Beginners Guide to upgrading/ modifying your Jeep.

Beginners Guide to upgrading/ modifying your Jeep.

Are you looking to modify/ upgrade your jeep, but don't know where to begin? Let us help you get started! 

The first thing to do is to have your Jeep inspected by a good shop.  Before pricing out and budgeting for upgrades you need to make sure your Jeep is in good shape.  If your Jeep has more than 40k miles on it you will most likely need ball joints and possibly a new steering system.  Ball joints along with upgrades steering components are essential to make sure your Jeep doesn't inherit the infamous death wobble that all jeeps get at some point. When we discuss steering components, we are referring to the tie rod and drag link and steering stabilizer. Unfortunately, Jeep didn't use the greatest quality ball joints or steering components when designing their Wrangler or Cherokee. The stock components just cannot handle bigger tires or the more extreme suspension angles you get when you lift your vehicle. At Honest Speed Shop, we recommend Teraflex Heavy Duty ball joints, which you can get for $264.99 for all 4 (for a jeep wrangler JK). We suggest the MetalCloak Steering system (drag link and tie rod) for a nice gold finish that is more resistant to weather and rust compared to other brands. Metacloak joints are top notch. Metalcloak steering kits are $749(for a jeep wrangler JK) . Maybe you are not savvy enough to tackle those repairs yourself, and that's okay! We can do the repairs for you for the price of $250 for installation. Do keep in mind, we do not charge any extra labor to add a steering kit if you do the ball joints at the same time. Afterwards, we will finish you up with an alignment for the new steering components to get your vehicle straight and back on the road for $125-$175. 

Now that we have touched the steering topic, let's get down to bread and butter, lift kits! 

We are the highest level Gold authorized dealer/ installer for MetalCloak.  The quality of their parts and fit and finish are unmatched. The technology in the Dual Rate springs allow MetalCloak suspension systems to have the best ride in the business.  They will give you a nice smooth ride on the road and they perform very well off-road.  They give you a nice transfer of the suspension weight from side to side.  Now, what comes in your lift kit? Let's go over it! In a lift kit you have 4 shocks, 4 springs, brake line extensions or new steel braided brake lines, exhaust spacers (depending on vehicle and lift size), bump stop extensions, either a front and rear trackbar or trackbar brackets. The bump stop extensions are used to limit the up travel of your suspension to prevent your tires from going into the fenders. The trackbar relocation brackets are used to move where the front and rear trackbars currently sit. You may also consider adding control arms to your lift kit if you want to be able to fine tune your lift and dial it in for a better alignment. Aftermarket control arms will have better bushings to allow for better flex capability with less binding.  

We also sell a wide variety of other lift brands including Teraflex, JKS, BDS, synergy and many more!  

If you are not sure how much off roading you are going to be doing then we would recommend a Metalcloak True Dual Rate Kit. If you want the best they offer, and are going to be doing a lot of off-roading, we would suggest the Metalcloak Game Changer lift. The Game Changer lift includes everything you may need, control arms, springs, shocks, brake lines, front and rear trackbars, and front and rear bump stop extensions. Not sure what shocks to go with? MetalCloak's Rocksport shocks are fairly budget friendly, and will give you a little bit better of a ride than stock shocks. If you are wanting to up your ride to something a little better, you can get a set of Fox Shocks. Or, maybe you want the best ride you can get? No problem, we can help with that! We can order you some Falcon 3.3 Series shocks which will allow you to fine tune the shock with a dial. You can make them as hard or as soft as you want! We run the Falcon 3.3 shocks along with the MetalCloak game changer lift on our shop JKU and love them.

Most high quality bolt-on lift kits usually run $1,500-$3500 for the parts and install for around $600-800.  Long arm and custom suspension can be a lot more expensive.  

Another thing to think about when lifting your vehicle is adding an aftermarket driveshaft that will be able to withstand the angles that an upgraded lifted suspension gives you. Here at Honest Speed Shop, we sell a lot of Adams 1310 driveshafts. We stick with the 1310 versus a 1350 to leave a weak point at the driveshaft to prevent breaking bigger, more expensive parts on your Jeep. 

Most people want bumpers to customize their ride, and help their vehicle perform to the level they need offroad.  

Bumpers are what is going to protect you and your Jeep on and off the road. This is one place where you don't want to skip out on quality. Common names in the armor section of modifications for Jeeps are Smittybilt, Poison Spyder, JCR, Teraflex and MetalCloak. Some people decide to buy an Amazon or Ebay bumpers. Those will do the job, but they do not protect very well and smash and break easily. Another thing to consider is if  you are going to attach lights to your bumper? Possibly a winch? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then make sure the bumper you are looking at will have mounting options available. This will save you the headache of custom mounting/drilling into your new bumper. Some bumpers, including Hard Rock Jeep Edition bumpers and MetalCloak come with options to modify. So you can take parts of those bumpers on and off to make them stubby to full and add a stinger or bull bar, etc. How about a winch! This is a big topic in the off-road community. Which is better? Steel line or synthetic rope? The answer is always synthetic rope. A steel cable is dangerous because when it snaps it flies back and can cause serious injury, if not kill someone.  

