Review & Install Video
Hey, guys. So, today I'm here with the Rough Country 3.25-inch Lift Kit with the N2.0 Premium Shocks fitting all 1997 to 2002 TJ Wranglers with the 4.0-liter motor.
Now, if you're looking to get your TJ ready to conquer some trails with an all-inclusive and very affordable lift kit, this option by Rough Country is a perfect one to take a look into.
Now, choosing a suspension for your application can be tricky because of all the parts that are going on with your suspension and you always wanna choose one that is going to be perfect for what you're doing with your Wrangler. So, this option by Rough Country is gonna be for that TJ owner that's looking for a moderate amount of lift that's gonna provide them some good flex and some good articulation off-road to be able to conquer those heavy-duty trails while also maintaining some good drivability on the street and fitting up to a 33-inch tire, which I'll get into in just a little bit.
Now, this is also going to be a very inclusive kit. This is gonna provide you everything that you need to get that height on your Wrangler. And also really everything that you need to accommodate for that added height, like a track bar relocation bracket for the rear as well as a transfer case drop kit.
So, for the affordability of this lift kit, you are getting all of those odds and ends that you definitely need when you are adding that three and a quarter inches of lift. Now, as far as tires go, a 33-inch tire is going to be the recommended size for this lift kit. So, it's gonna give you some good room in the wheel well for all of that articulation that you may want off-road, but it's still going to fit that wheel well very nice and not leave a lot of extra room and make them look a little bit too small for the actual lift.
Now, as far as 31s go, that's probably gonna be your case. They will look a little bit small in there. But you're going to have a lot of room in the wheel well for articulation if you're looking for a smaller tire and more articulation. So, as far as 35, it's going to be the exact opposite. You will be fitting a larger tire in here than this lift kit can accommodate. You will have a little bit of rubbing from wheel lock to wheel lock and you're not gonna have a lot of room for up travel in your wheel well, however, that can be fixed with some extra bump stop extensions. However, for this lift kit, as far as the fenders and the bump stops go, this is gonna be rated for that 33-inch tire and it's going to fit the best.
So, as far as price goes, this is gonna be very affordable. Like I said before, roughly $450. And for a very inclusive kit, I think that is right on point. So, as far as choosing a lift kit goes based on price, the more expensive options are usually going to include a lot more components than this lift kit does even though this is a pretty inclusive kit. So, usually, those are gonna have maybe a couple of control arms, maybe all eight control arms. They may include track bars, and again, they are going to have those odds and ends that are going to accommodate for that height or they may be higher in height. So, instead of a three and a quarter, you may be getting up into the four and fives.
Now, on the other hand, less expensive choices are going to be for those bare-bone kits. They may only come with shocks and quills, and you're gonna have to kinda outsource for sway bar links and the other accommodating factors that go into a lift kit or they're just going to be for spacer kits. So, if you are looking for something that's dead in the middle and at a very good price, I think that this hits the nail on the head.
So, install is gonna be a three out of three wrenches on the difficulty meter. This is gonna be a pretty tough job, so I would recommend to take your Wrangler to a trusted mechanic in order to get the job done. However, I will show you bolt by bolt how to do that. So, speaking of the install, let's jump into that now.
The tools that I used for my install were a can of PB Blaster or any penetrating lubricant, a hammer, an assortment of standard and metric sockets including shallow and deep, chrome, and impact. Also, including swivel sockets, I have impact swivel sockets, torque sockets, an assortment of extensions, a large pry bar, a breaker bar, a center punch, an assortment of standard and metric wrenches, open-ended and ratcheting, a vice grip, a 3/8ths-inch drive ratchet, a pair of snips or dykes, a Phillips head screwdriver, a small and large flathead screwdriver, a small pry bar, a trim removal tool, a couple of pry and trim removal tools, a dead blow, an assortment of different size drill bits as well as a step bit. I have a marker and safety glasses, a 3/8ths-inch drive and half-inch drive, impact wrench, a drill, and a spring compressor.
So, to start with this lift kit, you wanna make sure that your Jeep is up in the air, whether it's on the lift like we have it or on in jack and jack stands. Now, we're starting in the front, so if you are on a jack and jack stands, you need to drop the rear wheels and take off the front wheels first. Now, next, you just need to support the axle and then we're gonna start with our sway bar end links.
