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Old 05-27-2014, 10:11 AM   #1
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MetalCloak 2.5" Dual-Rate Lift Kit *Review*

I have been researching and saving for a lift for quite a while now. I finally picked up the MetalCloak 2.5" Dual-Rate kit and wanted to share my thoughts of the kit.

Just a quick back story, I have a 2012 Two-Door Rubicon that I occasionally wheel but is my primary commuter. So I needed a kit that would handle well on the highway and still provide great off-road performance. I have installed several RK kits over the years, so I'm very familiar with the Jeep suspension system and RK as a brand. Why did I go with MetalCloak over RK if I'm so familiar with their brand? The primary reason is the dual-rate spring that MC uses over the progressive front and linear rear springs that RK use. Second is the hardware in the joints. I have seen how several RK control arms joints have seized up in our NorthEast climate and since RK considers these are "Moving Parts" they don't cover them.

I limited my choice between RK and MC because I felt that they are the top brands in Wrangler suspension at the moment. AEV is another top tier brand, but I feel it caters more to on-road and Overland performance, the geometry brackets would be destroyed in the rock crawling that I tend to do and the kit overall is lacking when compared to RK and MC at the same price point. Teraflex and Rancho are good also, but I would classify them slightly under the big 3 in terms of performance.

Focusing on MetalCloak as a company for a moment. Matson genuinely loves Jeeps and always came across as just another Jeep guy. During my research I have probably spoken to Matson a handful of times, each conversation lasting well over an hour. The guy really takes his time with whoever he talks to and makes sure that he provides you with the absolute best information, so you can make the best decision for yourself. That type of connection is huge for me because it means that I can trust he will be there for me if I ever have a problem with his products. I was one of the first guys that pleaded with him to produce a 2.5" kit for the Two-door, so how could I turn my back on the guy when he finally delivered?

The kit itself. I had Fox reservoir shocks and just do some occasional weekend wheeling, so I knew that I just needed the entry level kit. Matson took his time to ensure that I had everything I needed for the install. MC does a great job with the packaging and shipping. I received 6 boxes and everything was clearly labeled and in perfect shape.




With the help of my friends (shout-out to the A-Team and stiff-neckMVP) we knocked the install out this past Sat. Everything went in with very little problems. My Jeep has about 30k miles of hard Northeast winters so things like the exhaust spacers took up much of our time. I talked to Will and Matson about the control arm and track bar dimensions. Given that I'm not running after-market bumpers or a winch I would net a 3.5" lift and needed to make sure that the track bar and control arms were on point. The estimates were perfect and I rolled into the alignment shop with a perfect caster of 5.1. The only thing they had to adjust was my Toe and Camber, but other than that they said that everything looked great.


So how does it handle? Great! the combination of the dual-rate springs and Fox shocks is perfect. The ride is incredibly grounded and provides great road-feedback. The Jeep is sitting on 35" Duratracs but it now rides like a small sports sedan. The handling is honestly amazing. I couldn't be happier. The Jeep tracks absolutely straight and doesn't wander at all, especially at highway speeds. Overall I netted the estimated 3.5", which is perfect because coupled with the exhaust spacers, my drive shaft is very happy. I still need to put the kit through some off-road testing but that should be happening in a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to take some pictures after the install, but I'll try to get some up in a couple of days. Let me know if you guys have any questions.

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Old 05-27-2014, 03:23 PM   #2
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Totally agree, installed 3.5 inch on my 2 dr last month. Rides and drives better than stock.

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Old 05-27-2014, 04:03 PM   #3
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Good stuff..! I also chose Metalcloak for the same reasons. I ordered the 3.5 inch a few weeks back. I have a 2014 JKUR I will be installing it on. Hoping to get the same results as you and others have experienced. Maybe another week or so before it arrives.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:26 PM   #4
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Congrats, it looks good. I just got a call from our local off road store. I ordered the 3,5" GC kit 2 weeks ago through them and it was delivered today. Can't wait to get it installed.
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:16 PM   #5
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Nice shocks I can't wait to see pics.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:27 PM   #6
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Looks good bud! Post up your thoughts when you test it out offroad!
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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I've been looking at the same kit, very interested to see what you have to say about it handling offroad. What exhaust spacer kit did you use?
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Old 05-28-2014, 11:10 AM   #8
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Very nice.... I have sinking feeling I may end up this route. My AEV correction brackets have taken a few hits. Probably a project for next spring.

