a good winch can cost you more then a complete lift kit.
I do agree that research is key. However with all things jeep staying in a budget and doing it right is not as easily done as it is said. You never know what issue you might run into and need to fix along the way. Its better to take it slow and do LOTS AND LOTS of research. Its better to spend more and cry once then it is to go cheap and cry twice having to fix it later.
What is wrong with a 2" susp lift and a body lift. I know many who have run that with 33s and never seen one of them in tears .
If budget is the issue I would rather go with a 2" spring or spacer and keep the stock control arms and not have to deal with drive line vibes. That is a good way to keep within a low budget. Even if budget isn't an issue I would prefer the lower center of gravity type build. Once you lift much further than 2" you may run into driveline issues. At that point you have extra things to deal with. The money saved on new control arms, MML, SYE or whatever maybe needed to run a higher suspension lift can be used for a winch, if the budget allows.
There are many running lower suspension and still clearing larger tires. I would rather keep my lift minimal and consternate on a belly-up, fenders that allow for larger tires (once the rear axle is up to task), and have a winch as opposed to laying out a $1000 for control arms, $500 plus for a new rear drive shaft and SYE kit Just so I can properly run a higher suspension lift.
A big susp lift just isn't neccessary anymore to make a good jeep that perfoms very well on both the street and the trail.
01 TJ, 34 Super Swaper 34x10.5 bias, Winch, locked, belly up, some armor.
BDS 2" suspension lift, 1.25" body lift, and a 1" motor mount lift. If you get driveline vibrations, add a LoPro transmission mount. This setup will cost probably $600 or so all in. Go much higher with the suspension lift and you quickly get into the thousands to do it right (sye, dc driveshaft, adjustable control arms). Also, if you're on a budget, don't forget that larger tires may require to to regear your axles. I have 3.73's on 33" tires and it is tolerable, but most rigs come with 3.07's.
Zone 4.25" combo kit. Cant go wrong for the price. I think its around 600.
I'm a fan of this lift for some one who wants 4" of lift on a budget. The Zone 4.25" Combination Lift Kit is a 3" suspension lift with a 1.25" body lift and a 1" motor mount lift. This combination allows you to clear 35's and takes care of your drive line angles to keep you vibration free.
Let me know what questions you have about the lift and if you'd like a quote!
And I bet it goes off road just fine. Add some locker and it will go about anywhere you want it to. There are people here that think you have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to get a jeep to be a good off roader, which just isnt the case.