I was in the group who pre-ordered Wranglers sight unseen during the first week of ordering for 2012 models. I have a 2012 JK Sport 3.6L / Auto with the S package, towing package and hard top. My plan was to drive it mostly stock for a few years, and then build it up just the way I want it. The plan is to build an off road capable daily driver with a 2.5" lift, 35" tires, fenders, and a rear bumper / tire carrier. I'm keeping my eyes open for a Rubicon D44 front takeoff, at which point I'd regear my D44 rear to match. I'm in no rush to get a front bumper / winch. I made my own front bumper for my 1990 YJ, and would like to do something similar for my JK - maybe if I have a vacation week with no plans! Here are the parts I selected for my Jeep:
ACE JK Rock Sliders (My rating: 10 out of 10)
These were my first upgrade. I installed them after some careless driver hit my Jeep in a parking lot. The install was simple. The quality is excellent. They are very strong, but also very heavy. They feel as solid as a frame rail. The finish is excellent, and it still looks as good as when it was new, despite the abuse that they have seen.
Bushwacker Flat Style JK Fender Flares (My rating: 6 out of 10)
I'm still not sure about these. I bought them knowing that the install was a huge pain. Well, I was right. It takes all day to do it right. The directions aren't helpful at all during the most difficult parts. Even before the install, I spent hours reading the directions, reading others' write-ups, and watching install videos. I would actually start with the rear fenders first, since the trimming is easier. I used a utility knife with a new blade on each fender. When the plastic is out in the hot sun, it cuts like butter. Plan on the first fender taking 3 hours. Trim less than you need, and don't be afraid to go back several times to trim more. If you trim too much, you're screwed. If you cut 1/8" too little, the fender won't fit. If you cut 1/4" too much, the new fender won't hold the liner in place.
Also, don't be afraid that the instructions say to cut wires. It is really just a 12" extension piece that clips into the main harness. However, note that the black and white wires must be reversed, or the light won't work.
Ultimately, the front inner fender liner will be held in by 3 fasteners, but one can't even be fully tightened. Bushmaster should have included a new fastener to fix this problem. They give you some really nice hardware for the install, most of which is plastic, or stainless. They give you extras of some pieces, but they shorted me 1 speed clip, which drove me nuts!
Quality control is certainly questionable. I actually had to do slight trimming if the product in order to make the front passenger flare fit properly. the top of the entire fender was about 1/8" too long, which wouldn't allow it to be installed.
It's funny that since I bought these fender flares to make more room for 35" tires, yet 35" tires rub on the forward part of the rear fenders near the pinch seam. BTW, you must trim the pinch seam. I used a hacksaw and then used a little touch up paint. You'd never know I removed any metal.
As much of a pain as the install was, the fenders themselves seem very good quality. The Bushmaster fender flare material seems better quality than the stock material. I also think they will be more resistant to sunlight fading, and staining from bugs and tar. And mounted on the Jeep, the Bushmaster flares feel very solid; Seriously, they feel like steel.
I've always been hard to impress when it comes to fender flares. Usually I like stock flares over all of the aftermarket options. I would buy these again, but only because I'm not sure any other fender flare kits are better. And, I really like the style of these.
If you are in the market for these, check OC Auto Access. Their price was so low I thought it had to be a scam. But, I was willing to take the chance, and it paid off.
American Racing AR172 Baja Polished Wheels (My rating: 10 out of 10)
I love these wheels! I'm amazed that you can buy a wheel of this quality for just over $100. They seem very solid. The finish looks great. I love the style. I got the 16x8 on 5x5 with 4.5" of backspacing. I think this size is perfect for a 12.5 inch wide tire, which sticks out past my fender flares by about 1 inch.
Pro Comp Radial Xtreme 315/75r16 Tires (My rating: 10 out of 10)
These tires are amazing. This will sound hard to believe, but they might actually be more quiet and ride smoother than the stock tires! But, they are noisy (like mud tires) when taking extremely sharp low speed turns. The tires handle bumps and pot holes much better than the stock tires, probably due to the increased track, width and diameter. The Jeep just bounces around a lot less when I hit bumps now.
The tires seem to measure 35" exactly. They fit on my Jeep with no lift and don't rub during normal street driving. However, I do have Bushwacker flat fenders, and I've done some minor trimming to the fenders, pinch seam, and air dam. I don't think the tires can make contact with either bumper during normal street driving. But, the front tires can get close.
