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I installed a RockyRoad 4.5" Trailblazer lift in my 1998 ZJ. I though a review of the overall experience would be helpful to some.

Let me start by saying that I have never had the opportunity to install my own lift before, having either bought the vehicle with the lift already installed or lived without it. It has been a 20 year dream of mine to do this, build my own rig! I finally had the cash and time to do it! So big excitement and expectations going into this.
Let me also say that I am not a whiner by nature. I can live with a little hassle, that’s just life. But as this project went on and there were more and more challenges, it started to crush my enthusiasm and ruin what should have been a great experience. I am sharing this as a caution for those wanting to take my path.
I did a ton of research on the type of lift I wanted before buying, but not on the manufacturer. I admit I was sucked into the great sales pitches by their website and never thought to question that.

Instructions
• Not very detailed. Very few pictures, even on the website. I like pictures, they help me understand vague instructions much better…
• Not accurate for my year/model. The instructions I got were for a TJ, not a ZJ.
• Kit talked about needing to grind stuff off the frame. This was not the case for my Jeep.
• No information on the Control Arms I bought. I mean none at all, no mention of them, anywhere. The ones I bought were all adjustable and I have to look on-line to figure out what length to set them at as a starting point.
• No Torque settings for any bolts/nuts. .
• It would have been nice to have some indication of how to proceed with multiple kits, which to do first, etc… I bought the lift kit and the steering kit.
• No mention of rear sway-bar at all, anywhere.
• No mention of the ABS lines in the rear, or how to adjust for them.
• No description of the items shipped, or included. Just have to figure it out for yourself.
• I wound up using the IRO installation instructions, far more detail.
• No information on Driveshaft type or adjustments. Things to consider with the lift. I am not sure the TC drop kit will overcome the change in length for the front Type 3 CV driveshaft.

Lift Kit
• Despite what the advertising says, you will need to replace your front driveshaft if you drive it on the streets. While you technically can drive with the factory driveshaft and it won’t fly apart, it has ruined the ride of the jeep and taken away a lot of the pleasure I used to have in driving it before. You pretty much have to set the driveshaft to the correct angle or you get death-wobble. Unfortunately by setting it at the correct angle, you have to set your Castor to about 0 degrees, which means the jeep wants to wander all over the place when you are driving. It makes driving the jeep frustrating, a lot of work and frankly embarrassing as you look drunk all the time. Try explaining castor to a cop on the side of the road.
• It seems they built a kit for a 4.0 Jeep and just assumed it would fit all ZJs. I have the 5.9 ZJ and the kit sits low in the front and I still have not put on my winch or bumper. I will have to buy some adjustable coil spacers so I can level the jeep. This kit also rubs on my factory exhaust in two places requiring modification of the exhaust (heat it and beat it).
• Kits shipped without all the nuts and bolts and washers needed. I called them and to their credit, they shipped me another set of bolts for free. Unfortunately this second kit was also incomplete. Even with the two bags of hardware combined there were still missing bolts. Had to go and buy my own. No quality control I guess.
• Rear sway-bar links not included. I know most wheelers remove the rear sway bar, but mine is a weekend warrior and I expect it to have decent road manners during the week.
• Bolts for Transfer Case drop were barely long enough, given the Control Arm Drop (CAD) kit also runs under the frame support. I will replace these with longer bolts myself. This again goes to the fact that there is not plan for combining kits.
• The CAD kit is set to adjust the Lower front Control Arms (CA) with shims at the frame side of the CA. This works on XJs, but my ZJ is adjusted at the axel with a cam bolt. No shims provided, and no cam bolt eliminators were provided. I had to make my own cam bolt eliminators. Fortunately I bought adjustable CAs so I could adjust the length somewhat (not fine tune them, but make general adjustments at least).
• The CAD bracket on the passenger side rubbed against the exhaust ‘header’ pipe (factory pipes) before modifications.
• Rear upper control arms. I am not sure if there are supposed to be two different ones, but I was provided with two the same. The angle of the bolt surface for the brake line support brackets was completely off for the passenger side, even with trying to adjust the brackets I would up using zip-ties.
• Shocks seem too short, don’t seem to allow full articulation. At full drop the springs are still under a fair bit of compression. I know you don’t want them loose, but having more use of the possible articulation would be nice.
• Control Arm Grease nipples are in very poor locations. I went and bought a 90 degree adaptor for my grease gun and was still not able to get at all of the nipples. I tried flexing the jeep and still could not get at them all. Only way to grease some of them is to take the bolts out and grease the joints manually, then re-install. Not user friendly at all.
• The Front, Upper Control Arm bolt hole was too large for factory or supplied bolts. I had to take a barrel spacer from one of the shock kits (wasn’t needed for the shocks) and cut it in half, then pressed in from both sides to take up the slack and so the lube channel was still accessible.

