Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com, and this is my review of the Rough Country three and a quarter inch Lift Kit with Shocks, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs. This kit is available for both two-door and four-door JKs, so make sure you get the right one for your Jeep. This lift is a good way to inexpensively fit 35-inch tires under your Jeep. It includes the minimum number of components that you need to lift the Jeep, put larger tires under it, and get it back on the road, all at a minimum price. The components that are included are quality, and it'll get the job done, but there's definitely some room for growth. So as you use your Jeep and you find the limitations of the suspension, you can modify it and customize it to work exactly the way you need it to. Like I said, the kit does include everything you need to get back on the road and rolling again.
Part of the lift kit are these two and a half inch lift coil springs, and three quarter inch coil spring spacers that make up your total three and a quarter inches of lift. You have shocks front and rear, extended rear sway bar and links, brake line brackets, and a rear track bar bracket. Now there are some parts that you can always add to this lift kit as you see fit. One of those parts are bump stop extensions. Anytime you're doing suspension work, you want to fully flex the suspension and make sure you don't have any clearance issues. You also want to make sure that you're not going to fully compress the shock, which can damage it. Fully compress a spring, or put into coil bind, which again can damage it. Or put a tire up into the body, which can damage the fender flare or pop one off.
This kit does include some rubber isolators on the shocks, which will help to keep them from fully compressing and damaging a shock. But I still recommend having traditional bump stop extensions added to the Jeep. Another component that isn't included in this kit, that I always recommend for a lift kit of this height, would be some sort of geometry and pinion correction, especially for the front of the Jeep. Anytime you're lifting the suspension, you're rolling the axle, which will get your caster out of spec, which can cause a bit of a flighty feel going down the highway because the steering wheel doesn't quite want to re-center. And it can also change your pinion angle, which can cause driveline vibrations and excessive wear of U joints and other driveshaft components. If that is a concern of yours, once you have this lift kit installed, you can always go ahead and add geometry correction brackets or different control arms.
The springs that are included in this lift kit provide two and a half inches of lift, and they're going to be stiffer, which means they're going to hold up to extra weight from bumpers, armor, winches, and large spare tires a little bit better than those factory springs will. The shocks that are included in this kit are going to be sized properly for the new lifted suspension, so you're still going to get the maximum up and down travel. As you can see, the shocks don't have any sort of band or anything that's limiting them from extending on them right now, and they're not extending automatically.
And that's because these are a hydraulic shock, and not a nitrogen-charged shock. A nitrogen-charged shock has a few benefits over hydraulic. The nitrogen in the shock will keep the liquid in the shock from foaming up and cavitating when it's worked really, really hard. That cavitation can cause shock failure. The downside to a nitrogen-charged shock is they can ride a little bit stiffer. So the hydraulic shocks are included in this kit are going to ride a little bit softer, and be a little bit more comfortable, but you're not going to have the added benefit of the nitrogen in the shock to keep the shock from foaming and fading over time. For most of us that go off road, a hydraulic shock is perfectly fine, and it's actually a more comfortable ride than a nitrogen shock. However, if you're somebody who's doing high speed desert racing, over washboards, that type of thing, you might be more interested in the nitrogen shock to keep it from fading.
Like everything else in this lift kit, the rear track bar bracket that's included will get the job done. It's not going to be quite as beefy as some of the track bar brackets that are included in other Rough Country kits or in other kits on the market. So if you find you have a little bit of sway in the back of the Jeep, it could be from this bracket flexing. However, it'll definitely get the job done. It'll allow you to use that factory rear track bar, and it'll get you back on the road again. And it has an adjustment for roll center, which is a nice feature.
Keeping with the theme of getting the job done, but leaving a little room for improvement, are the brake line relocation brackets. As you can see, they're really simple relocation brackets. And in the back of the Jeep, they'll definitely get the job done without a problem. Even some of the higher end kits include a bracket really similar to this, and there's no problem in the back. But in order to use these brackets up front, you actually have to straighten out the factory hard brake lines, which I'm not really a fan of doing. I personally would recommend adding a new, longer brake line to the front of the Jeep, which will keep you from having to straighten out the hard lines, and make sure that the brake lines aren't going to go taut under full droop.
