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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A few months ago, while doing a "difficult trail" in Moab (Fins and Things). I managed to break my front left strut, shearing the piston clear off the shock.



Many of you were quick to ask if I had a spacer lift on the stock struts, which I did. Including the added weight of an ARB front bumper and winch, it was a recipe for disaster.

After getting an honest shop in Moab to replace the TRD Bilstein with a comparable NAPA part, I made it back home to Colorado and got a front end alignment and eventually a new set of tires, which were needed especially since I rubbed off the tire treads after the suspension sank to <1" clearance as I managed to limp the car to a shop.

Lesson learned... be more careful, crawl slowly, and eventually get a proper front end set up. But not learned soon enough.

Well.... oops, I did it again. This time after a great weekend in Moab, I did just "one more trail" on the way back to I70 (Dome Plateau). I was almost out of any technical territory, and being very careful, when I heard the dreaded sound of metal and smell of hydraulic fluid as I dropped down a slick rock dome into an unseen hole in a sand wash. This time I managed to crunch the piston on the right front shock and damage the uni-ball on the upper control arm.



Fortunately, there was still enough support to keep some clearance and I made it 12+ miles back to the hardtop road and 200 miles home. Lesson learned and thankfully my new tires survived without any rubbing or misalignment.

With the car not too safe to drive, I needed a quick, decent front end set up in <24 hours and couldn't wait days or have the money to get some dream stage 2+ lift and got something decent. And now, in addition to a new set of wheels, I have a proper set of coil-over struts, tuned for my vehicle and how I use and abuse it. Just the front for now, since I have to replace the Upper Control Arms too (ICONs). It will take a while to save money to upgrade the back end.

My self-taught advice:
- Spacers/Leveling Kits = Breaking stuff if you do real off-roading. Spacers/leveling kits suck for anything other than cruising on hardtop with bigger tires
- If you add lots of junk (metal bumpers, body armor, winches), make sure you have a pro help you think through the engineering of a proper lift. It doesn't have to be the most expensive, just something that can handle your set up and how you drive.
- if you're going to do aggressive off-roading, know the limitations of your vehicle and drive within those limitations.
- Upper control arms are expensive - don't break them. If you do, invest in something better than the OEM.

And lastly, as the magnet, I saw in the shop in Moab said, "we are all responsible adults until we drive off-road in Moab." Guilty as charged.



I'll post a trip report later. I did Hurrah Pass at night during a full moon, Chicken Corners when I woke up, and Dome Plateau on the way out. Here is a night shot I took during my midnight drive over Hurrah Pass (all being lit by the full moon) - look for the big dipper.



And a shot, during the return from Chicken Corners the next morning.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good stuff!. I guess those Bilsteins don't make great bump-stops lol


Yes good stuff to everything except my wallet!



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the lesson needs to be repeated and I am as guilty of this as everyone else. What needs to be done is that the bumpstops need to be modified so that at full suspension compression (compressing against the full travel of the bumpstop and ensuring that the distance top/bottom of the coilover mount is not smaller than the allowable compressed distance of the coilover shock. The same is true of the rear shocks/springs/bumpstops.

It can be a ton of work to figure it out and almost no one does it. The Jeep forum guys have got religion on this stuff and I havent seen the same over here on our forums. AND....i am guilty of it myself.
 

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:) at least you are enjoying the lesson. The trail is real good about getting rid of things it doesn't like on your truck. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't quite understand the physics of bump stops. Is this an issue of the OEM equipment? Is it "fixed" when one puts a proper lift and control arm? I'd like to learn more.

I assumed the main culprit was not having full travel length on an OEM shock with a spacer, then creating a dynamic in the motion of the front-end of the car (down and forward).

I only understand is that I certainly made the car do a "bump stop" and broke it... twice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9

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Discussion Starter #10
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 5 or 6 times, them I'm just a stubborn human who thinks he knows better!
 
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Discussion Starter #11
At some point, with these kind of "learnings," and money spent, I may be ready to graduate beyond the Newbie Discussion thread. :laugh
 

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At some point, with these kind of "learnings," and money spent, I may be ready to graduate beyond the Newbie Discussion thread. :laugh
I looked at my post and without any remarks from me it could have been interpreted as snide. I'm glad you saw my attempt at humor and not as me being preachy or making fun of your situation. I have pushed my luck many times and had things blow up in my face. We are all human and love pushing limits, it could happen to any of us. I'm glad you made it home my friend and more importantly under your own power... :wink
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I looked at my post and without any remarks from me it could have been interpreted as snide. I'm glad you saw my attempt at humor and not as me being preachy or making fun of your situation. I have pushed my luck many times and had things blow up in my face. We are all human and love pushing limits, it could happen to any of us. I'm glad you made it home my friend and more importantly under your own power... :wink


Nothing snide interpreted. Though my wife had a snide remark or two when I got home.

I'm three for three in breaking stuff on Moab trips. If you include the cost of new tires, I'm up to about 3 grand on repairs and/or "upgrades" and I haven't even gotten to replacing the UCAs yet - I've been told I've damaged the uniball on the OEM part.


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