When preparing for uncertain times, having a reliable bug out vehicle (BOV) can make all the difference. A modern Jeep Wrangler JL offers impressive off-road capabilities and reliability. But the stock platform lacks ground clearance and the ability to add aggressive off-road tires. Both of which a BOV Jeep should be equipped with.
Stuffing a performance lift kit under our Off Road Xtreme Project Apocalypse Bug Out Jeep is a logical solution to take it to the next level. For our build, we selected a Maxtrac Suspension Lift Kit (P/N: K949832FA). In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of this kit and how it can enhance your bug out vehicle’s performance, versatility, and overall reliability.
A BOV Jeep Needs Enhanced Ground Clearance
One of the Maxtrac Suspension Lift Kit’s primary advantages is its increased ground clearance. You gain greater clearance between the vehicle’s underbody and the ground by lifting your Jeep. This allows you to navigate over rough terrain, significant obstacles, and debris that could otherwise hinder your progress. With improved ground clearance, you’ll have the confidence to tackle off-road trails and overcome various barriers, ensuring a safe escape in emergencies.
The Maxtrac Suspension Lift Kit is designed to optimize your already off-road capable Jeep JL. The kit improves suspension articulation and stability by incorporating high-quality components such as upgraded Fox 2.0 performance shocks, coil springs, and control arms. This enhancement ensures smoother rides over uneven terrain, providing better traction and reducing the risk of getting stuck. You can reach remote locations quickly and safely with the added lift and improved off-road performance.
And while added ground clearance is important, the lift allows for the installation of much larger tires, further enhancing your Jeep’s off-road capabilities. With larger tires, you gain improved traction, better grip, and increased contact with the ground. This is particularly advantageous when traversing muddy, rocky, or slippery surfaces. Additionally, larger tires can help protect your vehicle’s undercarriage and reduce the risk of damage from obstacles. With off-road capable tires, we would also recommend heavy-duty off-road rated wheels. The suspension lift kit, plus wheels and tires ensures that our vehicle is equipped to handle any impossible terrain or weather conditions that we may may encounter.
A BOV Jeep Requires Durability and Reliability
So why Maxtrac Suspension? The Maxtrac Difference is clear and underlined by over ten years of recognizable and trustworthy reputation backed by quality, customer service, and affordability.
When choosing a suspension lift kit for your vehicle, durability and reliability are paramount. The Maxtrac Suspension Lift Kit is engineered with high-quality materials and undergoes rigorous testing to ensure its resilience in demanding off-road conditions. The fabricated steel components are protected in a powdercoated grey finish. Rebuildable pivots use chromoloy housings, urethane bushings, and premium hardware.
The components are designed to withstand extreme environments and heavy use, providing a dependable solution for a bug out vehicle. Knowing that your suspension system can handle the challenges ahead offers peace of mind in critical situations.
Maxtrac’s 3-inch Lift Kit For Jeep JL Kit (P/N: K949832FA) Includes:
- Front and rear coil springs
- Front and rear bump stop extensions
- Front and rear swap bar end links
- Adjustable front trac bar
- Rear trac bar bracket
- Eight adjustable control arms
- Front and rear FOX 2.0 Performance shocks
Additional notes from Maxtrac specify using 17-inch wheels or larger with 4.5 inches of backspacing or less. This kit is ideal for clearing up to 37×12.50 tires on 8-inch to 9-inch wide wheels. Depending on your Jeep model, some fender trimming may be required. This kit is specifically for the four-door JLU model only.
A BOV Jeep With Enhanced Control And Adjustability
Adjustable control arms have an advantage when it comes to lift kits. They allow you to correct and fine-tunet your vehicle’s suspension geometry, which is especially important when you lift a vehicle or change its ride height. By adjusting the control arm length, you can optimize the caster and pinion angles, ensuring proper alignment of the wheels and improving overall handling and stability. Maintaining correct suspension geometry helps prevent premature tire wear, improves steering response, and minimizes vibrations.
Maxtrac Adjustable Control Arms Main Features:
- All eight arms are fully adjustable for wheelbase adjustment, drive line correction, and caster correction.
- These arms offer more suspension flex for improved off-road capability.
- Rebuildable ends feature a chromoly housing, urethane bushings, a spherical center support & grease fittings for easy lubing.
- Comes with factory rubber bushings at fixed ends that do not require servicing & allow for road noise reduction.
Another advantage is improved articulation. Articulation refers to the ability of the suspension system to flex and allow the wheels to maintain better contact with the ground, even on uneven surfaces. Adjusting the control arm length lets you fine-tune the suspension’s flexibility, allowing for improved wheel travel, better traction, and increased off-road capability.
