Best on-road driving lift kit, 3" range - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Best on-road driving lift kit, 3" range

First, please forgive the newbie question(s) that I may be posting. It's been a long time since I researched jeep mods. The last jeep I owned had leaf springs, so I'm trying to learn about the various options that aply to current jeeps like 3 link, 4 link, radius arm, short arm, long arm, ect. Perhast this question should aply more to the type than a specific brand.

I'll start off by describing my long term goals. I envision eventually having my JKU with a lift in the 3" range and running 35s. I'm not looking to do any serious rock crawling, but making it a very capable rig for the ocasional weekend excursion. As much as I'd like to think that I'll be wheeling every weekend, realistically I know that my business and family life gets in the way. The vast majority of my jeeps driving, maybe 95%, will be done on road including quite a bit if highway use. therefor, it's very important to me to invest in a lift that will equal if not surpass the stock ride and handling. I'd rather give up a bit on the trail than give up a bit on the road if I had to choose.

OK, hopefully this isn't too broad of a question. Thanks in advance for any info.

Dave
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post #2 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 08:55 AM
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Sir

For you we would recommend our 2.5" Max. Travel System. The highway ride and handling is nice and tight, but when asked to perform off-road it is right there with you every step of the way! Here is a link to it!

-2.5" Progressive Rate Front Coils
-High Clearance Adjustable Control Arms Front and Rear for proper caster and rear pinion angle correction
-Double adjustable front track bar
-Front Disconnects and Stainless Steel Brake Lines all the way around.
-Abuse proof lifetime warranty!

If you want to step up your game, jump to the 3.5" X Factor System, but it is a big jump...

Good Luck with your build! Let us know if you have any questions.. There are alot of good companies out there and alot of good kits!

Rock Krawler
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post #3 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 09:00 AM
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I have the RK 3.5" X Factor Mid-Arm kit and is worth the money for on-road and off-road performance.

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post #4 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 09:59 AM
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I'm running the RK2.5" stock mod kit. Essentially the max travel kit without the upgraded arms.
Running 37s. Behaves very well on and off road. Handled a 2000 mile round trip from GSO to BOS with no problems, traveling up to 80mph. Cruise control most of the trip. Smoother than our old 99 Cherokee.
The RK kits also allow you to upgrade in stages if that is easier in rge budgetting. I could add the adjustable control arms when my budget allows.
Just my $0.02


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post #5 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 10:18 AM
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I run the 2.5 Max Travel on my JK and don't hesitate to drive it more than an hour to the trails, air down, wheel all day, then air up and drive home.

It drives great on the road too. I can run down the highway at 75 - 80 MPH on 37" tires without much trouble at all.

If you're looking for on road performance don't pick a kit that doesn't address the control arms. That's where 99% of your drive-ability lies because it will keep your caster, pinion angle, and wheel base in check.

Here's an 09 JKU with the 2.5" Rock Krawler suspension and 35" MTRs on 17" Pro Comp wheels.



This is my JK -



Marcus


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post #6 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 10:50 AM
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You will probably find 1000 different opinions in answering your question, but I'll throw my opinion out there for you to chew on too.

One of the biggest problems with most aftermarket suspensions is the incessant squeaking. You'll also run into issues of impact harshness, brake dive, body roll, and other problems to varying degrees of severity.

Based on your stated uses, I think the AEV 2.5" suspension is the best fit for your needs. If you're concerned about the long, low belly on the 4-door Jeep, you'll probably benefit from going slightly taller like the 3.5" or 4.5" kits that AEV offers.

It's good that you're doing some research before spending a bunch of money. If you're looking for some reading material, this is worth checking out. There will undoubtedly be people telling how how other kits are the best, but the great thing about Jeeps (and the AEV kits) is that they're easily upgraded. If you don't like the fact that the AEV kits re-use the factory control arms, you can always replace them with Metalcloak's arms and continue enjoying a squeak-free, smooth-riding suspension along with improved bushings that don't bind at maximum articulation.

