I am starting to build a 93 zj with a 5.2L. I am going to do the suspension first and started looking around and there are so many kits out there. I would like to see what you guys feel about the kits and your experiance with them if you have them. I was thinking about clayton but dont want to weld it in. So now I am thinking Rubbicon express, BDS, IRO and my brother is pushing towards the rough country one I think mostly because the price. I want to do it once and be done and I am new to this feild of off roading so I appreciate any help gets thrown my way.
Selecting products by price usually ends up in a serious compromise of quality... like receiving parts that are labeled made in China. You get what you pay for, and sometimes you don't need to pay for a gold plated cinder brick - since a normal cinder brick will do. IRO, RE and Claytons are very popular around here because people have had success with their LA setups. Mostly, I've encountered folks recommending IRO fronts and Claytons rears as that seems to be the best of both worlds. RE makes good products and RC is getting better according to people who've bought their stuff. Nice to see someone getting the suspension done first though as many of us just cheap out and end up with crap, which we claim is still golden because we touched it, then spend more over and over to the point we would have saved money spending on a nice LA kit from the start - (all this drama and still on short arms too.) I hadn't heard of BDS until just now, but I took a look and will form an unfounded opinion based on what I see.
BDS is expensive. It looks pretty good though and has potential so I won't knock it. Weird use of 4 LAs up front instead of something proven may result in less articulation capability though - not positive but I'm leaning that way. The front subframe may be stronger than other proven designs, but who knows about it's limits - does it allow access to the tranny and t case without having to disconnect the LAs? Do you have to massacre all the front stock short arm mounting points??? This may be important if you ever decide to get another ZJ and move the suspension to it.
EDIT: Looked at BDS and saw some issues: You need to weld the front trackbar bracket on even though it includes a front trackbar, no rear trakcbar but has two brackets in it's place (THIS ONE WILL GET LOTS OF ATTENTION VERY SOON I THINK,) rear LA cradles look very weakly attached, has new rear swaybar (why?)
Anyway, to answer your question, I'm running IRO front and rears and like it thus far, but I can't compare to anyone else's LA kit since this is the only one I've had. It's pretty darned strong and heavy material, and the quality is obviously good. For me, what made the choice easy is many people are using it and have good things to say. By all means, in order for this to be fair, I'd suggest you openly ask for outright critique of it vs other LA lifts as IRO seems to be favored around here.... not saying that means it's gold plated... but then again, who needs gold plated LAs?