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Old 03-04-2014, 07:25 PM   #1
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Advice on 1st Lift Kit

I am getting ready to purchase my first lift kit, but wanted some feedback before I make a decision.

My 4-Door JK has Nitto Grappler Tires and XD wheels on them, which convert to about 32 inch tires. I don't want to buy bigger just yet since those are fairly new.

I plan on off-roading, but not really the super-intense version I guess. I want to take it in the back country but not climb big boulders, so to speak. I live in the desert and my weekends typically have me climbing desert hills but plan on going into the mountains soon.

Can't really afford to spend more than 1500$, including install but don't want to get the cheapest kits out there either. I commute 20 miles each way to work on top of taking it off road so whatever I buy has to be good on the road and decent off.

I am looking at 3-4 inch lifts.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations on lift companies or warnings. Also, tell me if I'm missing something in my consideration. Or, if you have a favorite place to buy from, I would appreciate the tip.

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Old 03-04-2014, 07:41 PM   #2
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32 inch tires on a 3-4 inch lift will look odd in my opinion (keep the change). I have 32 inch factory tires on with no lift and they look odd.

I would not mess with a 3-4 inch lift unless you "need" it to run bigger tires. You start getting into territory where a whole lotta other things need modified as the higher you go the more the whole geometry of the parts gets thrown off. A 2.5 lift would be enough to comfortably run 35 inch tires if you were ever so inclined.

The main reasons folks put on lifts are a) looks cool and b) to be able to stuff bigger tires in the wells to gain clearance for going over stuff.

There are a lot of options, although having to pay for install may limit you a bit. There are tons of options if you go 2.5 (I have not priced 3 or 4 inch ones) - some of the more popular are Rock Krawler, MetalCloak, OME, Rubicon Express, Teraflex and AEV. There is a sticky post in the Tech forum I believe that has enough info on lifts to make your eyes bleed. You may be a bit over budget though depending what install costs with some of them, and then if you get a kit that does not have shocks and need to do those on top of it. Teraflex may be the most budget friendly and gets good reviews here.

One thing-do not cheap out on suspension. Buy the best you can afford. Go cheap on interior accessories and plastic, not on critical suspension pieces.

There are also the various budget boosts as well which are not complete coil lifts - those are much more cost friendly. And if you do not plan on serious crawling, may work.

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Old 03-04-2014, 07:45 PM   #3
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I put a 2.5" rough country spacer lift on mine for under 200.00. I live in AK and do mild off roading. Sounds like you might want an actual suspension lift. However from everything I have heard if you go over 2.5 it get costly becouse you start messing with the drivetrain. Plus if your not going to get bigger tires going that high may look funny. You can fit 35's on a stock JK with flat fenders. But in the end it's your jeep and your money. Post some pics when your done!
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxie007 View Post
I am getting ready to purchase my first lift kit, but wanted some feedback before I make a decision.

My 4-Door JK has Nitto Grappler Tires and XD wheels on them, which convert to about 32 inch tires. I don't want to buy bigger just yet since those are fairly new.

I plan on off-roading, but not really the super-intense version I guess. I want to take it in the back country but not climb big boulders, so to speak. I live in the desert and my weekends typically have me climbing desert hills but plan on going into the mountains soon.

Can't really afford to spend more than 1500$, including install but don't want to get the cheapest kits out there either. I commute 20 miles each way to work on top of taking it off road so whatever I buy has to be good on the road and decent off.

I am looking at 3-4 inch lifts.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations on lift companies or warnings. Also, tell me if I'm missing something in my consideration. Or, if you have a favorite place to buy from, I would appreciate the tip.
My advice? Save your money till you want bigger tires, a 3-4" lift is almost pointless without going to bigger tires as your diffs are still sitting at the same height... Get some sway bar disconnects to let you flex more with stock suspension and either save your $1500 or use it on other mods such as armor, bumpers or a winch until you're ready to go bigger tires. As others have said most people are only running 2.5-3" lifts with 35" tires
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:23 AM   #5
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You can go with a bigger lift but it will require additional mods in the future. You should consider one of the 2.5" kits everyone is recommending. You will still net 3.0+ in the front to eliminate rake.