So, I'm gonna be removing it with the T55 Torx bit and an 18-millimeter wrench. So, I'm using a 17-millimeter wrench over here because of all the rust on this Jeep, this turned into a 17-millimeter bolt instead of an 18. After that, we can pull the sway bar down and work on that at top stud. So, we have to take off the top stud that's connected to our sway bar. So, this nut should be a 16-millimeter, so I'm gonna use a 16-millimeter deep socket and my impact wrench to take that off. So, this is tapered, so you will have to take a hammer and just knock it out.
So our next step is going to move to the shock. So, we have to take out the two bolts that are holding in the bottom of our shock. So, I'm gonna be using a 13-millimeter deep socket for the nut on the bottom side. and a 13-millimeter wrench for the bolt head on the top side.
So, once those are removed, we can do the same thing on the other side, then we can lower our axle a little bit and get out that top stud. So, now we can remove our front shocks, top nut on the stud up there. Now, I am gonna be using a 9/16-inch ratcheting wrench and a pair of vice grips to keep the shaft from spinning. Now, I would highly recommend to hit this with a lot of PB Blaster just because this is pretty difficult to get off. So, once that nut is off, then we can remove our vice grips and then we can lower our axle a little bit. So, you might have to put a little bit of pressure on the shock. So, we can just do the same thing on the other side. So, what we're gonna do next, is just take a little bit of compression off that axle, push up on the shock, and wiggle it out.
So, our next step is just to disconnect the axle side of our track bar in order for our axle to completely drop so we can get our springs out. So, I'm gonna be using a T50 Torx bit and my impact wrench to remove that bolt. So, I'm just using a wrench behind the bolt just to give it a little bit of pressure since that flag nut is already off.
So, what we're gonna do now is start to lower our axle now that we have everything that's keeping it up there disconnected. But you wanna keep an eye on your brake lines so you're not maxing them out. Also, on your axle breather tube, so you should be able to drop it low enough. So, what we need to do now is just wiggle out our spring. So, for our driver's side spring, there will be a spring clipped down at the bottom held in a bolt. I'm gonna use a 14-millimeter deep socket in order to remove that bolt that's holding on the spring clip.
All right. So, now we can go ahead and remove our driver's side spring. So, now that we slid the isolator down, what we need to do is remove the bump stop cup as well as the bump stop in order to fully remove the isolator. So, what we can do is just wiggle out this bump stop. So, after you have your bumps stop out, it's going to expose a 15-millimeter bolt that's holding on this bottom cup. So, I'm gonna take a 15-millimeter socket as well as an extension and remove that bolt.
So, before we go ahead and install our new suspension in the front, I did want to take the old components and sit them next to the new suspension system and tell you guys a little bit more about the upgrade that you're gonna get with this new suspension by Rough Country and what you're not missing out on from your stock components. Now, right off the bat, you can tell that these have seen a lot of wear and tear. This is a 1999 Jeep, so obviously, these are due for a bit of an upgrade. Now, this suspension system is gonna do just that by adding all these new components with a little bit more and also having all those components to accommodate that extra height that you're getting out of this lift kit.
Now, starting off with the shocks, there are two main different types of shocks. So, you have a hydraulic shock as well as a nitrogen charged shock. And a hydraulic shock like your factory one is gonna be very comfortable and very fluid in comparison to a nitrogen charged shock. Now, that's because they are mainly used for daily driving and very comfortable driving and they're not necessarily focused on performance like a nitrogen charged shock will. So, your factory shock is going to be a hydraulic shock, but the problem with hydraulic shocks is that if you are going to go off-roading and you're planning on working that shock a little bit harder than you would when you are just daily driving your Jeep, that is going to heat up and cause cavitation which is foaming forming inside the shock body and it can lead to shock fade over time, which is just a very squishy shock and it's not going to perform how you would want it to perform on your Wrangler.
