Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com, and this is my review of the Rough Country 4-inch X-Series Lift Kit with Shocks, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs. There's a version of this kit available for both the two-door and the four-door, so make sure you get the right one for your Jeep. This kit is for those of you who want to run a 33, 35 or even a 37-inch tire, although a 35 gives you the best mix of both form and function. We'll talk a little bit more about tire sizes in a bit. Four inches of lift is a lot of lift for a JK, whether you're talking about a two-door or a four-door, so this is gonna be for those of you who want that really tall lift and want to run some really big tires to fill up those new open wheel wells.
It's important to remember that running a really large tire is not just about a lift kit and putting new tires on and hitting the trails, you are gonna have to spend a lot more money beefing up your axles, re-gearing and doing a couple of other things. But those other things are because you're running a big, heavy wheel tire package. As far as the lift kit itself goes, this is very complete.
Rough Country offers other four-inch lift kits that include a lot less components than this one does, and of course they're gonna be a little bit less expensive but this has everything that you're going to need to get it installed on the Jeep. And this is going to come in at a lower price point than some of those top lift kit brands on the market. So, again, if you're looking for a lot of lift and you're looking to save a little bit of money, this is a very complete kit.
As I mentioned and as you can see, there are a lot of components included in this lift. The first and probably most important when you're looking at a lift kit are new, taller coil springs. Now, in this lift kit, unlike some other Rough Country lift kits, your entire lift is given by these springs themselves and not by springs and coil spring spacers. That's a really nice feature with this lift. The springs are not only taller, but they're also going to be stiffer, which will help to support armor and heavy bumpers and spec tires and other things like that a lot better than the factory springs will. You're not going to get nearly as much sag out of these springs as you would with the factory ones.
Something else that's included in this kit that isn't included in a lot of other kits and even a lot of other four-inch lift kits are these coil spring correction brackets for the rear of the Jeep. When you're putting four inches of lift on a Jeep, the rear springs will end up having a bow in them, which can look a little weird but also as you're compressing that spring, one side of the spring can go in the coil bind where the coils will actually touch, and can cause damage to the spring. So, these little brackets will make sure that the springs stay straight, they compress evenly and you don't damage the spring.
Along with those springs, this kit includes a new set of shocks for both the front and the rear of the Jeep and they're going to be sized appropriately for your new, taller ride height. Having a properly sized shock is going to give you the maximum performance and articulation off-road. Running a shock that's too small will limit your down travel, and one that's too long will limit your up travel. Now, this kit does not include any bump stop extensions with it, but these performance 2.2 shocks from Rough Country do have external bump stops built right into them which should keep the shock from fully compressing and becoming damaged.
Anytime you lift your Jeep, you are going to be changing the suspension geometry. But when you put on a big lift like this 4-inch lift, those changes are pretty drastic and there are some corrections that you'll want to do. When you lift the Jeep four inches, you end up pulling both axles toward the center line of the vehicle, which means that the axles are no longer going to be lined up in the center of the wheel wells. You're also going to roll both of the axles, which will change your pinion angle in the back, and your pinion angle and caster in the front of the Jeep. A lack of caster can cause a foggy [SP] feel when you're driving down the highway because the steering wheel won't want to re-center itself. And a bad pinion angle can cause vibrations and premature driveshaft wear.
Having all eight control arms included with this kit will fix all of those issues. The control arms that are included are Rough Country's X-Flex Control Arms, which have a factory style rubber bushing on one end and the X-Flex joints on the other. The X-Flex joints are completely rebuildable. In fact, they come out of the box disassembled and you'll have to put them together before installing them on your Jeep. And they'll provide a lot more articulation off-road than those factory control arms would have. So, the fact that they're adjustable and they have a joint that gives you more articulation means you're getting a lot more performance out of these control arms than some of the other means of correcting pinion and caster that are a little bit less expensive.
Some less expensive Rough Country lift kits will include a front track bar relocation bracket and a drop pitman arm. I really don't like running those components on my Jeep, and that's another reason that I like this lift kit. It includes an adjustable front track bar. This track bar will allow you to re-center the axle under the Jeep so when you turn the wheel all the way to one side and the other you're not going to have to worry about the tire rubbing on the control arms or on the frame.