If you're truly looking for the best on-road driving lift kit, I really don't think you'll be disappointed with this option.


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post #7 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 11:01 AM
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id say. if you want to retain factory ride quality, then don't touch your suspension or tires.

it will never be the same.


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post #8 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Krawler Suspension View Post
Sir

For you we would recommend our 2.5" Max. Travel System. The highway ride and handling is nice and tight, but when asked to perform off-road it is right there with you every step of the way! Here is a link to it!

-2.5" Progressive Rate Front Coils
-High Clearance Adjustable Control Arms Front and Rear for proper caster and rear pinion angle correction
-Double adjustable front track bar
-Front Disconnects and Stainless Steel Brake Lines all the way around.
-Abuse proof lifetime warranty!

If you want to step up your game, jump to the 3.5" X Factor System, but it is a big jump...

Good Luck with your build! Let us know if you have any questions.. There are alot of good companies out there and alot of good kits!

Rock Krawler
Thanks for the reply.

If I was to eventually go with the 3.5" X Factor System, I assume the it is expandable to your other 3.5" systems? I notice that the max travel system has a high steer conversion. Is this something that increased on-road drivability or is it more of an off-road feature?

Thanks,

Dave
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post #9 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockMolester View Post
You will probably find 1000 different opinions in answering your question, but I'll throw my opinion out there for you to chew on too.

One of the biggest problems with most aftermarket suspensions is the incessant squeaking. You'll also run into issues of impact harshness, brake dive, body roll, and other problems to varying degrees of severity.

Based on your stated uses, I think the AEV 2.5" suspension is the best fit for your needs. If you're concerned about the long, low belly on the 4-door Jeep, you'll probably benefit from going slightly taller like the 3.5" or 4.5" kits that AEV offers.

It's good that you're doing some research before spending a bunch of money. If you're looking for some reading material, this is worth checking out. There will undoubtedly be people telling how how other kits are the best, but the great thing about Jeeps (and the AEV kits) is that they're easily upgraded. If you don't like the fact that the AEV kits re-use the factory control arms, you can always replace them with Metalcloak's arms and continue enjoying a squeak-free, smooth-riding suspension along with improved bushings that don't bind at maximum articulation.

If you're truly looking for the best on-road driving lift kit, I really don't think you'll be disappointed with this option.
I was looking the the AEV system as well. I read a review on this forum that was posted a year or two ago. How do the get the geometry set up properly while utilizing the stock control arms?
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post #10 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 12:35 PM
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As said, address the control arms if you can swing it. If not, start with the Rock Krawler and move up later.

I would not recommend the 3.5" to 4.5" lifts previously suggested, as you stated it was a road jeep with an occasional trip off road.

Rock Krawler FTW!

2.5 X Factor with the 32's that were on it...






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post #11 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SopheNic View Post
How do the get the geometry set up properly while utilizing the stock control arms?
Requires adjustable control arms. No other way to do it.

There are a lot of JK lifts offered that do not offer adjustable control arms because you can get away with it on the JK with a small lift running slightly out of ideal spec.

The problem is if you have a driveability issue, you have nothing to adjust.


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post #12 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluke the 2 View Post
id say. if you want to retain factory ride quality, then don't touch your suspension or tires.

it will never be the same.
That's not entirely true at all. If you address the things that should be addressed when ultimately rebuilding a suspension system you should maintain your factory characteristics in regard to steering and overall handling. Of course a higher center of gravity will change the way it handles hairpin turns and such, but a stock JK is no autocrosser either.

If you're interested in adding your thoughts to ANY conversation take the time to explain why you're saying things or possess that outlook. Thoughtless comments like that are nothing more than scare tactics for someone who's learning about this stuff and don't help anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SopheNic View Post
Thanks for the reply.

If I was to eventually go with the 3.5" X Factor System, I assume the it is expandable to your other 3.5" systems? I notice that the max travel system has a high steer conversion. Is this something that increased on-road drivability or is it more of an off-road feature?

