Part 2: Finishing Up The Back End Of Our XJ
In the March '10 issue, we squeezed some Dick Cepek 35s on the front of our XJ with a BDS 41/2-inch long-arm lift. Of course, this wouldn't have been possible without our budget bumpstop tricks and the front wheelwell trimming tips. In this issue, we'll show you details of the rear BDS suspension and how we trimmed up the back end of our XJ.
The best way to fit bigger tires and to open up the small rear wheelwells of an XJ is to use the cut-and-fold method. You not only free up more space, but the rounded edge of the wheelwell will keep your tire from getting shredded if it rubs.
How's It Work
After pounding our Patriot Blue XJ both on- and off-road over the past few thousand miles, it's clear that the BDS 41/2-inch long-arm kit with our addition of large bump stops and sheetmetal trimming is just about perfect for 35-inch tires. The Jeep is very stable on- and off-road, even while flat-towing another Jeep. The Prothane coil inserts and long-arm front suspension make blasting down Arizona desert trails enjoyable. Both the front and rear BDS springs are on the firmer side in our experience, and together with the BDS gas-charged shocks the ride unloaded is a touch on the harsh side. We have also never really had the front or rear sway bar connected and the Jeep does not seem to need them. We have noticed very minimal tire rubbing while totally crossed up off-road, but not enough to worry about damaging the tires or body. We originally swapped out the longer BDS greaseable shackles for some stock-length shackles just because the Jeep looked a bit too rear-high for our liking. Now that the suspension has broken in and settled, we may return to the BDS shackles in hopes that they will help smooth out the ride a little. Other things that we would like to play with are some larger bypass shocks that would better help the BDS suspension soak up the bumps when going fast. We may also shorten the front Prothane coil inserts an inch or so now that the suspension is broken in. The Dick Cepek tires have proven to be a good all around tire with good on-road wear and decent traction off-road, although we have noticed some minor chunking after creeping over sharp rocky Arizona trails.