Finally, along with all the hardware you need to get this bolted into the Jeep, the kit does include new longer rear sway bar end links. From the factory, the rear sway bar end links are longer than the ones in the front of the Jeep. So Rough Country includes new, longer rear links, allowing you to move the factory rears to the front, giving you that little bit of additional length that you need for this lift. If you're somebody who plans on going off road a lot, you'll probably end up upgrading the front sway bar end links to some sort of quick disconnect down the line, but these'll work for now.
Getting the lift kit installed on this Jeep was pretty straightforward, because it installs much like any other lift kit would. The first step is to support the Jeep from the frame, and then remove or loosen all the components that keep the axle from completely drooping. On this Jeep, that's going to be the front and rear sway bar links, the track bars, front driveshaft, brake line brackets, emergency brakes, and the breathers for both front and rear differentials. And of course the shocks, because you're replacing the shocks with this lift kit. Once you have all of those components loosened or removed, you'll be able to lower the axles down, and the old springs will fall right out.
In fact, you'll have enough room to re-install the new springs with the coil spring spacers, all without the need for a coil spring compressor. I always like to try and avoid using a coil spring compressor whenever possible, because they can get a little cumbersome when you're in the tight space in a wheel well, and they always make me a little bit nervous when they're under load. Now that you have the longer coil springs and coil spring spacers installed, you can move on to installing the supplied sway bar end links. Again, the kit supplies end links for the rear of the vehicle, and you're going to take the factory rear sway bar end links, and move those to the front.
As you continue putting on new components, you'll install the brake line relocation brackets. In the rear of the vehicle they'll bolt right up, but in the front, like we mentioned before, you will have to do a little bit of work straightening out the factory hard lines. At this point, you can re-install the new longer shocks that come with the lift kit. The bolt that fights me the most when doing one of these installs, especially on an older Jeep that has some rust, is the front upper shock mount bolt. So I definitely suggest spraying that liberally with a good penetrating oil a few days before you start the install, if at all possible. Because it is a really tight space, so if the bolt's stubborn, it's really hard to get in there with heat or with a cutoff wheel. Nine times out of ten, when they're really rusty, we end up just breaking them off. From there, you can re-install the front driveshaft, and put wheels and tires on the Jeep, and get it back under its own weight.
For those of you following along at home, you might have noticed I didn't mention track bars, and there's a reason for that. I always like to re-connect the track bars with the weight of the vehicle on the ground, because it makes getting those bolts lined up a lot easier. On the rear, you're going to install the supplied rear track bar bracket, that again has three different mounting holes for a different roll center. But in the front, there's no bracket, and if you're using your factory track bar, it can be a little bit difficult to get it lined up. My suggestion for this is to have somebody get in the vehicle, turn the key to the on position so the steering wheel's unlocked. Then as you turn the steering wheel back and forth, it'll very easily move the whole body and frame on top of the axle. That allows you to get that bolt lined up really, really easily without having to fight it. I've tried all different things in the past, from ratchet straps to having people stand on the bumper and bounce up and down. This is by far the easiest way to do this.
The whole install should take you about six hours, and you can do this in your driveway with just floor jacks, and jack stands, and some regular hand tools. However, if you have access to some other tools, it'll definitely speed the process up. Having air tools, a lift, and an extra set of hands around will definitely smooth out the process. As with any major suspension work, after you get everything done, you want to check your clearances. You'll flex the suspension to make sure you're not going to have a tire contact the body, or fully compress a shock or a spring, which can cause damage. Another area to check your clearances on is the front driveshaft and the hot exhaust. On some of the newer Jeeps, the driveshaft gets really close to the exhaust. And after you lift it, and especially when you're fully drooping the front suspension, it can get really close and cause damage to the driveshaft boot. If you do have that issue, don't worry. It's a cheap and easy fix by installing a new exhaust spacer kit.
Like I said in the beginning, this lift kit includes the minimum number of parts that you need to run larger tires on the Jeep, and get it rolling down the road again. But it also does it at a really reasonable price. In my opinion, because of the quality of the components included in this kit, it's definitely worth the cost if you're looking for an inexpensive starter lift kit to get you going, that you can build on down the line. So if you're looking for a lift kit that gives you a pretty comfortable ride, will completely change the look of your Jeep, and gives you the opportunity to upgrade your suspension as you see fit down the line, and really customize your Jeep for your needs, this is a really nice budget starter kit. So that's my review of the Rough Country three and a quarter inch Lift Kit with Shocks, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs, that you can find right here at ExtremeTerrain.com.