The other nice thing about this really beefy track bar is that it's not going to bend or flex when you have big tires on the Jeep and you're driving on-road or off-road. A flex can cause a little bit of a wobble and some feedback up through the steering wheel. This is a forged track bar that is absolutely not going to flex under any load. It is adjustable, it has factory-style rubber bushings on both sides, and it has a factory-style bend in the center which means it's going to adhere the front differential all the way through the suspension [inaudible 00:05:24].
For the rear track bar, this kit includes a rear track bar relocation bracket, which is pretty common. The rear track bar relocation bracket will make it so that you can use your factory rear track bar even with a lift of this size, and it's adjustable to three different locations so you can really dial in [inaudible 00:05:41] center of the Jeep. Now, this track bar bracket is not as beefy as some of the other ones that are available on the market. However, it'll get the job done, and this is one of the ways that Rough Country keeps the cost of the lift kit down a little bit.
A lot of lift kits, even some of the top brand lift kits on the market, will give a new set of rear sway bar end links and ask you to move the factory rear sway bar end links up to the front because they are a little bit longer. This kit, however, includes both front and rear sway bar end links, a new set of factory-style links for the rear and a set of disconnectable sway bar links for the front of the Jeep. When you're going off-road, disconnecting the front sway bar gives you the maximum amount of articulation which keeps more tires on the ground and gives you more traction to get over obstacles.
Another component that's included in this kit that isn't included in some of the less expensive Rough Country kits or even in some of the top kits on the market, is a new set of brake lines for both the front and the rear of the Jeep. A lot of kits will include brake line relocation brackets which will get the job done and give you a little bit of additional room to flex with your new lifted suspension, however, some of those require you to straighten out your factory hard brake lines.
Having a new set of brake lines like this does require a little bit more work during installation because you then have to bleed out the brake system. However, they give me the peace of mind that I'm not going to pull a brake line taut under full articulation off-road, which is definitely a bad thing. I'd rather spend a little bit more time during installation and get the job done right.
When you're running this much lift, especially off-road with the sway bars disconnected, you may run into a situation where the drive shaft will come in contact with the exhaust, which can cause the drive shaft boot to melt and ruin the drive shaft in short order. So, running an exhaust spacer is a good idea with any lift kit over three-and-a-half inches, which this one of course is. Now, the spacer is something that isn't included in this kit, but there is one offered by Rough Country and it's fairly inexpensive. So, if you're taking your Jeep off-road, I would recommend taking a look at one.
Another component that you may want to add is a new set of drive shafts because your new drive shaft angles, even with the caster and pinion correction from the control arms, will be pretty steep and again may wear out pretty quickly. Like I said before, you can really run a 33, 35 or even a 37-inch tire with this setup. I would recommend going with the 35 on this setup because you have the maximum amount of clearance for articulation off-road and there's much less of a chance of you rubbing on factory fenders or factory splash guard or even rubbing on the frame or the control arms when you're turning lock to lock.
Now, four inches of lift is a lot for a set of 35-inch tires and you could probably go back to three-and-a-half inches, but if you like the look of a larger lift with 35s, this will give you that effect. If you're staying on the road only, you can run a set of 37-inch tires with this lift kit, although you are gonna have some rubbing on the splash shield when you turn lock to lock. And certainly, if you try to articulate with factory fenders, you will definitely have some clearance issues. In my opinion, 33s are way too small for four inches of lift and they just don't look right, although you could run them if that's what you like.
Any lift kit installation is a big undertaking and this one has a lot of parts to install. But that's not to say that you can't do it in your driveway, at home, with just a jack, some jack stands, and some traditional hand tools. If you have access to a lift and air tools, it'll speed up the process as well. If you haven't done a lot of suspension work, I would do some research, read through the instructions, and make sure that you're comfortable with doing a job of this size. Again, I don't want to scare anybody away from trying it on their own. Doing a lift kit like this in your driveway is very rewarding. I would just give yourself plenty of time to get it done, probably a whole weekend if this is your first time.
The first step in getting a kit like this installed is to support the Jeep from the frame so that you can disconnect or remove any components that keep the axles from completely drooping. So, once you have the Jeep held up by the frame, you'll remove your sway bar end links, shocks, drive shaft, brake line brackets, and then droop the axle completely down. Once the axle is drooped, the old springs should fall right out and you can install the new ones.