This enhanced articulation enables your Jeep JL to conquer challenging terrains like rocks, deep ruts, and off-camber situations. Maxtrac’s control arms have massive rebuildable rod ends that allow for added articulation over the factory rubber bushings and are much beefier than the factory units. They are designed to take severe abuse, which is perfect for this build or any other that will be off-road at some point.
Another key point of the Maxtrac suspension system that we love, is the FOX 2.0 Performance shock upgrade. These performance shocks offer several advantages for a Jeep and are engineered to enhance suspension on and off the road. They provide better control over the suspension movement, allowing for improved handling and cornering stability. The shocks’ high-pressure nitrogen gas charge and specially designed valving enable precise tuning to match your Jeep’s weight, suspension setup, and driving style. This reduces body roll, enhances traction, and increases confidence during aggressive maneuvers or off-road adventures.
FOX 2.0 Performance shocks are renowned for their off-road prowess. They are specifically designed to withstand the rigors of challenging terrains, including rocks, sand, mud, and uneven surfaces. The shocks’ superior damping performance helps keep the wheels in contact with the ground. With more contact, the tires provide maximum traction and control over rough and uneven terrain. With FOX 2.0 Performance shocks, our Jeep will have improved articulation, stability, and better shock absorption, allowing us to tackle off-road obstacles efficiently.
Installation Process: A Blend of Precision and Professionalism
Installing the Maxtrac Suspension Lift requires technical expertise and precision. It may be a bolt-on kit, but it involves specialized know-how and experience. If you are not underneath a 4×4 vehicle most days, we recommend seeking professional assistance or consulting an experienced mechanic. We contacted 4 Wheel Performance (4WP) located in Wichita Falls, Texas for our installation. 4WP is known for building some wild off-road machines, so we knew this installation would be a cakewalk for them.
The installation process for the Maxtrac lift kit is straightforward. It involves carefully removing and replacing the existing suspension components with those included in the Maxtrac Suspension Lift Kit. Jessie Smith of 4WP tackled the project and ensured all parts aligned correctly, promoting optimal performance and safety.
Front And Rear Suspension Removal And Upgraded
With the Jeep on the lift and the axle supported, Smith started with the front of the Jeep and unbolted the trac and sway bars, shocks, and upper and lower control arms. He then set up the length of the Maxtrac adjustable control arms as stated in the instructions. Smith then replaced the factory control arms with the Maxtrac units before bolting everything back together. He also installed the supplied bump stops, new lift coil springs, and FOX 2.0 performance shocks.
After Smith had the front buttoned up, it was time to turn our attention to the rear of the vehicle. Like the front, installing the rear suspension was free from any challenges. It’s evident that Maxtrac did its homework on this kit, as the fit and finish are superb. Once again, Smith secured the rear axle, removed the factory components, and replaced everything with Maxtrac, including the adjustable upper and lower control arms, rear coil springs, bump stops, FOX shocks, Trac bar relocation bracket, and brake line relocation brackets.
The BOV Jeep Gets Hooked Up With Wheels And Tires!
In our opinion, the whole point of the lift is to fit the larger tires and some great-looking 17-inch wheels. To fill the fender gaps for this build, we selected Black Rhino Abrams wheels in the textured matte gunmetal finish (P/N: 1795ABR-85127G71) and 35X12.50R17LT Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP tires (P/N: 52759).
Black Rhino Wheels are a fantastic choice for Jeep owners looking for style and durability. These wheels combine striking designs, robust construction, and exceptional off-road performance to elevate our Jeep’s appearance and capabilities. The sturdy construction and carefully engineered designs enhance strength and stability during off-road excursions. These wheels offer optimal load-carrying capacity, allowing us to equip larger, more aggressive off-road tires. The wide range of available sizes and offsets ensures proper fitment for different Jeep models, facilitating better ground clearance and improved off-road capability.
As mentioned, we opted for Mickey Thompson Baja Legend EXP tires for this build. The Baja Legend EXP tires strike an excellent balance between off-road performance and on-road comfort, making them highly versatile. Whether exploring remote trails, venturing into rocky terrain, or cruising along the highway, these tires should be a reliable companion. Their adaptability across various landscapes and weather conditions makes them ideal for our build as we plan for off-road thrills and daily driving convenience.
After Smith had the tires mounted and balanced, it was time to install the new tire and wheel combo. And just like that the Jeep was back on the ground. The center caps were installed with all the wheels torqued to the proper specifications. Next, he moved the Jeep to the alignment rack. It’s always a good idea to get an alignment with new tires and wheels, but it’s a must when doing any suspension work to make sure everything is straight.
With the Jeep back on the road, we are pleased to say that the Maxtrac lift kit has been flawless. We haven’t been able to off-road field test the new combination yet but will do so in the coming weeks. So stay tuned as we get ready to bug out.