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RCD Jeep Suspension

Front Passenger Side
Christian Lee | Writer
Posted November 18, 2003

Installing RCD's New 4-inch Jeep YJ Kit

Race Car Dynamics (RCD) Suspensions, designer and manufacturer of a number of 2WD and 4WD pickup and SUV suspension systems, is now producing its first Jeep offering. The new 3- to 4-inch suspension system is available for '87-'96 Jeep Wrangler YJ vehicles and will accommodate a tire as large as 33 inches. RCD intends to continue developing aftermarket Jeep suspension kits and will introduce a new long-arm Jeep TJ system to be released later this year.

The 3- to 4-inch YJ suspension system from RCD is ideal for the entry-level Jeep YJ owner looking for improved off-road performance and the ability to run larger-than-stock tires. Accommodating tires as large as 33x12.50 inches, the new RCD kit replaces the factory suspension components with new lifted springs, Bilstein 5100-series shock absorbers, and track bar relocation brackets for the front and rear. The kit is designed to maintain factory steering geometry and proper pinion angles without the need for new driveshafts. RCD builds its own progressive-rate leaf springs with individually shot-peened and powdercoated leaves, assembled using open spring clamps and nylon anti-friction pads. The rear springs feature integrated-degree shims to achieve the proper pinion angle, and RCD provides polyurethane spring bushings and all of the necessary hardware for installation.

In installing the RCD suspension system, consumers can expect to gain 3 to 4 inches of lift and clear 33-inch tires. Four-cylinder-equipped Wranglers will sit higher than those equipped with the I-6 engine. Once our guinea pig Wrangler was outfitted with the new RCD system, we installed a set of 33x12.50R15 Dick Cepek Radial F-C II tires mounted to 15x8-inch Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels. Providing plenty of traction on and off the trail, the Dick Cepek tires combine a wide footprint and aggressive lugs for increased trail performance while offering a quiet ride on the pavement. The F-C II is available in diameters ranging from 31 to 37 inches and in rim diameters of 15 to 17 inches. The Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels provide a clean look and are available for a number of applications. The wheels and tires were mounted and balanced at Performance Plus in Long Beach, California.

Installation of the RCD suspension system is a fairly straightforward process and can be completed in a day's time using basic tools. Once our test vehicle was up and running, it offered an improved ride compared with stock, and even increased handling performance to some degree. If you're looking for a worry-free method of converting that aging Wrangler YJ of yours into a good looking and performing trail machine, RCD now offers what it takes to do so. Check out the photos for the play-by-play as we detail what it takes to pull off such a transformation.


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  • The new 3- to 4-inch Jeep Wrangler YJ lift system from RCD Suspension is the company's first Jeep offering. The system allows fitment of 33x12.50-inch tires.

  • 1. The RCD YJ suspension kit includes all the necessary items to maintain a close-to-factory ride, including track bar relocation brackets, extended antisway bar links, and replacement bumpstops.

  • 2. Sitting on the sagging stock suspension, this four-cylinder-equipped YJ was lacking ground clearance and in need of more aggressive tires.

  • 3. The '87-'96 Jeep Wrangler YJs use spring-under-axle leaf-spring suspensions. The factory leaves on our install vehicle were well worn, providing a stiff ride even on the road.

  • 4. RCD engineer Dave Willey began disassembling the stock rear suspension components.

  • 5. RCD leaf springs use integrated degree shims built into the rear springs to maintain a proper pinion angle. The leaves are powdercoated and individually shot-peened for corrosion resistance and a smooth ride.

  • 6. Nylon anti-friction pads are installed between the springs, and open spring clamps maintain proper leaf alignment. RCD also includes polyurethane spring bushings in the kit.

  • 7. With the stock components removed, Willey installed the new RCD rear springs and the new bumpstops.

  • 8. The rear track bar is moved from its stock location using the included relocation brackets.

  • 9. RCD addresses the stock rear brake line from the frame with the addition of a relocation bracket; this eliminates the need for replacement brake lines.

  • 10. All RCD kits are offered with Bilstein shock absorbers. The YJ kit uses the Bilstein 5100-series monotube gas pressure shock.

  • 11. With the Bilstein shock absorbers in place, installation of the rear suspension components was complete.

  • 12. After removing the stock front suspension components, Willey began assembly using the new RCD components.

  • 13. The front springs are secured using new U-bolts included in the RCD kit. Note the nylon anti-friction pad installed between the leaves.

  • 14. The front track bar was reinstalled using the RCD relocation bracket. The brackets are designed to position the track bar so that proper alignment and function is maintained.

  • 15. RCD provides extension brackets for the front brake lines so that the stock lines can be used with the new suspension kit.

  • 16. The stock transmission/T-case skidplate/crossmember is lowered using the provided stainless spacers and bolts. The spacers allow use of the stock driveshafts by helping maintain the factory driveshaft angle.

  • 17. With installation of the front suspension components complete, Willey installed the Bilstein 5100-series shocks.

  • 18. As a final step in the installation, the extended antisway bar links were installed.

  • 19. We elected to top off the installation of the RCD kit with a set of 33x12.50R15LT Dick Cepek Radial F-C II tires mounted to 15x8-inch Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels. The suspension offers plenty of space for the taller meats, even when fully articulated.

  • 20. With the new RCD suspension kit installed and resting on the Dick Cepek meats and Mickey Thompson wheels, this Jeep Wrangler YJ is ready for some action.

  • 21. The Dick Cepek Radial F-C II tire features an exceptional dual-purpose tread design with hefty lugs gapped apart for aggressive traction while still offering a smooth and quiet ride.

  • 22. The new RCD kit offers adequate clearance for the 33-inch tires and should greatly increase the vehicle's off-road ability.