Jeep Wrangler Forum

Jeep Wrangler Forum (
-   TJ General Discussion Forum (
-   -   Zone 3" lift install and personal review. ( 06-11-2013 07:32 PM

Zone 3" lift install and personal review.
Hi to all!

I'm new to the forum and new to tj's, got my jeep a couple of months ago, not bc I need 4x4 car, not bc my dad had one when I was a kid, or bc I love to get dirty.. I got one because I was Bored!
I was looking for something that will keep my late afternoons busy, and I love working on cars and bikes, so when this guy showed up at the dealership I work at with this yellow Jeep as a trade in, I said why not?

Working with diferent cars I always found forums to be a huge source of information, some good and some misleading, and after getting the Jeep some people came over saying that I "have to lift it", well, so I did..went to the forums for some reviews and some reading, and I rushed for the best reviewed budget lift kit with the most used combo wheel size..3" lift, 33" tires.
Am I gonna offroad it? Hopefully.. If I get any sunday off work and if I find a piece of south Florida without asphalt..
Did I know what i'm getting into as far as driveability and gas mileage..? A little, but I live just a mile away from work, and I drive less than 3k miles a year, so I didn't care..
Did I research enough before getting the lift and the tires? ..nope.

So here is my personal eperience with my 2002 Jeep, manual trans, 4.0l, 88000 on the odometer and $4900 price tag (before mods :redface:)..

The Zone 3" susp. lift.

Got the lift on ebay with the nitro shocks for $489 free shipping. Couple days later I got two boxes full of goodies and some instructions, pretty good ones in my opinion..

I put everything in front of me, since it's going to be the first time i'll work on this car and I had only one day to install it I didn't want to jump over any steps that will delay my riding joy..

This is how my new to me Jeep looked like on 30" very used tires and stock suspension on a flat surface..

To be continued.. Gotta close the office :whistling:

TheBestCoast 06-11-2013 07:38 PM

gah dayum nice black fenders!! mine are so gray and almost white its pitiful!

larjeep 06-11-2013 08:33 PM

Just spray all the bolts etc with pb blaster a day or so before u start. And hit it again. That will help with the install a lot. 06-11-2013 09:12 PM

Basically the instructions are very detailed, I just followed them step by step and didn't have any problems, what I'm going to point at are a few steps that need extra pics or explanation..

First is the jack stands, I have 2 ton stands.. they're not good for this cars, I went to harbor freight and got a pair of 6 ton stands for $46, gotta love HF!

Here i'm using the 2 ton ones to hold the axle until I disconnect the shocks..

Pretty simple and self explanatory..
The top not is removed while holding the rod with a 9mm (I think) open wrench.

In the instructions it says that you disconnect the sway arm links with a small pickle fork. That's maybe so with a new car.. With a 11 year old car is brute force what disconnect rusty stuff.. Don't waste your time with the pickle fork, like me.. After 30 min hammering the fork I just got exhausted and it didn't even moved, so good dry hits with a 2 lbs hammer did the job..

Here you can see where to hit.

Same thing with the pitman arm link

Some people say that the pitman arm link step is unnecessary, well, this isn't a replacement for the kit manufacturer instructions, so you do what you think is right for your installation. I just followed it step by step..

When it was time to remove the control arm bolts I didn't have the right size wrench for the bolt, so I used a crescent wrench..

Remove those while holding the axle with a jack

My bump stops aren't in great condition, but I still reused them..

The supplied bump stop extensions.

By the way, I didn't use spring compressors for this job. It wasn't easy to install the longer springs but you just wiggle them into place and use the spring shape to "screw" them in place by turning them on their central axle.. don't know if I explained myself..:confused:

Taking a short break..

To be continued.. 06-11-2013 11:36 PM

The difference between old one and new one..

Guess what? It's 3"...

After installing the new shocks and springs you have to lift the axle up and reinstall the lower control arm bolts, to put the bolts in and relocate the washers in place I placed a screwdriver and wiggled until it went in..

An image of the shocks and springs in place, and the top nut and lock nut..

Now comes the drilling of the new hole for the track bar.
Instead of going to home depot and buy 3 or 4 different size drill bits for $5-$7 each, I got a set from HF for $25..all 29 of them..

Measuring the new hole location

New sway bar links and the front is done!

Negative rack? I don't think so..

The rear is very simple and all you should do is Follow Instructions..

All I'd like to add is that when you install the track bar relocation bracket the position of the new bolts will be determined by the space that you have to tight them. A little bit of trial and error and some logic..

This is a picture of the car after the install. 3" lift with 30" tires. No profile picture because of the rain. Sorry..

