JKU lift kits

Scott_P

Legacy Registered User
CJ-8.com Member
City
Benzonia
State
MI
#1
Knowing a lot of us are Jeep nuts and have more than one Jeep...I thought I check in here about JKU lift kits. Not to mention I trust you guys a lot more on this site than the average Jeep site.

After some on-line research I am considering a small lift kit for our 2014 JKU. Most miles are on the road as this is DD and some occasional two-tracking on the weekends out to a cool camping spot or whatever. It really doesn't need a lift for where it likely will ever go unless someday it becomes more than a DD, but would like to look a little more robust w/o compromising mileage and on road manners too much. Likely plan to go with a BDS 2" spring lift (vs. coil spacers) w/Fox shocks. Choosing BDS for a few reasons...Michigan company, no BS warranty and reviews seem good. (As are others...AEV, OM EMU, J-Spec, etc.) Hoping to keep tire size reasonable to avoid needing to re-gear...maybe a 33ish. Might pull a small trailer a few times a year. (M-416 or teardrop size)

Anybody on here set-up this way or similar? Curious about real world experience regarding ride handling, power loss, etc. Am I going to need to re-gear anyway and wish I went 3" and 35's?

I should note I believe the Jeep currently has the sucky 3.21 gears and LT255/75R17 tires (about 32")

Thanks for any input!
 
Last edited:

wjtstudios

1985 CJ 8
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Rochester
State
Mi
#2
Knowing a lot of us are Jeep nuts and have more than one Jeep...I thought I check in here about JKU lift kits. Not to mention I trust you guys a lot more on this site than the average Jeep site.

After some on-line research I am considering a small lift kit for our 2014 JKU. Most miles are on the road as this is DD and some occasional two-tracking on the weekends out to a cool camping spot or whatever. It really doesn't need a lift for where it likely will ever go unless someday it becomes more than a DD, but would like to look a little more robust w/o compromising mileage and on road manners too much. Likely plan to go with a BDS 2" spring lift (vs. coil spacers) w/Fox shocks. Choosing BDS for a few reasons...Michigan company, no BS warranty and reviews seem good. (As are others...AEV, OM EMU, J-Spec, etc.) Hoping to keep tire size reasonable to avoid needing to re-gear...maybe a 33ish. Might pull a small trailer a few times a year. (M-416 or teardrop size)

Anybody on here set-up this way or similar? Curious about real world experience regarding ride handling, power loss, etc. Am I going to need to re-gear anyway and wish I went 3" and 35's?

I should note I believe the Jeep currently has the sucky 3.21 gears and LT255/75R17 tires (about 32")

Thanks for any input!
I completely agree with supporting Michigan companies, But I would personally recommend EVO, their kits start at 3". Made in the USA and extremely high quality, that's what's under my JKU now. I have run AEV, they built my JKU originally, and was happy with theirs. I have heard that BDS runs a bit stiff. Currie springs and EVO plush ride springs ride very smooth.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

A 2.5" lift can run 35's with minimal rubbing at full flex with stock flares. 33's with little to none. it all depends on your bump stop height.
Anything over 2.5-3" it is recommended to do a drag link flip.
Anything over 2.5"-3" you will eventually need to replace your front drive shaft, the CV will blow out.
Your front D30 axle will be your weak point. They tend to bend easily with larger tires if you do not truss and gusset it.
3:21 gears are ok with 33s, but 35's you want to be at 4:10-4:56.
with 35's you will need to go to a lesser backspaced wheel to avoid rubbing the frame or add spacers.

As far as wishing to go bigger, its a Jeep, they never stop growing!! A bunch of guys I run my JKU with run 3" lifts with 37's and cut flares keeping the COG as low as they can. If you go with a good 3" lift, you can grow your Jeep with out modifying the suspension. Just the wheels, tires, and cutting or replacing the flares. Eventually swap out the front for a D44 and lock them up and you will have a great trail/DD Jeep!
 

Scott_P

Legacy Registered User
CJ-8.com Member
City
Benzonia
State
MI
#3
Thanks for your input! I have been pondering the this point as well....

"If you go with a good 3" lift, you can grow your Jeep with out modifying the suspension. "

One of the beauties of the JK....lots of options thanks to the fender flare design and available after-market pieces.
 

Scott_P

Legacy Registered User
CJ-8.com Member
City
Benzonia
State
MI
#4
Update: I went with a 2" coil spring BDS kit (vs. spacers) and Bilstein 5100 shocks...

Turned out perfect for our wants/needs. Rides excellent, better than stock. Not necessarily softer, but not rougher either, just better...smoother, more stable. Not sure how much of that may be due to the shocks, but we are pleasantly surprised. Basically this is what Jeep should have done at the factory in my opinion.

The kit came with exhaust spacers to improve front drive shaft clearance. Here's a tip for anybody in the rust belt - cut the bolts, (rotate the flange on the drivers side as needed) and drive out the nuts with an air hammer chisel/punch. They are splined and pressed into the flange like a wheel stud. I was starting to moan when I saw how bad the bolts were corroded IMG_2747[1].JPG , but it worked out slick. Slammed some new bolts in with washers and nuts and you are done.

Another tip for the Bilstein shocks - read the directions...yep do it, otherwise you'll wonder why the heck the Bilstein front shock upper mount stud is so short. It works when you put the steel washers on in the correct orientation - which looks backwards. Type 38 mounting in the instructions. Took me a minute to stop and see the light.
 

Gueon

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Thatcher
State
AZ
#5
We put a 4.5" Mopar lift and Fox shocks on our 2012 JKU, running 315's or 35's with no rub. The lift was installed at the dealership.

No change to driveline, it all worked just fine. We have a Rubicon with 4.10 gears, definitely need to go to higher gearing to make it more enjoyable to drive (it's also a stick). All in all I would do it again, but just know that the Jeep will suck to drive on a windy day, well, make that suck more than it does now.

I also pull an M416 trailer.
 

Attachments

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#7
For later reference by anyone finding this thread down the line, there is an Energy Suspension Rock-Flex poly kit that was announced at SEMA for the JLs that will be coming to the JKs and it is very, very interesting. Dual-elastomer replacement bushings for some absolutely insane flex with the stock arms and you reuse all of the stock components to get a nice lift to fit larger tires. Lots of thought into making the other changes needed along with the spacers to get something that works well at a really good price point.

Sort of taking spacer kits to a new level while adding some crazy flex at the joints that the stock setup would never allow while retaining great on-road manners.

IMG_9990.JPG IMG_9992.JPG IMG_9987.JPG
 
Top