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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:04 PM   #1
fabguy01
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I am considering purchasing a 09 jk and have a few questions as i am a sammie guy and know nothing about newer jeeps. I want to put a small lift on it for a dd until it gets to the point where i can trail rig it and add more lift tires gears ect ect.
#1 what is diferent between a standard jk and rubicon suspension? is it just shocks and springs? or are the links and geometry diferent ass well?
#2 I want a lift that i can add to later. I am thinking of buying a 3" now with the hi flex arms and go to 6" later. will the links interchange? and i can just get new shocks and springs.
#3 with the "standard" lifts are the 4 link arms the same length as stock?
thanks for your time Nate
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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #2
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#1 - Difference is shocks and springs only. All links and everything else suspension related is the same. Other differences are the electro sway bar, front axle, t-case, and rear locker.

#2 - On a JK, it's possible to run 35s with as little as 2 inches of lift. To truly wheel those 35s without adding a bunch of bumpstop or ripping off your stock fenders, you'll need 3 or so. If you stay a short arm, or mid arm as many companies call them, the arms bolt in place of the stockers.

#3 - I'm not entirely sure what the hell your asking. lol

In the end, a set of springs (about 300 for a set of 4 for Polys which are great springs), shocks (360 for Bilsteins), and some longer rear sway bar links (50, stock rears move to front) and you can wheel and add to the lift later.

I've noticed with mine, the JK is more picky with mods though compared to the TJs. Some axle side track bar brackets that raise the mount helped my handling quite a bit. As did some longer front lower arms to get the caster right. In the end, you can have a very good handling, nice riding JK on 35s for not a lot of money that will wheel very well.

I should also mention the negatives to the JK. The stock steering components are absolute crap. The tie rod will bend with very little effort, especially with larger tires. A Poly or RK tie rod is almost a needed item. The drag link also bends easy, but doesn't seem to be as much of an issue but you should still replace that as well. Then again, the drag link will need to be replaced with a high steer one when you raise the axle side track bar mount anyway. Poly makes a nice kit for this.

For reference, my JK is an 09 Rubi. I've already had 4 different sets of springs, 3 different sets of shocks, and a bunch of other various suspension stuff added to it trying to get it to do what I want and be bullet proof. I've found some things that don't work and some that do. I'd recommend using Poly Performance or Rock Krawler parts as I have been extremely impressed with them.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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sorry for not getting my thoughts down that well all in all i want to get a 2-3" lift with the flex arms now and after i am ready to remove it from daily driving duty i would like to go to 6" and not have to buy new flex arms thanks nate
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Old May 21st, 2010, 09:14 PM   #4
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I don't know why you would want to run 6 inches of lift. There are lots of guys running 40s and 42s with tube fenders and under 5 inches of lift.

Either way, front lower arms should be on your list of purchases to correct caster. The rest of the arms can all be purchased later if needed. I have RK arms and love them.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #5
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To answer question #2 rubicons have better shocks and different springs. They are a hair taller than the X and sahara (maybe 3/4"). That's not too important if you're going to do a lift because you're going to swap in new springs and shocks anyway. But with the rubicon you get a dana 44 front axle, 4:1 transfer case, lockers and 4.10 gears. My 6 speed is tolerable on 35" tires with the 4.10s. The 3.73s and 3.21s that come in the sahara and X will be pretty bad on 35" tires meaning you'll have to do gears at the same time. Even with 4.10s you'll probably eventually want to upgrade to 4.56s/4.88s with the 6 speed or 5.13/5.38s with an auto.

If it's within your means get the rubicon as the front axle is considerably stronger. That is unless you're going to upgrade to dana 60s anyway in which case you should get the cheapest JK you can find.

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Old May 27th, 2010, 11:32 PM   #6
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The nice thing about the JK, is that they designed it to take large tires with minimal lift. You really do not want to get above 4" for a daily driver, because from what I understand once you get that high the ESP starts to get confused and kick in prematurely.

They really proved what the JK can handle with the lower 40 concept. IIRC it was running 40" tires on a bone stock suspension. Im actually shocked AEV has not developed a highline kit for the JK yet (one reason Im still holding off on a lift).


Just my opinion, but highline aside Id like to do a 2.5" spacer lift, flat fenders/ trimmed pinch seams, 35's, skids, and a stubby. Right now Im running 32" rubi tires on a 3.21 rear end with a 6 speed. It handles it very well under 45, and at highway speeds its still pretty decent.

Heres a fun chart to match gears to your tires.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:20 AM   #7
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If it's within your means get the rubicon as the front axle is considerably stronger. That is unless you're going to upgrade to dana 60s anyway in which case you should get the cheapest JK you can find.
I wouldn't say the axle is considerably stronger. In fact, the 30 and the 44 are identical, except for the center section and the axle shafts. The weaknesses that plague the 30 are there with the 44. Those weaknesses are the axle tubes (they bend fairly easy) and the inner Cs.

