What type of off-roading will you be doing?
Do you have the itch to be able to fit bigger tires on your rig or be able to flex over bigger boulders? Maybe you just want to fit in with the other built rigs at the monthly jeep meet. I know that feeling all too well and it’s something that will be on your mind day in and day out till you get what you want (At least that’s what we all think). But how do you determine what you really want? You can spend hours and hours going through forum posts or waiting for someone to give you the answer on a Facebook post with the question like “What lift is the best for my Jeep”. It really comes down to what type of off-roading you plan to do. Will you be rock crawling, mall crawling, desert racing, overlanding or maybe even a little of everything? Lucky for you, there is a kit for everything! You can get as creative as you’d like, meaning, you can pick and choose parts from all different kits to build our rig out. There is no wrong way of doing this, and I hope you might be able to find some helpful insights on what kit works best for your needs.
How to determine the size lift required?
The question of whether to go 35’s or 37’s is always a good debate. There is nothing wrong with either tire size, but your choice will be a major factor if you intend to get out on the trails with your Jeep Gladiator. If you intend to keep it on the highway most of its life and just want to fit bigger tires, then a spacer lift may be for you. There are some great options when it comes to a quick D.I.Y. spacer lift. I’d recommend checking out the Terraflex 1.5” spacer. This will get the front end lifted and level with the rear. If you prefer the rake, you can go with the Daystar spacer for the rear. Common questions asked are: “Will I be able to fit 35’s with the 1.5” Spacer?” If you do not have a Rubicon or a Mojave, then yes! This will help but you may still have occasional rubbing on the trail. If you have a Rubicon or a Mojave, then 35’s will fit without the spacer kits. If you are looking for a total package, then you will want to look at some of the vendors listed below. If you want to stick with 35” tires, then a 2.5” lift would be just right. If you ever plan to upgrade to 37” + tires, then I would highly recommend going with a 3.5” lift or bigger.
When to make the jump to a kit vs quick lift.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with going the spacer route first as you get accustomed to your rig. There is a lot to learn about these trucks and it’s advantageous for you to learn how the truck handles with different setups. There will be a point where a lift kit is needed to continue to tackle those harder trails. As you get out more and more you will understand where the suspension is flawed and where improvements can be made. Below is a list of vendors who have addressed the biggest issues when it comes to changing up the geometry of the suspension. Below, I will recommend what kit is best overall. It is up to you to make the decision on what is best for you and your offroad lifestyle.
Clayton Offroad offers the total package for your JT. There is no going wrong with either a 2.5” lift or a 3.5” Lift. These kits will include their new JT Rear track bar that will allow space to fill a spare 37” tire in the stock location. I have talked to many of the SoCal Gladiator members, and they have never mentioned anything negative about this kit. Some of their members even fit 40” tires on their Rubicon with the 3.5” kit. All Clayton control arms will feature the GIIRO joint bushing. Premium and Long arm kits will use them at one end, combined with a forged Johnny Joint. Johnny joints are greaseable, rebuildable, and have the ability to absorb misalignment so these are ideal in abusive and or long arm applications. GIIRO joints at both ends in our OVERLAND PLUS lift kits are ideal in short and mid-arm applications where the arms are in-line. At ride height the arms are neutral, but when offroad, each joint has up to 26.6 degrees of misalignment. The spring rate on the coils will also have your rig sitting alittle higher than other kits on the market. At The Offroad Resource, we strive to get you discounts where possible. Use code “get5today” during the checkout process to save 5% on you purchase.
If you want to get your JT flexing, then I recommend checking out Metal Cloak’s Game Changer. MetalCloak’s Duroflex Joint provides 28˚ more articulation and flex than typical control arms! These kits are designed to have your rig articulating at ease. Paired with the Rock Sport shocks the ride quality is exceptional on and off the trail. If you want to take it a step further, upgrading to the 6PAK shocks will squeeze every ounce of flex out of the kit. One thing to consider if you plan to have a lot of weight in the back of the truck is the springs may sag over time. This has been a common situation for some of the overland rigs in the SoCal Gladiators group. Non the less, Metal Cloak offers an amazing suspension kit for the Gladiator at extremely competitive price point!
At first, Rusty’s suspension did not catch my eye. But don’t sleep on their kits! I have watched these kits make it through some toughest trails out in Utah and if you want to impress the crowd at a local Jeep meet, break out that flex ramp! You will definitely watch some jaws hit the floor as you outflex most of the crowd. Attention to detail with the Rusty’s 4 inch Advance Kit is what separates this kit from the rest. Jeep had an issue when the JL Wrangler came out with the trac bar frame mount on the front cracking, Rusty’s took action on this issue and designed and manufactured a frame brace so with the extra stress of the lifted vehicle and larger tires, it would eliminate the cracking while also reduce frame flex. All of Rusty’s Gladiator kits come with this brace.
If you are looking to stand out from the rest, then this Recon Kit is for you! This system is the hybrid performance kit you’ve been waiting for. Rebel chose to run a coilover in the front to optimize suspension articulation and desert performance, while maintaining a spring and shock in the rear, to allow for your Gladiator’s tow capacity and payload to still be used to it’s full potential. The Recon JT Overland kit is the perfect mesh of on road quality, and off road performance. If you love to go fast over the desert terrain but also want to keep up with others through the gnarly rock gardens, then this kit may be for you. This Kit can be built to your requirements and I highly recommend reaching out to Rebels sales team to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for.
Don't get discouraged!
There is so much out there to consider when it comes to finding the best lift for your jeep. We did not talk about shocks in this Article, but most kits will offer the option to add shocks. This may not be a bad choice if you are just starting out. Learn what your rig is capable of before the lift and you will begin to understand what your rig can and can’t do. As you begin to understand this, it will allow you to make the best choice based on your needs and wants. Everyone will have an opinion on this or that but at the end of the day it comes to what you want and what fits your budget. These Jeeps are fully customizable. Start with one of the kits mentioned above and upgrade the smaller components as you continue to understand what serves your off-roading lifestyle.