A couple of days later and the 33"s are on the 3.75" back space rims.. Goodyear Duratracs..

To be continued with the review and personal thoughts.. 06-12-2013 12:05 AM


Just spray all the bolts etc with pb blaster a day or so before u start. And hit it again. That will help with the install a lot.
Definitely! I sprayed every single bolt and nut a couple of days before the install.. Not a single issue with stuck hardware.


gah dayum nice black fenders!! mine are so gray and almost white its pitiful!

Hahaha! That was the first thing I did to it after I got it!
I think it was the second afternoon after I bought the car.
A pic from that day.. 06-12-2013 01:37 AM

The review
Ok, the review.

Before this Jeep, which I own for two months only, the only jeep I had was an old yj, in very poor condition, that needed so much money to make it fun to drive, I ended up selling it to someone with more time to restore it and enjoy.
That means I have nothing to compare it to but the couple of weeks I had the Jeep before the lift.

In one word- I like it!

In a few more words.. It vibes! The kit comes with a transfer case drop, after installation it still had drivetrain vibrations while accelerating.
I installed a 1" JKS MML, and removed the transfer case drop. The reason for the removal of the transfer case drop, is the position that the shifter takes with the drop, it's annoying to shift to 2nd and reverse. After driving it for a minute..vibes!:mad:

So I used some washers and dropped the case again, just not the full inch.. it improved it a little, but I guess what's happening is that slowly i'm getting used to it..
I guess the only real solution is a SYE with a double joint cardan.

I'm not saying that every lift kit WILL cause vibrations, but I don't see how it won't either.. the angles that a single joint cardan can take at normal hwy speed are very restricted, so I'm pretty sure that any change of the angles will stress the joints..
If you're not ready to spend money on an SYE and a new axle (and rear upper adjustable control arms) maybe a suspension lift isn't for you. At least the 3" or higher.. Or you might get lucky..

I'm already planning the expense.. I don't want to get used to vibrations.

The ride is stiffer. Not unbearable, but it isn't spongy and wobbly like the stock suspension. I like it, it's responsive for this kind of cars (tall).

Quality.. I have it on for a month, so I don't know. But from other jeepers reviews looks like it withstands the test of time..

Looks.. It gets them ALL! I love the looks, everybody looks at you when you pass by! Chicks love it! Even the ones on hybrids.. At first they roll eyes, but then they smile..:cool:

33" Duratracs.. They look GREAT! I think they make the image.. Not that noisy, but not exactly Lexus quiet..

but I will HAVE to regear...
Normal city drive is ok, picks up speed and breaks ok.. but highway is a PITA.. and I drive in s. florida, I can't even imagine driving on mountains with this combo (3.07 dana 30/35)..

To be continued..

Los57 06-12-2013 01:51 AM

I'll be installing this lift in a few weeks. From everything I've read on this site some people have vibes and some don't. Not sure why. Anyway, appreciate the pics and review. :) 06-12-2013 10:51 AM



Los57I'll be installing this lift in a few weeks. From everything I've read on this site some people have vibes and some don't. Not sure why. Anyway, appreciate the pics and review. :)

And you should if this is your choice, what i'm trying to add to all the reviews that say that this setup is good, is that before you make your decision, take in consideration other expenses that you might have when changing suspension geometry on your vehicle..

Obviously I didn't research enough before making my decision, I read here and there that the vibrations will go away with the transfer case drop, and worst case with a MML, but they didn't, so now i'm considering spending extra on other suspension and drivetrain parts to fix something that wasn't expected..or maybe it was expected but I prefered not to listen..

It's not that I'm regretting my choice of lift and wheels, it's just that for the use i'm going to give my car It's more than what I need, and more than what I wanted to spend.. Maybe I would have been happier with a shorter lift and a BL..

Jame 06-12-2013 07:15 PM

Just put this lift in with a 1.25 BL. Took it for an alignment today and it is having vibrations also. They are more pronounced at lower speeds and with my foot on the gas pedal. When I let off they subside some.

Have you had any luck getting rid of them at all??

04Xtj 06-12-2013 08:17 PM

out put elimination kit?

cuder 06-12-2013 09:07 PM

I also have the same lift. Get a SYE/CV driveshaft, it makes a big difference. Search ebay for Tattons or Adams.
Also a Jeep Wrangler is a truck, not a car. 06-12-2013 09:16 PM


Have you had any luck getting rid of them at all??
No, still there..

I'm already saving for the SYE, drive shaft and adjust. control arms.

