Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com, and this is my review of the Rough Country four-inch lift kit with shocks, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs. There is a kit available for a two-door and for a four-door Wrangler, so make sure you get the right one for your Jeep. This lift kit is an inexpensive way to get 4 inches of lift and up to a 37-inch tire under your Jeep. It includes the minimum number of components that you'll need to get the Jeep back on the road again at a minimum price. And the components that are included are fairly high quality. Unfortunately, there are some components included in this kit that I would not recommend installing on your Jeep. If you do want to run a 37-inch tire, you will have to do some other modifications to the Jeep in order to make it stand up to a big, heavy wheel-tire combination like that. It's not as easy as just installing this lift kit, putting on big wheels and tires, and hitting the trail. But if you're looking for an inexpensive starter kit, this is a nice option.
Like I said, this lift kit is pretty complete, especially for a kit of this price. It includes, of course, four new coil springs that will provide that four inches of lift. These springs are not only taller, but also a little bit stiffer than the factory springs so as to hold up to additional weight from armor, or winches, and big, heavy spare tires without sagging like the factory springs might. Something else I like about this Rough Country kit as opposed to some other ones is that the full four inches of lift come from the springs. In some other Rough Country lift kits, they give you a spring that'll provide part of the lift and then a coil spring spacer to pile on top of that. I prefer having the full amount of lift coming from the springs, like in this kit.
This kit also includes four new longer shocks that are going to accommodate your new taller ride height. These are Rough Country's Performance 2.2 shocks, which are a little bit of an upgrade over their 2.0 shocks. Even though these shocks are a little bit of an upgrade, they're still a hydraulic shock as opposed to a nitrogen shock. A nitrogen-charged shock is a little bit of an upgrade over a hydraulic because the nitrogen charge will help to keep the liquid inside the shock from foaming and cavitating which can cause shock fade when the shock has worked really hard. However, the nitrogen-charged shocks can ride a little bit stiffer. So with this kit, with the hydraulic shocks that you get, you are going to get a little bit more of a softer, more comfortable ride. However you're not going to have that protection against foaming and cavitation if you work the shock really hard. For what most of us use our Jeeps for, off-roading on trails and driving fairly slowly, you're usually not going to work a shock that hard and have that shock fade. However, if you're somebody who rides out in the sand dunes and is going over high-speed washboards, you might want to look into a nitrogen shock.
Aside from the new coil springs and shocks, this kit includes all of the brackets and hardware that you need to get it installed on a Jeep. Over here, you have a rear track bar relocation bracket that will allow you to use your factory rear track bar with your new lifted ride height. Now, this bracket will get you back on the road and moving again. However, it's not as beefy as some of the other ones we've seen. So there's a chance you might get a little bit of sway out of the rear of the Jeep with this. However, that's one way that Rough Country is able to keep the cost of this lift kit down. Rough Country also includes one set of new longer rear sway bar end links which will allow you to then move the factory rear links up to the front of the Jeep. Now, that's pretty common practice with lift kits of all different sizes. However, it's also another way that Rough Country keeps the cost of this lift kit down a little bit because they only have to include one set of end links. And unlike some of the more expensive kits on the market, this doesn't include front sway bar disconnects. Again, if you're looking for a starter kit that's not a problem and it's always something you can upgrade down the line.
Next, the kit includes new brake line relocation brackets for both the front and the rear of the Jeep. Now, this is the simplest style of bracket you can get. And in the rear of the Jeep, there's nothing wrong with it. I'm completely okay running this style bracket. However, in the front of the Jeep, this style of bracket requires you to straighten out the factory hard brake lines a little bit which is something I'd rather not do. In my opinion, especially if I'm installing this much lift, I would rather spend a few extra dollars and get new, longer front brake lines for the Jeep, even though it requires a little bit more work during installation because you have to bleed out the brake system.
Rough Country also includes a set of cam bolts for the front of the Jeep. Anytime you lift your suspension, you end up rolling the axle which changes both the pinion and the castor angle. These cam bolts are designed to get those two angles back closer to spec. A bad pinion angle can cause driveline vibrations and premature driveshaft wear, and a bad caster angle can give you a flighty feel on the highway because the steering doesn't want to re-center itself. Cam bolts are a really inexpensive way to adjust those angles. Some other options are geometry correction brackets, or new longer, lower control arms.
A part that's included in this lift kit that isn't included in a lot of others that I really like are these rear coil spring shims. Anytime you're lifting your Jeep, especially to this height, you can end up with a bowed rear coil spring. Aside from looking a little funky, you can end up with the front of the coil spring binding where the coils will touch each other which can cause damage to the springs. These shims will help to straighten out your coil springs, which will ensure that you get a full amount of lift out of the spring. The last two components that are included in this kit are designed to work together. And in fact, if you install one, you have to install the other. Those are this drop pitman arm and front track bar relocation bracket. If you're going to change the mounting location of one end of your drag link by installing the drop pitman arm, you'll also have to change the mounting location of one end of your track bar by installing this track bar relocation bracket.
