Rubicon Express 5.5″ Extreme Duty XJ kit

Installation date: 11/02

Introduction | Rear Install | Front Install | Testing and Conclusions

When it came time to replace my aging suspension lift I needed a complete kit that offered 5-6″ of lift, and I also wanted a kit that would do something to correct the steep angle of the control arms with that much lift. Rusty’s OffRoad hadn’t yet come out with their long-arm kit, so that really only left the Rubicon Express 5.5″ Extreme Duty kit and the SkyJacker 6″ RockReady kit to choose from. The SkyJacker kit easily cost a few hundred dollars more than the RE kit, and I’ve been an RE fan since I got my first 3.5″ lift from them way back when, so the RE 5.5″ kit was the only logical choice. I called up my good friend Dirk at DPG Off-Road, placed my order, then waited anxiously for the kit to arrive.

What really sets the RE kit apart from other standard short-arm lifts is control arm drop bracket kit. These brackets lower the upper and lower control arms about 4″, lessening their angles and resulting in greatly improved ride and handling both on and offroad. The RE 5.5″ kit also features a heavy-duty adjustable trackbar with a SuperFlex joint on one end and a new custom heavy-duty trackbar mount.

The kit comes with everything you’ll need, including longer stainless steel brakelines and all necessary hardware. Some of your factory nuts and bolts will be reused however. Since I already had an SYE kit installed, I opted to substitute a set of 4* steel shims for the t’case drop that comes standard with the kit. I also had Dirk upgrade me to JKS swaybar disconnects, adjustable Super-Flex upper control arms, and I had him and add the JeepSpeed series trackbar brace. The brace runs from the heavy-duty trackbar bracket under the oil pan to the opposite frame rail to stiffen the trackbar mount and prevent frame-flex.

Another thing that I really liked about the RE kit was their shackles. RE claims they’re 1.25″ lift, but after measuring them it turns out they’re really only 3/4″ lift, but they have a crescent cut-out on the backside for clearance with the bumper bolts that stick out into the shackle hanger box. Without this cut-out or some other way of getting clearance, the shackles can bottom out on the bolt, limiting your flex just a bit.

As I mentioned before, this kit was replacing an existing 6″ suspension lift, and I was swapping in a different front axle, so some of the photos may not look “normal” compared to if you were starting with a stock XJ and installing this kit from scratch.

Now it’s on to the install!!

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3 Comments so far

  1. Bobby June 19th, 2011 9:50 am

    Thanks for this post – I am looking for a lift at about this height. I have a 3” pro comp lift currently, and I have an SYE and custom driveshaft already installed. What I am wondering is what other things I will need to do (besides purchasing a kit like this) to run 35s. I know I will need to regear, but what about brakes, brake lines, possibly a longer rear drive shaft?, better steering components, shocks, steering stabilizer, etc. Thanks a lot.


  2. Jeepin Jason June 19th, 2011 11:56 am

    Any lift kit of this height will come with all the suspension related components you’ll need, including brakelines, swaybar disconnects, etc. Depending on the brand, the kit may or may not come with shocks (if it doesn’t include shocks standard, you’ll need to get some). You’ll also need an SYE and CV driveshaft, but you’ve already got those.

    Gears are a must. If you’ve got a D35 or a 27-spline Chrysler 8.25″ rear axle you’ll need to swap those out as well. (The 27sp C8.25 can be upgraded to 29-splines).

    Steering just depends on the condition of your current parts. If you’re still running all stock steering I’d recommend at least upgrading to a heavy-duty tierod if you wheel the Jeep at all, regardless of tire size.

  3. » Bilstein 5150 install November 27th, 2011 1:20 pm

    […] and wanted something stiffer than the DT3000s I’d been running since I first installed my RE 5.5″ kit. Bilstein’s 5150s fit the bill with firm valving, a fixed cross-flow remote reservoir to […]

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