Tech: Jeep Wrangler JK First Phase Install

Tech: Jeep Wrangler JK First Phase Install

One of the first things many would think of when starting a Jeep build is a lift kit and a larger tire and wheel package, which is just where we decided to begin with our 2017 Jeep Wrangler Sport project. This will immediately change the look of the Jeep and will add even more off-road prowess to an already extremely capable vehicle.

We decided to first reach out to our friends at OMIX-ADA, which is the parent company of both Rugged Ridge and Alloy USA, for the lift kit, wheels and an upgraded spare tire carrier to make up for added weight of the larger spare tire and wheel. Henk and his team were generous enough to hook us up with an Alloy USA 2.5-in. lift kit, a set of 17×9 Rugged Ridge Trail Runner Classic wheels, and a Rugged Ridge Spartacus HD Tire carrier.

We decided to go with the 2.5-in. lift kit as it better suited our needs for the Jeep and didn’t require other things like relocation brackets for the track bar. This would allow us to clear room for 35-in. tires, provide us with more ground clearance, and instantly provide a more rugged appearance for the Jeep which is exactly what we were going for. When choosing the wheels, the black Trail Runner Classics immediately caught our eyes as they will definitely provide a classic look, as the name states, and will provide an appearance upgrade over stock without being too flashy.

When it came time to choose the tires, we called our friends down at Nitto and were lucky enough to get our hands on a set of 35×12.50 Ridge Grapplers. These tires provide a middle ground between your traditional mud-terrain and all-terrain tires, and leaves you with the best of both worlds in the sense that you have a smoother, quieter ride on-road than a full mud-terrain but with a more aggressive, off-road capable tread pattern than a full all-terrain.

As mentioned, the OMIX-ADA team was also able to provide us with a Rugged Ridge Spartacus HD Tire Carrier which provides the extra strength on the Jeep’s rear end in order to handle the weight of the new 35-in. tires and 17-in. wheels.

Installation was fairly simple and in no time, we were back on the road with an entirely different look and without a noticeable difference in ride quality. The Jeep is now able to stand out from the crowd a little bit and received a huge increase in off-road capability due to the added ride height and much more capable tires. I don’t think anyone would ever call a Wrangler’s ride smooth, but after putting a few miles in after the installation we found we could hardly even tell the difference.

Off-Road Plus would like to extend a huge thank you to Henk and his team at OMIX-ADA as well as Ron from Toyo/Nitto for helping us to complete the first phase of our build.

The 2.5-in. Alloy USA Lift Kit all laid out and ready to go. The kit provides new coil springs and shocks for all four corners as well as brake line relocation brackets and new stabilizer bar link brackets.

Our 2017 Wrangler was completely stock and although it is an already off-road capable vehicle right out of the box, the lift and new tire and wheel package will give us even more capability and a much more rugged appearance.

Starting with the front, the vehicle is raised and the tires and wheels are removed as is the bolt that secures the front track bar to the axle.

Disconnect the front stabilizer bar links at the axle and then removed the stock shock absorbers.

The factory brake hose bracket is then removed from the axle. We made sure to carefully pry the factory brake line bracket from the rubber hose in order to not damage it. We recommend doing this while it is still attached to the axle for leverage.

The front driveshaft is unbolted from the front axle and tied up and out of the way to be reattached later.

Next, we loosened the upper and lower control arm bolts and lowered the axle down enough to remove the factory coil springs.

Making sure to leave the rubber isolators in place in the upper coil tower, we then inserted the new coil spring into place.

The new shock absorber is now installed, beginning with the upper hardware and followed by the lower hardware. Do not tighten the lower hardware at this time.

Our new lower brake hose bracket is installed. We had to ensure there was enough slack in the hose when the steering wheel was at a full lock. The ABS line is attached to the new bracket using factory clips and the upper brake line bracket is reattached.

The stabilizer bar link bracket is installed to the outside of the original stabilizer bar link axle tab. The factory stabilizer bar is then attached to the new bracket.

The process is repeated on the other side and the front driveshaft is then reconnected. The tires and wheels are put on (which we’ll show later) and we are ready to move on to the rear.

The rear of the Jeep is lifted and the tires and wheels are removed. A jack is then placed under but does not yet raise the rear axle.

The track bar is disconnected from the axle and the upper and lower control arms are loosened but not removed.

The factory brake hose bracket is detached. Two clips retain the wheel speed sensor wires and the forward most clip is disconnected from the arm mount.

The rear stabilizer bar links are disconnected and then the factory rear shock absorber is also removed.

The axle is lowered just enough to remove the factory coil springs. Here you can see the removed OEM part laid next to the new taller Alloy USA coil spring.

The new coil is inserted.

The new shock is also put in place and the stabilizer bar links are reconnected.

The rear brake hose relocation bracket is installed to the factory frame location using factory hardware. The brake hose is then attached to the bracket and the metal line is captured with the Adel clamp and then attached to the frame using a self-tapping screw.

The process is repeated on the other side. With the front and rear suspension complete, it’s now time to go through and tighten and torque everything to factory specifications. The track bars are not to be fully tightened until the wheels and tires are mounted, which is next.

Our Nitto Terra Grappler all stacked up and ready to go next to our Rugged Ridge Trail Runner Classic wheels.

New TPMS sensors are installed on the wheels. The tire is then mounted on the rim and inflated.

With the rubber securely on the wheels with full inflation, it’s over to the balancing machine. From there we mount the wheels and tires on the Jeep itself.

With that complete, we took the Jeep out to get an alignment done and then moved to the rear to install the Rugged Ridge Spartacus HD Tire Carrier which you see here.

First, remove the stock spare tire and remove the stock tire carrier. The process is fairly simple with the highlights being to set aside stock brake light and wiring for use later and to make sure you lock and place shims underneath the tailgate in order to hold it in place when hinges are removed.

Place the HD Hinge Casting in position and reuse factory screws to secure. First fasten the hinge brackets to the vehicle quarter panel then swing the door open and tighten remaining four screws. Do not yet fully tighten.

Attach the other side of the HD Hinge Casting using factory bolts and washers.

Position Wheel Mount Main Plate in place and install and fully tighten all eight bolts and washers.

Now Secure the lug plate to the main plate. Bolts should be tight enough to prevent Lug Plate from moving freely but loose enough to adjust.

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Categories: Off-Road Plus, Tech