I have a Rubicon, and in hindsight I wish I wouldn't have gotten an X / Sport. You pay a minimum of a 8 grand premium for the Rubicon. If I started over, I would just do either a Pro Rock 44 and a 35 spline ARB and some RCVs. I could be running that axle for about 4500 and never will I have to worry about it again. The rear, drop another 35 spline ARB and some good shafts (another 1300 bucks) and never worry about it again. 60s would be great, but with the tire size I'm runnning (35s now, 37s eventually) I just don't think they are needed especially for the expense. I would then be stuck with a 2.72:1 t-case, but for most of the wheeling we do around Michigan that would work better anyway. However, I would like to do a Rubi Crawler (if I had an auto) or some sort of crawler box, which would add another 2 grand, to give me more gearing options. Lastly, I'd do an AntiRock swaybar up front. In the end, I would still be a bit cheaper than a Rubicon, but with much better parts.

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The nice thing about the JK, is that they designed it to take large tires with minimal lift. You really do not want to get above 4" for a daily driver, because from what I understand once you get that high the ESP starts to get confused and kick in prematurely.

They really proved what the JK can handle with the lower 40 concept. IIRC it was running 40" tires on a bone stock suspension. Im actually shocked AEV has not developed a highline kit for the JK yet (one reason Im still holding off on a lift).
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There are lots of guys running 6 inches and more on JKs with no problems. The key is the steering wheel has to be centered. If it's not, it'll have ESP issues. Otherwise, it's no different than any other jeep.

Highline would be nice, but if you compare to a TJ, it already is. Sure it could go higher, but then the front would have to be two piece fenders attached to the hood (like the lower 40). Burnsville Offroad is working on a kit. I'm sure it'll be damn pricey though. A set of tube fenders and 4 inches of light can put you on 40s so I don't know if a couple thousand dollar highline kit would be worth it.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:33 AM   #8
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All I would need would be the fender flare kit. I dont think new fenders would be that crucial, as a sawzall should suffice. Unless theres something critical Im missing.




This looks less invasive than the TJ highline.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:50 AM   #9
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All I would need would be the fender flare kit. I dont think new fenders would be that crucial, as a sawzall should suffice. Unless theres something critical Im missing.




This looks less invasive than the TJ highline.
You're missing a bunch. To start, the fact the the flare IS the fender. On the front, the top of the flare is attached to the hood and is two seperate pieces. You couldn't just run no flares unless it was a trail only rig because the tires would stick out too far. The hood is not strong enough to mount a fender too. It's very very weak. So, any kit would likely include a hood. Then there is the fact that to make those fender openings bigger, everything behind them needs to be relocated in some manner. With a TJ highline (or any fender kit for TJs) there is also an inner fender attached. On a JK, this isn't the case, but the inner fender would still need to be addressed. A large opening is no good if the inner fender doesn't allow any more room. With the current group of JK tube fenders, the hole is opened up as far as the stock inner fender allows. At the rear, same thing. The current tube flares open it up as far as the inner fender. With the Lower 40, and Burnsvilles, the inner fender was cut out and replaced with a bigger inner fender, which then takes up more room inside the jeep.

Basically, on a TJ, there is some room to trim back the sheetmetal before getting into the inner fenders. On a JK, there really isn't beyond what is already taken advantage of.

Besides, why are you pushing for the highline? You stated you wanted to do 2.5 inches and tube fenders to run 35s. I've run 35s on mine with only the 2.5 and stock fenders. You could do "standard" tube fenders and stick on 35s with no lift. At 35s inch tires, there is no need for a highline.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 09:23 PM   #10
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You pay a minimum of a 8 grand premium for the Rubicon.
I paid $25K out the door for my rubicon. I did get some incentives at the time but it only worked out to a couple thousand more than a decently equipped X.

I don't know all the technical differences between the d30 and the d44. But I know the rubicon D44 uses a thicker ring gear than the d30. I also know that on jk-forum.com that tons of guys are blowing up d30 ring/pinions and I very rarely read of anyone blowing up a d44. But I agree that if you're going to go big anyway (dynatrac d60s anyone?) then you might as well buy an X, blow up the d30 and so that you have a good excuse for the old lady

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The nice thing about the JK, is that they designed it to take large tires with minimal lift. You really do not want to get above 4" for a daily driver, because from what I understand once you get that high the ESP starts to get confused and kick in prematurely. I also didn't have any handling problems like so many guys who skip the track bars and control arms do.
You are correct you don't need a bunch of lift. I easily run 35" tires with a teraflex 2.5" kit. I had their 3" coils on my 2 door originally and I could have run 38s".