By doing that, you'll keep those two bars in parallel which will eliminate any bump steer that you would otherwise have while going down the road. Now, unfortunately, adding this drop pitman arm into the steering system can provide some additional leverage and you can get some additional feedback up through the steering wheel. So in my opinion, I'd rather not run these components and instead install an adjustable front track bar.
Because this is such a tall lift, there are a lot of components to install. However, the installation isn't any more difficult than any other and they all go pretty much the same way. The first step is to jack up the Jeep and support it by the frame so that you can then remove or loosen all the components that keep the axles from completely drooping. I always like to start with the upper front shock bolts because of all of the bolts you have to remove or loosen to do a lift kit, those are the ones that always fight me the hardest. I will always try to spray them with a good penetrating oil, even a few days before we get started if I can. Because there isn't a lot of room up there, so if the bolt is being stubborn it's tough to get heat on it or to get a cut-off wheel up there. Honestly, if it's really rusty, we usually just end up using a lot of leverage and breaking those bolts off. Which isn't a problem with a lift kit like this because we have a new set of shocks going in.
Once you get those shock bolts out, you can then remove your sway bar end links, track bars, brake line brackets from the frame, emergency brake lines, and breathers for both the front and rear differential. After that, you just lower the axle down and the old springs will fall right out. Again, because this is such a tall lift, you're going to have to get a lot of droop out of the axle in order to get the new springs in place without the need for a spring compressor. I always like to try to avoid using a spring compressor whenever possible, because they can be a little bit tough in a small area, like in the wheel well of the Jeep, and to be honest they've always made me a little bit nervous. But if you get the frame of the Jeep high enough, you'll be able to get enough droop out of the suspension to install the springs nice and easy. Don't forget to install the rear coil spring shims in the back or you're going to have to take everything apart to get those in place.
Once the springs are installed, you can install your new shocks, move the factory rear sway bar end links from the back of the Jeep up to the front, and install the included longer links in the back of the Jeep. From there, it's just a matter of installing your brake line extension brackets, and then you come to your track bars. This kit does include new track bar brackets for both the front and the rear of the Jeep. The one in the front is a little bit more of an involved installation because it does require drilling one hole. However the rear one is completely bolt-in. Ours did fight us a little bit, and we had to use a pry bar to get it lined up, but no drilling was necessary.
Once the new brackets are in place, you can attach your track bars. We always wait until the end to do that because I find it's a lot easier to get the track bars lined up in the new brackets when the Jeep is under its own weight. We'll finish everything else, get the tires on the Jeep, and get it sitting on its own weight. Then to line up the front track bar is really easy. You get somebody sitting in the Jeep to turn the steering wheel back and forth, and it'll move the track bar along the axle. That again will make it really easy to get that bolt in place. Out back having the Jeep under its own weight just gives you a lot more leverage to rock the Jeep back and forth, again, helping you to line up that bolt.
As I mentioned before, if you decide to run that front track bar relocation bracket, you will also have to run the drop pitman arm and vice versa. They work hand in hand, and if you only install one you'll have a lot of steering geometry issues. To get the pitman arm installed is a pretty simple process as long as you have a pitman arm puller. It's a fairly inexpensive tool, and it's really the right way to do this. There isn't a lot of room up there, so if you try hitting it with a hammer you're not going to have a lot of success. But if you have a puller, the old pitman arm will pop off and you can install the new one onto the steering box and the drag link pretty easily using the factory hardware. Getting the cam bolts installed on the front of the Jeep can take a little bit of time. But if you have a Sawzall with a really narrow blade, it'll go pretty easily.
One part that's included in this kit because it is such a tall lift that I haven't seen included in a lot of others are a couple of spacers for the factory-installed transmission skid plate. Now, not every Jeep has that skid plate, but if you do you'll want to install these spacers because they'll give you some additional clearance between the rear driveshaft and the skid plate. The whole installation should take about six hours, but that will vary depending on what tools you have on-hand, if you have access to a lift, and how many buddies you have helping you. You won't really need any specialty tools aside from the pitman arm puller, which is something I'd recommend having on hand before you get started. Other than that, you'll need a drill and some drill bits, a good socket set, and open-ended wrenches. If you have access to an air tool and a lift, it's definitely going to speed the process up.
Now, this kit isn't going to have all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive lift kits on the market. As I said before, it could use a beefier rear track bar bracket. It includes those front brake line relocation brackets that make you straighten out the factory brake lines. It has a front track bar bracket and drop pitman arm, which aren't my favorite components to add to a Jeep. And it uses cam bolts to correct pinion and castor up front instead of control arms. However, all of those are ways that Rough Country is able to keep the cost of this lift kit down, and they provide a lot of opportunity for you to upgrade the kit as you see fit once you start using it.
So overall, I think that this is a fair price for all the components that you get. Anyway you cut it, four inches is a lot of lift especially for a two-door JK. But if that's what you're looking for because you like the look, or you're going to run a big set of wheels and tires, I think this is a pretty good way to get started. It's a kit that comes in at a lower price range so it gives you room to upgrade and customize down the line as you see fit, and overall it's pretty complete. So that's my review of the Rough Country four-inch lift kit with shocks, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs that you can find right here at ExtremeTerrain.com.