Thinking about a lift, need some help deciding


Chezzy04

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Oahu Hawaii
So I have an 02 TJ that I recently bought. First Jeep, and found out the hard way that I needed a re-gear. Took it to a local recommended Jeep mechanic to discuss the upgrade. He's going to do the regear (4.56). I already have 33s from the previous owner on it. While there he mentioned some things he would do, and 1 of them was a lift. He said 3.5 suspension lift with Fox shocks (expensive I know). Since then I've been stuck on wanting a lift and toying around with the idea of doing the lift by myself (or with help from some buddies).

My question is about lift height, and what you guys would recommend. I don't plan on going up in tire size bc I've read 33s are basically toping out the 4.56 unless you put the 44 axle on, and that's not going to be in the budget anytime soon.

I've been looking at the rough country 3 and 4 inch, but I want to make sure I'm committed before buying a kit.

I'm living in Hawaii and plan on doing some light off-roading but nothing crazy. I don't plan on going crazy on the rock crawling or anything. Just want something with a bit more clearance. Laws are strict in HI, so I don't plan on kicking out the tires either.

I appreciate your help in advance and just let me know if I missed some pertinent info. Thanks!

20200716_211143.jpg
 

Haaris Khan

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Messages
227
Location
Roanoke, Va
If you're sticking with the 33's then perhaps you could get a 2.5 inch suspension lift and 1.25 inch body lift. That is what I am running anyways, and it seems to be the perfect balance for my preference. Old Man Emu Lift Kit
 

Haaris Khan

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Messages
227
Location
Roanoke, Va
Ok, awesome. I'll check it out. I'm guessing you didn't have any issues with the drive shaft or anything?
About 50k miles or so with the lift on so far and I have not had any issues with the driveshaft or any other component. Some things I forgot to mention which you might want to consider are revolving around tire size. You should begin your build revolving around what tire size you plan on running. For example for my 33's I have upgraded my steering system to combat the weight added. I have a ZJ tie rod conversion and a JKS adjustable track bar along with an Old Man Emu steering stabaliser. Another thing you might want to consider with the lift is replacing your C channel control arms.
 

cpwolf

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
619
Location
Cedar Park, TX
So I have an 02 TJ that I recently bought. First Jeep, and found out the hard way that I needed a re-gear. Took it to a local recommended Jeep mechanic to discuss the upgrade. He's going to do the regear (4.56). I already have 33s from the previous owner on it. While there he mentioned some things he would do, and 1 of them was a lift. He said 3.5 suspension lift with Fox shocks (expensive I know). Since then I've been stuck on wanting a lift and toying around with the idea of doing the lift by myself (or with help from some buddies).

My question is about lift height, and what you guys would recommend. I don't plan on going up in tire size bc I've read 33s are basically toping out the 4.56 unless you put the 44 axle on, and that's not going to be in the budget anytime soon.

I've been looking at the rough country 3 and 4 inch, but I want to make sure I'm committed before buying a kit.

I'm living in Hawaii and plan on doing some light off-roading but nothing crazy. I don't plan on going crazy on the rock crawling or anything. Just want something with a bit more clearance. Laws are strict in HI, so I don't plan on kicking out the tires either.

I appreciate your help in advance and just let me know if I missed some pertinent info. Thanks!

View attachment 194431
Rig looks great.

I agree, the tires size and what you're going to do is where you should start, and plan, and also plan and research what you would do IF....as in IF you get vibes in the rear drive shaft. 3.5".....you will need to address that, most likely.

If you do the 2.5" susp and 1.25" BL...odds are lower you have that issue, but it can absolutely happen.

Would you do the TC drop which is easy, or go the full bore and get a SYE and DC drive shaft? That's more expensive that the TC Drop which is essentially some washers.

I wouldn't get a kit without adjustable control arms if I was going 3 - 4", that just me. If I'm doing it, I want a kit that will help me dial in the issues, not need to replace the arms to do that.
 

LJ Jim

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
99
Location
92630
Nice Jeep! FYI you don't need a Dana 44 to run 4.88 or 5.13 gears. They will fit in the dana 30 and lots of people run 35s with that combo here.

