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Discussion Starter #1
Family has always wanted new rims/tires. Kids want lift kit. Will really never go serious offroading, just basic trails. Not adding any weight, except for maybe a sub box in the back at the some point. No new bumpers, winches, etc.

Kids drive it so I am focused on the ride quality and safety.

Will probably go with 285/70/17 Duratracs soon on some new rims with 4.5"-5.5" backspacing. I would prefer the tires not stick out of the fenders.

I have searched and read everything I can find and of course am still left with lots of questions. I am not inclined to bother lifting at all since it seems the new rims/tires will fit on an unlifted JK.

I actually do prefer the look of the Jeep with the front slightly lower. One thing I dislike is when I see jeeps sagging in the back and that's probably why I am avoiding levelling kits.

But if I was to consider lifting it..... Maybe 1.5"-2.5" ? Me personally leaning towards just 1.5" because I really don't want to loose what little ride quality there is.


This is what I've determined so far assuming it's right. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

1) Body lift kit, nothing changes, car handles the same, only component that has angle change is steering, but it's not affected. I'm assuming the engine is now lower inside the engine bay? Is the fuel tank attached to the body?


Lift kits - Actually lifting everything:

2) First step is coil spacers, this is the first stage of lifting everything. If you don't change anything else, you are effectively removing that amount of suspension travel since your stock shocks will now be stretched out a little further. You are also changing geometry of axle, etc.

3) Next step is just replace the coils with better stronger taller ones. Still same issue about loosing suspension travel with stock shocks and altered geometry. I'm not worried about articulation and will not be offroading, so is this really an issue for me that will just be driving on roads, or at most nice "dirt" roads? I'm worried that new coils (to support add'l weight I'm not adding) will lead to an even stiffer ride?

At a minimum, #2 or #3 is absolutely needed to achieving a basic full vehicle suspension lift. Is there a ride quality difference between stock springs with spacers and aftermarket coils?


Lift kit packages. What's confusing here is the variety and what they don't include. For 2-2.5" lifts, some are just coil spacers, some are coils, some include shocks, some include arms, it's all over the place. You'll find people saying such and such is not needed, but then there will be others saying you do. And then the disclaimers about sway bar links, exhaust brackets, etc.

After new coils or coil spacers, the next step is new shocks and/or new control arms.

New shocks will restore the full range of suspension movement.
New control arms will restore the geometry.

4.A New Coils/Coil Spacers with new Shocks - geometry slightly off
4.B New Coils/Coil Spacers with new Control Arms - reduced suspension travel
4.C Everything, Coils, Shocks, and Control Arms

So the big question now is what affects ride quality/safety the most? In what order?

Coil Spacers, Coils, Shocks, Control Arm geometry?

If one didn't want to go all the way to 4.C, for the best onroad performance and ride quality (not worried about off roading), which is the next best thing to do? New Shocks or New Control Arms? Which is the more important one to do next?
 

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You can easily fit 33's on properly backspaced wheels on a stock Jeep. If you want a little lift and maybe level the Jeep out, try a TF Perfromance leveling kit or a Rancho 2 inch sport lift. I think Rock Krawler has a 1.5 inch lift too. Better springs but not enough height to affect geometry significantly.

Caster is the biggest issue with 2.5 and under lifts. Gives the steering a flighty feel and introduces some brakes dive. Less on lower lifts until you can't really feel it at all. Springs affect the ride and handling, usually for the better with quality lifts. The caster can be brought back to stock specs with drop brackets for the lower control arms or adjustable lower control arms.

If you don't want to go nuts, get a leveling kit (springs or spacers) and new shocks (Rancho 9000xl's are adjustable and have a rebate right now) though you don't NEED new shocks with 1.5 or less.. If you want more, go for a 2.5 coil system, the control arm drop brackets and the shocks. I run the Teraflex 2.5 and the Rancho drop brackets and love it.

No matter what, get the Northridge 4X4 bolt kit to replace all your lower control arm and track bar bolts. Proper size shouldered bolts to replace the 14mm bolts with full length threads. That will keep your Jeep from developing issues if you lift.

I'm sure others will have other advice. There are many ways to do what you want and it's confusing. Try reading the lift and tires threads in here:

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/jk-tech-common-questions-here-622938.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I googled jeep castor and came across this great link:

Basic Do-it-Yourself Jeep JK Wrangler Front End Alignment

Of course, more options, confusion, etc. It seems castor is controlled by the control arms. In reading some more, now I've found out about AEV geometry correction brackets. Unless one gets adjustable control arms, castor is what it is and what affects the feeling of steering. Also now reading about how the braking feeling changes with a lift causing the front diving and the AEV brackets help restore that original feeling back.

So another option now is 2" coil spacers all around along with the AEV brackets. Only question then is the stock shocks and ride quality.

Seems like this would be the closest to a factory ride quality with a 2" max lift?
 

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If you like the factory ride, spacers are the way to go. They give you exactly the amount of lift they advertise where springs will often net you more lift since the manufactures anticipate settling, heavy bumpers, winches, etc.

Spacer lifts, most of them anyway, will level the Jeep too. For instance, the Teraflex spacer leveling kit is 2 inches in the front and 1 inch in the rear. Your stock shocks should be good to go. Geometry shouldn't be significantly changed either. You'll get 2 inches in the front but on my 2.5 inch coil lift, I got 3.5 inches in the front. Caster will change with this leveling kit but probably not enough to notice any difference. Couple this lift with the bolt kit and you should be good to go. Add good shocks like the Rancho 9000's and it should ride better than stock.

Here's the TF leveling kit. The pictures show the difference in stance.

| TeraFlex Suspensions
 

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You can easily fit 33's on properly backspaced wheels on a stock Jeep. If you want a little lift and maybe level the Jeep out, try a TF Perfromance leveling kit or a Rancho 2 inch sport lift. I think Rock Krawler has a 1.5 inch lift too. Better springs but not enough height to affect geometry significantly. Caster is the biggest issue with 2.5 and under lifts. Gives the steering a flighty feel and introduces some brakes dive. Less on lower lifts until you can't really feel it at all. Springs affect the ride and handling, usually for the better with quality lifts. The caster can be brought back to stock specs with drop brackets for the lower control arms or adjustable lower control arms. If you don't want to go nuts, get a leveling kit (springs or spacers) and new shocks (Rancho 9000xl's are adjustable and have a rebate right now) though you don't NEED new shocks with 1.5 or less.. If you want more, go for a 2.5 coil system, the control arm drop brackets and the shocks. I run the Teraflex 2.5 and the Rancho drop brackets and love it. No matter what, get the Northridge 4X4 bolt kit to replace all your lower control arm and track bar bolts. Proper size shouldered bolts to replace the 14mm bolts with full length threads. That will keep your Jeep from developing issues if you lift. I'm sure others will have other advice. There are many ways to do what you want and it's confusing. Try reading the lift and tires threads in here: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/jk-tech-common-questions-here-622938.html
This is one hell of a post :thumb:

Somebody say caster ?
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/jeep-jk-caster-and-lifting-502001.html
 
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