A few years ago 33" tires were considered extreme. Now they are pretty commonplace on most trails. In fact, there are many trails and events that would like everyone to have 35" or taller tires these days. Running 35" tires (or larger) on many of today's coil sprung vehicles can be an expensive undertaking, which puts it out of reach for many people.
Last summer, Rough Country called us to talk about a new 6" adjustable control arm lift kit they were getting ready to introduce. The idea was to provide a kit that was complete and could be bolted on by a competent user in their own driveway, without welding or cutting. The kit would provide a reasonable street ride, with decent performance off-highway and could all be done for a reasonable price. The only additions to the kit would be bolt-ons like a steering box skid plate and a slip yoke eliminator (which could be ordered with the kit or from a third party).
Of course, we were skeptical. After all, we have all seen 6" springs shoved onto short arm lifts. They clear the tires but generally have skittish road manners and sometimes even worse off-highway skills. But because of the intro cost for this system we also realized that a lot of people might want to look at this kit. It sounded complete and it was flat affordable.
Marketing Drivel (hey, it helps to know what the manufacturer thinks):
Rough Country Suspension raises the bar with the release of its new 6” Jeep TJ X-Series suspension system. This kit uses the latest technology in its adjustable upper and lower control arms. The arms are manufactured out of D.O.M. tubing and are pressure tested to 70,000 lbs. to insure durability and drivability. What makes this kit unique is the use of short arms. Short arm kits require no cutting or alteration of the frame rail, which should mean no voided warranties. As opposed to a long arm kits, this kit sacrifices no ground clearance. The Big Flex design provides maximum flex for high R.T.I. ramp scores, while keeping ride quality as close to factory as possible.
This is an all-inclusive kit, with very easy bolt on installation. The kit includes front and rear adjustable upper and lower control arms, an adjustable front track bar, an adjustable rear track bar bracket, front and rear adjustable sway bar disconnects, premium large bore nitrogen charged shock absorbers, and stainless steel brake lines. This kit includes Rough Country’s revolutionary rear coil spring design to counteract rear passenger side spring fatigue, a common problem with all TJ's. As a Jeep accelerates, it torques to the passenger rear side. Over a short period of time this causes the passenger rear coil to fatigue prematurely and loose lift height. As you increase lift height this problem becomes more severe; the higher the vehicle the greater torque angle. Rough Country addresses this problem by offering a unique coil for the driver and passenger sides of the Jeep. This solution increases the life of the coils while maintaining superior ride quality.
Finding a Guinea Pig... errr... a Testing Partner:
It just happened that a friend of ours had recently purchased a bone stock, used TJ for her own use as she was tired of being a passenger in her husband's CJ-7.
Considering her husband's driving style (or lack there of),
who can blame her for wanting her own Jeep?
Since the vehicle she bought was running a Dana 35 rear axle she already had plans to upgrade by putting a Ford 8.8 in its place and a high pinion Dana 30 in the front (scavenged from a recent Cherokee project). So with gears, lockers and setup she didn't want to spend the cash for a full-on long arm kit, as it just wasn't in the grocery funds at the time.
Having said that, she still wanted to run 35" tires so she could at the very least follow the (big) boys (and girls) around on the trails. She also wanted to drive it around town, back and forth to work and for any general errands the grocery getter might be destined to in the black top world.
At that point we had a willing guinea pig and she had someone willing to install her "new" axles and setup the vehicle. We called Rough Country and placed the order for the 6" X-Series Suspension Kit and a Steering Brace. Then we called JB Conversions to get a Super Short Shaft kit and new rear driveline that would bolt up to the 8.8 rear.
The kit arrived in several large boxes. Five to be exact. Once we unpacked it we took an inventory to be sure that we had all the parts.
As you can see, the kit consists of a "lot" of piece parts.
As we inspected the parts that came with the kit we found a few pleasant surprises. The kit is really complete, and included stainless steel and coated brake lines (which were very high quality), front and rear coil springs (the rear springs are side-specific which is supposed to offset the TJ listing problem), upper and lower adjustable, articulating control arms, front adjustable tracbar, front and rear swaybar disconnects, drop Pitman arm, four Nitro 9000 gas shocks with boots, steering stabilizer and all the necessary parts and brackets to install the kit.