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JK Makeover: AEV Budget Lift

Easy DIY lift for Jeep JK boosts off-road performance

Stuart A. BourdonPhotographer, Writer

With the introduction of the new Jeep JL Wrangler, we’re already starting to see more and more gently used Jeep JKs coming into the marketplace. By gently used, we mean the Wranglers that were not purchased, modified, and played with in the dirt; those Jeeps that have spent years living a mundane life, putting thousands of miles of pavement under their bellies. These are the most likely to be traded in soon or sold to get that “newest” Jeep.

Sometimes these can be the best finds; sometimes they’re not overpriced; and almost always, they’re not chopped up, welded, or drilled on anywhere. You can get good deals, but no matter what you pay, at least you’re not buying someone else’s bad choices. With that in mind, here’s a good place to start when you find that clean, used JK you’ve been looking for.

Don’t want to go crazy with lift? Just want enough to plus-size the tires up one notch or so and give you a little more ground clearance, articulation, and traction? Don’t want to spend $1,000-plus? The JK 2.0” Spacer Suspension System (PN AEVJK2SS) from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) provides 2 inches of lift at a price that’s much easier to digest. The system includes sets of front and rear polyurethane coil spacers, front and rear bumpstops, front and rear shock extension brackets, and brake line drop brackets. All necessary hardware as well as excellent installation instructions are part of the package.

Using coil spacers and the factory coils means that you can maintain a great deal of the superior ride quality of your JK; the shock bracket extensions are designed for factory-spec shocks and don’t limit their travel. The really nice thing is that there’s no cutting or welding, so when that day comes (and for most Jeepers, it will), the move up to a more aggressive suspension build will be much easier. Although we used some pneumatic tools for expediency, this complete installation can be easily done with handtools during a day’s work in your garage.