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4x4tographer

Lift/Upgrade Sanity Check

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Hi guys and gals!

 

Looking for a little advice / feedback on my upgrade plan. Due to the current financial climate we're keeping our finances lean, so I'm looking at performing my upgrades in 2 phases to avoid dropping a truckload of money up front.

 

For reference, I drive a 2018 JL Unlimited Rubicon. I'm currently planning the following:

 

Phase 1: Lift

  • Clayton's 2.5" Overland Lift (link)
  • Fox 2.0 Shocks front & rear
  • Spidertrax 1.75" Spacers (link)

 

I like the Clayton lift from a reputation and completeness perspective. It's robust and everything is adjustable from the trackbars to the control arms. 

 

I've got the wheel spacers on there as the Clayton lift states that approx 4.75" of backspacing is needed to avoid component rubbing. I'm planning to run the factory Rubicon wheels/tires until they wear out sometime next spring, then will replace them with a larger tires and wheels with the appropriate amount of backspacing.

 

Phase 2: Wheels/Tires

  • ICON Vehicle Dynamics' Vector 5 wheel (link)
  • 35x12.5 Cooper STT Pro's
  • Programmer to adjust tire size for the speedo/transmission shift points

 

So whatcha think? I really appreciate your time and expertise!

Ryan

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Clayton's stuff was super solid on my WJ, but i don't see a ton of JK's or JL's running his lifts and don't really know why. compared to the similar Rock Krawler and Teraflex kits, i do like that it has an adjustable rear trackbar instead of just a raised bracket.

 

hopefully someone with more JL/JLU specific knowledge can offer feedback!

 

for Phase 2 programmer, one option is the OBD JScan app available for iOS or Android. i think the license for a single vehicle on that is $20. you just need an inexpensive OBD2 adapter to work with it. adapters can be had for as little as $20, or spend a little more for one of the reputable OBDLink brand adapters and know it will work correctly. oh, and your rig would also require a 12+8 Security Gateway Module bypass cable.

 

i don't know how all that compares in total cost or capabilities to other JL programmers, but it was an excellent deal for me since i already had an OBD adapter and didn't need a bypass cable. it was able to do everything my AEV Procal was doing and more, so i sold the Procal.

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FWIW: the AEV lifts were designed and developed by a former Jeep chassis dynamics engineer, who developed the most seamless and IMHO best quality lifts for JK's & JL's, in terms of ride quality, handling, and durability of any aftermarket kits available.   YMMV...   ;) 

 

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14 hours ago, theksmith said:

Clayton's stuff was super solid on my WJ, but i don't see a ton of JK's or JL's running his lifts and don't really know why. compared to the similar Rock Krawler and Teraflex kits, i do like that it has an adjustable rear trackbar instead of just a raised bracket.

 

hopefully someone with more JL/JLU specific knowledge can offer feedback!

 

for Phase 2 programmer, one option is the OBD JScan app available for iOS or Android. i think the license for a single vehicle on that is $20. you just need an inexpensive OBD2 adapter to work with it. adapters can be had for as little as $20, or spend a little more for one of the reputable OBDLink brand adapters and know it will work correctly. oh, and your rig would also require a 12+8 Security Gateway Module bypass cable.

 

i don't know how all that compares in total cost or capabilities to other JL programmers, but it was an excellent deal for me since i already had an OBD adapter and didn't need a bypass cable. it was able to do everything my AEV Procal was doing and more, so i sold the Procal.

 

 

Yeah I'm honestly not sure why Clayton doesn't have a bigger "splash" in the JL market. Everywhere I see them mentioned the commentary is glowing. Metalcloak and Teraflex have pretty solid influence with the JL crowd from what I've seen. 

 

Nice call on the JScan - I'll have to look into it. It looks like JScan comes out to be about the same price as the Tazer JL Lite once you include all of the cables. Tazer is a singular module that is pretty easy to marry/un-marry. The Tazer JL Mini does all that and has a laundry list of pretty interesting features, such as a hood security alarm, trail camera hack, and the ability to use the rear locker in 2H/4H.

 

TAZER_JL_LITE_VS_TAZER_JL_MINI_COMPARISO

 

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19 minutes ago, ob1jeeper said:

FWIW: the AEV lifts were designed and developed by a former Jeep chassis dynamics engineer, who developed the most seamless and IMHO best quality lifts for JK's & JL's, in terms of ride quality, handling, and durability of any aftermarket kits available.   YMMV...   ;) 

 

 

Thanks for chiming in Obi! I looked at AEV's stuff, but I wasn't really certain about their use of geometry correction brackets as opposed to outright replacing the factory control arms and track bars. Granted I'm the FURTHEST THING from being an expert. 😅

 

My intent is/was to replace everything over time with beefier components for greater survivability.

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5 hours ago, 4x4tographer said:

 

Thanks for chiming in Obi! I looked at AEV's stuff, but I wasn't really certain about their use of geometry correction brackets as opposed to outright replacing the factory control arms and track bars. Granted I'm the FURTHEST THING from being an expert. 😅

 

My intent is/was to replace everything over time with beefier components for greater survivability.