Now, the nitrogen charged shock like this N2.0 from Rough Country, this is going to reduce shock fade over time because it is nitrogen charged and a little bit stiffer. So, even though this is still a twin tube shock, like your factory one, this is going to reduce that shock fade and disperse heat a lot better than a hydraulic shock would. So, this is charged to 200 PSI, so it is going to be a little bit stiffer, however, it is going to handle a lot better. You're not gonna get as much body roll out of this as you would a softer shock. And this is also just going to be able to take a beating just that much more and perform a lot better on the trail which is definitely what you want out of a performance shock.
So, moving on to the springs, this is where you're gonna get all of your heights. So, in comparison to the factory spring, this is still going to be a progressive rate shock, however, it is gonna be a little bit taller and this is also going to have a preset spring rate, so you are going to still get that comfortable aspect out of that spring with all of that height added to it.
Now, moving on to the sway bar end links, as you can tell, this has seen a lot of wear and tear. Now, the big thing about these sway bar end links from the factory is that they have a ball and socket style attachment up at the top, which is prone to failure over time, especially if you're looking to do a lot of work with your Wrangler. If you're looking to take it off-road, it can damage these sway bar end links. Now, the big thing about this is that there is a rubber boot on top of that ball and socket style attachment and that can rip, and that's the case here and all of that grease is prone to getting dirt in it and prone to failing this and siezing this up. So, moving on to the new sway bar end link that you're getting, you're getting two standard style bushings on each end and that is going to reduce all of that wear and tear on that factory style bushing. And it's also gonna come with a U-bracket to adapt to your sway bar and they're going to be a little bit longer as well to accommodate for that extra lift height.
So, speaking of accommodating for that extra height, you are getting a couple of different components in this kit that are going to accommodate for the extra height that you're adding with this lift kit. So, you are getting a transfer case drop racket and you are also getting a rear track bar relocation bracket. Now, overall, this is going to be a big upgrade as you can tell from your factory components. N ow, let's go ahead and install our new kit.
So, our next step is to install our new isolator and then reinstall our bump stop cup. So, because I did have a problem with the previous bolt, I did replace it. So, instead of a 15-millimeter socket, I am gonna step it up to a 17-millimeter socket. We're gonna tighten that down and then we can go ahead and reinstall our bump stop. So, because our axle isn't dropping enough, what I'm gonna have to do is use a spring compressor. So, I'm just gonna take a 19-millimeter socket and tighten this up.
So, what we can do next is just put on our spring retainer clip with the factory hardware, making sure that it's set into place, and then just tightening that down with our 14-millimeter socket. All right. Now, we can repeat that process on the other side.
So, our next step is to install our shock. Now, you wanna make sure that you have the bushing as well as the cup washer on the bottom and you have the other bushing and the other cup washer to place on top of that shock perch. So, you may have to compress the shock a little bit just to get it in place. But once it's sitting in place, you can grab your step stool and go ahead and secure the top bushing, cup washer, and nut down. You wanna make sure that you put the bushing on first and then the cup washer, and then we're gonna grab our new provided nut and thread that on.
So, once you catch a thread, you can take your 9/16th-inch wrench and tighten that down. So, you want to make sure that that nut up there is tight, but you wanna make sure that this bushing right here is not bulging. So, don't over tighten it, it can damage the bushing. However, you wanna make sure that it is pretty flush with the top of your shock perch and then we can secure the bottom. So, now we can take our factory hardware to secure the bottom of the shock, that's gonna be the 13-millimeter bolt and 13-millimeter nut. Then we can tighten that down with our 13-millimeter wrench and our 13-millimeter socket that we used to remove them.
So, our next step is to install our front sway bar end links. However, we do need to press in those metal sleeves first. And while we're already over at our vice, we might as well press in the rear sway bar end link metal bushings as well. So, they're gonna be two different sizes. The front ones are going to be a little bit bigger in diameter than the rear ones. And your front sway bar end links are going to be the ones with the bend in them. So, you're gonna take the bigger metal bushing and we're gonna go ahead and press that in.