Rear Trac-bar drop
• The assembly was too wide for factory track bar bolt and a new one not provided. I had to purchase one locally.
• Assembly pressed on the exhaust, necessitating the adjusting of the exhaust pipe (heat it and beat it). Again, this kit seemed to never have been tested on a 5.9 ZJ. Now that it is modified, it will occasionally clunk and bang if I’m going over rough terrain, not bad on the roads though.
• Fabrication of the bracket was not square. The sides slopped in 1/8” over 2” so it had to be opened to fit over the factory bracket. This is not a big deal, but it chipped the powder-coating again, requiring painting (which has since flacked of and is rusting).

OTT Steering Kit
• Steering Kit and lift kit were not designed to work together. The swaybar now sits very high in the wheel well. I actually broke a swaybar link when I pulled out of a parking lot and hit a bump in the road (paved road). This punched the swaybar link into the fender well and sheared the ends completely off. I fabricated a new one, but will have to shorten the swaybar links substantially to have it sit in the right spot.
• Had to drill my own holes for the ABS sensors on the front knuckles. Say goodbye to more powder coating.
• The main Bracket that sits on the axel tube on the passenger side did not sit down as far as it should, this required the holes to be adjusted to fit or grinding of the surface that contacts the axel tube.
• They shipped me a couple of wrong tie rod ends. They did send me replacements, but that was yet another delay.
• All the fittings (heim joints, tie rod ends and adjuster lock bolts on CAs) rusted within 24 hours of first test drive. Granted there was over a foot of snow on the ground at the time, but I would expect the parts to be of better quality than that. Very disappointing. I know they don’t make all these parts, but they select them and ship them. It makes everything look crappy. Like many Jeep owners, I take pride in my jeep, even the dents and scratches because they have a story. Rusted parts just make it look like I don’t care.

Costs
• This was not a cheap kit, after all was said and done I feel like I could have done better elsewhere. I could have done a Long-Arm kit for almost the same $$$ and now wish I had.
• Was charged full price for the Lift Kit, which is supposed to include a new trac-bar. I also ordered the OTT kit, which comes with a different trac-bar. I didn’t get both trac-bars which is fine, but I was charged full price for both kits. It would have been nice to get credited the $109 USD for the second bar (what they charge for the trac-bar). A small issue, but after everything else, it was the icing on the cake.

UPDATE: I know it is unusual to post an update at the same time as the main post, but I wrote this review back in January of 2017 after installing the kit, and just found it on my computer. SO I figured I would update it and post it.
I have had the kit for over a year now and I am reasonably happy with the ride of the final product. The process it took to get to this point still is not a happy memory and I would certainly do it differently if I could do it over.
The ZJ works well as a daily driver, though with the wandering steering I usually use our van for trips out of town and leave the Jeep for my wife to take the kids the four blocks to school in. She gets a lot of looks and comments on the jeep which is great, but that’s why I like driving it too!
It hasn’t let me down with light to moderate wheeling. It looks sharp with 32” tires on it and I haven’t had to trim anything yet. I added a set of ACOS spacers in the front to level it out. It still has a firm ride which is okay most of the time, but a little bouncy on rough roads.
I also pull a 6 x 12 flat deck trailer loaded with heavy construction supplies several times (over 150 Km each way) and it has handled that pretty well with not too much sag in the back end. S I said before, it still wanders a fair bit at highway speeds, which makes driving it long distances more “work” than “fun”. This should be fixable with a new driveshaft, I just have not had the time to do this yet.
I hope this write up is helpful to anyone looking at options for a lift kit. Sorry for the long post.

Keep ‘em wheel side down!
Jay
 
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