It’s been pointed out to me that I say many of the mods I do are a big deal. And they are, each and everyone is important. Unless you have a bottomless bank account combined with infinite free time, you should give everything you put on your Jeep some thought. Then let’s call this series of mods THE BIG DEAL. Suspension work is one of the pinnacle changes that affects so many aspects of your rig that it almost requires its own category of ‘This is Kind of a Big Deal’.
- 2.5” – 3.5” Kit
- Completely bolt on, no cutting or welding
- Good off road articulation
- Excellent on-road manners
- Larger manufacturers only (I don’t want to deal with the inconsistency that can often come from a boutique shop and customer service is frequently a crapshoot)
- AEV – Good company and well priced kits (b/c you reuse many stock components), but I hate their geometry correction bracket. It’s like lifting your Jeep however many inches just to stick something hanging down a few at the same time?
- Bilstein – I’ve had suspension components from this company before and never been disappointed. They are like the loaded Accord V6 of the shock world imho.
- Full Traction – I don’t know anyone running their products, and they do their lifts in even numbers. 3.0 instead of 3.5, etc. The products look pretty solid though.
- Fox Racing – Their shocks look awesome, but that cost sure can add up fast!
- King Off-Road Shocks – As much as I LOVE over kill, their products are just way more than I need…. For now! =)
- MOPAR – Well engineered, but incredibly over priced when compared to other companies on the market.
- Old Man Emu – After the headache I had with my rear bumper, I’m just not ready to trust an ARB company with my suspension components.
- Rock Krawler Suspension – A big guy in JK lift the market. Their suspension kits are all upgradeable from one to the next and their lower control arms have a high clearance design.
- Rubicon Express – I’ve had suspension parts from them and been very happy with all of it. Everything on my TJ was from RE.
- Skyjacker & Rancho – I know folks that have used SkyJacker & Rancho, but their products just aren’t for me.
- Teraflex – A contender. I’ve had positive experiences with their products, the price is competitive, and a few friends happily run TF springs.
After hours and hours (and hours!) of research, discussions, and heated arguments, I called Mr. K and threw my credit card down (twice!) on a 3.5” Mid Arm Flex kit from Rock Krawler with Bilstein 5100’s at all four corners. This kit met all of my requirements and the Black Friday deals really helped with the final tab. If you are looking for a big purchase like suspension parts or bumpers or tire carriers, the deals around Black Friday really are quite fantastic.
The kit arrives in what looks to be 5 or 6 boxes and on this day, I’m really glad I got home first. I could already see the disapproving look on the wife’s face as she lugs “more crap for the damn Jeep” in the house. Her words, not mine. The goodies all loaded up in the Jeep, I head up to my buddies house for a long day of wrenching. This is probably a good time to give a shout out and huge thank you to NBruno & JKMadness. Thank you both for your patience, instruction, space, and patience (yeah, it needed to be listed twice).
Yeah, I think I’m at the right place!
As usual, let’s cue the music (a fantastic Pandora techno station today, what a nice surprise!) and set to work.
Dropping the tombstone so we can get to everything. This is much easier with floor jacks to support the weight.
The Exhaust spacers slip in right here with 2 bolts for each side. Remember, they are two different sizes so make sure you know which goes where.
The Jeep is on Jack stands, the tires are off, and the axle has a dedicated floor jack to help it move around to fit in the larger springs and new shocks.
The rear end is on the ground. This is the first time seeing the new height… that b!tch is huuuuge!
And now, let’s knock out the fronts.
Look ma, I know how to bleed the brake lines!
Toss the wheels/tires back on, dump the jack stands and you are ready to go! I hope to have some nice comparison pix of stock vs. spacers vs. lifted in the coming weeks.