Do I Need a Long Arm Kit on my Cherokee or Grand Cherokee?
Hey guys, it’s Kevin with another little Q&A video session here. We often get asked questions about different things by our customers. Today, the question is – “Do I need a Long Arm Kit? If so, when?” As you can imagine, the question is a bit complicated to answer. Basically it boils down to A. your budget and B. your budget.
Basically, Long Arm Kits change all the control arms underneath you Jeep, giving you a much better angle as far as how the suspension reacts when you hit imperfections on the trail, the pavement, that sort of thing.
For a vehicle running, say, 35-ish inch tires, there’s a huge, HUGE, difference in how it rides with a long arm kit versus a short arm kit.
The main thing is to ask I guess is, “What is your goal?”
(Let’s talk Cherokees and Grand Cherokees here…Wranglers vary a little bit)
Is your goal to keep it cheap and to have a really useful Offroad vehicle that you can take camping and you can explore trails and fire roads and do a little bit over landing and exploring or you looking for a rock crawler?
If you’re looking for a rock crawler…I would suggest that perhaps you might want to start with a vehicle with a frame under it.
The unibody Cherokee and Grand Cherokee work great for a lot of different things, but rock crawling is not something that they really work great at out-of-the-box…you have to modify the crap out of the chassis and so on.
If you’re NOT looking for a rock crawler, but are just looking for an Overland vehicle, and perhaps 2, 3 or 4 inches of lift, (which is the maximum you’d want to run with your stock factory control arms), might be enough for you.
In fact if you buy a good kit and you decide later on that you do want to upgrade to Long Arms at some point in time, you can saw off the components that you purchased for the 3, 4 inch lift kit and recapture some of your money, which ends up paying for some of your long arm fees.
So anyway couple of concepts there, basically with a Cherokee and Grand Cherokee you’re going to be able to run up to easily a 32 inch tire perhaps a 33 with some trimming on short arms. If you want to go more than that then you know long arms is probably the way you’re going to want to go just simply because you can get a little bit more lift underneath the thing.
If budget constraints is not a problem, for sure, Long Arms is the way you want to go! You can pick up, you know 3-4 thousand dollar V8 Grand Cherokee, or you could do so with a six-cylinder too, Cherokee or Grand Cherokee, (but it’s just a lot easier with a V8). You can put 2, 3, 4 grand worth of suspension under it and be into it, you know maybe maximum of 10K, and have an unbelievably capable vehicle that will get you through the roughest stuff that you probably ever want to throw at a unibody vehicle. And its also gonna really just track nicely down the highway.
You can probably run 35s and you know some people run even taller tires than that with some trimming.
So again just really boils down to what I said to begin with, boils down to your budget and you know what you looking to do with it. So my suggestion if you’ve got a completely stock vehicle you might want to start out with say a budget boost or if you’ve got a ZJ, a front-to-rear swap.
Just keep it cheap to begin with and then you can kind of graduate up from there. If you decide however that its not fitting your needs, if you get a really great deal on a long arm kit, than for sure always upgrade to a long arm kit. Now downgrading from a Long Arm Kit to a Short Arm Kit – NOPE. Sell the vehicle! You’re gonna have to weld a whole bunch of stuff in most cases, and you’re gonna have to modify things and its just totally not worth it.
Unfortunately when you buy a long arm kit you won’t normally get “full resale value” out of the thing when you go to sell the thing. I mean you’ve got maybe 8 or 10 grand into it. You will probably get 6 or something for it. So just realize that if you do go for long arms you’re going to end up taking some money out of your pocket and I suppose that follows through with pretty much any jeep modifications.
So anyway just a couple of thoughts as far as you know what you guys can be thinking about when you’re making these decisions and you know if you have questions or if you want some clarification just leave us a message and we’ll be happy to get back to you and give you some perspective and some thoughts.
I will tell you that if you’ve got no budget constraints, Long Arm Kit is just the ideal, there’s no two ways about it. It’s going to be just a Cadillac on the highway once it’s set up properly. You’re going to be able to crawl over boulders 2-3 feet in diameter.
If you’re looking to build a budget rig that you can upgrade later if you choose to do so, you can throw, you know, 500 or 1000 bucks a month at and slowly kind of build-up, then you know what, start with Short Arms and work it from there. Front-to-rear swaps are really good for ZJs. 3-4 inch lift kits Short Arm style works really good for XJ, WJ and ZJs. all three.
I’ll do another video for Wranglers specifically, but those three vehicles (XJ, ZJ, and WJ) are fairly highly related to each other.
(And then I guess I should probably note the WK and the WK2 Grand Cherokees….which are a completely different issue, we will have to do a completely different video for them as well.)
Again if you have any questions just post them below and we’ll we’ll give you our feedback as best we can. We’ve been doing this a hell of a long time. I’ve had Long Arms running probably 15 years now all together. Two different vehicles I’ve had with long arms and for me…for the bang for the buck…there’s no two ways I would do it any other way, but that said we know there are other ways to build as well.
If you have questions, ask below…and we’ll answer them as quickly as we can!!