JKS JSPEC 3-inch Suspension Review
It’s been over 10 years since the last Jeep Wrangler TJ rolled off of the assembly line. Despite this fact, new aftermarket components continue to be released for the ’97 to ’06 Wrangler platform on a somewhat regular basis. One area constantly being reexamined is the Jeep’s suspension. This is partly due to component improvements that have happened over the past decade. One company that has recently increased its TJ suspension line is JKS Manufacturing.
The premium suspension brand is largely known for many of its individual suspension components such as sway bar disconnects and adjustable track bars. The company’s latest product, however, is a complete 3-inch JSPEC suspension system. To get a closer look at the JSPEC kit we stopped by Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina, where one was getting installed on a 1997 Wrangler. While our video above gives the start-to-finish progress, we’re highlighting some of the standout details below.
One of the most venerable areas on the TJ are the stock lower control arms. While the bushings are extremely durable, the stamped-steel arms can easily fail when contacting hard terrain off-road. JKS includes new front lowers with its 3-inch system. These are comprised of beefy 2-inch, 0.250-wall DOM tubing and fit with Clevite rubber bushings. This arm setup equates to not only a strength upgrade, but also something capable of going the distance in the muddy and sandy trails conditions this Jeep will see.
Front and rear dual-rate coil springs are used to create the 3 inches of lift. These are paired with JKS JSPEC nitrogen-charged shocks, which are valved specifically for the lightweight Wrangler application.
A common wear point on the TJ is the stock front track bar. JKS ensures that you can have your Wrangler properly aligned and hit the road worry free with its adjustable front track bar. Comprised of CNC-formed DOM tubing, the new bar attaches to the stock mounting locations. You will need to drill out the hole on the frame side with a 9/16-inch bit to accommodate the new grade 8 bolt.
Out back, a rear track bar bracket bolts to the stock mount. By raising the bar at the axle, you’ll increase the roll center of the Jeep, which equates to increased stability on-road and off.
To make sure the TJ was dialed in side to side, a JKS adjustable rear track bar was used. The 1.25-inch DOM bar is fit with a spherical urethane bushing that mounts at the axle and heavy-duty urethane bushing at the frame side.
Also standard with the JSPEC 3-inch kit are adjustable rear upper control arms. These work with the provided transfer case drop and engine mount shims to ensure you won’t have any driveline vibrations or binding. Optional JKS’s J-Link lower control arms were also installed to ensure all four of the lowers could take abuse.
To ensure the suspension can move freely off-road, JKS includes a set of its Quicker Disconnects. These front sway-bar disconnects come with a mounting post that secures the links when you’re ready to hit the trail.
This TJ is running a wheel designed for the 2007 to 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK. To convert the TJ’s 5-on-4.5-inch wheel-bolt pattern to the JK’s 5-on-5 patter, a set of aluminum wheel adapters from Rugged Ridge were used.
For tires and wheels, 33x12.50R17 Nitto Mud Grapplers were mounted on 17x9 Drakon wheels from Rugged Ridge. Not only is this lightweight wheel package visually exciting, but the Mud Grapplers are also perfect for the mud and sand the TJ will traverse.
Making the transition from a bone-stock suspension to a lifted one is always a big change. The new control arms, along with the fresh coils and shocks, tightened the feel of the Jeep up tremendously. While this Jeep isn’t a daily driver, we see no reason why we couldn’t comfortably spend commuting time behind the wheel. There’s a lot more planned for the Twinkie TJ, so be sure to check back soon to see the build progress.