So, what we can do after our metal sleeves are pressed in is to attach our U-bolt. Now, you wanna make sure that the bolt is facing upward and you have your flat washer on there. Then we can attach the flange nut on the other side. Then we can tighten that down with a 9/16th-inch wrench and socket. Then we can grab our sway bar, making sure that the bolt is going to be facing the inside, put the inside our U-bolt, put in our new bolt that was provided to us by Rough Country. Making sure that flat washer is on there, take the large flange nut, and we're gonna go ahead and tighten that down.
What we can do next is take a 19-millimeter wrench and a 19-millimeter socket and just go ahead and tighten that down. Then we can do the same thing for the other side and then we can attach the bottom bolt. So, now we can attach to the bottom part of our sway bar end link with factory hardware. And we can tighten that up with that T55 Torx bit and that 18-millimeter wrench. Then you're gonna do the same thing to the other side.
So, I did loosen up this mount just because I want to get the sway bar end link in place before we go ahead and tighten it down.
So, our last step in the front is going to be to drill a new hole for our track bar, because it is going to be off-center after we have lifted our Wrangler. So, you want to measure over three-quarters of an inch, mark a hole, and then we're going to take a couple of drill bits and step up to a 7/16th-inch hole so then we can attach our track bar once our Jeep is on the ground. So, I'm going above the factory hole, three-quarter inches over from the center of the factory hole. Just gonna make a mark there. Then we can grab a center punch, mark where we wanna drill, and then what I'm gonna do is grab a couple of drill bits, start with a smaller drill bit for a pilot hole and then step it up from there. So, I'm starting off with a 3/16th-inch drill bit and I am just going to drill as straight as possible into the other side of our axle side track bar bracket.
All right. So, after that pilot hole is drilled, what I'm gonna do is grab my step bit and I'm going to step this up to a 7/16th-inch hole or just right under a half-inch. So, this is just gonna speed up the process a little bit. All right. So, that is what our hole is gonna look like. Now, what we have to do is do the same thing on the other side so we can attach our track bar to the other side of this bracket. So, what I'm doing now is just stepping up to a 5/16th-inch. So, I'm gonna step it up to a 7/16th-inch bit. All right. And our hole for our track bar is complete. So, once we have this down on its own weight, we can go ahead and reattach our track bar. But that's it for the front, so let's move on to our transfer case drop.
So, our next step is to drop our transfer case. Now, you're gonna be provided with six spacers as well as six longer bolts than the factory bolts that are already in there. Now, what I'm gonna do is loosen the other side. I actually already loosened the other side. Then I'm gonna do the same thing with this side. and we're gonna go bolt by bolt so we don't totally disconnect that subframe underneath because that is supporting our transfer case. So, it doesn't look like these bolts are gonna give us enough space to get our new spacer in, so what I did was took a pull jack and I'm just going to have that underneath our subframe here just to hold this up while we take out the other bolts since they are significantly shorter than our new bolts. And I'll even show you guys that. So, the new bolt in comparison to the old bolt is significantly shorter, so I am just going to support it and we're gonna take all three out and then lower this down. Now, the other ones on the other side are loosened exactly for that purpose so...
So, now that those are out and it's supported, what we can do is start to lower this with our pull jack then we have the right amount of space, clear that off. Then we can go ahead and put in our spacers. Then we can take our longer bolt and start to thread that in. Now, that those are threaded in with the spacers in between, we can take our 19-millimeter socket and go ahead and tighten those up. So, we can do the same thing on the other side, making sure that the subframe is supported by the pull jack.So, now that we're finished up with the transfer case drop, what we can do is support our rear axle and start by taking out our rear shocks.
So, now we can remove the lower bolt on our shocks. I'm gonna use an 18-millimeter box wrench for the nut side and a 15-millimeter socket for the bolt head side. So, I was going to use a breaker bar in order to crack that nut free, however, that bolt is very rusty and it ended up just breaking off. So, what I'm gonna do is just remove the rest of this bolt. I might have to take a punch and a hammer to get the rest of that bolt out. But as soon as that's out, we can move to the top. So, unfortunately, the impact gun didn't do its job to get this bolt out, so I did use a breaker bar and ended up snapping the bolt.
