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JL Enforcer: Adding Lift and Grip to a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

JL Enforcer

Ali MansourPhotographer, Writer

Out of the box, the ’18 Jeep Wrangler JL is an absolutely impressive machine. While it might not look drastically different from the outgoing JK, it’s very much so an all-new Wrangler. As with any new 4x4, we were curious how the new JL would react to a mild lift and larger tires. Would it throw the same electronic fits as the outgoing JK if the computer wasn’t calibrated? How would the new electric-over-hydraulic steering system handle larger tires?

The list of questions went on and on. To find out for ourselves, we stopped by Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina. There, we followed along as the crew installed a Stage 1 2.5-inch Enforcer Overland Lift from EVO Manufacturing on an ’18 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport. EVO made its name in the Jeep world with its impressive line of armor and long-travel JK suspension systems. Wasting no time, the company already has an assortment of components for the JL platform.

Paired with a set of 35-inch-tall Patagonia tires from Milestar, we were able to check out the on- and off-road performance of the JL. So, how did it all work? Read on to find out.

How It Works

First off, the eight-speed automatic behind the JL’s 3.6L V-6 is a game changer. Despite having stock gearing, the Jeep still felt as though it had plenty of power on tap. At highway speeds above 65 mph, we found the Jeep would hold Seventh gear, but rarely moved into Eighth. Steering both on-road and off wasn’t an issue, but it did feel a touch heavier.

The ride quality and handling is very close to stock, which is fine by us. If you’re going to spend more time in the dirt, we’d highly recommend getting a set of sway bar disconnects and upgrading the shocks. However, for a daily driver and occasional wheeler, this setup is great. It’s also worth noting that we did not use a programmer to recalibrate the Jeep. While this put the speedometer off slightly, we did not experience any stability control warning lights or ever find the Jeep wanting to go into the dreaded limp mode.

What Hits, What Fits

You may have noticed this Jeep has a fullsize spare mounted out back. Surprisingly, this was done with no modifications. If you want to go this route, plan on trimming the plastic bumper slightly to give the tire more clearance. The jury’s still out on how good of a long-term solution this will be, but it seems to work fine for now. The only other minor trimming needed was at the very front of the lower front bumper valance as the tires made slight contact at full turn.