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Just ordered a new '14 4dr Rubicon.

Local off road shop has quoted me pricing for AEV bumpers, lift (3.5"), etc. I'm considering moving Warn winch XD9000i from my '02 TJ Sahara (only used 1 time to uproot shrubs in front yard), buying the AEV bumpers front and rear, and rear wheel carrier, but adding all skid plates available (haven't discussed this with the shop) rather than lifting (about $2500 installed) and buying 5 new tires 35" ($1900 incl wheel spacers) for now.

Discount tire has suggested siping mud terrains which come on the Rubicon, or buying Goodyear Duratrac for better snow performance here in Colorado in the winter.

Appreciate your comments and experiences.
 

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My opinion of late has been: My 2013 is less then 6 months old and I am much less likely to disrupt potential warranty claims on the drivetrain by adding skids then by adding a lift. I feel maybe with a lift the dealer could blame a transfer case or differential issue on my lift but it would be a pretty good challenge to prove a skid plate was a direct cause of a major issue like that. I think I am going to skid up the bottom for a year until it's pretty well run in and at that point any systemic issues would have already come up. Besides no lift makes you be much more careful with the lines you choose from what I hear so as I get more offroad I will have to learn more skills to maneuver the Jeep and then next year I can build on it with a lift and 35's. Just my recent opinion and if you ask me in a couple weeks it may be different.
 

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Just ordered a new '14 4dr Rubicon.

Local off road shop has quoted me pricing for AEV bumpers, lift (3.5"), etc. I'm considering moving Warn winch XD9000i from my '02 TJ Sahara (only used 1 time to uproot shrubs in front yard), buying the AEV bumpers front and rear, and rear wheel carrier, but adding all skid plates available (haven't discussed this with the shop) rather than lifting (about $2500 installed) and buying 5 new tires 35" ($1900 incl wheel spacers) for now.

Discount tire has suggested siping mud terrains which come on the Rubicon, or buying Goodyear Duratrac for better snow performance here in Colorado in the winter.

Appreciate your comments and experiences.
35s
To do 35" tires you need at least 2.5" of lift. Even then you might rub if the swaybar links are disconnected. If you trim or get flat fenders you wouldn't need as much lift. With 33" tires you would be good on road, but would likely rub some if you disconnect the swaybar. With 35s you will need a beefy tire carrier, and possibly a regear. Also reinforcing your axle Cs is a good idea for off road use. You might need to trim a pinch seam in the rear wheel well. They started trimming some of the 2013s in that problem area, so it might not be an issue.

LIFT
With over 3" of lift you are going to start to run into possible driveline issues. The CV joints rubber boot at that angle off the transfer case can rub and fail over time. You would know when they rip and start to spill grease. I would have enough cash stored away to replace the drivelines. You will also need an exhaust spacer (2012+). Some lift kits (teraflex at least) require less backspaceing on the wheels. I think it's only an issue with the rear swaybar links. Stock BS is 6" and you need 4.5" or less is my understanding.

TIRES
I was surprised how well the stock rubicon KMs worked for me this winter with very little slipping. Duratrac's have a strong cult following. They are supposed to be one of the very top rated snow tires. Plus they are very lightweight. They are a no brainer choice. It's what I will get when mine wear out. They should stop faster in bad weather.

RIM SIZE
Smaller rims are cheaper, and tires for smaller rims are MUCH cheaper. The lowest you can go is 15", but not all of those will work. I think your best off getting a 16" rim with 4.5-3.75" of back spacing vs using spacers.

BUMPERS
Adding a winch and bumpers is going to lower you about an inch. That's a good winch. It will work great, and should be enough to pull our even a 4dr. One thing to consider is if the front bumper will work with 35s. Some bumpers will rub when turning and/or disconnected on the tires outer edge. I just know it's a reason some go with a stubby bumper. 35" may not cause an issue?

SKIDS
I don't have a lift now. I have found the crossmember skid takes a good amount of abuse (2dr). I put a EVO PROTEK skid (crossmember section only) on mine. It reinforces it nice and protects the dumb ass exhaust bugle and where the exhaust crosses over. If you have an auto I would get a tranny skid. An oil skid is a good idea, but I have skipped that for now. I also want to get a rear differential cover. The stock one can peel when running over a rock, and cause a slow leak.
 

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Something that I thought about, no matter which tires, bumpers or lift I have will do me no good if I punch a hole in the oil pan or tranny, so I added a M.O.R.E skid plate. the Rubicon can do a lot, stock but in my opinion could use some protection.

View attachment 286259
View attachment 286260
 

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Just ordered a new '14 4dr Rubicon.

