Lift Kit Options for a TJ
A TeraFlex long-arm is one way
TJ owners love the quick steering and excellent maneuverability of their short-
wheelbase Jeeps in tight spaces, allowing them to easily dart in and out of crowded parking spaces in the ’burbs or weave
We take a 2006 TJ Unlimited to the next level of performance with a TeraFlex Enduro LCG Long Flexarm suspension system
through tight trails in the boonies. The ride and handling of these coil-sprung models, offered from 1997-2006, established a new era for Wranglers, and made them a highly sought-after model by those who preferred maneuverability over four doors.
The TJ’s coil-spring suspension also made it easier to maintain the ride and handling when it came time to slip taller tires underneath for greater ground clearance. This is exactly what a customer of Dunks Performance was looking for when he rolled into the shop in a 2006 TJ Unlimited Rubicon, or “LJ” as they are affectionately known. (The LJ’s wheelbase is 103 inches, 10 inches longer than the TJ.)
This particular LJ had been set up with a 4-inch lift when it was new. Now, more than a decade and 60,000 miles of on- and off-road miles later, it was overdue for an upgrade in suspension parts and technology. A lot of research led the customer to choose a 4-inch TeraFlex Enduro LCG Long Flexarm suspension system without shocks to continue using the Fox 2.0 remote-reservoir units he already had.
The Enduro kit incorporates long lower control arms made from heavy-duty, 13⁄4-inch DOM tubing for both front and rear, and new uppers for the rear while retaining the stock upper arms. The kit also includes the TeraFlex Belly Up skidplate to beef up protection without blocking access to the transfer case. The Rubicon model also required a new air compressor mounting plate that bolted to the Belly Up. When the kit is installed it gives the same ground clearance as one would get with more traditional 6-inch lifts.
We followed Casey Castle, the lead tech at Dunks, as he installed the kit from start to finish. The job isn’t for the faint of heart or the typical driveway DIYer. TeraFlex says installation time by a shop experienced with such suspension work takes 13 hours, with a couple of those spent cutting off the OE lower control arm brackets, grinding the frame, and welding on the new lower control arm brackets. The job also requires a frontend alignment, which was also handled at Dunks’ shop. Two days after rolling into the shop, this Rubicon LJ hit the street with state-of-the-art suspension capable of delivering many years of exceptional highway/off-road ride and handling.
TeraFlex provides a well-designed lower control arm bracket that wraps around the framerail
WhenTeraFlex says its suspension kit is “fully inclusive and functional”, it means it
Here is Dave Diens’ ’06 Wrangler LJ before the 12-year-old 4-inch lift was replaced by a modern TeraFlex Enduro LCG Long Flexarm system.
The TeraFlex suspension kit comes with wellillustrated instructions for every aspect of the installation, so there are very few questions that arise as to what goes where.
There are many ways to remove the lower control arm mounting brackets. Castle’s preferred method is with a plasma cutter. He keeps the tip parallel to the frame and cuts downward through the factory welds so the frame itself isn’t damaged. It’s almost like running a fillet knife along a fish’s backbone.
Dunks Performance’s lead fabricator, Casey Castle, stripped out the front steering, disconnected brake lines, and removed the control arms in preparation for dropping out the Rubicon LJ’s Dana 44 axle assembly.
After we’d removed the LJ’s front lower control arm mounts, the areas they were removed from were ground smooth in preparation for installing the new TeraFlex brackets.
Installation of the Enduro kit required lifting the engine enough to slide in 5⁄8-inch powdercoated spacers between the engine mounts and the frame pedestals that help align the driveshaft angles. We had to ream out the hole in the frame mount to get the shouldered alignment nut to fit.
The best way to install the TeraFlex rear control arms is to do one side while leaving the stock (or existing) control arms connected on the opposite side. This keeps the axlehousing in the proper location and connected to the vehicle, speeding up the installation process.
A couple minutes with the grinder was all that was needed to prep the frame. The cleaner the frame, the better the welds.
There are no measurements in the instructions for where the new mounting bracket plate is located, other than rear bolt hole should be lined up with the rear mounting hole for the factory transfer case skidplate. We used the OE skidplate spacers and bolts to hold the bracket, and then positioned the bracket so the front end of the plate was 3 inches from the next hole in the bottom of the framerail.
TeraFlex provides a well-designed lower control arm bracket that wraps around the framerail and is welded in place. Casey used a white marker to trace its outline for grinding where the welds will be located.
With the bracket in place, Casey welded it up. He made stitch welds along both sides, and then gave the area a good coating of rust-inhibiting paint while the area was still warm. The same steps were repeated on the passenger side.
The rear mounting brackets for the lower control arms are also removed. Note how the welds are cut with the flame of the arc pointing down and parallel with the framerail. An air chisel or grinder can also be used, but it takes much less time with a plasma cutter.
Jp Pro Tip: Put heavy masking tape around all the shock shafts so they are not pitted or damaged by flying molten metal during the cutting, grinding, and welding on the framerails.
We retained the Fox 2.0 remote-reservoir front shocks that were already on this LJ, but replaced the old brake lines with the stainless ones included in the TeraFlex kit.
The last step of the installation was the frontend alignment, which MacFarland easily handled using a laser alignment system one bay over from where the lift was installed.
The heavy-duty TeraFlex Belly Up skidplate adds another 2 inches of ground clearance under the transfer case and substantially more protection to the underbelly. The new skidplate also negates having to hack up the factory skidplate and allows full travel of the longer lower control arms.
Richard MacFarland, the alignment specialist at Dunks Performance, adjusts the TeraFlex rear control arms so that the pinion angle is about 1 degree less than the driveshaft angle to prevent unwanted vibrations while driving on the highway.
The Enduro LCG Suspension System uses the same lower control arms and brackets as the Pro LCG Suspension System, but it retains the factory upper control arm mounting points and the factory front upper control arms.
On this long-wheelbase Rubicon TJ lift kit, TeraFlex includes a special skid/mounting plate for the solenoid assembly that controls the lockers in the Dana 44s. The mount bolts to the Belly Up skidplate.
When TeraFlex says its suspension kit is “fully inclusive and functional,” it means it—right down to the brake line brackets that are on the rear upper control arms.
Jp Pro Tip: When you install the tie rod, connect the axle assembly end first, then do the pitman arm. Doing it the other way will create a lot of hassle trying to get the bolt to line up with the mounting hole.