An Introduction to Lifts!
Greetings fellow Jeepers! I thought I would go ahead and post this for you all to read, as I am in need of some advice/information in relation to Jeep lifts. I'm still a newbie to this forum, and to Jeeps in general, but I have done my fair share of meddling around in the threads, taking in as much as I can. I have browsed Jeep profiles here, and have noticed that many Jeeps have suspension or body lifts on them, and I just had a couple of questions:
I am wondering, what is the difference between the body lift and the suspension lift, and which one is more common/efficient?
Do they serve different purposes?
Do most people install these things themselves, or do they take their vehicle to the shop to get it done?
Are there any pitfalls I should be aware of before deciding to put a lift on my Jeep?
One a lift is applied is it set in stone or can I remove it and reduce my Jeep back to stock if I end up not liking it?
I have some money saved up and would consider getting a lift in the future - I don't think I would like to go any bigger with the tires than size 33. What is the minimum height I need to lift the Jeep in order to apply tires of this size? Is there any specific brand of lift that you guys would recommend? I know that there are quite a few questions here but please be patient with me, as I am still very new to this. All responses are greatly appreciated.
cobrakongharley (2002 Jeep Wrangler Sahara - stock)
the primary reason folks lift up Jeeps is tire clearance. we run larger tires to tackle larger obstacles offroad, and raise the lowest point, the axles, higher. there are 2 ways to lift Jeeps up, as you know. body lifts, and suspension lifts.
suspension lifts should be your main style. they are safe if done correctly, and basically involve replacing the shocks and springs with larger ones. the upside is ride quality can be manipulated for the better, and extra axle movement can be gained, leading to improved traction offroad and additional ground clearance. the downside is suspension lift mess up driveline and suspension geometry, meaning additional parts need replaced or modified to correct the issues. it also makes the Jeep more difficult to get in and out of, and it's center of gravity gets raised, increasing the likelihood of a roll over.
a body lift is just that. only the body is lifted. this should be done no higher than 1.5" to run safely, and should only be used to give a little extra room for tire clearance. nothing more is gained as these types of lifts don't actually lift anything that's going to get hit. but sometimes an extra inch is desired for the tires, so a BL is then installed.
all lifts can be uninstalled by simply popping the old springs and shocks back on, removing the coil spacers, or BL pucks. with a small amount of mechanical skill, anyone can install one. I've installed a lot, and it's really not too bad.
I like Teraflex, Rubicon Express, and Old Man Emu lifts. I currently run a Teraflex suspension lift and highly recommend it. 33's you'll want AT LEAST 2.5" of lift, but 3-4" is generally desired on a TJ for offroad use. a 2.5" suspension lift, mated with a 1" body lift, would be very economical for you to fit 33's, and would provide great clearance, and as an added bonus it wouldn't jack up your suspension geometry too bad.
just keep in mind larger tires have effects on handling and ride quality too. so any questions feel free to ask away. lots of knowledgeable and friendly folks patrol this forum, and we'd be happy to help you out, no matter how dumb the question may be. after all, every single one of us didn't know anything about lifts or modifications at one point. I think that's understood here, so we don't snap and bite newbies...much :p
welcome to the forum too. you're Jeep disease is about to take off. we'll help you blow every last dollar you earn :rofl:
I'm no expert on lifts, but very recently I was researching and mulling over the same things you seem to be so I'll tell you what my experience was/is and you can take it for what it's worth ;)
Groundhawg explained the lift types quite nicely, pretty much the same thing I was halfway done typing, lol.
I decided on a combination of body and suspension lifts. I installed mine with the help of a friend over the course of a couple days and with the assistance of a case or two of beer :) It really wasn't too difficult to do, just took some time so plan to not be able to drive your rig for a couple days. I'm glad I installed it instead of having a shop do it for several reasons: It was fun to do, I became more familiar with my Jeep, the money I saved can be used to buy even more Jeep stuff, and it gave me a good excuse to spend the weekend drinking beer :D
I looked at several different lifts, but the one I ultimately decided on was the "Ultimate" kit from DPG Offroad. It included everything needed aside from the tools. They're a really great store to deal with and talk to as well, I'd highly recommend giving them a call. Going with that kit might have been a little more expensive than some of the other options from different brands, but I'm really happy with the decision and don't have an regrets. The ride quality is also a huge improvement over stock. If you want some pics of how it looks with 33's, there's before and after shots in my profile.
The only pitfalls I can really think of when deciding to lift your Jeep is that you're also going to want to continue doing more to it as time goes on. It's already sort of turned into an addiction for me, and I've only had my lift in for a little less than 2 weeks. There's a reason people say that JEEP is an acronym for "Just Empty Every Pocket".
Congrats on the new Jeep, and welcome to the forum :)
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