Now, because this kit also includes control arms, at this step in the lift when the axles are completely drooped and there's no weight on them, you'll go through and one by one replace all the control arms. These control arms are not double adjustable so you're going to have to do some adjustment to make sure that the angles are set properly and the lengths are set properly before you finish re-installation of everything.
Once you have the control arms dialed in, you can reinstall the new longer shocks, your springs, sway bar end links, brake lines, track bar brackets, and track bars. A tip for getting your track bars lined up is to get everything else done on the Jeep, put the tires on it and get it sitting under its own weight. That way, you can have somebody sit in the Jeep and turn the steering wheel side to side, which will very easily line up this new front adjustable track bar. In the rear, having the Jeep sitting on its tires, under its own weight will just make pushing the Jeep side to side to get that bolt lined up a lot easier.
The installation of a lift kit like this could take as much as eight hours because you are changing all of the control arms. Again, that can vary greatly depending on the tools you have at hand, how much experience you have on a lift kit like this, and if you have somebody helping you out. Again, just traditional hand tools are all you need, but a lift and air tools will definitely speed the process along.
Another tip for installation is to make sure that you hit all the bolts with good penetrating oil well before you get started. The nut that always gets me when I'm doing a lift kit is the upper front shock bolt. It can be difficult to get to and they seem to always be rusted solid. We always end up breaking them off with a long breaker bar, if they're rusted too badly. But spraying them with a penetrating oil will give you the best chance of having it come off and not wasting a ton of time. All in all, I think this lift kit is a pretty good value. I don't think you're going to find a lot of other lift kits on the market at this price that include all the components that this one does.
So now that we got the lift kit completely finished, we got the tires on it and it's sitting on the ground, it's time to take it out on the road and see how it feels. And first impressions, it seems really stable for something that has a four-inch lift on it. Four inches is a lot of lift for a JK, and anytime you're putting big tires on a Jeep, you can get a little bit of a stability issue. However, because of how complete this kit is and the fact that it includes all eight control arms, that fixes your caster angle, the steering wheel wants to re-center, it sits in the road really nicely and it honestly feels pretty good.
The shocks do ride a little bit stiff, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, again, when you're this high up in the air. I wouldn't want a really pillowy [SP], really soft ride, I'd want something a little bit stiffer. It helps to control body roll a little bit and just adds to that stable feeling. One thing that you'll notice immediately is if you've installed a component that's gonna end up rattling and causing a lot of noise. And one of those components that's known for causing noise, if you get a cheap part that isn't very well built, is sway bar disconnects. But with these, we don't have any noise at all. Granted, they are brand new and eventually we might get a little chatter out of them, but for the time being, they seem really solid.
So today we're just gonna be staying on the road, but we know that when we get off-road we can very easily disconnect the sway bars and we're not gonna have any issues with the brake line getting tight because we've installed the ones that are included in the kit. As I mentioned before, it is a little bit more work, you do have to bleed out the brake system, but in my opinion, adding new, longer soft lines is the right way to do that, and brackets are really more of a short-term fix. Like with any lift kit, you wanna make sure that you do your final torque of all the control arms when the Jeep is on the ground. And after 1,000 miles, you're gonna wanna recheck your torque, again, just to make sure everything stays tight and you don't have anything coming loose.
Something else to keep in mind when you're installing new control arms that have grease fittings like these ones do, is to make sure you give them a healthy dose of grease. You will end up with some noise and premature wear if you don't get them greased. So it's a good idea to grease them right off the bat and to make sure that you make it part of your routine maintenance. Every time you do an oil change, make sure you grease everything and check your lug nut torque as well.
So anytime that you're adding a new part to your Jeep, the payoff is always rewarding. But especially when you're doing a huge job that requires overhauling the entire suspension like this lift kit does, actually getting to take it out on the road and drive it is definitely the best part. And this lift kit opens a ton of opportunities, to larger tires, to other parts that you can add on and modify as you start using the Jeep more. It's really a great entry level lift kit. So that's my review of the Rough Country 4-Inch X-Series Lift Kit with Shocks fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs, that you can find right here at ExtremeTerrain.com.