You’re the luckiest person you know – because you are now the proud owner of a brand spankin’ new, fresh off the lot, Jeep Wrangler! What’s the first thing you want to do when you roll it off the lot? If you said, “Modify it!” you’d be right in line with what I would assume to be probably 90% of the Wrangler population. What’s the most prominent modification one can do to their new Wrangler? The right answer, of course, is a lift kit and tires. 😉
However, not everyone is as adventurous or willing to go out and drop thousands of dollars on shocks, springs, steel, aluminum, and rubber right away. In fact, there are some people, wait for it…. that don’t want to lift their Jeep and put monster tires on it at all. I know…crazy right? Maybe they just want to tweak it a little to level it out.
Me, well, I fall in the first camp, except it wasn’t a lack of enthusiasm that slowed me down. It was the amount of cabbage left in my wallet! I just frankly didn’t have the money to invest in super expensive upgrades immediately. I did know one thing for sure. That was this: I had to do something to beef up that new Wrangler. I needed to give it a better stance, and level it out so it didn’t have that factory forward rake.
That’s where the leveling kit and wheel spacers come in. I’ll preface this up front by stating that I understand that the use of wheel spacers is a very polarizing topic. There are many people against them, and probably an equal number of people who love them. I am of the second camp. I fully believe that, when installed properly, they are safe and a great way to widen the stance of your whip. They are absolutely not necessary when using the leveling kit detailed in this article, so if you are not a fan, or you don’t want to spend the money for them, don’t use them. I made a personal decision that the wider stance offered benefit in both looks and stability. As long as I am running stock wheels, I’ll have these spacers. But…lets talk about the leveling kit…because that’s the meat of this topic.
TeraFlex Leveling Kit
The leveling kit I chose for my 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) Willys Wheeler edition is the TeraFlex JK 1.5″ Leveling Kit (1155200). There are leveling kits and budget boosts (BBs) that include replacement coil springs and/or replacement shocks, but I chose to go with this coil spacer-only kit because the Willys Wheeler already comes with the beefier springs and shocks off the Rubicon. That, and because the price was a very reasonable $160-ish. Remember, budget is a primary constraint for me at this point.
So what do you get in this package? Everything you need to raise the front two inches, and the rear one inch…thus not only leveling the Jeep front to back, but also slightly raising the whole vehicle. This should prove helpful when I am able to move to larger tires (I should be able to squeeze 35s in with the added wheel spacers). I will say, however, it looks pretty darn good with the stock 32” tires! It comes with two 1” coil spring spacers for each side (for a 2” lift) in the front, longer swaybar links, two 1” coil spring spacers for the rear, and all necessary hardware. This will also work with or without swaybar link disconnects.
Super! Now I have all these parts, how do I get them installed? This is where I get to cheat and just point you to two 20 minute very detailed installation videos. Why did I go through all of the trouble to record and edit all of this video? The answer is simple. As a non-professional installer, working with limited tools in my garage, I was really looking for a definitive step-by-step guide to accomplish this task by myself.
TeraFlex has a pretty decent video walking you through the install, but it has two challenges: 1. It assumes you know more than you may actually know if this is your first time, and 2. It assumes you have access to a lift. I couldn’t find a video that walks the average shade-tree mechanic (without a lift) through this install, so I decided to make one. That’s exactly how this came to be. If it helps someone else, then my mission is a success. I broke the video up into two parts with a fairly natural break between the front and rear portions of the installation. The second video also has a bit of important wrap-up at the end.
I’ll admit I spent a lot of extra time loosening and re-torqueing upper and lower control arms. It’s debatable whether that was necessary, but it made me feel better. If you don’t feel up to the task, or don’t have the time, I would say you can probably safely skip that part of the install. TeraFlex doesn’t seem to mention it in their install video or any instructions. If you are OCD like me, you may sleep better at night knowing you went that extra mile!
Spidertrax Wheel Spacers
So for those of you who are considering adding the spacers as well, the ones I went with were Spidertrax 1.5″ Spacer (WHS010). These are very high quality spacers, and skimping on quality is not something you want to do here. Installing these between your wheel and tire will widen the overall stance by 3” both front and back. It’s hard to describe how much of a different the look makes, but it’s very obvious. The wheel fills the fender flares much better, and gives a slightly more aggressive stance. These are about $100 a pair, and you’ll need two pairs to equip all four tires. That’s actually more money for the spacers than the leveling kit. For me…worth it!
If you have any questions about the install, please let me know by commenting on this article. Now…. Go forth, and modify! (Oh…and watch the videos!)
JK TeraFlex Leveling Kit and Spidertrax Spacer Install – Part One
JK TeraFlex Leveling Kit and Spidertrax Spacer Install – Part Two
Hey Chris. I’ve watched your install video 100 times! This is the exact setup I want on my 2015 JK Sport (2DR). I picked up a pair of OEM Moab wheels and had them powder coated black when I first got the Jeep. I love these wheels more than any aftermarket pair, but I’d like to go 33″ hence the leveling kit and Spidertrax. My only hesitation is using wheel spacers. There’s mixed feedback on these, but Spidertrax has a great track record. I wanted to ask how you felt about them over a prolonged period? Were they safe and how intensive was the maintenance? I’m willing to recheck the torque ever tire rotation so I hope that’s enough. Thanks in advance for your two cents!
Bodhi: Chris didn’t run the spacers for very long. We ended up doing a review on the Mickey Thompson wheels he currently has shortly after this article.
I would see if the new wheel fits without the spacers, unless you are simply doing it for looks. A 33 inch tire should fit without rubbing any parts. The factory Rubicon tires are slightly over 32 inches and 10 inches wide isn’t much over factory either.
The Spidertrax seem to hold their torque very well. No worse than your wheels. Checking them every oil change is probably enough. I would recommend checking them after 100 miles, then 500 miles before going to the oil change interval. That way you have perfect piece of mind they are holding.
No way would I use wheel spacers. It’s a cheap way to work around new rims with a different backspace
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