One of the most common questions asked on the internet is “What lift should I get for my Wrangler?”. I am going to attempt to answer this question in this article. I want you to know upfront that there is not a one size fits all answer to this question
Rule number 1 to buying a lift.
It does not matter what your end goal is this one rule is absolute. Do not buy cheap components when you are building a suspension. You really do get what you pay for when it comes to springs and shocks.
That full lift kit for $400 is not going to give you the ride quality and performance you want. That’s not too say there aren’t good inexpensive lift kits. I am talking about a kit at that price that has 8 arms, springs, shocks, track bars etc. To get it at that price point they cut corners and that’s bad for you.
The thing you need to ask yourself is what do I want to do with my Jeep?
Until you know what you want to do with your Jeep choosing a lift is extremely difficult. Many people jump right in and buy a new suspension and then hate the result. Too often they made a vanity purchase without considering the end result.
To break it down a little. If you plan to drive on the street 95% of the time and the only off-road driving you are going to do is dirt roads you don’t want a lift with metal joints and crazy shocks.
In order to keep that smoother factory ride and quieter overall performance you want something that either keeps the factory components or uses rubber bushings. This does two things. Number one it keeps the suspension quieter and absorbs bumps better. Number two it keeps the ride quality as close to stock as possible.
There is one kit in particular that I really like for reusing the stock parts and lifting the Jeep with spacers. The AEV 2″ spacer lift comes with everything you need including their AEV ProCal SNAP that allows you to reprogram for larger tires.
If you want to go a step further and replace your springs and shocks to put on a full-suspension replacement lift I have to once again tip my hat to AEV. Their 2.5 DualSport RT system is the closest to a factory ride of just about any kit on the market. At $1379 it includes all the parts, you need to have an excellent riding Wrangler for years. (This kit also includes the AEV SNAP)
Another contender, and the system we have on our JL, is the TeraFlex ST line. The ST2, ST3, and ST4 are all the same kit at different lift heights. I am currently running the ST3 with Falcon 3.3 shocks. With Falcon 2.1 Mono-Tube shocks this setup runs $1918.99 direct from TeraFlex.
What if I want to off-road more?
I am definitely a believer that rubber joints are the better option until you are running a dedicated trail rig that sees minimal on-road driving. Judging by the number of manufacturers who make complete systems with this type of joint it seems I am not alone.
With that in mind my “upgrade” recommendations are from some of the same manufacturer’s. They just do it better than most. Since AEV doesn’t make anything beyond their DualSport RS setup they aren’t included here.
One name that gets added is Metalcloak. These guys are the originator of the aftermarket off-road rubber joint. Their Duroflex joint was the first to offer the NVH of the stock rubber joint with the flex of a heim joint. Metalcloak’s Game Changer 3.5 lift with Rock Sport shocks is everything you need to replace your stock components and tackle any obstacle. At $2464 this isn’t a budget lift and you are getting way more performance for your dollar than any budget lift can offer.
The TeraFlex Alpine CT3 lift is what our JL has morphed into. I have added the Alpine arms with independent rotation bushings to the original ST3 kit. By doing that you can spread out the financial hit of the CT3 setup retailing at $3625.99 with 3.1 Falcon piggyback shocks. ($2325 without shocks.)
TeraFlex’s IR bushing has a freely rotating center that approximates the free movement of a heim joint but with the NVH of a rubber bushing.
A new player to the more flexible off-road joint is Clayton Off-Road. Their new GIIRO joint is a free pivoting, self-lubricating, self-centering, silent in operation, and maintenance-free bushing. (Their words.) There are a couple of things that Clayton does that make it unique. They use square tubing for their lower control arms. Stronger and able to handle more abuse they have a lifetime warranty against damage. Their new 3.5″ Overland kit without shocks retails at $2025 and includes everything you need.
Clayton also claims the largest tire size fitment at 37″ for a Sport and 39″ on a Rubicon.
If you drive primarily off-road or want to go hardcore suspension.
If you need maximum flex and don’t care about on-road ride quality the world is your oyster. There are far too many options too break down here.
What do you think? Did this help you?
Let us know what other questions you have and whether or not this article helped you.