What gear ratio should I install in my Jeep Wrangler TJ / LJ? (and other re-gearing FAQs)
 
OP
Chezzy04

Chezzy04

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Oahu Hawaii
About 50k miles or so with the lift on so far and I have not had any issues with the driveshaft or any other component. Some things I forgot to mention which you might want to consider are revolving around tire size. You should begin your build revolving around what tire size you plan on running. For example for my 33's I have upgraded my steering system to combat the weight added. I have a ZJ tie rod conversion and a JKS adjustable track bar along with an Old Man Emu steering stabaliser. Another thing you might want to consider with the lift is replacing your C channel control arms.


That sounds about right. I was already planning on replacing the tie rods and ends as well as the track bars. I figured I might as well replace the stabilizer while I was at it. Do the C channel arms you're talking about normally come with a kit?
 

Sancho

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2018
Messages
1,516
Location
San Diego, CA, United States
That sounds about right. I was already planning on replacing the tie rods and ends as well as the track bars. I figured I might as well replace the stabilizer while I was at it. Do the C channel arms you're talking about normally come with a kit?

The kits thst do come with arms are high priced.... im thinking $2.5k range or more.

You can run a basic 2.5 spring lift with a 1 inch body lift to get the ideal height for 33s.

But.. that isnt mandatory to be 4.25 in lift. You could get away with a bit less... especially if your just doing some very light wheeling.

Along with the lift you would need a 1 inch motor mount lift to help avoid vibes... and an adjustable front track bar and a relocation bracket for the rear trackbar.

The above is a minimal and least expensive ($800 or so) approach to running 33s with proper clearance.
 

cpwolf

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
619
Location
Cedar Park, TX
That sounds about right. I was already planning on replacing the tie rods and ends as well as the track bars. I figured I might as well replace the stabilizer while I was at it. Do the C channel arms you're talking about normally come with a kit?
I think when he says C Channel arms, he's talking about "Factory control Arms". If you look at them, they are pressed sheet metal into a hollow c channel (for experts, if that's not 100% ... I'm using lay terms, ha).

They aren't bad, but here's the issue. IF you go 3.5" or 4", then you're most likely going to need to deal with Vibes in the rear driveshaft, front is not an issue.

When you most likely do, you need to have planned out how to fix that. Also, if you go 3.5" to 4" suspension lift as you mentioned, then there needs to be different than factory Control Arms. If you want this to run correctly, there are details that come with that.

1. Adjustable track bars as you already mentioned, because with that height, the axle will shift some.
2. With that height, you are most likely going to need adjustable control arms.
A. Why? Well, in the front you may need to dial in Caster, to make it drive right and not have issues, the height changes Caster no matter what....so you make changes in the CA length to correct the driveability. On the rear, your pinion angle becomes and issue. If you do a TC Drop or MML (working one end or the other's height to try and get rid of vibes in the rear) you will need to adjust the rear pinion angle. IF you go SYE, you REALLY need to adjust pinion, adjustable CAs are needed.

The option of 2.5" suspension and 1" BL....might get you where you want to be....without the need for adjustable arms, but that's not a 100% guarantee, and noone can guarantee that, because each rig can have a subtle difference.

That's just what I've learned here (on top of my experience outside just the TJ world) and the data here has been spot on for me. Personally, I'd get a 3.5 or 4" with adjustable CAs if I wanted that height, then look at the rear driveline, whether a TC drop or then an SYE and DC driveshaft were the answer, because I'd have the option of going 35's in the future.

I certainly wouldn't argue with someone that said 2.5" and 1" BL since you're saying you're not going 35's, then you've got a shot to do this and not need the more expensive pieces after your lift kit. It's possible just the lift kit and then ....maybe...a TC drop.
 
OP
Chezzy04

Chezzy04

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Oahu Hawaii
One of the kits I saw had a TC drop spacer. I wasn't sure if that was better or worse than a motor mount lift. I know as far as install I would say the TC is an easier adjustment, but I haven't looked into the motor mount lift. Right now I have enough clearance for the 33s on there. But as soon as I try to take it out offroad I can almost guarantee I'll have issues with clearance. That's why I've been eyeballing the lift kits... I found this one that I am leaning towards just because it already has decent shocks with the kit and isn't terribly priced. Thoughts?

