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It can be tempting to leave your Jeep Cherokee XJ at stock ride height, as the OEM equipment generally works for most mild applications. However, if you ever want to push your rig's limits and take on some serious terrain, you’re going to need perform some modifications and improvements. While there are numerous places that you can begin to perform these modifications, the basis of any off-road project should be the suspension, as this sees the most action on the trail. For off-roading, the most common modification is to lift the vehicle for additional clearance. Rubicon Express lift kits offer significant improvement over the factory ride height of your Jeep Cherokee XJ.
Although there are numerous suspension components on the market for Jeeps and other all-wheel-drive vehicles, you have two basic options when lifting the vehicle: individual components or comprehensive kits. For example, you can individually purchase the shocks, struts, bushings, bearings, control arms, and other components over a period of time, then install them. For best performance, make sure to install all new suspension components at the same time, so that the components can wear-in together.
The other option, and the one that is most common, is to purchase a complete lift kit. For example, a Rubicon Express XJ kit for a Jeep Cherokee XJ includes all of the components necessary for installation, tailored specifically to the model year Cherokee you select. When searching for a lift kit for your XJ Cherokee, a complete kit will usually include the bushings and hardware, but in some instances you may have to purchase a separate installation kit.
Part of the selection process is determining just how high you want your XJ to go. In most instances, 1-to-3 inches will allow you to tackle most obstacles, mount a stout set of wheels and tires, with plenty of ground clearance for moderate off-roading. If you plan to make your Cherokee XJ into a serious rock-crawler, you’ll want a lift kit that increases the ride height beyond 4 inches. More aggressive lifts may require you to modify other components of the drivetrain to maintain the same rolling geometry once larger wheels and tires are installed.