While the Jeep JK is frequently seen in supermarket parking lots, many have come to prove themselves on serious trail runs and events across the country. With the right suspension lift, the Jeep JK can become a reliable rock crawler. But the Jeep JK has some weak points when it’s lifted more than three inches. The front and rear driveshafts, combined with a longer wheel base, add leverage and stress to the control arm joints. For this reason, most aftermarket suspension kits limit the amount of lift to only three inches. Trail Master offers a five-inch suspension for this vehicle, but it also takes the entire lift process to a new level, by offering a kit with improved bushings and with available front and rear heavy-duty driveshafts.
Five inches of lift not only allows the Jeep JK to run 37-inch tall tires, but it also gives it impressive articulation and suspension travel. So to handle the added stress brought out by the longer wheel base, Trail Master beefed up the control arms, using 1.75-inch DOM tubing with ¼-inch thick walls on the lower arms. In addition, they also use forged, chromoly flex-joint bushings in high stress areas, that can be rebuilt and last longer than standard Heim-joints and polyurethane bushings.
The extra lift also adds stress on the JK’s pinion angles, forcing the factory Rzeppa style driveshafts to an uncomfortable angle that will eventually lead to a break. This problem is solved by including double Cardin drivelines in the TrailMaster kit that are much stronger, re-buildable and can handle the greater angles from the increased ride height. Furthermore, if you’ve already replaced your driveshafts, the kit is available without them as well.
The kit primarily consists of new front and rear control arms and coil springs, along with all of the necessary hardware to replace the factory suspension. Trail Master also supplies a set of their SSV shocks and Kevlar lined, stainless steel braided brake hoses to make the kit as complete as possible. All of the components feature a rugged crinkled black and gray powdercoat finish and because the company makes all of their components in-house at their facility in Chino Valley, Arizona, each piece fits like it was supposed to.
The Trail Master suspension system for the Jeep JK Unlimited retails for just under $3,000. It is also available for the two-door Wranglers and Rubicons for slightly less and can be purchased with or without the upgraded driveshafts. Although the price may seem slightly higher than other suspension systems available for the JK, the Trail Master kit is one of the most complete on the market. Considering that you will avoid costly disasters on the trail, such as a broken driveshaft or heim-joint, the added benefit of knowing your suspension can handle whatever situation you can steer it into makes the Trail Master suspension worth considering. You can find out more about the TrailMaster Jeep JK Suspension System here. Check out the TrailMaster Jeep JK Suspension Video Here, featuring the Jeep Wranger and JK out on the trail during the 2009 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.
Text And Photos By Dan Sanchez, DS Media