Jeep Cherokee XJs are as plentiful as they are cheap, and as such they make for a great entry-level rig for those who are new on the wheeling scene. Typically, new wheelers want to get in on the action, but don't have the deep pockets for the serious hardware. Fortunately, XJs are incredibly capable in stock form, and very minor mods can elevate the Cherokee to the status of a respectable trail machine.
Our pals over at Rubicon Express, a company known for manufacturing quality suspensions, have been successfully lifting Jeeps since 1996 and offer an entry-level system for the XJ that proves affordability and quality are not mutually exclusive. The Rubicon 2-inch Budget Lift is not only functional, but is very affordable. For a cool $259.95 you get spacers, an add-a-leaf, four shocks, and a rear brake-line extension. Quite the deal, especially if your XJ is in need of new shocks anyway.
This system is perfect for a guy who might want to give his Jeep a better stance, or for a new wheeler who needs a little more performance on the trail. Rubicon Express recommends 30x9.5-inch tires with this setup.
While we were busy working on Project 'Con Artist at Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, they happened to have a customer's XJ in the shop getting the Rubicon Express kit installed. We decided to give our newer wheeling friends out there some love and show what goes into installing a quality kit on a budget.
We measured this XJ before and after the lift and found that it gained slightly more than the two inches advertised. The owner reports that his XJ rides nicer than before and that he is extremely happy with the setup. The Off Road Evolution crew had the Jeep transformed in just a couple of hours and we'd recommend this setup to anyone looking to give their XJ a boost-or to anyone who is looking to replace the worn shocks on their XJ.