even though it seem laborious:

1) Grab the bathroom scale, and weigh everything not attached to the Jeep and enter those weights into a spreadsheet.

2) Go to the manufacturer’s website and find out how much each of your accessories weigh. If you can find individual accessory weights, add them to a different part of your spreadsheet.

3) Go to a weigh station and find out how much your empty Jeep weighs with a full tank of gas. Subtract your measured weight from your GVWR and you will get your “Payload” — how much stuff you can take before you exceed GVWR.


From these three steps, you are going to know how much your gear weighs, how much your aftermarket accessories weigh, and how much room you have to work with. If you can make everything work under the GVWR, and simply want a performance boost, then some upgraded springs or suspension is probably the way to go. However, if you are over GVWR, you have only one option — lose The extra weight! Some low-hanging fruit that will save you a ton of weight right away:

- Swap your steel winch cable with a synthetic one
- See if any of your gear can be replaced with a lighter option. For instance, do you need the cast iron frying pan, or will an aluminum non-stick work?
- Swap steel accessories for ones made from aluminum. Bumpers can easily be over 150 lbs when made of steel, but only 40 -50 lbs when made of aluminum.
- Leave the Hi-Lift in favour of a bottle jack if you can. The hi-lift weight-to-usefulness ratio is not very good with limited payload.
- Re-evaluate your camp setup. THink more “Ultralight Backpacker” as opposed to “Car camping” and you’ll find those little weight savings really add up.

You’ve got time to evaluate this stuff and figure out how to maximize your weight savings versus the cost of changing gear; the above exercise also has an excellent side benefit of documenting all your gear for insurance purposes, so if you happen to be chilling in Salem, Oregon and some meth-head smashes your car window and steals over $6k worth of equipment, you will have a written record of your gear so that when you claim your insurance you won’t forget to claim anything, and it’ll make the process much more simple.

Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative reply.

I called AEV and talked to two different gentlemen there; the recommendation was to upgrade to their 3.5" Inch lift kit as that has more room. I worked in motorsports for a number of years so I really appreciate all of the development and testing they put into their products to deliver great performance, Including matching spring rates with custom shock valving. As you can imagine, I am really not all that enthused to spend $2k plus on an all new lift kit, that only marginally improves the weight carrying capacity of the rig. I also already have the procal and the geometry bracket and those two come included in the new kit and cannot be separated out.

This is my first overland- off-road vehicle. I was on the fence between a diesel ZR2 and a JKUR, went with the JKUR for the out of the box capability and simplicity. Its kind of funny that after the first trip I am already finding the limitation of the platform. Also, you brought up some really valid points with the extra weight affecting other aspects; I am already looking at brake upgrades to handle not only the increased rotational weight of the wheel/ tire combo but also help me stop the vehicle with the added payload. BTW JD Power lists max Paylod at 967 lbs. for the Rubicon Hard Rock. AEV says their 2.5 DS lift is good for 200 lbs above stock. They did tell me those figures include metal bumpers and a winch. Still, my rack and RTT take out that extra capacity.

Very valid point in terms of "Ultra light backpacking" vs Car camping approach. We certainly applied that to the trip. The weight still adds up quite quickly. Now I understand why folks build off road trailers.
 

MidOH

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Jack it up until the tires come off the ground, set tires just kissing the ground, then measure bumper height. Set jeep down, jump on it a few times, measure bumper height. A - b = sag.

Then remove springs and set jeep down on ground on bumpstops, measure bumper height. A - c = total travel.
 

IN2DEEP

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I have a 17" JKUR Hard Rock, the vehicle came equipped with AEV 2.5" lift, on 35"s with AEV geometry correction brackets.

I got the jeep in February, since I have outfitted the the rig to make it more trail ready. I've added a front winch with steel line,gobi roof rack with a smittybuilt RTT, AEV rear bumper with a tire carrier ( I also put water in it), metal flat fenders and aluminium fender liners, high lift jack and etc.

I packed the rig up with recovery gear, tools, cooler and etc and headed out to Drummond Island over the Labor Day weekend.

View attachment 116945

View attachment 116946

Jeep performed beautifully. However, loaded up with all the accessories, gear, food and water I am definitely over the AEV recommended 250 lbs above stock weight limit, and I could feel it driving the jeep.

I am perfectly happy with the lift height and the over all capability of the jeep.

What would be some options to increase the load capacity aside from going to another lift? I started doing some research and I came across Old Man Emu 2620 2.25" Lift Rear Heavy Load (660lbs) Coil Spring. What are your thoughts on adding those springs to my existing set up? Has anyone run this combo?

