Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com and this is my review of the Rough Country two-and-a-half-inch Lift Kit with Shocks fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs. There are two different versions of this lift kit, one is for the two-door and one for the four-door, and they come with slightly different springs, so make sure you get the right one for your Jeep.This lift kit is for those of you who want to be able to run a 35-inch tire on your Jeep without the fear of rubbing, whether you're on-road or off-road. You can certainly run a smaller 33 and possibly even squeeze a 37 under the Jeep, but you're going to have some rubbing issues.As you can see, this lift kit has the minimum number of components that you would need to get the Jeep lifted and get some bigger tires on it. This doesn't include any sort of caster correction or pinion correction. It doesn't have track bars or even track bar brackets. It certainly doesn't have control arms. This is just springs, shocks and brake line brackets, which again, is really the minimum that you need to get your Jeep lifted and back on the road.This is a really good starter kit and it'll save you money. And once you have it installed on a Jeep, you can start adding parts and doing some additional modifications to make the Jeep work exactly how you want it to. Because this lift is minimal in the number of parts it includes, it's also really fairly priced.So, let's talk about the components that are included in this lift kit. To start, you'll have new front and rear springs. In some Rough Country Lift kits, the full amount of lift that you get comes from the spring and also a spacer. With this two-and-a-half-inch lift kit, the full amount of the lift comes from these springs right here. So, the springs are going to be both taller but also a little bit stiffer than your factory springs. The stiffness is important because, if you have front and rear bumpers, you have armor, you have a wind sure [SP] large spare tire, your factory springs can sag under that additional weight, and these are going to hold up a lot better.Any time you're raising the right head of your vehicle, you should also add some longer shocks. That way, you get maximum off-road performance from allowing the shock and the suspension to fully droop and fully compress. The shocks that are included in this lift kit are Rough Country's Performance 2.2 shocks. This is a hydraulic shock that has an external jounce bumper, which will keep you from to run bumps soft as long as your tires don't contact the body. It has a large body for the shock, a larger piston and they're designed to hold up and take some off-road abuse.Now, like I said, this is a hydraulic shock. There are hydraulic and nitrogen shocks and there are a couple of big difference between the two of them. In any shock, there is fluid inside of it, and as you work the shock, you can get foaming and cavitation of that fluid, which will cause the shock to fade. The nitrogen charge inside of a nitrogen shock is there to keep that foaming from happening and keep the shock from fading. The down side to a nitrogen shock is that it rides a little bit stiffer than a hydraulic shock. That's why I prefer these hydraulic shocks over nitrogen on a Jeep. It gives a little bit more of a comfortable ride. However, if you are somebody who's doing high-speed desert racing going over a lot of washboards, maybe you want to look into a nitrogen shock so you have some control over your shock fade.Another component that's included in this lift kit is these brackets right over here, which are designed to lower your brake line bracket mounting points on the frame. And this is an inexpensive way to allow your suspension to fully droop at your new ride height without pulling your brake lines tight. Now in the back of the Jeep, this style bracket is perfectly fine. It gets the job done, there's nothing wrong with it, even much more expensive lift kits on the market include a bracket that's really similar.However, upfront, I don't really like these brackets. These cause you to have to straighten out some of the bends in the factory hard lines, which is something I'd rather not do. You can always pick up a longer set of brake lines for the front of the Jeep, although the installation is a little bit more difficult because you end up having to bleed the brake system. I personally would much prefer having those than bending the factory brake lines.So, like I said, for this lift kit, that's it, that's everything that's included. And if you install these parts on your Jeep, it'll lift it two and a half inches, and you can fit up to a 35-inch tire. However, there are a lot of other components that are included in other lifts, even lifts of this size, that can be added down the line to improve your ride, your handling, or the off-road performance of the Jeep. Anytime you lift a vehicle, you're going to move the axles off center a little bit if you don't add track bars or track bar brackets. So, that's something you can always add.Another thing that you could add would be sway bar disconnects to give yourself the maximum articulation off-road. And like I said before, these shocks include an external jounce bumper, but it's always a good idea to flex out suspension right after you do a lift like this, check your clearances and add bump stop extension where necessary.The installation of most lift kits is pretty similar. And the first step in getting this kit installed on your Jeep is to jack it up and support it by the frame. Then you can remove the tires and start disconnecting or loosening everything that keeps the axles from completely drooping. That's going to be your brake line brackets, your sway bars, track bars, and of course, your shocks.With a lift kit of this height, you probably won't have to disconnect the front drive shaft, however it is a possibility. Once you have all of those components loosened or removed, you can then lower the front axle all the way down until it maxes itself out. From there, the factory springs should just fall right out and you can go ahead and reinstall the new ones without the need for spring compressor. I always try to avoid using a spring compressor whenever possible and if you fully droop the axle, you shouldn't have to with a spring of this height. From there, you can then install your new shocks, your new drop brake line brackets, reattach your track bars and your sway bar and links, then it's just a matter of putting the tires back on it and you're finished.A couple of tips for installation. The nut that always bites me the most when I'm doing an installation on a JK is the front upper shock nut. It can be really tight to get in there with any type of tool, very difficult to get in there with heat or cut-off wheel if you a lot of rust, so I definitely recommend spraying that nut well before you get started with the installation with a good penetrating oil to give you the best chance of loosening it up. Because this kit does include new shocks, worst case scenario is you'll have to put a ton of leverage on it and break that nut off.Another tip for finishing up the installation is a good way to get your track bars lined up in the factory track bar mounts. After you install this lift, it can be a little bit difficult. My recommendation is to put the tires on the Jeep, get the Jeep sitting under its own weight, and then if you have somebody sit in the vehicle and turn the steering wheel, it'll move the track bar in the track bar bracket making it really easy to get that hole lined up. In the back, you obviously don't have a steering wheel to turn to help you line that up, but having a Jeep on the wheels under its own weight does make it a lot easier to push the Jeep using that leverage to help you get that bolt lined up.If you follow those installation tips and spray everything with a good penetrating oil well before you get started, the whole installation shouldn't take you more than three hours. You won't need any specialty tools to get this job done, just a torque set and some sockets. However, if you have access to air tools and to a lift, it'll speed things along. Also, having an extra set around is helpful but not necessary.Like I said before, the manufacturer suggests that you run a 35-inch tire with this lift kit, and I agree. We try to set 33s on here and obviously, we had no clearance issues, but you can pretty much run a 33 without a lift on your Jeep. So, in my opinion, the lift is a little bit too tall for a set of 33s. Thirty-fives with the proper back spacing don't have any issues with clearance when you flex the suspension or when you to turn lock to lock. You can squeeze a set of 37s on this Jeep if you plan on staying on the road and you don't need a lot of up travel, but it would also add some bump stop to make sure you keep the tires out of the fenders.I think this kit is priced really fairly for what you get. We've said it before, this is the minimum number of components you need to lift your Jeep and get it back on the road again, so you wouldn't expect it to carry the price tag of a lift kit that has a lot more components or even a lift kit that has one of those bigger brand names. However, if you're looking for something that's a budget lift kit, that's a basic lift kit that's going to get you started and get you rolling on bigger tires that you could add to and customize down the line, I see nothing wrong with starting out with a lift like this one.So, if you're looking to put a set of 35-inch tires under your Jeep and you want the basic lift kit that's going to give you room to grow and will keep you on a nice low budget at least to start out, this is a good starter lift kit, between the springs, the shocks and the brake line brackets, you have everything you need and it won't break the bank.So, that's my review of the Rough Country two-and-a-half-inch lift kit with shocks fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.