second of all, there are MANY things that go into pricing a product, not just material costs...it's counterintuitive to say that just because the product costs less, that it is of lesser quality
I thought, "you get what you pay for" was intuitive, not counterintuitive.
On the contrary, RC has cleaned up their act on several things.
After being exposed in the forums, they stopped selling a 1.25" body lift to 6 speed owners they knew would cause shifter clearance problems. Months later, they developed a shifter relocation bracket that would make it work and waited to start selling it to 6 speed owners again until the bracket was available.
After being exposed on the forums for selling 2.5"-4" lifts they said would clear 35s without rubbing, they stopped saying that their lifts will allow the use of 35" tires without rubbing with only their in-shock bumpstops.
I could go on, but they have been responsive on some things.
Comments specific to their 3.5" lift for $500:
It has fixed front lower control arms instead adjustable, so you cannot dial in your caster and cross caster alignment specs. Because every jeep is slightly different, the ability to adjust caster and cross caster is important to avoid drifting and flightly steering. The drift usually is to the passenger side without the appropriate level of cross caster.
It does have extended bumpstops. So, you can run 35s with stock flares with it.
The drop pitman arm and trackbar relocation bracket approach puts undue leverage on the sector shaft and the trackbar bracket. With heavy use, it will result in a damaged sector shaft without a sector shaft brace, and it will result in increased leverage on the wimpy stock trackbar bracket welds. If you buy the kit, you should add an adjustable front trackbar in place of the drop pitman arm and trackbar relocation bracket--especially if you offroad much with heavier tires.
If run on a 2 door, it will eventually cause the rear driveshaft to fail due to the share rear angles on the driveshaft joints.
Also if run on a 2 door, some users will have a problem with the rear passenger spring having too little clearance with the rear trackbar.
The rear trackbar relocation bracket only has one bolt to attach it to the stock frameside bracket. Other manufacturers use an additional gusset and bolt to secure it to the frame side bracket to prevent the system from working itself loose or wallowing bolt holes.
With an automatic JK lifted 3.5", when the suspension is flexed the stock front driveshaft boot will tear on the stock automatic transmission pan. Eventually, the slip part of the driveshaft will begin to squeak, and the driveshaft should be replaced.
Other than that, I have no idea about how those shocks ride compared to the older, stiffer 2.2 shocks. I would be interested to know if they are softer.
Here is a pic of what you get: