With as little as one day in the shop, our donor '97 TJ took on a whole new personality. 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. 1. The J-Spec suspension is available in coordinated stages to suit your needs and budget. To obtain the greatest benefits, we opted for the complete Stage 4 kit, which consists of new coil springs, shocks, performance shock mounts, front sway-bar disconnects, rear sway-bar end links, adjustable track bars with rear relocation bracket, rear shock extensions, upper and lower control arms, extended front brake lines, and a tailshaft conversion kit for the transfer case with CV driveshaft.1. The J-Spec suspension is available in coordinated stages to suit your needs and budget. 2. The Stage 4 system includes these massive upper and lower adjustable control arms. Each end twists independently and friction-free to allow big improvements in flex. Another cool feature is that each is greasable for long-lasting noise-free operation. A vulcanized rubber bushing isolates road vibrations at each end. Although they may appear to be similar to other control arms on the surface, what really distinguishes JKS arms are the features you can't see. For instance, ultrafine adjustment threads are far stronger than common coarse-thread designs. A slippery brass support bearing eliminates wear caused by leverage, and a spring-loaded seal keeps the lubricant contained and free of contamination. According to JKS, the end result is an extremely reliable design that outlasts anything else on the market.2. The Stage 4 system includes these massive upper and lower adjustable control arms. Each 3. The adjustable bumpstop spacers from JKS consist of three billet-aluminum interlocking pucks at each corner. We like these because they let you dial in bump clearance for different applications. A total of six unique links are possible depending on how the spacers are assembled. Very clever!3. The adjustable bumpstop spacers from JKS consist of three billet-aluminum interlocking 4. As the original pioneer of sway-bar quick disconnects for Jeeps, it's no surprise that the supplied JKS Quicker Disconnects are so well designed. Each end uses a spherical urethane bushing to prevent suspension bind while cornering. This allows the springs and shocks to work in harmony with the antisway bar absent of preload forces found in other typical rubber-bushing-style end links. This little detail improves on-road feel while also making the disconnect/reconnect process much easier for the end user.4. As the original pioneer of sway-bar quick disconnects for Jeeps, it's no surprise that 5. Another aspect of the J-Spec system we liked is the custom-tuned Bilstein piggyback shock absorbers. JKS partnered with Bilstein to fine-tune these 5150-Series shocks for a perfect balance of on-road stability and rough-terrain damping. The bar-pin eliminators shown here are the cat's meow because they are super-easy to install, and much stronger than the factory stamped type. Additionally, they compress the bushing sides to eliminate noise and premature wear caused by distortion.5. Another aspect of the J-Spec system we liked is the custom-tuned Bilstein piggyback sho 6. The J-Spec system is designed to raise the vehicle 4 inches over stock. Here you can see the difference between the stock rear springs and the new longer JKS units. JKS coil springs are developed specifically for the weight of six-cylinder applications and vehicles that carry heavier loads, such as tools and gear normally needed by the serious off-pavement enthusiast.6. The J-Spec system is designed to raise the vehicle 4 inches over stock. Here you can se 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!