Here is what changed my mind about the AEV lift
AEV 3.5" DualSport SC lift kit - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
The guys name was 2k2wranglerx and he made a very good argument. Here is is-
I've stated this opinion over and over in these threads so i'll try to be brief in this one. Every time someone brings up this kit and i mention the shortcomings of it, the response is "well that's not what that kit was designed for". The concensus is that it was really built for trail riding and road use mostly. That rock crawling or hard wheeling really wasn't in the scope of the kit.
My BIGGEST issue is the way the kit is designed. If that's as big as you'll ever want to go, and all you're ever going to do is mild trails and street (which is what most of the jeep owners do anyway) then it's 100% fine.
HOWEVER, if there's ANY possibility that you'll want to get more into the sport and keep upgrading... Then it's not a good kit. Basically, when you start getting into tougher wheeling, other than the springs and shocks, everything else in the kit eventually gets thrown away (not that it comes with that much stuff to begin with).
Also, the components that come in the kit really aren't very stout. The rear tracbar that comes with the kit is a stock trac bar that has had a bend added to it, the overpriced steering upgrade is just a RHD drag link that costs 45 bucks online (but they charge 300 for the kit), When we were building jeepnick's hydro mount i was able to bend the front trac bar bracket with my bare hand, the LCA mounts are a good bandaid but eventually you'll want real control arms, no disconnects for non rubi models (front links go to rear and you get new rear links... whoopdie doo), the "aev tuned" Bilsteins are overpriced when you smash them (normal bilsteins are 75 bucks each from most vendors, "AEV TUNED" are 135... ya no thanks), the rear dual rate springs ride ok, but are REALLY difficult to add spring retainers for when you want to do shock relocators like evo rockstars or the poly ones, etc.
I hope it does work out for you. But whenever this subject comes up i always recommend a kit you can build off of. When i built the 2 door jk (i've had both) i started with a 2.5 stock mod from RK and i ran the AEV brackets up front. They were an ok bandaid for a little while. When i upgraded the control arms and pulled the brackets though, WOW what a difference. Everything tightened up, bumps felt better, it felt more direct. Also, my alignment shop was able to PRECISELY dial in the perfect amount of castor and cross castor for correct handling. this was something that couldn't be done with the AEV brackets. Also, my front end lift was MUCH less without the brackets. I never took the time to figure out if it was lift up front or squat in the back, but it went away with the new setup.
I added coilovers and longer brake lines as well. And in the end i didn't have to throw ANYTHING away. i sold my front shocks and springs but i didn't buy anything i ended up throwing in the trash...
On the other hand... most AEV suspension owners that i have spoken to (or know) end up ditching most if not all of the kit once they get more into tougher wheeling. Which really doesn't take long considering how little you really get in the kit.
the things i do like:
Procal is nice (and will be necessary for '12's who regear)
If the kit wasn't so much money i wouldn't care so much. Or if i didn't always have to hear JPK going on and on about the fucking engineering. All they did was get the roll center right and drop the LCA's (something XJ owners have been doing for decades). It's really not that impressive.
Anyway, that's my rant... so much for it being short. Good luck with your jeep and hopefully it serves you well.