ESP is a non-issue as long as you understand what you're doing and do it right. The reason so many people have issues is because they throw springs and/or spacers on and don't address the other suspension geometry issues. Their wheel bases shorten, their axles shift to one side and they lose all the caster in the front end when they add spring/spacer. All those things contribute to ESP firing even when the steering wheel is properly centered.

If you're going to lift it, do it right. Get adjustable track bars and adjustable control arms. You'll never have an issue with ESP. When I was running the 3" coils I got over 5" of lift and never had a probelm with ESP. Not only did it not fire inadvertantly it still functioned properly when needed (i.e. a slide on ice). I also didn't have any handling problems like the guys who skip the track bars and control arms do.

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Old May 28th, 2010, 10:50 PM   #11
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I paid $25K out the door for my rubicon. I did get some incentives at the time but it only worked out to a couple thousand more than a decently equipped X.
I paid similar to mine (not included the penalties I paid for my lease turn it). However, those same incentives and such could have been applied to a X as well. I've heard of lots of people getting brand new two door soft top Xs for around 18 out the door. I don't know how true it is, but it wouldn't surprise me when they only sticker at 21ish.

Regardless, locker issues are fairly common with the Rubicon lockers. The gears are larger because it's a 44 vs a 30, but the rest of the housing is the same. The axleshafts are larger too in the 44, but the joints are unique to the JK Rubi 44 so they are hard to find and rather pricey. The thicker ring gear thing is compared to the old model 44. The JKs have new generation axles.

As stated, too many people have had issues with the electro swaybar so it concerns me. The axle needs reinforcing. Lockers can be questionable. 4:1 t-case is too low for most normal wheeling. These are all reasons I wish I wouldn't have gone Rubicon.

I now have a second (bent) JK Rubi frontend that I'm workign to build up for my next one...
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Old May 28th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #12
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I have an absolute base model X with the exception of A/C ($600), the sunrider ($250), and the special yellow paint ($250). IIRC my sticker was $21,600 or so. Out the door price was $18,500. Im currently leasing it for $150/mo, and plan to buy it out at the end. Current buy out price (I still have 12 months left) is $15k after tax. Id like to get it bought for $12 after my 36 month lease.


Performance wise it has not disappointed me. The BLD really helps with the open diffs, and I dont have any trouble keeping up with the lifted/ locked TJ's I play around with. The only real things Id like to have are the 4:1 t-case and bigger gears. The first gear crawl ratio is just a touch too high for me, especially when trying to clutch up rocks.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 02:31 AM   #13
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Here is an interesting article that was released for JK owners explaining suspsions, geometry, esp, etc...

http://www.aev-conversions.com/12thi...lve_things.pdf
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Old May 29th, 2010, 04:04 PM   #14
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I have an absolute base model X with the exception of A/C ($600), the sunrider ($250), and the special yellow paint ($250). IIRC my sticker was $21,600 or so. Out the door price was $18,500. Im currently leasing it for $150/mo, and plan to buy it out at the end. Current buy out price (I still have 12 months left) is $15k after tax. Id like to get it bought for $12 after my 36 month lease.


Performance wise it has not disappointed me. The BLD really helps with the open diffs, and I dont have any trouble keeping up with the lifted/ locked TJ's I play around with. The only real things Id like to have are the 4:1 t-case and bigger gears. The first gear crawl ratio is just a touch too high for me, especially when trying to clutch up rocks.
Sounds like what I should of bought! lol. Part of me likes my 4:1 case and part of me doesn't. Tight crawling is nice, but generaly trail riding it's way too low. In those situations, high range doesn't have the grunt needed because there isn't the torque like the 4.0. Then again, that likely has to do with my 4.10s and the 35s. It'll be swapped to 4.88 soon and I think I'll be happy again. However, I still think a crawler box of some sort with a 2.72;1 case would be the cats ass. Then you would have 2 low, 4 low, and a double low.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 10:32 AM   #15
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I'd like to run 35 or 37. on my jk unlimited with 4in lift and 1 in body lift any suggestions any body please and thanks
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Old October 21st, 2012, 01:19 PM   #16
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I'd like to run 35 or 37. on my jk unlimited with 4in lift and 1 in body lift any suggestions any body please and thanks
What suggestions do you want? You said what you're doing. For what its worth, it would work fine. I have 37s on my Unlimited with 3.5 inch springs but I also have flat fenders so I have more clearance with less lift.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 07:42 AM   #17
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What suggestions do you want? You said what you're doing. For what its worth, it would work fine. I have 37s on my Unlimited with 3.5 inch springs but I also have flat fenders so I have more clearance with less lift.
sorry was mostly looking for advice in what lift to buy for a 4in lift and what I have to look for to do can't have my jeep down to long as it is my daily driver so wanted to have everything on hand and ready. Also wanted to know what other upgrades I will have to do not to get the death wobble as my wife drives the jeep to and I don't want her to poop her pants when she drives it. thanks
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 04:05 PM   #18
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Well, you are starting from scratch then. The nice thing about JKs is very little lift gets you on large tires. Little lift means less crap that is needed. However, JKs are also finicky about changes. Way more so than TJs ever were. I've been through 5 or 6 different set ups no on my two JKs so have had some time to experiment.