Local off road shop has quoted me pricing for AEV bumpers, lift (3.5"), etc. I'm considering moving Warn winch XD9000i from my '02 TJ Sahara (only used 1 time to uproot shrubs in front yard), buying the AEV bumpers front and rear, and rear wheel carrier, but adding all skid plates available (haven't discussed this with the shop) rather than lifting (about $2500 installed) and buying 5 new tires 35" ($1900 incl wheel spacers) for now.

Discount tire has suggested siping mud terrains which come on the Rubicon, or buying Goodyear Duratrac for better snow performance here in Colorado in the winter.

Appreciate your comments and experiences.
First off we all have our opinions here which is helpful but first you should take it offroad to see what it can do an what trails you are comfortable with. I've had my 2012 for almost 2 years now and I've been offroading 2x. The first time was about a month and a half ago and the second time was about 3 weeks ago. Both times I went to Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania. I've been itching to lift and put the bigger wheels and tires but u felt that I would do myself a disservice if I didn't know what a stock Rubicon can do. I mean let's face it, once you lift, it will never be stock again. Rausch Creek has there trails color coded signifying their difficulty level (green, blue black and red). I went out with Kyle who does the 101 and 201 course for beginners and he is highly qualified. So qualified in fact that the armed forces brings some of their servicemen and women so that he can teach them to safely navigate some of the worse terrains that they may encounter in some of those hell holes they may wind up in. Anyway a stock Rubicon or a Wrangler can handle the green and blue trails well. You will touch your skids especially on the blues and it sounds and feels horrible but you are not hurting the Jeep. I've learned that taking your time coming off of obstacles and I mean really taking your time greatly reduces the chances of you poking a hole in the factory skids.

After the first time I hit a few times and believe you me I checked while at Rausch and then more thoroughly the following day and the skids were scratched but not dented even though I thought I hit pretty hard. The second trip however I dented my gas tank skid pretty good and I know exactly why I did it. There eefe many lifted Jeeps on the blye trails and they were just bouncing through like it was a paved road and I got a little carried away. I would say that 95% of the obstacles would go unnoticed on a lifted Jeep at Rausch Creek on the green and blue trails. Also adding skids to a stock Jeep would lower you rather than lift you which is ideally what you want. At least there are factory skids there now to keep you relatively safe with some caution and diligence on your part. Many times I let the lifted Jeeps go by because I was holding them up. My concern was that Rausch Creek is 3 hours away from home and my Jeep is my only vehicle. I have to make it back home in one piece.

Kyle even mentioned that the guys that were just bouncing through the blue trails were just putting unnecessary wear on the Jeep because even though they aren't hitting the bottom, many times he's seen axles and other stuff break because they are going too fast. So I said all this to say that lifting is a better way to go as you already have factory skids although not the strongest in the world they are still there. You can get 3" more of lift depending on how high you want to go and plus the new suspension won't compress as much coming off of obstacles which causes you to bottom out most of the times. Good luck with your decision.
 

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Sort of alluded to already- but what do you plan to do with it? That is the real question. We did a Mopar 3" lift designed more for pre-running because I like speed with my dirt. Then I figured out that I preferred rock crawling. LOL. It helps to know what your goal is (and be realistic).
After hitting the trails this weekend- where I rock crawl- my husband and I agreed that in a do-over we'd have skid-plated FIRST. Not the lift. Having peace of mind, especially when first hitting the trails, is more important than the lift. BUT if this is your DD and for occasional plain ole dirt roads then the lift might make more sense. Let's face it- lifting LOOKS good- and no one sees your skids.
Sounds like you're going all or nothing- what about lifting, adding some skids, and adding bumpers later? Again- I ran out and got my bumper and winch pretty quickly. Reality is they're pretty low on the "useful" scale. Lift it, skid it, trash your stock bumpers on the trail- and then replace them. Or just do the front for your winch and skip the rear until later. That's $500 you could spend on protecting your belly.
 

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What JeepHerz said is the most important piece of this puzzle you have to figure out first. What do you want to do with the Jeep? If you are just playing in mud and river crossings then you won't need to worry about the skids. If you want to rock crawl then skids and lift become front and center. I still say that doing a lift will be the better way to go since you will lessen the chance of rubbing your tummy, it flexes more and just looks better. Adding skids on stock suspension will lower you which is not what you want to do. I'm not sure how much height you'll lose but the skids are heavy and can weight in excess of 200lbs concentrated in the center of the vehicle. They are thicker and that strength comes at the sacrifice of height. I'm sure someone else can chime in about the loss in height or you can call one of the skid companies to hear how much you lose. Also keep in mind that upgraded skids can fail just like anything on the Jeep.
 

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Just ordered a new '14 4dr Rubicon.


Discount tire has suggested siping mud terrains which come on the Rubicon, or buying Goodyear Duratrac for better snow performance here in Colorado in the winter.

Appreciate your comments and experiences.
Be aware that Discount Tire is typically not willing to work with wheel spacers.
 
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