Thanks,

Dave
Dave you can add the high steer to any of their suspension systems. High steer corrects your steering angles which helps on and off-road. It helps on-road to keep your steering feeling solid and operating closer to the parameters that Jeep intended for the JK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SopheNic View Post
I was looking the the AEV system as well. I read a review on this forum that was posted a year or two ago. How do the get the geometry set up properly while utilizing the stock control arms?
AEV utilizes the stock components and basically moves them using brackets. You're going to find out quickly that there is a very definitive line drawn between folks who like the AEV and those who don't.

They make a decent suspension system that will do what you're asking of it, but leaves some to be desired in terms of adjustability IN MY OPINION. Lots of folks like their stuff and lots of folks started with it and as their Jeep got taller or used on more technical trails they have had to go back through and upgrade.

AEV will compromise a bit of ground clearance and beefier suspension components for a very simple and straight forward bolt on solution to your desire to run a larger tire. I'd rather have to do a little measuring and upgrade my control arms and such vs the alternative, but again, that's me. Doesn't necessarily apply to anyone else.

Marcus


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post #13 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverCityOffroad View Post
If you're interested in adding your thoughts to ANY conversation take the time to explain why you're saying things or possess that outlook. Thoughtless comments like that are nothing more than scare tactics for someone who's learning about this stuff and don't help anyone.
it's science and not my thoughts. dipshit. go sell your sales pitch someplace else.

read before you thoughtlessly address me again

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_handling


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post #14 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slippery View Post
Requires adjustable control arms. No other way to do it.
Or as AEV, Rancho, and Rough Country do it, with control arm brackets with caster adjustment built-in.


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post #15 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by pluke the 2 View Post
it's science and not my thoughts. dipshit. go sell your sales pitch someplace else.

read before you thoughtlessly address me again

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_handling
There's no sales pitch in anything I said. I'm just trying to help a guy who asked a question.

You on the other hand came in, told him that he was looking at the unpossible, and quickly ducked out.

I prefer the stiffer springs and higher quality shocks that I've added to my Jeep versus the spongy stock suspension.

Don't get me wrong, I understand what you were trying to say up there and agree with you. It's not gonna be just like stock - but that doesn't mean it's not going to ever perform or handle well again.

Marcus


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post #16 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluke the 2 View Post
id say. if you want to retain factory ride quality, then don't touch your suspension or tires.

it will never be the same.
I'm not sure I agree with this either. I know that the suspension has changed a bit since I owned my YJ, but I lifted it 2-3 inches and increased the tire size by several inches ( I think I ran 33s after stock) and I know that it handled better than stock. Perhaps a bit stiffer, but sometimes that's a good thing.
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post #17 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 02:08 PM
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Ride quality and handling are subjective to the end user! There is no way around it. Opinions are always good. That is how we all learn. Even us a manufacturer. There is no need to argue about it.

What we can tell you is that a JK 2.5" system without the front axle being centered with an adjustable track bar or some bracket designed to serve that function will have a front axle that will be cocked in the vehicle and dog track. A JK that gets lifted without any form of caster correction wether it be new lower control arms or relocation brackets will not handle as well as one that does have a form of caster correction. Those are the basics of geometry, not opinions...



Dave

Yes, the X Factor System is easily upgraded with high steer. High steer will reduce stress on the OEM Steering components and provide you with more level steering geometry.

Good Luck with your continued search!

Rock Krawler
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post #18 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluke the 2 View Post
it's science and not my thoughts. dipshit. go sell your sales pitch someplace else.

read before you thoughtlessly address me again

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_handling
Sorry, but my 3.5 " AEV lift rides way better than the stock Rubi setup did. I attribute this to the progressive rate springs and Bilstein shocks. I didn't see anyone selling anything either, but always enjoy an alternative viewpoint. You don't really believe Jeep dialed it in right out of the box with the best components do you?