Ryan,

FWIW: Replacing the control arms does nothing to correct the inherent geometry issues created by a lift.

 

AEV's geometry correction, matching each of their lifts, is what separates and places their lift product as the top-of-the-line system.   By correcting the geometry to account for the different force vectors caused by lifting a vehicle, they achieve optimal handling, braking, and ride comfort, while obtaining the added ground clearance of a lift.   I know of no other company who does anything more than use longer/stiffer springs, (and perhaps some control arms and shocks) while retaining correct geometry for an UNLIFTED vehicle, which is not optimal for any of these characteristics. 

 

In laymans terms, their lift has the geometry that an OEM would use, to optimize handling & braking performance, while maintaining ride comfort.   Again, YMMV...  ;)

 

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i looked at this Clayton lift kit again and it looks very complete.

 

 

as you increase your rig's capability, you'll to find yourself on tougher trails. therefore, i was going to recommend some additional armor - but after re-reading your build thread, i see you already have all of them!

 

  • steering stabilizer relocation
  • FAD skid
  • heavy duty diff covers
  • engine/trans skid
  • rock-rails

 

you might want to add front lower control arm axle bracket skids someday. they are cheap insurance to prevent bending or tearing the factory brackets.

 

i read that the JL much improved the vulnerability of the evap canister (compared to the JK), so i don't know if it's really a concern anymore. however, M.O.R.E. does make a skid for that.

 

 

in Phase 2 - i've also heard that the JL's tailgate hinge and tire carrier are stronger than the JK and therefore fine for the weight of a 35. will you need an adapter to raise the spare's mounting point so the bigger tire still clears the bumper? any other concerns with a differently backspaced wheel going on the factory carrier?

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2 hours ago, theksmith said:

you might want to add front lower control arm axle bracket skids someday. they are cheap insurance to prevent bending or tearing the factory brackets.

 

You read my mind! I've got LCA skids on my future upgrades list. I've been eyeballing Rockhard 4x4's set of direct bolt-on skids for a no fuss install. My front passenger LCA bracket is already a little chewed up. 

 

 

2 hours ago, theksmith said:

i read that the JL much improved the vulnerability of the evap canister (compared to the JK), so i don't know if it's really a concern anymore. however, M.O.R.E. does make a skid for that.

 

Yeah the canister is tucked way up and out of the way and is pretty small by comparison.

 

 

2 hours ago, theksmith said:

i've also heard that the JL's tailgate hinge and tire carrier are stronger than the JK and therefore fine for the weight of a 35. will you need an adapter to raise the spare's mounting point so the bigger tire still clears the bumper? any other concerns with a differently backspaced wheel going on the factory carrier?

 

There are a few madmen out there literally running 40's on the factory hinge set up with an adapter to fit the spare. However, I'm doubtful they're doing any real wheeling or washboard roads. 

 

35's have been shown to clear (in a 12.5" wheel width) on the factory mount, and it's rated to carry an extra 80lbs over the factory spare. A few folks pick up a cheap wheel spacer to help out with fitment. Odds are, I'll upgrade it to something more stout.

 

I'm hopeful I'll come across some tailgate reinforcement system or body mount tire carrier where I'll be able to carry one of my 5 gallon gerry cans of spare fuel (I've got 2). Unfortunately, everyone seems to have forgotten the compact capacity of the good old gerry can and they're moving to lower capacity Rotopax :(.

 

The only 2 options I've found so far are from LOD Offroad (the Destroyer bumper with tire carrier) and RockHard 4x4's Patriot bumper. Both will send you north of $2,000 when decked out to handle 2 gas cans and a hi-lift mount. 🤑 And that's sad. The Smittybilt Atlas (which I want - but isn't coming to the JL platform) is only $600ish.

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8 minutes ago, 4x4tographer said:

The only 2 options I've found so far are from LOD Offroad (the Destroyer bumper with tire carrier) and RockHard 4x4's Patriot bumper. Both will send you north of $2,000 when decked out to handle 2 gas cans and a hi-lift mount. 🤑 And that's sad. The Smittybilt Atlas (which I want - but isn't coming to the JL platform) is only $600ish.

 

check out the Maximus-3 Sport Modular Rear Tire Carrier for $1k and the optional Side Nato Can Holder for $100. still kind of expensive considering it doesn't include a bumper.

 

the Expedition One JL Core Series 2 Tire Carrier & Bumper is $1,600 and has an option for a "Nato/Scepter single can mount" for $140 - but i couldn't find photos of that bracket. the bumper looks nice though. it includes places for the proximity sensors if you have those, and has other accessories available like a hi-lift/pull-pall mount. still, only slightly cheaper than what you've already mentioned and looks like it can only do 1 gas can.

 

 

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1 hour ago, theksmith said:

check out the Maximus-3 Sport Modular Rear Tire Carrier for $1k and the optional Side Nato Can Holder for $100. still kind of expensive considering it doesn't include a bumper.

 

Good lord thats a lot of money for some steel tubing! 😵

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