 

Sancho

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2018
Messages
1,516
Location
San Diego, CA, United States
One of the kits I saw had a TC drop spacer. I wasn't sure if that was better or worse than a motor mount lift. I know as far as install I would say the TC is an easier adjustment, but I haven't looked into the motor mount lift. Right now I have enough clearance for the 33s on there. But as soon as I try to take it out offroad I can almost guarantee I'll have issues with clearance. That's why I've been eyeballing the lift kits... I found this one that I am leaning towards just because it already has decent shocks with the kit and isn't terribly priced. Thoughts?

Avoid TC spacers... your break over angles worsen.... then again.. your just lightly wheeling in Hawaii.

Zone combo 4.25.... decent product and that setup is pretty established.
 

Sicairos49

A wise man once said, “Google it”
Supporting Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
267
Location
Southern Oregon
One of the kits I saw had a TC drop spacer. I wasn't sure if that was better or worse than a motor mount lift. I know as far as install I would say the TC is an easier adjustment, but I haven't looked into the motor mount lift. Right now I have enough clearance for the 33s on there. But as soon as I try to take it out offroad I can almost guarantee I'll have issues with clearance. That's why I've been eyeballing the lift kits... I found this one that I am leaning towards just because it already has decent shocks with the kit and isn't terribly priced. Thoughts?



Look up James Combs or David Sykes on Facebook. Both dealers for the island for various companies that can sometimes beat out big name companies such as 4 Wheel Parts.

I would jump on a 2.5-3” and 1.25” BL. Hit me up if you have questions on getting stuff out to the island. I know how expensive it can be (lived out on Oahu the last 3 1/2 years before moving in January). I’ve learned a few tricks here and there to save $ on shipping.
 

Wingback73

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
125
Location
Massachusetts
I spent a lot of time trying to make this exact same decision. What I universally found is that lifting more than 2.5-3" was a much bigger deal than staying under that barrier as you end up getting into issues with the transmission/transfer case location, need an SYE for the driveshaft, and also get into control arms and track bars.

For me, I went with a 2" rear and a 3" front to level off the vehicle since I like the look better. I did adjustable control arms (Core 4x4 Level 2) and track bars since mine were shot and I needed to replace them anyway, but you will save at least $1K by sticking under the 2.5" mark and staying with the factory hardware (either new or your own).

I'm 6'2", btw, and getting into my vehicle is now a challenge for me (no running boards). It is an impossibility for my shorter family members. So even with a smaller lift you should make sure you have steps unless you are a giant :)

I didn't do a body lift, btw, but that is likely next: 1-1.25".

Good luck!
 

cpwolf

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
619
Location
Cedar Park, TX
I'm 6'2", btw, and getting into my vehicle is now a challenge for me (no running boards). It is an impossibility for my shorter family members. So even with a smaller lift you should make sure you have steps unless you are a giant :)
Ha, my wife is 4-11" she loves the 4" lift (sarcasm) roll bar handles above door opening are pretty close to mandatory, ha. I've got JCR rock sliders, they are level with the tub bottom, but have a step, I don't mind, but family gets annoyed, ha.
 

PRINDI

New Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
Messages
18
Location
Richland wa
Picked up an 03 Rubicon with 46k one owner. Now it’s time for tires and lift. Do I install a 4” Currie short arm , 3.5” super flex or a terraflex. All come wIth most of the needed parts at 1500.00 - 2600.00 or better end result and price buying select parts and mix it up. Also is there a good guide if I piece meal it to help me make the right choices. Want to k the p under 3K.
 

Stretch

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
194
Location
Alberta
So I have an 02 TJ that I recently bought. First Jeep, and found out the hard way that I needed a re-gear. Took it to a local recommended Jeep mechanic to discuss the upgrade. He's going to do the regear (4.56). I already have 33s from the previous owner on it. While there he mentioned some things he would do, and 1 of them was a lift. He said 3.5 suspension lift with Fox shocks (expensive I know). Since then I've been stuck on wanting a lift and toying around with the idea of doing the lift by myself (or with help from some buddies).

