Best bang for the buck lift kits

dadofral

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Jul 24, 2020
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My son has a 2011 wrangler unlimited, we would like to put a 2"-ish lift on it and some bigger tires and rims....I don't want to break the bank too much, so looking for opinions on something that will work the best that you or someone else have used....I've looked at Rough Country stuff which gets decent reviews, so give me your best advice. Thanks in advanace!
 

Chris

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Rough Country is crap, as is Skyjacker, FabTech, etc.

Even Rubicon Express is mediocre at best (and garbage IMHO).

If you want a nice 2" lift that will last, look at AEV, Metalcloak, Clayton, or similar.

You couldn't pay me to run any of the complete shit Rough Country peddles.
 

Boosthead

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Apr 30, 2020
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VA
Most of the lifts that Chris mentioned start in the $1000-$1500 range and that's because they're fairly complete and high quality. I would also add JKS to that group. If you're looking for a lower price point, you could install a Rancho 2" suspension which comes with most of what you need for $400-$500 depending on whether you go with standard or adjustable shocks. You need to plan for geometry correction brackets or lower control arms to bring caster back into spec or the handling and steering feel will be terrible. Another low cost option would be a leveling kit (usually around 2" front/1" rear) or a 2" spacer lift (lots of companies incl AEV make one). These are generally very inexpensive but not very complete. You may have to add brake line extensions, bump stops, or other brackets depending on how high you go and the completeness of the kit you opt for. To the spacers add a set of shocks and you'll have room for a slightly taller tire as well as a better ride and handling.

It really depends on your planned usage and desired tire size. I have on Wrangler Unlimited with a small spacer lift (1" front and 1/2" rear) and 33" tires and it's great on the street. Unfortunately, it doesn't have as much clearance as I'd like off road, so I have another Wrangler with a larger lift and bigger tires. Both are great for their intended purpose.

I have no experience with BDS but have read mixed results online. Take what you read (including my response) with a grain of salt. Some people will tell you brand A is the best and everything else is just garbage. That's simply not true. There are definitely brands that are better and some that are worse so look at brands that have a reputation for quality parts and good support. They might cost a little more up front but you'll reap the reward every time you or your son are behind the wheel. Welcome!
 
OP
dadofral

dadofral

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Jul 24, 2020
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Thanks for your input, I do understand the quality aspect of getting it right the first time....however, we don't have the budget to spend $1500.00 on a kit plus install....so it may be wise to wait it out or just do a better leveling kit to gain a little more height.....thanks again!
 

Boosthead

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Thanks for your input, I do understand the quality aspect of getting it right the first time....however, we don't have the budget to spend $1500.00 on a kit plus install....so it may be wise to wait it out or just do a better leveling kit to gain a little more height.....thanks again!

There's nothing wrong with a spacer lift as long as you care for items like brake line extensions, bumpstop extensions, and caster correction. Spacers just lose out to lift springs with regards to articulation (many lift springs are designed to allow additional droop) and load capacity (almost all use a higher spring rate which allows you to carry more gear without losing ride height). Also, I recommend new shocks as they have a big impact on ride quality. I really like the ride of our JKU with spacers and RS9000's.

What are your desired amount of lift and tire size?
 
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dadofral

dadofral

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There's nothing wrong with a spacer lift as long as you care for items like brake line extensions, bumpstop extensions, and caster correction. Spacers just lose out to lift springs with regards to articulation (many lift springs are designed to allow additional droop) and load capacity (almost all use a higher spring rate which allows you to carry more gear without losing ride height). Also, I recommend new shocks as they have a big impact on ride quality. I really like the ride of our JKU with spacers and RS9000's.

What are your desired amount of lift and tire size?
I checked into the Rancho and the price seems reasonable, for four shocks, coil springs, etc. I don't mind shelling out up to $750 for a decent kit....desired lift of 2" and just to run some 33's for the tires.....my oldest son has a 2012 JK with more of a lift running 35's, so we are looking into taking the stock 2011 my second oldest drives and giving it more of that rugged look and something he can take in the sand dunes, etc. I'd really like to avoid adjusting brake lines and all that if possible....appreciate all your input so far.

This is the rancho kit I found:


But would I need anything more than this?? My sons and I are pretty savvy fixing things and doing add ons, but we've never done a lift kit, hence all my questions.
 

IndominusHuman

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Oct 20, 2019
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Conway, AR
I would wait and get a decent system.
I will also mention, if you have the time, you can install a lift kit yourself. It's not hard at all, a monkey could do it. It will also save you 1,000 to 2,000 dollars.
 

Boosthead

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This is the rancho kit I found:


But would I need anything more than this?? My sons and I are pretty savvy fixing things and doing add ons, but we've never done a lift kit, hence all my questions.

That's the kit I installed on my wife's JKU. We saw 2.5" lift front and 1.5" rear, plenty of room for 33's. Know that the front springs are the same free length as stock and achieve height from being stiffer. Brake line extension brackets are for the rear and are 2 bolts to install. The only thing you'll need to add are either longer (or adjustable) front lower control arms or geometry correction brackets to correct caster. I also think that a spacer lift like the AEV or Teraflex leveling kit are fine if you want a softer ride and don't need to carry as much of a load. Just my opinion. I know a lot of guys advocate for a more complete/higher cost lift but it depends on intended use. I enjoy my wife's JKU on the street over my JK with either Mopar or Synergy lift.
 
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dadofral

dadofral

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Thanks again, seems like we will need more than just the kit itself....this is all good stuff and hopefully we can put it to good use.