Now, what I did in order to get that out is just pried it out a little bit farther so I could fit a pry bar behind it, and kind of wedge it out. Then once I was able to get it out enough to fit a wrench behind it, I did exactly the same thing that we did with the front track bar and pried it out with a wrench and impacted it out the rest of the way. So, hopefully, the other side will not be the same, but we are prepared if that does happen. Now, we were supposed to be reusing these factory bolts, but we have a couple of extra lying around so we'll be able to reuse those bolts that we have. But if you get this off, you will need to reuse this in the future. So, keep that in mind and put that aside. But let's head over to the other side so we can get that lower bolt out.
So, we're gonna do the same thing on the other side, hoping for a better outcome. And it was a lot better. So, this is what should happen. However, if you do need to replace the bolt if you do get a bolt that broke. So, like I told you guys, if you have a little bit of trouble getting that out what you can do just like we did with the front track bar, is take a 15-millimeter wrench or really any size wrench that will fit on there and take your impact and give it a little pressure, pry on it, and it will help itself the rest of the way out. So, now we can remove the top bolts. So, there's going to be two bolts on either side of that bar pin that are holding in the top of that shock.
Now, these are gonna be really rusty, I've soaked them overnight with PB Blaster, however, they could potentially break, so just be very careful. So, I'm using a 13-millimeter swivel socket and it is gonna be a little bit difficult to see. But if you follow that shaft upwards, you'll locate the two bolts on either side of the bar pin. So, I switched to a straight socket, just a standard socket just because it m ight do a little bit better than that swivel up against the frame. So, after both of those bolts are out, we can completely remove the old shock. So, once both of those top bolts are out, you can remove your shock. I like to use a pry bar if it's just being a little tough down at the bottom.
So, our next step is to remove our sway bar end links. Now these are gonna be on the inside of our lower control arms in the rear. The outside of the bolt is going to be an 18-millimeter and then the nut side is going to be a 15-millimeter. So, I'm gonna use an 18-millimeter socket and a 15-millimeter wrench to remove that bottom bolt. So, if you follow that sway bar up to the top, there is gonna be a threaded hole in your frame. I'm gonna use the same 18-millimeter socket in order to remove that top bolt. After that's out, we'll be able to remove those. So we can do the same thing on the other side. So, because the exhaust is in the way, I am gonna use a five-inch extension just to reach that upper 18-millimeter bolt. So, what I'm doing here is removing the upper track bar bolt in order to drop our axle because we can't access the axle side track bar bolt. So, I have a 15-millimeter swivel on the bolt head side and a 19-millimeter wrench on the nut side and we're just gonna go ahead and remove it so we can drop our axle.
So, now that we've disconnected the frame side of our track bar, what we can do is lower our axle and take out our spring. So, now you're gonna have to have someone either pull down on the axle or you can pull down on the axle yourself and we're gonna go ahead and remove that spring. So, you can do the same thing for the other side. So, just like the front, we are gonna have to remove the bump stop and the bump stop cup so we can attach our isolator up there. So, I'm just going to take a pry tool, a flathead screwdriver, and assist myself to get this. Try to work this bump stop out. So, we can the same thing on the other side.
So, our last step is to take off the bump stop cup with that same 15-millimeter socket. And we are going to take off this stock isolator and replace it with our new one by Rough Country. So, what we're gonna do next is install our bump stop cup with our new isolator and our factory isolator on top. I did have to replace this bolt as well, so I'm gonna be using a 17-millimeter socket in order to tighten that down. Then we can do the same thing on the other side. Then our last step is just to put in that bump stop. So, I did have to use the spring compressor again just to get in our spring and you may need someone to pull down on the axle for you.
So, our next step is going to be to install our track bar relocation bracket down on the axle side track bar bracket. Now, I wanna do this before we get the shocks in just so we have enough space in order to get the bracket on because we do have to do a little bit of drilling in order to get that bracket on there. So, you're gonna need a T55 Torx bit. And remember we disconnected the frame side of that track bar, so just be aware of that when you are disconnecting the axle side. We will connect the frame side again after we have everything reconnected down at the bottom.
So, I do have a plastic cover here on our track bar axle bracket. What I'm gonna do is just take a pry tool and remove that clip that's holding in this plastic piece. We can pitch that to the side and then we can grab our axle side track bar relocation bracket and go ahead and start installing that. So, we do have to remove our track bar in order to install the bracket. So, I'm just taking a pry bar, remembering that the other side is not connected and we're just going to wedge the track bar out.