I ordered the wheels and tires through Town Fair Tire. This is the fourth time that I've dealt with them in about 10 years, and they have never disappointed me. They don't even carry Pro Comp tires. I just went in there with a quote from another place, which they TFT beat! They said it might take 2+ weeks to get the wheels and tires in, because they were special order... It took 3 days! They handled all my special requests related to my spare, pressure sensors, log nuts and locks, mounting, etc.
I should also note that my first drive on these tires was pulling a 1500lb+ trailer on the highway, still running 3.21 gears (Yea, I know...) But, the drive went surprisingly well. So, this was my first drive on 35" tires, and I still hardly noticed that I was pulling a trailer!
Superchips FlashCal (My rating: 10 out of 10)
I purchased this mostly program my Jeep's new tire size, but all the other functions are nice to have. The LED screen is great. This is very easy to use. I programmed my new tire size in seconds while in the tire store's parking lot. I can't understand why this isn't more popular. Most people seem to buy the AEV ProCal instead.
This week I'll be installing:
Teraflex 2.5" Coil Lift
Teraflex HD Forged Front Adjustable Trackbar
Rugged Ridge Exhaust Spacer
Rough Country Jeep JK Front Control Arm Relocation Kit
I ordered my ACE JK Pro Series Rear Bumper with Tire Carrier from Jason at KrawlOff-Road.com. It sounds like the wait on this will be about 6 weeks.
Nice work! Those wheels help give it more of a CJ look. Can't wait to see it sitting a little higher!
That's a lot of 10s
Why I chose the hottest day of the year to install my lift kit I'll never know. Today I installed:
Teraflex 2.5" Coil Lift Kit (My rating: 7 out of 10)
Teraflex Monster Front Track Bar (My rating: 9 out of 10)
Rancho RS9000XLs (My rating: 9 out of 10)
I've already put the new lift through a test drive so satisfy my curiosity. The 2.5" lift gave me 1.75" of lift in the rear, and 3.5" in the front. I'm already thinking about adding a 1" spacer in the rear.
The install wasn't as simple as I had heard others describe. Luckily, I already had my 4.5" backspacing wheels, so I avoided the sway bar rubbing issue.
I'm still a little concerned that my front shocks might be too long. As everyone suggested, I ordered the RS999329 front / RS999330 rear setup that everyone recommended. Rancho says that this is for a vehicle with 4" of lift.
The lift went into the rear axle somewhat easy. I had to slightly modify the rear axle breather tube brackets and parking brake cable bracket, but I feel very confident about it.
The front axle was a lot more complicated. Neither the 16 page installation instructions, nor the 11 minute installation video on youtube said what to do with the front brake lines. My stock front brake lines weren't long enough. They would be stretched to the breaking point before the shock bottoms out (the RS999329 is for a 4" lift). I made a temporary fox by hose clamping the oem brake line bracket to the shock:
What have you guys done to fix this issue?
With Teraflex 2.5" coil lift and RS9000XS shocks:
Install longer brake lines. People run longer shocks then the shock you have at 2.5"
I'm already shopping for them now. But even if I had longer brake lines, I'm not sure what to do about the line for the speed sensor. It gets stretched too far at about the same time as the oem brake line.
It just seems funny because I read so many write-ups about the Teraflex 2.5" lift and I don't remember reading about anyone adding extended brake lines. I don't mind spending the money, but I wonder If I could get away with something like this:
MYTH -2011 lifted JK's need longer front brakelines/brackets-BUSTED
Are you saying the lines get maxed out with tires on @ full droop?
The stock front brake line and speed sensor is attached to a metal bracket that bolts onto the axle. I've read that this was a new design for 2011. You can see the bracket under the hose clamps in my picture.
So yes, the lines get maxed out if I reattach this clip onto the axle. If I leave the clip unattached, there is enough slack in both lines. But this leaves about a 20" section of brake line not clipped to anything, with a metal bracket hanging off the brake line.
I stole this from another forum, showing someone with this problem:
I guess some manufacturers like AEV say to remove the bracket:
I also stole this picture. Is this setup good? If so, I think all I need to do is remove the metal bracket, which is currently hose clamped to my shock. It seems strange to me that there is about 20" of brake / speed sensor line that isn't clipped to anything
Remove the bracket. I don't know if you off road, but you want to have the shocks be the limiting factor not anything else. The more the better to maximize performance/articulation off road.
Haha good luck. Looking good :)
Kev, is your Jeep sitting nose-high (reverse rake) now or is that just the picture?
How much did that Super Chips FlasCal cost? And where did you get it?