Rock Krawler, AEV and TF all have great lifts that fit within your budget. They will allow you to run 35" tires in the future. I suggest you start by reading the sticky in Tech Forum so you can understand the ramifications of lifting your Jeep.
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:34 AM   #6
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2.5 lift is plenty for your needs.. and when time for new tires get 35s.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:14 AM   #7
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Another vote for 2.5" coil lift. Thats what i run on 35 tires on my 4 door. I went with Teraflex with aftermarket shocks (bilstein 5100) and very happy. The same lift set up will cost you around $900 including shocks. Labor is not included. If you have some shops do it expect to pay additional $500-700 for labor.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:26 PM   #8
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Thanks everybody, this has been really helpful. Although now I'm rethinking the order of buying things.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:29 AM   #9
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Another vote for 2.5" coil lift. Thats what i run on 35 tires on my 4 door. I went with Teraflex with aftermarket shocks (bilstein 5100) and very happy. The same lift set up will cost you around $900 including shocks. Labor is not included. If you have some shops do it expect to pay additional $500-700 for labor.
Damn! $500-700 for labor?! It cost me lunch and a 6-pack for 2 buddies to help lol
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:36 AM   #10
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Damn! $500-700 for labor?! It cost me lunch and a 6-pack for 2 buddies to help lol
I would have gone your route had i this much knowledge. At that time that was well worth it for me. All other installs on my jeep i did by myself.
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:55 AM   #11
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My advice? Save your money till you want bigger tires, a 3-4" lift is almost pointless without going to bigger tires as your diffs are still sitting at the same height... Get some sway bar disconnects to let you flex more with stock suspension and either save your $1500 or use it on other mods such as armor, bumpers or a winch until you're ready to go bigger tires. As others have said most people are only running 2.5-3" lifts with 35" tires
^^This^^...Armor up and then invest in a lift that you won't regret later down the road. So many people around here look over the importance of skids and sliders. At a minimum look into diff covers, sliders (functional sliders), and if the budget allows a bumper and winch. You might even be able to squeeze in a leveling kit for under $200. Then when the time is right pull the trigger on some 35's and a suspension set up that works for your type of wheeling.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:03 PM   #12
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Hey everyone. I'm looking into getting just about the same type of setup. I only want to go with 33's and don't do very extreme off-roading. I have a 2012 JK unlimited and have to use it as my every day ride. I was going to go with a 3" spacer kit but have been warned that once I can afford new bumpers the stock shocks won't take the load. Is this true? Why should I go with a 2.5" lift and not a 3". And why should I be going with a coil lift instead of a spacer lift?

Thanks in advance everyone.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:13 PM   #13
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Hey everyone. I'm looking into getting just about the same type of setup. I only want to go with 33's and don't do very extreme off-roading. I have a 2012 JK unlimited and have to use it as my every day ride. I was going to go with a 3" spacer kit but have been warned that once I can afford new bumpers the stock shocks won't take the load. Is this true? Why should I go with a 2.5" lift and not a 3". And why should I be going with a coil lift instead of a spacer lift?

Thanks in advance everyone.
For 33's you only need a leveling kit, the shocks and weight aren't the problem it's when you lift you're changing the length of travel your shocks can give you, a leveling kit and you're fine to run stock shocks till they wear out a 2.5" you'll need new shocks. The reason people do springs over spacers is usually for more flex, spacer kits will not allow for more articulation they simply raise your vehicle, springs will give you height and articulation and are generally more robust than stock and handle added weight better
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:58 PM   #14
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Thanks Marslim.

I was looking around online and found a Pro Comp 3 inch leveling kit that claims not to affect factory suspension or steering geometry and maintains OEM ride characteristics. I know I just added another half inch to what I previously said, but all the other lifts past 2.5" recommend upgrading your springs and this one claims you don't have to. I'm quite the opposite of an expert on all this so do you have any advice or warnings on purchasing this kit?
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:19 PM   #15
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Thanks Marslim.

I was looking around online and found a Pro Comp 3 inch leveling kit that claims not to affect factory suspension or steering geometry and maintains OEM ride characteristics. I know I just added another half inch to what I previously said, but all the other lifts past 2.5" recommend upgrading your springs and this one claims you don't have to. I'm quite the opposite of an expert on all this so do you have any advice or warnings on purchasing this kit?
The 3 brands most will recommend are rock krawler, AEV, and teraflex they are all good quality lifts. EVERY lift will effect suspension and steering geometry no matter what they may say.... I would recommend staying around 1.5-2.5" for 33's as smaller lifts have less effect on driveshafts, axle placement etc. there are several kits available to give you that 1-2" needed to run 33's, my opinion is run the least lift you have to to fit the tires you want to fit at full articulation
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:30 PM   #16
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Thanks Marslim. I'll stick to 2.5"

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