Monday, September 13, 2010

Low Buck Jeep JK Lift: Raise your Jeep JK to fit 35-inch tall tires for less than $220

While the Jeep Wrangler JK is more than adequate to handle tough terrain, most Jeep enthusiasts know that larger tires will dramatically improve the vehicle’s ground clearance and capabilities on the trail. Swapping out the factory rubber to a larger set of 35-inch diameter tires will not only look great, but also provide a definite advantage on the trail.

For decades, body lifts and leveling kits have helped many off road enthusiasts raise their vehicles to gain just enough fender space for larger tires, or to add a few inches to their aftermarket suspension lift for additional ground clearance. In the case of the Jeep JK, a two inch body-lift with a 1.75-inch leveling kit on a 2007-’2010 models, will clear 35-inch tall tires. This can instantly give you the traction and higher ground clearance to tackle more difficult obstacles, and maintain the factory suspension for a smooth ride on the street.

But instead of trying to find all the components yourself, Performance Accessories, a company who has been manufacturing body lift kits for more than 25 years, created a Premium Lift System has all the components you’ll need to lift your Jeep JK at a relatively low cost, typically under $220. The Premium Lift System #PLS990, comes with a two-inch body-lift that consists of reinforced nylon body blocks, and high-grade hardware. It also includes two 1.75-inch polyurethane coil-spring spacers, a CNC machined steering extension and urethane Gap Guards to cover the space that’s visible through the wheel wells.

According to Performance Accessories, installing this complete system takes about 6-8 hours. The body lift is installed with the vehicle sitting level on jackstands or a hydraulic lift. Then, each of the Jeep’s factory body mount bolts are loosened. Using a floor jack, the body can be lifted at each point on the frame where the body mount is located. A few inches is all that is necessary to slip in the two-inch body blocks in place and secure it with heavy-duty hardware that’s provided in the kit.

This procedure is done around the entire perimeter of the Jeep; taking about two or three hours to complete. The front two mounts, those closest to the front radiator and grille, are slightly different than the rest. Installing the front mounts requires removing the top radiator core cover and pulling out the front factory grille. This exposes the two front body mounts which are loosened so that the body can be lifted and the new mounts put in place.

You can see the amount of clerance the two-inch body-lift
and coil spring spacer kit did to this Jeep
Once everything is bolted securely, and the Jeep is back on the ground, you can see the extra clearance available for your larger tires. The polyurethane coil-spring spacers fit in the factory coil-over shock assembly to level out the front-to-rear ride height. We highly recommend taking your vehicle to a mechanic with a proper spring compression tool to add the leveling spacer to the top of the coil mount. This too is an inexpensive addition to this project that’s well worth the effort.

Because the frame is lifted two inches higher, the factory steering is lengthened slightly with the heavy-duty, CNC machined extension supplied in the kit. This securely attaches the upper and lower steering shafts to maintain the correct geometry and length.

The pre-molded urethane inner fender covers, Gap Guards, seal up the added space between the body and the frame. The Performance Accessories Gap Guards are simply positioned in place so that the holes in the guards can be used as a template for drilling into the factory plastic inner fenders. Then plastic snap buttons are provided to secure them into position.

With the installation complete, a set of 35-inch BFG Mud-Terrain T/A’s on a set of Poison Spyder wheels were added to this Jeep JK. A lift such as this one retails for under $220 and gave this JK added ground clearance and traction that can allow this otherwise stock vehicle, the capabilities of hanging out with a more experienced crowd.
DS Media

Installation Proceedure

By supporting the frame with a lift or jack stands,
the factory body mount bolts are loosened.

To access the body mounts at the front of the vehicle,
the front grille needs to be removed.

Using a hydraulic jack on a sturdy part of the body,
you can raise it slightly to remove the factory mounts
and replace it with the two-inch mount as shown.

Lower the body back on the new mounts and install the
longer hardware as shown here.

This same procedure is done to all of the 12 body mount
points along the frame.

Since the body is now two inches higher over the frame,
a steering joint extension is used to connect the steering shaft.
This is a heavy duty unit that easily attaches the two sections
of the steering shaft firmly in place

The front shock assembly is removed and the coil-spring spacers
are installed on top of the coil spring using a spring
compressor to remove the top coil mount from the assembly.

Installing the Gap Guards simply require drilling holes in the
factory plastic fenders and snapping them in place with
plastic push-in rivets.

Once the Jeep was back on the ground, we slipped on a pair of
 35-inch BFG Mud Terrains mounted on a set of Poison Spyder
aluminum wheels. The end result was some much added ground
clearance and enough traction to handle difficult trails

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