New X-Series Suspension
If you own a '97-'06 Jeep Wrangler TJ then you're probably aware that there's no shortage of aftermarket suspension kits for your round-light wheeler. While most companies strive to create the best and most cutting-edge suspensions for your Jeep, sometimes the price of that latest high-zoot lift just doesn't weigh out for the guy building on a budget.
Does this mean that you have to settle for a lesser-quality lift? Absolutely not! Case in point is Rough Country's new 4-inch X-Series suspension kit for the '97-'06 TJ. Complete with everything you need to make your Jeep trail-ready, some of the highlights of the kit include upper and lower adjustable control arms, Performance 2.2 series shocks, and a beefy set of front and rear coil springs. With a suggested retail price said to be around a grand, this is one of the most-bang-for-your-buck kits on the market.
With our old '97 Wrangler in need of a new set of legs, we headed over to Cape Fear 4x4 to toss on the completely bolt-on suspension kit with a couple of guys who know Wranglers inside and out. Depending on the amount of rust your Jeep has (ours had quite a bit), the suspension install can be easily knocked out in a day. Also, if you are planning on playing hard with your TJ, we suggest opting for the Slip Yoke Eliminator Kit for the NP231 versus using the standard transfer-case drop. This will add a few more hours to your install time and up the overall price a bit, but the added belly clearance and drivetrain strength are well worth it.
With the Jeep's newfound height, we needed to address the rear driveshaft angle. Though you can use a transfer-case drop to help with the angle, we decided to replace the NP231's factory slip yoke with a slip-yoke eliminator from Rough Country. Opting for the SYE kit means a stronger rear shaft and transfer-case output in addition to more belly clearance. Connecting it all together is a heavy-duty Tom Wood's driveshaft equipped with a CV to help combat the angle and prevent driveline vibrations.
Keeping the TJ moving through the dirt is a set of 33x12.50 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw radials wrapped around 15x8 Mickey Thompson Classic IIs that were powdercoated by our friends at Area 51 Powdercoating in Holly Ridge, North Carolina. With one of the more aggressive tread patterns MT has to offer, the Claws perform great both on- and off-road. With a little tire speed, they clean out nicely in loose dirt and mud.