I'm also a little rear heavy: I'm running the stock front bumper, with no winch, and I have a 35" tire hanging off the tailgate. All these factors contribute a little to the reverse rake. Also, the Bushwacker flat fenders made the front wheelwell area larger than they made the rear, so this makes the rake look much worse. Today I ordered the Teraflex 1" rear spacers, which I think will level it out.
Awesome, thanks for the info!
Since my last update I had noticed a wobble coming from what seemed like the driver side front tire. I removed the tire and saw this:
The amount of wheel weights indicates that they weren't able to balance the tire properly, right?
I rotated this tire out. I wish that I test drove it after this, but instead I went right into installing the Rough Country control arm drop bracket kit. The only hard part of the install was trying to align the crush sleeves in the bracket, since the crush sleeve feels about 1/32" too long to fit inside the bracket.
The instructions say that you have to cut out the passenger side upper control arm bolt to remove it because of a clearance issue with the exhaust. I had no trouble removing the bolt without cutting it. I actually installed the new bolt the same way the old one came out:
After this, I went for a test drive. The wobble is gone :dance:
I think it's possible that the control arm drop bracket kit fixed the wobble, but I think it's more likely that swapping out that unbalanced looking wheel fixed it. I'm going to take that wheel back to Town Fair Tire and ask them to re-balance it.
The control arm drop bracket kit made a huge difference in the feel of the steering! I love way it feels now. It feels like I put on a dual steering stabilizer. There is a lot of return to center feel in the steering. I think it will be a lot more comfortable to drive on the highway now.
I also spent a lot of time fixing the front brake line routing issue. For those who don't know, 2011+ Wranglers have a metal bracket attached to the front brake lines that clips to the front axle. This bracket interferes with lift kits. I suggest removing the bracket (as shown here from the AEV instructions) but I also recommend weakening the metal with an angle grinder before attempting to pry apart the bracket:
I made two new brackets using 1/8" stainless. I designed these to be hose clamped to the shock, with the brake line running behind the shock. I may upgrade to stainless line later, but I'll reuse the same bracket if I do so. If you let the whole brake line run from the frame to the caliper without attaching to anything, the line could get caught under the bottom of the shock. Here are the brackets that I made:
I finally got around to installing the Teraflex 1" rear spacers and the Rugged Ridge parking brake relocation bracket. I also re-routed the axle breather tube, and set my Rancho RS9000s to setting 5 (of 1 - 9)
I only bought the parking brake relocation bracket because is was $5. I like the idea of reusing the original bracket.
The Teraflex spacers are easy to install, which took less than an hour. I didn't even have to disconnect the sway bar links. I reused the factory isolators. The ccombination of the factory isolator, 1" rubber spacer, and TF rear spring gives a very smooth ride!
This is how it sits now, with the TF 2.5" coils, RS9000s, and TF 1" rear spacers on 315/75r16 Pro comp Radial Xtremes:
I've measured the lift several times. Each time I get a different measurement. My best guess is that I got 4" of lift in the front, and 2" of lift in the rear. I'm disappointed with Teraflex that after buying a 2.5" lift and later buying a 1" rear spacer, I only got 2" of lift in the rear.
I now have 10.25" of clearance between the front tire and top of fender, and 9.75" of clearance between the rear tire and top of fender. The OCD in me would like to see these numbers the same...
I was hesitant to monkey with the suspension and tires with all the highway driving that I do. I decided that I would be willing to drive slower and less aggressively if necessary. However, with 3" of lift and 35" tires, the Jeep handles and rides a lot better than stock. Also, I expected my gas mileage to drop by about 4mpg. But, I'm not even sure it dropped by 1mpg!
I'm still waiting for my Dominion Offroad HD steering stabilizer and ACE rear bumper / tire carrier to arrive.
Overall, I'm very happy. I could only be happier if the damn thing sat a little more level.
My ACE rear bumper arrived last week. I started installing it 15 minutes after FedEx delivered it. Installation is easy, but adjusting it is complicated. It took me several tries to get it right and stop all the rattles. Overall, I'm happy with it and I would buy it again.
But, now with the added weight, I have a new concern. I have the Teraflex 2.5" coil lift, which if I understand correctly has 3" front springs, and 2" rear springs. I also have a 1" rear spacer. The added weight of the new bumper has the rear sitting a little low again. I know this is my fault for using such a heavy rear bumper, and the stock front bumper with no winch.
I'm thinking of ditching the 2" springs and 1" spacer for 4" Teraflex rear springs. What do you think of this based on the way my Jeep sits, and my driveshaft angle?
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