There is a great article on about the sye install and why you need it. Read it, It helped me understand the idea of drive shaft angles. 06-12-2013 09:53 PM


cuderI also have the same lift. Get a SYE/CV driveshaft, it makes a big difference. Search ebay for Tattons or Adams.
Yep.. I think it's the best ( only?) solution..


Also a Jeep Wrangler is a truck, not a car
You're right, if it was a luxury car vibrating like this it would have been in intensive care long ago, in the jeep you just drive it until you get some $$ together..:rolleyes:

Still, it's a complex machine that have been designed for years involving millions of dollars and many engineers to get the most for least, putting together components, trying them and replacing based on results, years of trial and error until they get the best for the budget, for the company to sell hundreds of thousands of units.. And then, we go on ebay and get a $400 susp. lift and snap it on the car, and expect it to be as good or better than stock...:facepalm:

Obviously it's a little more complicated than just bolt on a kit..
The question is what is enough $$ on a single car/toy.. (I sound like my ex..:nonono:)

04Xtj 06-13-2013 08:14 PM

nice rite up..i got the 04 X yellow..gave me some idea's..

GoldenEagle 06-13-2013 10:57 PM

Very nice write up, nice pictures to go along! that is all!

A Jeep Named Jack 06-13-2013 11:12 PM

Nice jeep man! Good price as well. 06-14-2013 10:51 AM


Originally Posted by A Jeep Named Jack (Post 3859133)
Nice jeep man! Good price as well.

Some of the few benefits of working in a used car dealership..

A pic after some $$ invested.. new soft top, new lift kit, new tires on used repainted wheels..

A lot more left to do.. that will keep me busy for some time (years?).
I wish it didn't rain that much:banghead: 06-14-2013 11:17 AM


Originally Posted by 04Xtj (Post 3858481)
nice rite up..i got the 04 X yellow..gave me some idea's..


Originally Posted by GoldenEagle (Post 3859091)
Very nice write up, nice pictures to go along! that is all!

Pretty sure I'm not the first one reviewing this kit, or posting a write up about installing it, just wanted to add a couple of personal issues while installing it.
IMO the instructions are good, pb blaster is the s***, and it took me 15 hours to install, including beer, cigs and lunch breaks.

I read before on some 3" or higher lifts reviews that people complaint about the vendors not warning them about the need of a SYE and double joint drive shaft, and maybe you're not gonna need it if you lucky.

But it's not about being lucky, it's about knowing that there is a very good chance that you WILL need the upgrade, and taking the extra expense in consideration..

Luckily i'm not a student with a very limited budget and I can afford it, but imagine if all you have to spend on your rig goes for the lift and tires, without knowing that you'll need the sye, and to regear, and adj. control arms.. you might get stuck with a very good looking undrivable jeep..

That was the intention of my review.. the lift itself is great, the ride is good, the shocks are fair for the price, 3" on 33"s looks and behaves great! Just be ready to spend more for it to be also a blast to least as a DD..(which is what i'm using it for).

If ALL you have to spend on a lift is a few hundred bucks, maybe a lower suspension lift (under 2") and smaller tires (under 31") is your answer.

In the meantime i'm planing and researching the SYE/CV upgrade, and allready found a mechanic for the job to regear my axles..but that's for a different thread.. 06-19-2013 07:16 PM

First long (80mi) ride on my new Zone 3" lift..
No dirt yet.. asphalt only..:hide:
Hwy ride is great, it rides over bumps and imperfections very smoothly, driving 62-63mph on speedo, i guess it's over 70mph with 33" tires, no wobbles, no shaking.

Some vibrations from the drive shaft, but as mentioned before, an sye is on the program.
As far as suspension and steering..perfect. My caster angle is 4.5deg, so the steering is touchy, but i knew it will be, so no surprises..

The 33" duratracs are smooth and very quiet, love them! Running on 28psi. cold.

Regear is next..:banghead:. With stock 3.07 gears there is no torque at hwy speeds.. no passing power, no uphill power.. At 60mph on the speedo the revs dont go over 1500rpm. Got to lower to 4th every time there is a slight angle on the hwy.

But i'm very happy with the ride quality of the springs and the nitro shocks. Hope it'll last.
Now is time to save $ for the rest..:facepalm:

Hope this review will help other newbies with their choice of lift and tires..

cuder 06-19-2013 11:48 PM

Come on man, disco and crawl some rocks!!!!! 06-20-2013 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by cuder (Post 3880081)
Come on man, disco and crawl some rocks!!!!!

I know, I know..

This place is a sea of concrete! Hope for a nice weekend to look around for some dirt..

Maybe it's for a different thread, but where are the places to go near Miami/ Ft. laud?..

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:32 AM.

User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.