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Unread 03-02-2013, 04:49 PM   #1
wranglerboy13
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Real thoughts on body lift

So I have started the long journey of picking a lift for the 2012 JKU (auto). I am trying to look at all options, so I will be happy with the outcome. First thing I would say is I am not wanting to cheap out. No amount of savings would be worth reducing safety, drivability or ascetics. That being said I want ~3.5" lift. In the perfect world I would like the AEV 3.5 RS. The reason I am shying away from this kit is the drilling of the knuckle for the high steer kit makes me scared. I want the ability to return the jeep to factory specs as I am 21 and will probably be wanting the next version of the wrangler (2015). And it seems trying to sell a lifted/modded jeep cuts your buying audience in more than half. So on to the question...what do you experts think of a 2.5" lift (AEV or possibly Teraflex) in addition to a ~1" body lift. It will give me the lift height I want for the 35" Toyos and will have the benefit of not needing a high steer kit (and obviously not drilling the knuckle). It would have other benefits such as not needing a new front drive shaft also which is kinda nice. Should I not be scared of the drilling/modded jeep selling or have I come up with a reasonable alternative? Or do body lifts have a bad rap because they are bad and I should avoid this option? I am just in the idea bounce around stage so looking for much wiser peoples opinions and insight. I guess pictures and/or details on AEV high steer/3.5" lift install would also be appreciated. I know 2.5" fits 35's, but they look a little too jammed in there for my liking.

PS. Its basically a mall crawler with some fishing/camping trips so the AEV is right up my alley.

Teraflex just put up a video on their youtube channel for their body lift install so it got me thinking.

Thanks so much for the time

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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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A 1" Body lift is a great addition to a mild lift. It will give you a little added clearance without limiting suspension travel like a suspension lift does. They also allow you to get just a little more lift without going over a suspension tipping point. They also help kep the stock feel in the steering and handling.

They do have some benifits that you won't get out of a suspension lift.

I would not consider anything more than a 1.25" body lift though.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLADE
A 1" Body lift is a great addition to a mild lift. It will give you a little added clearance without limiting suspension travel like a suspension lift does. They also allow you to get just a little more lift without going over a suspension tipping point. They also help kep the stock feel in the steering and handling.

They do have some benifits that you won't get out of a suspension lift.

I would not consider anything more than a 1.25" body lift though.
Care to explain exactly how a suspension lift limits suspension travel?
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:37 PM   #4
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A 3.5" lift with track bar relocation brackets and drag link flip will probably handle better than a 2.5" lift without it and a body lift. IMO you'll have a more difficult time selling a jeep with a body lift.

Drilling the knuckle is not a big deal. The AEV kit is designed to be able to be removed and returned to stock fairly easily. When you drill the knuckle, you insert a tapered sleeve which inside diameter/taper is stock. If you return the jeep to stock, you simply insert the sleeve from the bottom of the knuckle and put the stock drag link back on. The whole kit could be removed (if desired) and sold and the next owner would just need a new sleeve. Much easier than removing a 2.5" lift and body lift.

Personally I wouldn't worry about reselling with a lift. Odds are you're not going to want to hold on to all the parts, wheels, tires etc and spend the time in labor to bring it back to stock. And who is going to buy a worn out lift for much anyway? Not worth the time if you ask me!

For what it's worth my AEV 3.5" lift handles better than stock. I've had body lifts on other rigs but only where there were no suspension lifts available. The only downside to the 3.5" versus 2.5" lift is that you'll probably need a new front driveshaft and exhaust mod. I would rather run aftermarket fenders with a 2.5" lift than a body lift as well.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prot View Post
Care to explain exactly how a suspension lift limits suspension travel?

Bump Stops...


With a suspension lift, You do not gain any additional clearance under compression unless a bump stop is added/extended. A body lift increases the distance from the body to the bump stop without taking away from the suspension travel.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:41 PM   #6
wranglerboy13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLADE View Post
A 1" Body lift is a great addition to a mild lift. It will give you a little added clearance without limiting suspension travel like a suspension lift does. They also allow you to get just a little more lift without going over a suspension tipping point. They also help kep the stock feel in the steering and handling.

They do have some benifits that you won't get out of a suspension lift.

I would not consider anything more than a 1.25" body lift though.
I am also curious what you mean. I thought there is nothing better than a legit spring/coil lift and all other options like BL and BB are compromises for either monetary relief or in my case fear of what I would consider "extreme" modifications. And I am having a hard enough time with a 1" BL let alone any bigger. And I have to admit I didn't know they came any larger than 1.25".

Thanks for your reply.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:42 PM   #7
brianjw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLADE

Bump Stops...

With a suspension lift, You do not gain any additional clearance under compression unless a bump stop is added/extended. A body lift increases the distance from the body to the bump stop without taking away from the suspension.
A proper suspension lift is designed with longer shocks that are near fully compressed when touching their bump stops, you gain DROOP rather than compression.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
wranglerboy13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLADE View Post

Bump Stops...

With a suspension lift, You do not gain any additional clearance under compression unless a bump stop is added/extended. A body lift increases the distance from the body to the bump stop without taking away from the suspension travel.
Ahh I see. That makes sense. Thanks for my ah ha moment of the day.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wranglerboy13 View Post
I am also curious what you mean. I thought there is nothing better than a legit spring/coil lift and all other options like BL and BB are compromises for either monetary relief or in my case fear of what I would consider "extreme" modifications. And I am having a hard enough time with a 1" BL let alone any bigger. And I have to admit I didn't know they came any larger than 1.25".