Looking forward to see some pics.
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Old 05-28-2014, 03:47 PM   #9
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I noticed this doesn't come with a new trackbar? I would have expected that before replacing arms
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mattjopete View Post
I noticed this doesn't come with a new trackbar? I would have expected that before replacing arms
Yea me too. The rear is bent for clearance w/ the track bar bracket in place. AEV does the same with their 2.5
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:38 AM   #11
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So... New driveshafts as well? Which exhaust spacer? Trackbars? How well is it working with your rubi's e-discos?
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Old 05-29-2014, 01:49 PM   #12
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I am jealous Matador, I have been eyeing this lift for sometime. Thanks for he review, but we need pictures!!!
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:49 PM   #13
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Nice setup, where it is advertised as 2.5" why would it be 3.5" especially where you specifically wanted 2.5". Why did you go with remote reservoir shocks? Be interested to see how they hold up to the salt in the winter, I have Bilstein 5100s on my truck and they looked terrible after the first winter.
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Old 05-29-2014, 03:22 PM   #14
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Thanks for sharing. I also have a 2012. (JKU) Have my eye on MC and RK and am leaning the same direction you went. I'll have my Jeep paid off by early summer next year and this is one of the first things I'll probably do. I am looking forward to more of your thoughts on how this lift does off road.
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Old 05-29-2014, 03:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCTD View Post
Nice setup, where it is advertised as 2.5" why would it be 3.5" especially where you specifically wanted 2.5". Why did you go with remote reservoir shocks? Be interested to see how they hold up to the salt in the winter, I have Bilstein 5100s on my truck and they looked terrible after the first winter.
Lift kits arent an exact size... they give at least the lift size. Those with heavy bumpers, winches etc will get closer to the advertised height while others will get more lift.
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:48 AM   #16
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Did you order the kit for more or less than 5.5" backspacing? I plan to order this exact same kit. If possible I might run it with my stock wheels for now and then order aftermarket wheels down the road with different bs. So I am curious what the difference is between the two kits.
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:03 AM   #17
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Did you order the kit for more or less than 5.5" backspacing? I plan to order this exact same kit. If possible I might run it with my stock wheels for now and then order aftermarket wheels down the road with different bs. So I am curious what the difference is between the two kits.
Lift kits dont influence your backspacing... the tires you get to go along with them will. The taller and wider the tires get, the more you have to pay attention. For example a stock wheel will need a 1.5" spacer if you plan to run a 37"x12.5" tire with a 3.5" lift if I recall. Leave the stock tire on.. and you dont need a spacer, you just look like a roller skate.
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:38 AM   #18
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I noticed this doesn't come with a new trackbar? I would have expected that before replacing arms
The kit comes with a front adjustable track bar and rear track bar relocation bracket. The rear bracket is a really nice piece. It ties in with the factory track bar location, around the axle and then at the the lower control arm. This prevents the need to weld it to the axle like on the RK kit.

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So... New driveshafts as well? Which exhaust spacer? Trackbars? How well is it working with your rubi's e-discos?
Stock drive shaft, I used Teraflex spacers. This was the part of the install that gave us the most grief. With over 30k harsh Northeast miles on the Jeep, the exhaust clamps were just rusted and seized. We eventually broke them loose but had a really hard time tightening the bolts.

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Nice setup, where it is advertised as 2.5" why would it be 3.5" especially where you specifically wanted 2.5". Why did you go with remote reservoir shocks? Be interested to see how they hold up to the salt in the winter, I have Bilstein 5100s on my truck and they looked terrible after the first winter.
All lifts list a "Fully loaded" lift estimate. They take into account that your Jeep has heavy aftermarket bumpers and winch. If you don't the estimated increase is about 1" Metal Cloak is true to their estimate but I have installed 2.5" RK lifts that have netted over a 4" lift. So its a very important factor to keep in mind, especially if your running it on a Two-door.