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post #19 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverCityOffroad View Post
Dave you can add the high steer to any of their suspension systems. High steer corrects your steering angles which helps on and off-road. It helps on-road to keep your steering feeling solid and operating closer to the parameters that Jeep intended for the JK.
Marcus, I'm with you on everything else, but correct me if I'm wrong,

you need at least 3" before the flip will work properly,
due to the height of the track bar relocation bracket,
and the height where the drag link mounts when flipped,
and getting the track bar and drag link parallel,

so it's not a good idea with the 2.5".


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post #20 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slippery View Post
Marcus, I'm with you on everything else, but correct me if I'm wrong,

you need at least 3" before the flip will work properly,
due to the height of the track bar relocation bracket,
and the height where the drag link mounts when flipped,
and getting the track bar and drag link parallel,

so it's not a good idea with the 2.5".
I wouldn't worry with high steer on a rig with less than 3 - 3.5 inches of lift but I have customers who had a different outlook and have successfully installed it with the 2.5" RK systems.

The blue Jeep above has the Synergy drag link flip on it and had enough room that we dropped from 4" of bump stop up front down to 3" if I'm not mistaken. It was last summer when we set that one up.

What say you RK? (paging them now)

Marcus


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post #21 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 03:03 PM
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Like most people the best lift to buy is the one they chose.So no exception here I love my RK 3.5 flex it is a bit more firm then stock and that is great once you start adding weight.It rides very smooth and responsive.Mine two is a daily driver 99% city and 1% where it should be.Being a JKU the little x-tra lift IMHO is kinda important.Also tire choice is a huge contributor to ride quality I run 35 MTR/k @ about 26-28psi and they ware perfect I have 24k on them with minimal ware and it adds to the kusch factor.

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post #22 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 03:14 PM
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Our pager must be broken. LOL.

You can run high steer with less than 3" of lift up front, but you will have to limit your up travel tremendously since the drag link flip and track bar relocation bracket each go up 3", so without limiting the uptravel, they will hit the bottom of the frame under hard compression....

RK
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post #23 of 44 Old 02-27-2012, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
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Our pager must be broken. LOL.

You can run high steer with less than 3" of lift up front, but you will have to limit your up travel tremendously since the drag link flip and track bar relocation bracket each go up 3", so without limiting the uptravel, they will hit the bottom of the frame under hard compression....

RK
Meh Frames are over rated. lol.

So you can if... got it.

Thanks,


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post #24 of 44 Old 08-11-2014, 10:24 PM
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Thank you to all who contributed to this thread; discovered some great information that encouraged me to join. I am pretty much in the same boat as Dave (SopheNic), with the exception that I am a first time Wrangler buyer. I have owned Jeeps in the past, however, as an ourdoorsman with a love for adventure I am soon to own my first Wrangler JKU with similar concerns such as those of Dave.

I have been scanning the market over the past couple months for used JKUs in the 2012-2013 range with low miles (for reasons concerning best value and the addition of the 3.6L VVT). I recently came across one in proximity to my currently residence that I will be looking at tomorrow: http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...ngId=374192156

It will be a daily driver and experience frequent activity off road via various excursions (camping/hiking/snowboarding/hunting etc). The first things I plan to invest in are an economical lift/tires that don't sacrifice on road performance and comfort while still being able to considerably perform off road.

All of this being said (and i apologize for the lengthy introduction), I'm curious as to whether contributors to this thread have had any experience with the kits that have been mentioned (or other kits that have performed better) since the discussion was concluded and if there are any new concerns or considerations. Thank you!

Best,

Freddie
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post #25 of 44 Old 08-12-2014, 10:30 AM
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Gotta take a topic break for Freddie...

Saharas are for girls.

You could buy a NEW Sport S for less. About the only things you'd give up is the running boards and painted fenders and, as an outdoors kinda guy, what do you need with all that other crap? DD or not, get half doors, soft top only, gears and TracLok. You're done. Special orders are called "Sold Orders". The dealer has no money in it so you get about another $1K off the MSRP.

Why buy new?
You're not paying for the unreasonably high resale value.
Buying new, you OWN that unreasonably high resale value.

P.S.
I'll let someone with more experience here tell ya where you shoulda started with your post, etc.
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