We Install And Test The New J-Spec Short-Arm Kit For TJs
Plagued by bare-bones interiors and what many consider a bouncy ride character, Jeep Wranglers built between 1997 and 2006 often delight those of us with an eye towards the outdoors. Their nimble size, along with an arsenal of trail-proven attributes, make any TJ a trustworthy 4x4 right out of the box. And it's for this reason why so many enthusiasts begin buildups with them. Most popular amongst hard-core Jeepers are the smooth-riding long-arm suspension systems.
While long-arm conversions may seem like all the rage these days, they also have a few inherent drawbacks. For instance, installation time usually takes more than double that of a typical short-arm kit. Also, once you cut off all the unnecessary OE parts, a long-arm kit is often irreversible, or at the very least extremely difficult to return to stock. Not to mention the added expense associated with more complex kits. On the flip side, short-arm systems do not require a change in factory pivot points, and while most short-arm kits retain the factory-like ride mentioned earlier, they do offer greater simplicity while effectively achieving the end-all goal: Accommodating larger tires and improving flex.
We recently came across the new J-Spec short-arm kit from JKS Manufacturing. A closer look revealed quite a few innovations worth mentioning. So we procured a Stage 4 system and promptly secured use of a donor TJ to perform a six-month evaluation. The installation was a breeze compared to the typical long-arm kit, and our capable friends at Overkill Jeep Fabrication in Campbell, California, made quick work of it in just one short day. Now read on and see what makes the J-Spec suspension system ready to rock.