Jeep Lift Kits Parts 101
One of the biggest investments in your Jeep build-up will be the Jeep lift, wheels and tires combination. We cannot see these independently from one and another, since they are all related and need to be considered as a “unit”. The starting point in selecting your Jeep lift kits, will be the tire size you want to run. Everything else will be based on that decision. When selecting the tire size, keep in mind what you are looking for in your Jeep as far as street drivability, off road / trial performance, cost and the complexity of the upgrade.
Jeep Lift By The Numbers 101Now that you have decided that you want to lift your Jeep and add those bigger tires, you are probably wondering how much lift your Jeep needs to fit a certain size tire (without cutting up crazy amounts of metal and destroying your vehicle, we presume). The chart below will tell you roughly how much lift you will need to larger tires under Jeep without much modification. These Jeep lift numbers and tire fit recommendations are averages and should be used as guidelines only. The weight of your Jeep will make a difference in the amount of lift you will actually see. Items like aftermarket Jeep Bumpers, winches, roof racks, etc all have an effect on how much the Jeep will compress the springs.
Jeep Leaf Spring Lifts 101
When you Jeep has leaf springs like the older Jeep CJs, the best way to lift those is by buying new springs. These new leaf springs are longer and have more arch to give you the desired lift. Rugged Ridge offers kits that lift an average of 2-2.5” and 4”. These are the most common lifts used on leaf sprung Jeeps and offer a good ride and off road capabilities. If you go much higher in lift with just leaves you are risking interference in ride quality and it can severely limit the up travel. Check out our Jeep leaf spring kits with shock or without shock
Additional ways you may have found in your research that a Jeep could be lifted are add-a-leaf and shackle lifts. These are not really considered Jeep lifts, but are able to give you a little lift. Add-a-leafs potentially add about 1-2” of lift, at the expense of some ride quality, when the vehicle weight stays the same. Add-a-leafs are best used if you want to bolster a sagging leaf or an increase in spring rate is needed due to added weight.
Longer shackles are a good way to correct your pinion angle, but less desirable as a way to lift your Jeep. When you are installing a longer shackle of stock, you really only gain half the length. In other words, when you use a shackle that is two inches longer than stock, you only gain one inch in height. Shackles are better used to correct ride height if needed.
Jeep Coil Spring Lifts 101
We can divide coil spring lifts in two basic categories, spring lifts and spacer lifts. Let’s start with the more affordable option to discuss, the spacer lifts. To put it simply, a spacer lift is just that, you put a spacer between the coil spring and the upper spring mount. They tend to be made in most cases of polyurethane and in some cases metal. There are even some that are adjustable spacer available. When you just need a little extra clearance for a slightly larger tire, the coil spacer might just do the job for you. Depending on the height of the spacer, your kit may come with longer shocks or with shock extensions. This depends on the manufacturer of the kit you selected. Similar to the shackle on leaf spring kits, the spacer is ideal if you need to level or correct the ride hide when you put a suspension lift on your Jeep.
Spring lifts are available in many variations:
1) The basic spring swap consists of just longer springs with either longer shocks or shock extensions. Similar to the spacer lifts, the maximum lift gain you get is about 2 inches.
2) Short arm spring kits use control arms of similar length to your original ones. These lifts have the geometry corrected based on the lift height. Short arm kits should max out at about three inches in lift, four on the high side. This will maintain the best drivability without creating a harsher drive.
3) Long arm spring kits, as the name tells us, have longer control arms. Long arm kits are available from a variety of manufacturers. The reduction in the angularity of the arms reduces or eliminates the negative drivability. These kits also offer an increased wheel travel when off-roading.
In Conclusion On Jeep Lifts
You will need to determine how you are going to use your Jeep. How much on road and off road you are going to use it. And when you are going off road, what type of off-roading will you be doing. The extra ground clearance suspension lift kits provide will give you and your Jeep the ability to crawl over smaller and larger obstacles. Based on all your different uses, the right Jeep lift kits will help you reach your goal of solid on and off road performance. Enjoy your adventure.