The best name in the game for winches is Warn. But, if you are wanting a winch with similar quality, but better pricing, we would suggest Smittybilt or Rough Country winch. The rule of thumb when it comes to what winch maximum capacity to get is to get one that has double the total weight of your jeep including all the modifications. Stock jeeps weigh around 4,500 lbs and if you add a lot of upgraded parts like larger wheels and tires and upgraded axles and full skid plates and sliders it can significantly increase the total weight of your jeep.  We can help pick out the best winch for your jeep.   You can also use a snatch block when recovering. A snatch block will double the power of your winch. Another great tool to have for recovery is a Smittybilt Recoil Kinetic rope. A Kinetic rope will stretch, and transfer energy to pull itself back together. It stretching itself and coming back together is what sets it apart from a normal recovery strap.  

Now For the most discussed Jeep topic: wheels and tires. 

Let's start with Wheels.  Do you plan on heavy off-roading? Or, are you planning on only occasionally off-roading? If your plans are to off-road consistently (trail rig) and you want the capabilities to air down to 5 PSI without having to worry about your tire coming off of the bead, a beadlock wheel sounds like it may suit you best. Keep in mind, beadlocks require a lot of maintenance. You should be retorquing the beadlock’s bolts every oil change to ensure the bolts are still there and have not backed off. If Beadlock’s don’t sound like they suit you or your Jeep? Regular wheels are just fine for a fun weekend trip to the trails. Majority of the wheels we sell are 17” in diameter and –12 or more offset. This -12 or more offset is to prevent having to run wheel spacers in order to not have the larger tires rub on the frame. While some people do have wheel spacers, we find it best to eliminate one more thing that can fail. Wheel spacers are just fine if that is the route you want to go. Just make sure they are good quality hub centric wheel spacers that are properly torqued to spec, and put on with loctite.  Some good wheel brands that we carry are Black Rhino, Dirty Life and Method.  We carry most brands of wheels.

For tires, we recommend Falken, Cooper, Toyo, and Nitto’s.  We carry most brands of tires. Are you wanting an all-terrain? A mud-terrain? Are you going for look? Are you going for performance while daily driving?  The Falken WilPeak AT3W’s are a great choice for all-terrain. They keep up with the looks, but perform well on and off-road. If you are wanting more of an aggressive look, with great mud handling capabilities, Falken MT’s, Cooper STT Pro’s, or Nitto Trail Grappler’s may be what you are looking for. 
wheel tires can run $200-$400 each and you need 5 of each.  

Note:If you run larger tires you will have to calibrate your speedometer. We use a superchips FlashCal to do this.  $210.95 and up depending on on your Jeep model.  

Another thing to consider when running a larger tire is you will have to get an upgraded spare tire carrier.  The stock tailgate spare tire holder was not designed for the added weight of a larger wheel and tire.  

 Something many people forget about when they install a larger set of tires is the drivetrain was geared to provide a balance between torque and top speed. If you do a lot of highway driving on small to mid sized tires, it may be practical to regear to a taller setup to increase your top speed and fuel economy. If you are planning on doing a lot of off-roading or are only upgrading to a larger set of tires, you should probably install shorter gears.

We can help pick out the right gear ratio for you and install the gears.  We do not recommend installing gears yourself.  You have to have the correct tools and be properly trained to install gears properly.   

gear changes are around $2,000 for parts and install.

Extra Protection for your Jeep: 

You are going to want to protect your jeep while driving around town or beating it up on the trails. Skid plates protect your underneath and sliders protect the sides of your jeep.   There are quite a few brands for skid plates and sliders that we carry.  Some of them are: MetalCloak, Smittybilt, Fab Four, and Poison Spyder.

If you want to protect your frame and other metal parts from the outside elements our on-site partners at Hilliard Green Detailing Garage offer Fluid Film undercoating in clear and black. It will last up to a year and they do spray the inside of the frame as well.  Fluid film is a grease based undercoating that does not trap in moisture like paint based undercoatings do.    $150-165 for an application.  

Now that we have covered the basic concepts of helping you modify your Jeep contact us today so we can help you pick out and install the right parts for your jeep.  We look forward to helping you: Enjoy What You Drive! 

Feel free to stop in, call or email us with any questions.  Have a great day!

Honest Speed Shop

5110 Trabue rd

Columbus, Ohio 43228


Honest Speed Shop
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