Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com and this is my review of the Rough Country 2.5 inch suspension lift with shocks, fitting all 1997 to 2006 TJs. There is a version of this lift kit for those of you with the four-cylinder and those of you with the six-cylinder, so make sure you get the right one for your Jeep.
As you can see, this is the most basic form of a lift kit. It includes lift springs and longer shocks, which is really all you need to get two and a half inches of lift under your Jeep. It's when you start getting into the bigger lifts that you need additional components to make sure everything works well together. You can save a lot of money, install a kit like this, run a set of 33-inch tires, which will give your Jeep that much more aggressive look, and give you the ability to go out on the trails and have a great time.
Like I said, this kit is really simple. It includes all four springs that you need to get that additional ride height, and these springs are also going to be a little bit longer, but also a little bit stiffer than your factory springs. So if you have things like bumpers and winches, or a large, heavy spare tire, this is going to hold up to that weight a lot better than the factory springs would. The kit also includes all four new shocks, which are going to be longer to accommodate the new higher ride height. Any time you increase ride height, you want to increase the length of the shocks to make sure that you still have the maximum off-road performance.
The shocks that are included in this kit are Rough Country 2.0 shocks, which are a nitrogen-charged shock. Anytime you're looking at a shock right out of the box, you can always tell if it's a nitrogen-charged shock or it's a hydraulic shock because the nitrogen ones will be banded together like this. If we were to remove that band, the shock would slowly, automatically expand to its full expanded length.
Now there are a few benefits to running a nitrogen shock like this over a hydraulic shock. The nitrogen charge inside of the shock is designed to prevent the fluid in the shock from foaming and bubbling up when the shock is worked really hard. That foaming and bubbling can cause cavitation and eventually cause shock fade. The nitrogen charge, again, is designed to reduce that. Now the downside to a nitrogen shock is that they can ride a little bit stiffer than a hydraulic shock. So that is something to consider when you're looking at this lift kit.
Because of the few number of components that this lift kit includes, the installation becomes really easy. The first step is to support the Jeep by the frame and, of course, remove the tires. From there you can completely remove the shocks because you're going to be installing the new ones that come with the kit. After that, you can disconnect your sway bar and links, your brake line brackets, and your track bars. What that's going to do is allow the axle to completely droop. When the axle is at full droop, the old springs should fall right out, and you can install the new ones in their place. After that, it's just a matter of reinstalling your brake line brackets, your track bars, your sway bar and links, and bolting in the new shocks.
A little tip for reinstalling your track bars, because they can be a little bit difficult to get bolted back up, is to put the Jeep under its own weight on its tires and have somebody sit in the vehicle and turn the steering wheel left or right. That will help to line up the track bar in its bracket and make it really easy to get that bolted into place.
Now, anytime you're changing the suspension geometry like this, there are a couple of other things you want to check. You want to check full articulation and full flex to make sure that your tire isn't going to bump into the body, causing any sort of damage, and you want to make sure that the shock cannot fully compress. These are a little bit longer than the factory's shocks, so there's a chance you may want to add some bump-stop extensions.
The entire lift kit should take you only about four hours to get installed, and you won't need any specialty tools to do so, although if you have access to a lift or some air tools, it will definitely speed the process along. Another tip for the installation is to make sure you spray all the applicable bolts with a good penetrating oil well before you get started. Even the newest TJ is getting up there in age and a lot of them have some rust on them, especially if you're in our area, which is right in the middle of the rust belt.
Overall, I think this kit is priced really fairly for what you get. It includes pretty much all of the components that you'll need to get the Jeep back on the road, and at the very least it's a good starter kit. As I mentioned, you can always add bump-stop extensions, or longer brake lines, or other components to make the Jeep perform even better off road. But as far as a starter kit to get you rolling again, this is a good way to do so inexpensively.
So if you're looking to add two and a half inches of lift to your Jeep for additional ground clearance, or to run up to a 33-inch tire, this is a really nice base model kit. This includes everything you need to get on the road and rolling again but also leaves you the opportunity to customize the lift kit and add components as you see how your Jeep works.
So that's my review of the Rough Country two and a half inch suspension lift with shocks, fitting all 1997 to 2006 TJs that you can find right here at ExtremeTerrain.com.