I have been lurking here for nearly a year, purchased my 12 Wrangler Sport 11 months ago and have been enjoying it every since. I have held off doing any mods until now, I keep going back in forth between tire size and lifts.
Thanks to all the great information on this site I have a couple of considerations I would like some help with:
1. This vehicle is first a DD, and my wife and I like our weekend getaways a couple of times a month and we typically travel anywhere from 100 to 400 miles, and next year plan on a 2500 mile trip in the Wrangler. Anytime it warm here in Washington we take the Jeep with the top down. So on road comfort is very important.
Then don't buy 35" tires. Not only will it wreck your mileage, but that size tire, along with the lift necessary to run em, will pound your kidneys into oatmeal. I drive my Jeep cross country often (3" lift, 35" tires) and, to be honest, it beats me up.
2. Currently I have the funds to either put an "upgraded lift"
, without money leftover for tire carrier, or lesser lift with something like TerraFlex tire carrier. I also will not have the money to truss or purchase new drive lines if I go 35's.
I'm not sure what an "upgraded lift" is. Upgraded by who...the dealer? Do your homework, and find a reputable 4x4 shop, preferably that knows Jeeps, to advise you and install a lift, if you need help.
You have no need for a TF tire carrier unless you're gonna run tires 35" or larger. And frankly, the install is so easy, you're throwing away $ to pay someone to install it.
3. I am currently not doing any real off road, but do plan on getting back into as time allows over the next couple of years. So... I am torn between spending a little extra money now, for down the line. Still on road comfort is important.
Man, I just keep coming back to that. There really isn't much middle ground...if you run 35" tires, comfort goes out the window, IMO. Some peeps will no doubt tell you otherwise, but it's all subjective.
So far I have narrowed down the lift kits to progressive spring kits. I think that leaves me with the JK DualSport XT Suspension 2.5"
and the Metal Cloak DuraFlex 2.5"
Metal Cloak, hands down. Other good brands are TeraFlex, Rock Krawler, OME...
Thinking of the future would the new upper and lower control arms improve the stock ride on road? I plan on using the Rancho adjustable shocks with either kit.
As far as 2.5" lifts go, install it, drive the Jeep, and then decide whether or not you NEED adjustable control arms (for setting caster) or adjustable trackbars (for centering your wheels). Neither is necessary unless you have one of those two needs, which is why they aren't often included in the 2.5" lift size.
Also, thinking I want to run a 17" wheel and am thinking either 33's or 34's curious what your thoughts are on this. Can the 34's be run without needing a tire carrier and new drive lines.
You'll get killed on tires in the 17" size. Even dropping down to a 16" wheel can save you hundreds of dollars. Although some peeps don't like the smaller wheel size, it'll save both weight and money. Up to you...
Basically, I have $4000 budgeted and looking for: on road comfort, future off road ability, and somewhat budget conscious.