Springs are choice. I'm currently running Metal Cloak 3.5s. They are a true dual rate. They ride nice and haven't sagged even with all the weight I've put on them. I'm happy with them and would recommend them. I've ran Poly Performance and Rock Krawlers which were both nice as well and didn't sag either so I would also recommend those. However, both are progressive springs and I found both seemed to have far more body roll than I liked. I've also ran some others that sagged way too fast with not much weight on them. They were big name brands too. I'd go with one of the three I mentioned.

Control arms aren't entirely needed. There just is no reason to swap all the arms at the lift you're looking at. Front lower arms are nice to adjust the pinion angle though. Again, I've played with Polys, Rock Krawlers, and Metal Cloaks. All are good arms and have strong points. Polys have a very nice adjustable feature that allows adjustment without removing one end of the arm. I didn't run them long enough to tell durability on the joints, but I've heard good things. Rock Krawlers are more or less bulletproof, but the joints are very rigid, but will last and last. Metal Cloaks are a rubber flex joint. So far, I really like these. They offer a bit more give than the RKs which make the ride nice, flex as well, and seem to be holding up great. I suspect they will be very durable.

Track bars. Plan on track bars to center the axles. TJs could get away with the axles off center some with no real effects. JKs are picky. Center them. Stock track bars are also extremely weak and prone to bending with even minor offroading. 37s will tweak them. Also, don't use the frame mounted drop brackets. JKs have a high roll center stock and it's worse lifted. Axle side brackets that raise the mount is the best bet and makes a big difference in handling. They are worth the cost.

Other stuff: Good shocks are always a good idea. Cheap ones blow. I'm running Fox IFPs and am happy. Brake lines can be lowered easy enough with brackets, but front lines are a good bet unless you have a '12(maybe '11 too) or newer as the front lines are much longer and don't need to be replaced. Tie rod and drag link are just like the track bars, but worse. They bend very very easy. Mine were tweaked when still stock on nothing more than rough roads. Driveshafts are a nice upgrade tooas the stockers don't like much angle in them. Also, on '12s and newer with the 3.6, the exhaust runs under the front driveshaft and spacers or a new crossover pipe is needed to avoid contact with the driveshaft when lifted. If the rubber boots get torn, they are toast. Death wobble on JKs is almost always related to the ball joints. The ball joints have cheap plastic races that wear very quickly. Guys with stock jeeps have reported showing wear with under 10k miles. On my JKU, my stockers were pretty much shot at about 7k but I was lifted within hours of bringing it home from the dealer. Poly makes some greasable joints with metal races that I'm currently running that seem to be holding up well. Dynatrac also makes some nice joints, but they are quite pricey. All the rest are built to stock specs with the plastic races and aren't worth your time.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 04:16 PM   #19
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##2 - On a JK, it's possible to run 35s with as little as 2 inches of lift. To truly wheel those 35s without adding a bunch of bumpstop or ripping off your stock fenders, you'll need 3 or so. If you stay a short arm, or mid arm as many companies call them, the arms bolt in place of the stockers.
Wouldn't you need to add longer bumpstops to keep the 35's out of your fenders regardless of lift height? Lift changes ride height, but you will still need longer bumps to stop bigger tires from rubbing.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 04:23 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by kickstand View Post
Wouldn't you need to add longer bumpstops to keep the 35's out of your fenders regardless of lift height? Lift changes ride height, but you will still need longer bumps to stop bigger tires from rubbing.
Yes. What I was trying to get at was 35s will fit on short lifts but won't have much up travel. Bumpstops are a given though. I guess that wasn't clear. For reference, when I first purchased my JKU I mounted my 35s with no lift at all and stock fenders. Driving down the road worked fine, but there was no room for uptravel. However, I still see guys on occasion running this way. Adding tube fenders opens up a bunch of uptravel though and one could run with no lift and 35s while still having room for travel. I personally like more uptravel though as I get bored going 2 mph all the time and sometimes go faster than I should so that uptravel is nice.
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