Thanks for your reply.

What are you having trouble with? I'll try to explain if I know what your curious about.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by brianjw View Post
A 3.5" lift with track bar relocation brackets and drag link flip will probably handle better than a 2.5" lift without it and a body lift. IMO you'll have a more difficult time selling a jeep with a body lift.

Drilling the knuckle is not a big deal. The AEV kit is designed to be able to be removed and returned to stock fairly easily. When you drill the knuckle, you insert a tapered sleeve which inside diameter/taper is stock. If you return the jeep to stock, you simply insert the sleeve from the bottom of the knuckle and put the stock drag link back on. The whole kit could be removed (if desired) and sold and the next owner would just need a new sleeve. Much easier than removing a 2.5" lift and body lift.

Personally I wouldn't worry about reselling with a lift. Odds are you're not going to want to hold on to all the parts, wheels, tires etc and spend the time in labor to bring it back to stock. And who is going to buy a worn out lift for much anyway? Not worth the time if you ask me!

For what it's worth my AEV 3.5" lift handles better than stock. I've had body lifts on other rigs but only where there were no suspension lifts available. The only downside to the 3.5" versus 2.5" lift is that you'll probably need a new front driveshaft and exhaust mod. I would rather run aftermarket fenders with a 2.5" lift than a body lift as well.
Great reply. BL was intriguing (until your reply) because it would be so simple to remove, that was part of my reasoning. I wouldn't attempt to sell a used lift. I guess just the option to return to stock if I had a hard time selling it lifted gives me the piece of mind I am wanting. I didn't know about the sleeve insert reverse to return the knuckle to original diameter/orientation. Makes perfect sense. And I have no doubt the 3.5" drives great with the high steer kit. You make a good point that a 2.5 with no steering mods would drive worse than a 3.5 with the proper setup.

Thanks for the first hand experience
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Unread 03-02-2013, 05:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by brianjw View Post
A proper suspension lift is designed with longer shocks that are near fully compressed when touching their bump stops, you gain DROOP rather than compression.

By adding bump stops, you are eliminating compression regardless how much "DROOP" you allow for. Suspension lifts actually use up "DROOP". When you put a 3" lift coil in place of a stock coil, you are 3" closer to reaching your maximum droop at ride height. You could "gain" the full potential of the "DROOP" out of your suspension without a single inch of lift.


A "proper" suspension will still have atleast 4" - 5" of compression at ride height.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 06:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLADE

By adding bump stops, you are eliminating compression regardless how much "DROOP" you allow for. Suspension lifts actually use up "DROOP". When you put a 3" lift coil in place of a stock coil, you are 3" closer to reaching your maximum droop at ride height. You could "gain" the full potential of the "DROOP" out of your suspension without a single inch of lift.

A "proper" suspension will still have atleast 4" - 5" of compression at ride height.

I don't know that we are disagreeing, just thinking in different terms. With the AEV 3.5" lift, they supply (estimated) 3" bump stops. I still have 4-5" of compression before hitting the bump stops, and plenty of droop. Longer shocks provide more travel, the lift changes the range of travel.
If I recall correctly the AEV 2.5" lift uses shorter shocks. Even with a body lift you'll need the bump stops to prevent bottoming out the shocks. You could probably fine tube adjustable stops a little if the shocks are not the limiting factor. But a body lift just provides tire clearance and rocker panel clearance. Fenders provide tire clearance as well, without causing other potential issues with steering, shifting, body mounts shifting etc. If there was a belly up kit (like the TJ) it would be more appealing.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 06:36 PM   #13
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No, I don't think we are disagreeing entirly either.

Whether you have a 1" lift or a 3.5" lift, a body lift will give you an additional 1" of tire clearance without taking away from the suspension. That 1" of clearance translates into being able to clear 35's instead of 33's, or 37's instead of 35's.

That 1" may be the difference between driveshaft, exhaust, steering, or other additional modifications.

You just have to look at the overall build.

A body lift should be used in addition with a suspension lift.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 06:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wranglerboy13 View Post
So on to the question...what do you experts think of a 2.5" lift (AEV or possibly Teraflex) in addition to a ~1" body lift.
This is the exact set up that I run. although I'm no "expert", if you would like a visual check my gallery for a few progressive shots of my slow but sure build. Now, I cannot attest to any heavy wheeling capabilities or drawbacks as I have only wheeled it lightly (plans to test it on an extended vacation through AZ and CA this summer). But, esthetically it looks very good IMHO. It handles well on the highway and behaved nicely in the sand dunes on the beach. I'm no hardcore wheeler by any means. I am adding skids and relocation for my trip this summer but, basically I'm a DD that likes the fun of upgrading and lightly modding my jeep.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 07:02 PM   #15
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Well, you can run 37's with DIY flat fenders and only 2.5" lift, just look at my gallery pics (see my profile pic). If you decide to sell it, look on e-Bay for used stock fenders.

I have a 1.25" body lift sitting in the garage. I'm still undecided on whether or not I need it. So far, the RK 2.5" Max Travel lift, DIY flat fenders and 37's has worked great for me.

Normally, a 2.5" coil lift is enough for 35's. Add flat fenders and you can fit 37's in there, and still off-road pretty rough terrain...enough that I snapped a D44 rear axle shaft and twisted a front driveshaft in half. Never had a problem with bottoming out yet.
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