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Junkyard Jeep Lift Kits

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on January 1, 1999
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We often find ourselves trying to squeeze big tires under our Jeeps without lifting them. Sometimes that leads to the reciprocating saw and sometimes that leads to the junkyard. Over the years, we've honed our skills to the point that we have some very definite opinions on how to get a bit more lift for many Jeep models using junkyard parts.

The basic formula for building your own spring pack is to keep your main leaf and add whatever donor leafs you choose to that. This means you don't have to build or change your stock mounts. It turns out that adding a Comanche Metric Tonne spring pack to the main Cherokee leaf yields about 5 1/2 inches of lift. We only needed about 2 1/2 inches however, so we just kept removing leafs until we had what we were looking for. Dodge Durango, S10 truck, and S10 Blazer leaf springs also work well.

A good rule of thumb is to go up to the next weight classification. For example, most of our Jeeps are basically 1/4-ton animals so we tend to look at 1/2-ton vehicles for lift options. Usually swapping the springs from a 1/2-ton SUV or truck into a lighter Jeep will yield some lift.

For coil-sprung rigs, the overall diameter of the spring and diameter of the top and bottom of the coils is important. For leaf-sprung rigs, the width and length of the individual leafs is what to look at. However, you can always cut the length to suit, so that is less critical. Once you find leaf packs that have the same width as the leaf packs under your rig, pay attention to how much arch they have with the weight of the vehicle on them, as well as how thick the individual leafs are. Typically, when swapping leafs around, thinner and flatter leafs will yield a better ride both on- and off-road.

We could go on for days about what works and what doesn't, but this isn't Junkyard Swap Magazine, so we'll cover some of the highlights here. If you like pinching pennies until they scream, this will get you going down the road to a cheap and readily available way to lift your Jeep.

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