November 1, 2010

Hmm, well I got that wrong ...

Having come from 12 years with a highly modified 4WD, I vowed to leave my new Wrangler Rubicon 2-door pretty much alone. Decent tyres just one size bigger than stock, decent shocks, strong rocksliders on the sides, a good nose skidplate, some recovery points and no messing around with suspension lifts, fancy bumpers (despite the Wrangler's being godawful) or any of that sort of thing. Careful, thoughtful driving, along with the standard diff locks and swaybar disconnect would see me everywhere I needed to go.

If you're thinking along similar lines, whatever your make and model, I'm here to say right now that we're both wrong. You won't have enough ground clearance. Your plastic-coated factory bumpers will be the rubbish you thought they might be, but hoped they wouldn't. I'm not having trouble (so far) with clearance at the diff heads, but with general body clearance. Careful observation has told me I'm about 50mm shy, and fortunately good suspension kits offering this sort of lift are plentiful. I'll probably go back to ARB, having had a good run with that company's kit on the Defender 90. For sure, even more air between me and the track might be nice, but 50 mils should lift me over the silly little snags I'm encountering.

Apart from being flimsy, the Wrangler's front bumper compromises the approach angle and the rear is a most stupid design into which the number plate holder is integrated. This holder sticks below the bumper proper and it's only going to take one or two more strikes to damage or even rip the thing off. ARB products and a liberal application of money will solve these problems, but they'll add weight and one of my aims was to keep extra weight low.

Oh well, my original plans seemed sound at the time. I'll report back as the project progresses.


  1. Been there, Done thatNovember 2, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Of course, a 50mm lift won't be enough; you'll need a body lift, too, plus 35-inch Centipedes with beadlockers, and front and rear winches. The winches will require dual batteries and you'll need a snorkel. What I'm saying Phil is that it never stops!

  2. Don't forget a rack of spotlights for night wheelin.

  3. I'd have thought diff clearance would be the big issue, for which you need larger tyres.

  4. Roving Ron: That's exactly what I thought. I think what happens is that the axles manage to find their way over a fair few obstacles either by luck, momentum or brute force but the "stuff" then snags on other low parts of the underbody. Would be interesting to have a couple of those little video cameras mounted underneath to see what's going on!