So, what I'm gonna do just to make sure that one side of the track bar is secured, is resecure it in this top bracket here. You may have to wiggle it around to get it all lined up. But once you do, you can put that bolt through. Now, you are gonna tighten this down while it's on the ground. You want to make sure that this is pretty secure while we reconnect the other side of the track bar. All right. Now, we can go on the other side and install our track bar relocation.
So, what I'm gonna do first is put on our track bar relocation bracket. Now, you can just rest the factory track bar up on top of there, but we wanna put in our provided bolt by Rough Country. But we're going to insert the sleeve into the track bar bracket as well as the provided bolt by Rough Country and the flange nut in our factory location. So, for right now, I am just going to leave this installed while we go ahead and drill our holes. So, you don't have to have it too tight, you just wanna make sure that it is sitting pretty flush with where it should be sitting when we have to drill these holes.
So, next step, you're going to need a 5/16th-inch drill bit and we're going to widen the hole on the top as well as the bottom here. There's gonna be two holes where we have to install two bolts. So, you're gonna need a 5/16th-inch drill bit, some safety glasses, and a drill, then we can go ahead and line those holes. So, what I'm gonna do now just to get our other bolts installed, is remove this new bolt, put this aside so we can install it later, and then install our two 5/16th-inch by one-inch bolts. So, now we can go ahead and install this lower bolt first. And once that's installed with a half-inch socket and a half-inch wrench, we can tighten that down.
So, before we tighten anything down, we are just going to reinstall this bolt and then we can go ahead and tighten everything down starting with the two smaller bolts, I'm gonna use a half-inch wrench and a half-inch socket. And then lastly for the larger bolt in the factory location, a 19-millimeter socket and a 19-millimeter wrench.
Now, we will have to attach the track bar to this bracket once the Jeep is down on its own weight. So, now we can move on to the shocks. So, what I like to do is install one bolt on one side, hook the bar pin onto it and then install the other bolt. Now, because I did have a casualty with one of the bolts here, I did have to drill out that hole. There is going to be a welded nut on the other side of here. So, on the one side where I had a broken bolt, I have a new bolt and a new nut, but I am going to hook the shock bar pin on that and then install a new bolt. Now, these bolts are very prone to breaking, so you may have to replace these and that's exactly what I had to do. So, I'm just going to thread these in. That bar pin is hooked on there. So, then we can take a 13-millimeter socket and tighten those down.
So, in order to get the bottom of the shock into the shock mount down at the bottom, we may have to compress the axle just a little bit in order to raise it up. So, I put the pull jacks back underneath here. Just make sure if you're doing this to watch your lift points, you don't wanna lift the Jeep off of the actual lift. We just wanna raise this up just enough so we can get our shocks attached. So, I'm gonna install the first bolt on the frame side and then we're gonna hook the bar pin on to that bolt.
So, since we need to put the Jeep on the ground in order to get our bottom shock bolt in, we're gonna move to the sway bar links. So, I'm starting with the driver's side up at the top. This is gonna thread into our frame with our new hardware. So, once that's threaded in, we can just line up the bottom, put the bolt in, but we're gonna tighten down that top one. So, this has changed from an 18-millimeter socket to a 17 so I'm just using a 17-millimeter deep socket, my impact, and a small extension. And then we can move to the bottom bolt.
So, for this bottom one, we're gonna be using the same bolt but two flat washers and a nylon lock nut and they're both gonna be a 17, so we'll take a 17-millimeter wrench and that same socket and just tighten those down. Then we can repeat that process on the other side. So, after you have that track bar in and bolted down, I would recommend to torque all of your bolts to the factory specs. I would also recommend that you get an alignment and check that four-wheel low lever. So, if your four-wheel low is not engaging, you will have to adjust your shifter linkage. However, that wasn't the case for us, so it may not be the case for you. However, Rough Country does have that in their instructions.
But that's gonna wrap it up for this review and install. Make sure you like and subscribe. And for more products and videos like this, always keep it right here at extremetrain.com.