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  #1  
Old September 23rd, 2020, 20:14
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

For all of us with big tires and heavy XJs we know that the brakes are not good enough. About a year ago Skruffy got some black magic brake pads that made a significant difference but with all the extra weight and the LS3 that is going in soon stopping power could no loner be ignored. After a great deal of research I concluded that the only two options were WJ conversion or VANCO. Because my Teraflex high steer was really really bad and also in need of replacement I went with VANCO.
Today I picked up a VANCO kit from Black Magic and will be installing it along with a U turn steering from off road only. I hope to get all this installed in the next couple weekends.

Here is the kit, notice the shiny new knuckles that will fit the new dual piston calipers.


Below is what I have now. TJ rubicon 44s and a tera flex knuckle.
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  #2  
Old September 25th, 2020, 17:37
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Made some progress today. Removed the old knuckles and replaced ball joints. Huge pain to remove those ball joints!
New machines unit bearings go on and new rotors and calipers go on as well.

Here is where I started, minus the drag link that is already removed.


Below is the tera flex knuckle in the passenger side.

And now the new knuckle with new ball joints.


Below is the new unit bearings installed

And now the new calipers installed. The old one is held up for comparison.




Hoping to get the other side done tomorrow as well as the steering.
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  #3  
Old September 25th, 2020, 18:59
ridesdirt ridesdirt is offline
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Re: VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

nice! pricey, but nice!
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  #4  
Old September 26th, 2020, 09:03
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Yeah definitely not cheap. I just couldnít have crappy brakes and sloppy steering anymore. Hoping this makes a big enough difference to be worth all that money! I also replaced all of the front control arm bushings and flex joints. That alone made a big difference since the LCA bushings on the passenger side were completely shot.
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Old September 26th, 2020, 09:44
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Re: VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Air bags look interesting. You running fixed pressure or running with 2 ride height valves?
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  #6  
Old September 26th, 2020, 11:18
RCP Phx RCP Phx is offline
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Re: VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

What was your reasoning for not doing WJ brakes?
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  #7  
Old September 26th, 2020, 13:33
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Re: VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCP Phx View Post
What was your reasoning for not doing WJ brakes?

.......or U-turn steering over the teraflex or WJ conversion ??

Your original pic shows a track bar and draglink not in parallel.................

All the u-turn will do for you is get you closer to parallel, which you probably could have done more cheaply with a different track bar upper mount, or by raising the lower mount.


.

Last edited by TRCM; September 26th, 2020 at 16:44.
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  #8  
Old September 26th, 2020, 17:05
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasdb View Post
Air bags look interesting. You running fixed pressure or running with 2 ride height valves?

Chasdb:
The airbags are filled/emptied either manually or automatically by a homemade Arduino control system that I built. It is very similar to the Airock setup.
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  #9  
Old September 26th, 2020, 17:11
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRCM View Post
.......or U-turn steering over the teraflex or WJ conversion ??

Your original pic shows a track bar and draglink not in parallel.................

All the u-turn will do for you is get you closer to parallel, which you probably could have done more cheaply with a different track bar upper mount, or by raising the lower mount.


.

I didnít do the WJ conversion mainly because I wanted the UTurn steering in addition to better brakes. Getting better braking power was most important and the teraflex wasnít compatible with the VANCO knuckles. When I had the teraflex stuff installed I really didnít understand how the geometry was supposed to be and sort of got had by a shop who was selling teraflex high steer setups.
I was prepared to raise the lower trackbar mount if needed but wanted to put it all together and see
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  #10  
Old September 26th, 2020, 17:22
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

I got everything put back together, a reasonable driveway alignment and bled the brakes
Below are the knuckle adapters


Here it is sitting pretty straight and ready for tires


After the installation I took it for a spin and did the brake in procedure for the black magic brakes.
What an incredible difference the brakes made. For the first time in 15 years I can actually stop this thing. A dramatic improvement is an understatement. If you have 35s on your Cherokee and canít stop, put this VANCO kit on there and you will be stopping on a dime. Seriously, I can easily lock up the front tires. Stops in way less than half the distance. Feels like a normal car when braking heavily.
And for the steering:
Also a dramatic improvement. Bump steer is completely gone. Because my ride height/suspension is adjustable at the touch of a button (from about 2Ē of lift all the way up to 12Ē) the high steer wouldnít track right at any height. The Uturn setup is amazing. No more dead spot, no more sloppy feeling and no more steering wheel going upside down when the suspension is raised or lowered.

Super happy with how it turned out.
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  #11  
Old September 26th, 2020, 19:28
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Re: VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

It's better, but your track bar & drag link still look to be out of parallel about 1/2 as much.

Better brakes are awesome....on my car, I can stop on a dime (15" rotors & 6 piston calipers)....want to get the cherokee do be able to do similar too.....right now, with 32's, if I let the rear brakes get out of adjustment, then braking power drops dramatically.
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  #12  
Old September 27th, 2020, 09:01
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRCM View Post
It's better, but your track bar & drag link still look to be out of parallel about 1/2 as much.

Better brakes are awesome....on my car, I can stop on a dime (15" rotors & 6 piston calipers)....want to get the cherokee do be able to do similar too.....right now, with 32's, if I let the rear brakes get out of adjustment, then braking power drops dramatically.

Yeah
The track bar drops much further than the draglink but as of now there is no symptoms of that. Everything is nice and tight and straight and there is no bump steer at all. The wheel stays straight from no lift all the way up to 10Ē of lift so until I have a reason to raise the axle side mount of the track bar I am going to keep it.
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  #13  
Old September 29th, 2020, 10:47
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JMOliver JMOliver is offline
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VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

Iím jealous, I currently have the black magic pads and centric rotors on front and zj rear disc swap on back! Itís a must with 35s and bumpers,skid plates,armor!


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  #14  
Old September 29th, 2020, 11:59
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raneil raneil is offline
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Re: VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

I suspect you'll love the VANCO kit for years to come, Skruffy. I installed it on our '98 XJ in 2013, and still love it as much today as I did then. It makes a huge difference in braking with 35" tires, and has been flawlessly reliable. It's an investment to be sure, but it's been one of the best investments we've made on our XJ.
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  #15  
Old September 29th, 2020, 13:48
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Vince Vince is offline
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Re: VANCO Big Brakes and U Turn steering

I did my VANCO big brake upgrade in 2008. I also have a WARN 5 on 5.5" hub conversion. For a while I was concerned that I had invested way too much in my high pinion D30, the VANCO kit being my last major purchase for it. Every time I use the brake pedal, I feel satisfied that it was a sound investment.
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