My question is about lift height, and what you guys would recommend. I don't plan on going up in tire size bc I've read 33s are basically toping out the 4.56 unless you put the 44 axle on, and that's not going to be in the budget anytime soon.

I've been looking at the rough country 3 and 4 inch, but I want to make sure I'm committed before buying a kit.

I'm living in Hawaii and plan on doing some light off-roading but nothing crazy. I don't plan on going crazy on the rock crawling or anything. Just want something with a bit more clearance. Laws are strict in HI, so I don't plan on kicking out the tires either.

I appreciate your help in advance and just let me know if I missed some pertinent info. Thanks!

View attachment 194431
I'm running this...
Lots of space for 33s... Very affordable and been great for my 04... I'm running with Rancho 5000x... Much cheaper than Fox... Just light off roading for me ... No crawling...
 

Gilly11277

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
16
Location
Dekalb, IL
I'm running this...
Lots of space for 33s... Very affordable and been great for my 04... I'm running with Rancho 5000x... Much cheaper than Fox... Just light off roading for me ... No crawling...
How difficult was it to install? Right now I can get the kit the RS9000XL shocks for the same price as the 5000X. I only plan on getting 32" MAYBE 33" but unlikely. Only thing I have read is you'll need bump stops because this kit doesn't include them. Any suggestions on what kind I should get?

Have an 05 Wrangler Rocky Mountain Edition with the 4.0L 6-cylinder Automatic. Bone stock.
 

06lj

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
1,149
Location
Arizona
How difficult was it to install? Right now I can get the kit the RS9000XL shocks for the same price as the 5000X. I only plan on getting 32" MAYBE 33" but unlikely. Only thing I have read is you'll need bump stops because this kit doesn't include them. Any suggestions on what kind I should get?

Have an 05 Wrangler Rocky Mountain Edition with the 4.0L 6-cylinder Automatic. Bone stock.
I've installed multiple lifts. They are not difficult but if it's your first time plan for a full day plus some of the next. I'd recommend starting to spray all of the bolts with penetrating oil now. If your only going with a 2.5" lift I would bother buying new control arms. Stock arms flex well are more than strong enough. Plus they're cheap. I would spend the money on an adjustable front track bar instead. Installation is pretty straightforward. Have a good drill bit for the rear track bar bracket. Ideally your bump stops should be set after you install the lift. Remove the springs and cycle the axles while looking for interference and keeping your shocks from bottoming out. There are multiple brands but they all work. You just want to get the right thickness so you don't ruin your shocks or loose any uptravel. I've had both the 9000 and 5000 shocks. I actually prefer the ride of the 5000's and they have a little more travel.
 

Gilly11277

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
16
Location
Dekalb, IL
I've installed multiple lifts. They are not difficult but if it's your first time plan for a full day plus some of the next. I'd recommend starting to spray all of the bolts with penetrating oil now. If your only going with a 2.5" lift I would bother buying new control arms. Stock arms flex well are more than strong enough. Plus they're cheap. I would spend the money on an adjustable front track bar instead. Installation is pretty straightforward. Have a good drill bit for the rear track bar bracket. Ideally your bump stops should be set after you install the lift. Remove the springs and cycle the axles while looking for interference and keeping your shocks from bottoming out. There are multiple brands but they all work. You just want to get the right thickness so you don't ruin your shocks or loose any uptravel. I've had both the 9000 and 5000 shocks. I actually prefer the ride of the 5000's and they have a little more travel.
Thanks for the info. For what it's worth, this will spend 95% of it's life on the road. Any offroading will be established dirt roads with a few bumps here and there. There will be absolutely no rock crawling or difficult terrain (I live in IL). Having said all that, do you still recommend buying this kit or would you suggest something else?

I'm mainly going for looks but prefer to do more than blocks. My first Jeep but I'm capable with a wrench! :)