I should mention that 99% of the time the jeep serves as a daily, I keep the rack on while I remove the tent and other stuff. I am looking into building a rear drawer which will add weight back in.

Feedback is greatly appreciated.
Nice Jeep!
 

adventure_is_necessary

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I have noticed on my OME lift that weight distribution plays a HUGE factor in sag. With that said, when I lifted my rig, I needed to replace the spring perches on the front as they're notorious for rusting out. This effectively added 1/4" of lift to the front end. It sat level unloaded with normal carry gear. Fully loaded it is apparent that the rear end needs some attention to compensate for leveling effect of the newer perches. I have new spring isolators for the rear as the ones from the factory looked worn when I lifted the rig, as well as a trim spacer that should lift the rear 3/8". This should alleviate some of the saggy rear end effect by putting the rear end where it should be in conjunction to the added lift. I will say, I was able to counteract the saggy rear end to a degree with my initial mention of weight distribution. I load weight over the axle in the rear as best I can but also throw some up top. While it's not ideal, I have thrown some heavier weighted items up top and to the front of the rack. While this does mess with the center of gravity, I've found there is a healthy balance to be achieved. I do agree with keeping things lightweight, which is why a majority of my gear is backpacking grade and I also am a minimalist as much as I can be. If I add any more weight in the way of added gear (not bumpers, armor, winch, etc) then I will consider a trailer to take on that weight, leaving the rig with less and that should help with handling.
 

4wheelspulling

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This is a great discussion. One thing to keep in mind if going to a trailer behind your vehicle is the extra forces from the trailer. You may not have all the weight on your vehicle but you still deal with the weight penalties, from the gear on the truck and now the trailer. Even with the trailer, your vehicle still has to handle all the stuff you bring and that works hard on things like brakes, gears, axles, transmission, etc. The trailer does help even out the load, and spreads out some weight to the extra axle, ( the trailers ) but is still there, just behind you! If you like to bring lots of stuff to Overland, maybe you need a Earth Romer or motor home! It does pay out big dividends in the long run to pack like a backpacker, even with a vehicle doing the work! Vance.
 
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dstock

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Rear air bags work for some people not very expensive. I just added a 1 inch puck in the rear and that brought me back level
I added Air lift bags to my AEV 2.5 lift and it has made a world of difference whether the RTT is on the JK or we're towing our trailer, a few pounds of air stabilizes things quite nicely. The other advantage is when you are not loaded up, you can let the air back down to the minimum and your ride is not compromised as it would be by adding heavier duty springs.
 
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Jeep backroads

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I added Air lift bags to my AEV 2.5 lift and it has made a world of difference whether the RTT is on the JK or we're towing our trailer, a few pounds of air stabilizes things quite nicely. The other advantage is when you are not loaded up, you can let the air back down to the minimum and your ride is not compromised as it would be by adding heavier duty springs.
Yes I think air bags are a great way to go.
 

rkcreative

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I added Air lift bags to my AEV 2.5 lift and it has made a world of difference whether the RTT is on the JK or we're towing our trailer, a few pounds of air stabilizes things quite nicely. The other advantage is when you are not loaded up, you can let the air back down to the minimum and your ride is not compromised as it would be by adding heavier duty springs.
Which Air lift bags did you use?
 

MazeVX

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So as there seems to be some experts...
I think that progressive springs, like the ones used by aev tend to sag more and too have less tolerance to various load situations than linear springs.

In my understanding it makes a lot of sense, that's the reason I chose linear springs (2,5" lift) and compression adjustable shocks.
I still will see sag but should be a lot less than with progressive springs and while the static sag will stay I can compensate the weight in dynamic situations with the adjustable shocks.

I hope that I can proof this in the near future because all the components are already in my garage ;-)

In general, coming from hiking and mountain biking weight always was a thing for me and so I act with the jeep... Keeping it as light as possible, no heavy steel bumpers, all lightweight camping gear and so on.
The lighter it stays the less it will suffer fatigue.

PS: not natively speaking English, sorry for the mistakes... Still learning
 

dstock

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Which Air lift bags did you use?
I used these:
Air Lift Bags

This was based off info from a guy off the AEV Forum, the width is perfect but they are a little tall, maybe a 1/2" extra. That said, I've had zero issues with them. I will suggest pulling your springs to install them, I tried to slip them in as the directions suggested and I can tell you that was a waste of a good hour.