Within the next month after doing a lot of research on Lifts and making money to get one, I have pretty much decided on going with the AEV 4.5 SC lift. I was looking to see what some of the fellow JK members who maybe run this lift or know about the lift can share their feedback or experience with it?
I have the 3.5" kit on my 2011; LOVE IT
The only differences are springs, and I assume, slightly longer track bars; the control arm drop brackets are drilled for both kits.
Don't know if you were planning on installing it yourself but if you have the tools (pretty basic) and ability, I wouldn't pay anybody to install it. The kit is a breeze to install, the instructions are very thorough, and there are not any aggravating angles and measurements to dial in afterwards.
I easily fit 35 KM2's (actually 33.75") on the 3.5" and many say you can fit 37's.
I had a '05 TJ with a RC 6" LA before this JK, I needed something I could travel in for work a little more comfortably; this kit allowed for the larger tires and off road performance as well as the ability to comfortably travel all over the S.E.
You won't regret going with this kit
I also run the 3.5" (on 35" KM2s) and love it. There are a few 4.5's in the Jeep club I'm in, and comparing notes, they love theirs too. Sounds like the 4.5" handles just as well as the 3.5".
For me, my JK handles better on-road (sitting ~5" taller between the lift/tires) than it did on the stock suspension, especially when cornering -- way less body roll. It's also handled anything off-road I've pointed it at, but my testicular fortitude usually ends at "high medium" in difficulty, although I've done a few "red" trails at Rausch Creek (and big things at Uwharrie) with no issues. The AEV suspension eats up bumpy Forest Service roads in the GWNF, to the point that when I wheel there with my Jeep club, I can't lead ... I end up going too fast because I'm not getting jarred around like most of the other Jeepers.
Based on the threads I've seen around, the biggest objections to the AEV lifts have nothing to do with performance/owner satisfaction. They're typically "it's too expensive for the parts you get with it" or "it's just a bunch of brackets". IMO, in regards to price, if you can do an apples to apples comparison between two lifts, AEV doesn't usually end up being significantly more expensive. In regards to the use of brackets, that's fairly unique to the AEV lifts, and seems (IMO) to play a key role with the AEV handling being rated so highly. Lots of opinions on these two matters!
For the price, there isn't a better lift on the market for overall use. I don't think it's that expensive considering what it offers. Yes, it uses brackets, etc., but at the end of the day it gets the job done better than 95% of what's on the market.
I am actually taking it off of my jeep -- but only because I'm going to a 5.5" rock krawler long arm stretch with coilovers/bypasses in each corner (diff. rear axle to fit the coil overs in the rear). It wont handle as well on the highway once I do this. For people that use their Jeep day to day and want the best possible off road performance at the same time without sacrificing highway driving -- you can't, won't, beat AEV. The progressive rate springs are awesome The only thing I recommend is if you're going at a decent speed over rougher terrain -- air bumps might not be a bad addition. EVO sells some good 2.0" ones. Otherwise Poly sells King air bumps for a good price too. Seeing as you're in Georgia though I don't think you'll need them.
2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (6mt) (in progress)
- 42x14.50 MTR's, Custom Cage, FF D60's F/R w/ ARB's and 5.38's, 4 Link Rear, 3 Link Front, 14" RR King 2.5's, 18" RR Fox 2.5's, Fox Air Bumps
- 108" wheel base