As many of you know, my Wrangler, Bella, has undergone some major changes this month. My little Wrangler has transformed from a fully stock Jeep into a mean, lifted beast!
I’ve been itching to lift her since I bought her new in 2017. Less than 2 years later she’s traveled from the east coast to the west coast and is almost unrecognizable from the day I drove her off that lot. The funny thing is, the build and adventures have really just begun.
I didn’t want to go too crazy with my build just yet, seeing as how I’m pounding pavement traveling around so much. But I still wanted more clearance and capability for offroading. I talked to dozens and dozens of people about what lift and tires they’re running. As soon as I thought I had it all figured out, someone would throw another great brand my way and I’d be back at square one.
The only thing I never went back and forth on is the lift I wanted. When I roadtripped down from the Pacific Northwest to Arizona last fall, I passed through Paradise, California to drop off supplies in Butte County to help aid those affected by the Camp Fire. The damage was significant and it was shocking to see. You could barely see the road in front of you the air was so smokey. More than 50,000 people lost their homes and over 80 people died.
The summer of 2018 was the worst season of wildfires California had seen yet. Also helping out with the Cali wildfires was MetalCloak. This company is based in Sacramento and was using their platform to help people who had lost everything. I always love to support companies who care about people, not big brands just hungry for money.
Then I started talking to people running MetalCloak lifts and it was clear to see that this brand is far superior to the others. I contacted MetalCloak and the rest is history.
The wonderful team at MetalCloak we’re kind enough to hook me up with a 3.5 inch lift!!! I couldn’t believe it and honestly still can’t. This lift has changed everything and I am forever grateful for their generosity. My Jeep is so much more capable and the ride is significantly improved. Now she's as tall as a lot of lifted trucks on the road. Welcome to the party, Bella!
Everyone says lifting your Jeep and running big tires will sacrifice your ride but that’s not even close to the case for my set up. Granted, I'm still driving a Jeep so it's still bumpy (we all know Jeeps are a rough ride), but it's much improved from the stock ride. MetalCloak uses only the best quality out there and these parts are built to last. There's a reason so many people praise MetalCloak.
Another hard decision I had to make was what tires to run. Since I was running the stock Goodyear tires at the time, I didn’t go too crazy in size because I didn’t want to regear just yet. Bigger isn't always better. After talking to tons of my fellow Jeepers and lots shops, I decided to go with BFGoodrich KO2s and I couldn’t be happier. The 35s are more than capable without causing all the issues of larger tires and rehearing. Granted, you should regear when you get bigger tires, but with the 35s my Jeep still responds a lot better than if I went bigger. This all depends on the driver, the Jeep and where you drive it.
There are a ton of great tires out there to choose from. I ended up skipping out on the mud tire life since I’m on the road so much, but there are lots of MTs out there that aren’t insanely loud and obnoxious. I went with all-terrain tires and these KO2s handle very well on and offroad. I also got them because I talked to so many people who all confirmed they wear fantastic, and you gotta get your money's worth when it comes to tires.
Next on my list were the fenders. I love a thick, meaty Jeep so I chose wider fenders. I rocked the fenderless look for a little while I waited for replacement fenders to arrive (the first ones got wrecked in the mail). As much as I loved the fenderless look, hitting the trails without fenders in the Southwest desert was ridiculous. Rocks were falling from the sky, I kid you not!!!! Those KO2s did me no favors when it came to kicking up rocks. I found some seriously sizeable rocks on my roof even!
As for the wheels, I ended up going with ProComp. I had looked at a few other brands before biting the bullet. I knew I wanted beadlocks but there are so many different styles out there it was insanely hard to choose. I ended up getting a great deal on these and I loved the look so I figured, why not?! It was the last piece of my puzzle and I was ready to get Bella in the shop. When it comes to rims, there are so many awesome options out there depending on the look you want to achieve.
Since I’ve revealed the new look, I’ve received so many supportive comments from you all and I just want to say thanks again. I want to keep it real too and talk about the pros and cons of lifting your vehicle and running bigger tires for those of you who haven't. It may look cool, but that’s not the reason I did it (and neither should you!) There are a lot more issues that come with modifying your Jeep.
Although this lift and bigger tires make my Jeep wayyyy more capable, my gas mileage has suffered significantly. In all honesty it’s a small price that I am willing to pay, but for some this may be a horrific shock. Since lifting it and running bigger tires, my ride is much smoother but it doesn’t drive like a boat like I thought it would. It still responds quickly, it’s just bigger, more badass, and more expensive to fill up. 😂
Once you lift your vehicle, the other thing you have to pay attention to is making sure you get everything tightened every so often. This is something that’s a bit more challenging for me since I’m always on the road. This means stopping at shops in-between destinations while I'm traveling. But again, it’s a small price to pay for the amount of clearance and ability I gained. I can finally take Bella on the big girl trails!
If you haven't lifted your Jeep, just know you don't need to do anything crazy. A 2" lift is more than plenty to fit bigger tires on there. A 4.5" lift is a bit excessive but if you need a ton of clearance for extreme crawling, that would be a situation where it would be more useful. Keep in mind the higher you go, the more you'll have to modify and you'll be more likely to run into problems in the future. Not to mention, your bank account will empty much faster!
Depending on the lift and tire size, you may need up upgrade or remove your stock fenders, which was what happened in my case. Also the more you modify your vehicle, the more warranties you'll void! The best advice I can give is do the lift according to how you use the Jeep - not based on what other people think or what you see on the 'Gram. Your followers don't pay the shop bills, you do!
Overall, I am so happy with my build so far and if I had the chance to do it over, I’d do it this way every time. My Jeep is far from done (if it will ever be done!), but I am ecstatic about the progress I’ve made in less than 2 years!!! Bella is growing up so fast 😂
Disclaimer: MetalCloak provided this product to me free of charge to state my honest opinion. I will continue to update you all 6 months, and a year down the road with my thoughts on the product. You can always expect me to keep it real.