I went with the fox shocks because my buddy Ken gave me a really sweet deal. Also the fox shocks are an aluminum housing, they disperse heat better in general and the reservoir design allows for more shaft travel giving me better articulation, especially with this MC kit. They also hold up much better against corrosion, the only negative is that they are a softer metal and could damage easier. The Bilsteins are a zinc-coated steel body. After a rough winter if you don't properly clean them religiously the zinc coating wears off and the steel body gets corroded. You can't even paint over them because that would retain heat and affect performance.

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Did you order the kit for more or less than 5.5" backspacing? I plan to order this exact same kit. If possible I might run it with my stock wheels for now and then order aftermarket wheels down the road with different bs. So I am curious what the difference is between the two kits.
I have a set of Rugged Ridge 17x9 wheels with a backspacing of 4.53" so I went with the less than 5.5" option. The difference in the kit is if your running a wheel with more than 5.5" they will send you a drop bracket for the rear sway bar links. on wheels that are closer to the body if the link is left in the stock location it will come in contact with the tire. The drop bracket they send you, sets the link below the tire to avoid any problems. I think the factory wheels are like 6.25" so you will definitely need the drop brackets I mentioned. I would however call MC to confirm you can run them.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:11 AM   #19
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Another thing to note... the springs will "settle" after a while.
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:03 AM   #20
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I have a set of Rugged Ridge 17x9 wheels with a backspacing of 4.53" so I went with the less than 5.5" option. The difference in the kit is if your running a wheel with more than 5.5" they will send you a drop bracket for the rear sway bar links. on wheels that are closer to the body if the link is left in the stock location it will come in contact with the tire. The drop bracket they send you, sets the link below the tire to avoid any problems. I think the factory wheels are like 6.25" so you will definitely need the drop brackets I mentioned. I would however call MC to confirm you can run them.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the info. I'll call them before ordering.
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Old 05-31-2014, 01:57 AM   #21
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Click image for larger version

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A guy in a brown truck dropped off my 3.5" kit today...!! Now just gotta find time to get it installed...
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:18 AM   #22
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WOW those are some long front coils! They must compress quite a bit to reach ride height. They should provide a plush ride on the road as well avoid any movement at full articulation.
It may take some effort to install them.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:11 PM   #23
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Attachment 1158113

A guy in a brown truck dropped off my 3.5" kit today...!! Now just gotta find time to get it installed...
Jet, you putting that on a 2 door or 4 door?
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:10 AM   #24
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WOW those are some long front coils! They must compress quite a bit to reach ride height. They should provide a plush ride on the road as well avoid any movement at full articulation.
It may take some effort to install them.
What's impressive about the Metal Cloak springs is that they developed a coil that handles really well on the street while still giving you incredible travel when your off road.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:19 AM   #25
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I too opted for the 2.5 MC lift, but used my stock Rubicon shocks on my 2014 JKU. It is indeed 3.4" of lift without aftermarket bumpers or winch. Just ordered full MC front bumper set up and have the Warn M8000 winch. Hard to believe it will drop much with that set up,stock drive-shafts to date...Very good ride quality, off road I have not pressed it too much to realize what it will, or won't do.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:16 PM   #26
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What's impressive about the Metal Cloak springs is that they developed a coil that handles really well on the street while still giving you incredible travel when your off road.

Do you have any pics of it on your Jeep? How long did it take you to receive the lift after ordering it? Also, if you didn't have those Fox shocks, what shocks would you go with....I'm kinda thinking my stock 10A shocks are too short already....need longer but not sure how long. Almost tempted to go with the ARB edition and the the OME shocks....
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:32 PM   #27
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Pictures!

I ordered 3.5" for my 13 jkur and it won't get shipped until this Friday because of a part for rear bumper. My RR wheels in nittos came today.

If you hadn't gotten a deal on fox shocks would the OME shocks in the ARB be sufficient?
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:03 PM   #28
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I just got this kit today, should be here in a couple of weeks.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:00 PM   #29
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Pictures!

I ordered 3.5" for my 13 jkur and it won't get shipped until this Friday because of a part for rear bumper. My RR wheels in nittos came today.

If you hadn't gotten a deal on fox shocks would the OME shocks in the ARB be sufficient?
I would think so. Anybody I know running OME shocks rave about the ride quality. They definitely have my attention.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:54 PM   #30
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I would think so. Anybody I know running OME shocks rave about the ride quality. They definitely have my attention.
Wasn't there a model/brand OME shock discontinued ?

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