Installing a lift kit on your Jeep Gladiator enhances not only its off-road capabilities but also its polished ruggedness by a huge margin. However, installing a lift kit should never be done on a whim. Aside from being expensive, adding a lift kit to your Jeep could prove disadvantageous to its handling mannerisms – especially if done incorrectly or for the wrong reasons.
Getting your Jeep Gladiator lifted is relatively easy, but deciding on the kit may prove difficult. To determine which lift kit will best fit your vehicle, you need to clearly define the gains you want your 4×4 to achieve and the extent of modifications and expenses you are willing to shoulder.
This guide will go over the different types of lift kits, top picks, and their corresponding prices. I will also cover factors to consider in determining the best option for your Jeep Gladiator. So whether you are preparing for a local rock-crawling competition or just wanting to give your Jeep a fresh new look, I am confident you will benefit from reading this article.
Why Install a Jeep Gladiator Lift Kit?
Some Jeep owners install lift kits on their wheelers for aesthetic purposes. But more of them do so to improve their vehicle’s trail and off-roading capabilities. There is a ton of recreational activities that adventurers can select from – dune bashing, mud plugging, rock crawling, and competitive trials included. And depending on the type of off-roading you participate in, you may need more than the stock ground clearance your Gladiator provides. This is where the need for a lift kit comes in.
- A lifted Jeep Gladiator has more pulling power.
- Having a Jeep Gladiator lifted gives it more trail capability. This quality is advantageous for rock climbing, mudding, or water fording, as the lift kit affords the vehicle higher ground clearances and angles.
- Lift kits add to the 4×4’s style and character. They are also a great way to personalize your four-wheeler or give it a more aggressive look.
- Equipping your vehicle with the right lift kit will translate into better drivability. For instance, a Jeep Gladiator lifted on 40s will be able to handle potholes and ruts better, as there is less risk of undercarriage damage given its improved ground clearance.
How to Install a Lift Kit
Generally, the installation process for lift kits is easy. Provided you are not doing a short-/long-arm lift kit, and the instructions that came with it are comprehensive, there should be little to worry about. You will need to have some tools like a jack stand, screwdriver, and torque wrench ready before you start. More importantly, you will need to take your time as you go through the process to avoid mistakes, calibration issues, or misalignment.
Once installation is complete, ensure that the lift kit is properly leveled before driving. Adjust the suspension and steering settings as needed. After which, take your lifted Jeep Gladiator for a test drive to ensure everything is working properly.
Most Common Types of Lift Kits
There are several ways lift kits are classified. Some off-roading publications categorize them based on complexity, while others do the same but based on lift height. What is common in all these classifications is how the lift height grouped together – 0-2.5 inches is considered entry-level, 2.5-4.0 inches is mild, and 4.5-6.0 is extreme.
Arguably the most popular lift option, a body lift adds a lot of style to your Jeep Gladiator – giving it a “taller and more imposing appearance” and allowing for bigger and badder tires without necessarily improving its trail capability. Adding shocks to your Jeep to give it 1-to-3 inches of lift is an example of this lift type and may be worth around $200. Anything taller than three inches will require a new suspension, resulting in heftier costs.
Budget Lift (a.k.a. Economy or Budget Boost)
This lift type is mainly for style and slightly larger knobbies and is made possible by adding coil spring spacers to your vehicle. Despite its cheap cost, it appears to be the least preferred option by Jeep owners since it adds very little lift to the four-wheeler.
Performance Lift Kits (a.k.a. Suspension Lift Kits)
Serious adventurers and off-roading enthusiasts typically opt for these lift kits, as they guarantee added trail capability. These kits could be small or large, depending on how many inches of lift is added to a vehicle. Large lift kits provide four inches or higher, and anything below this figure is considered a small lift kit. The height of the lift will ultimately depend on the vehicle owner’s needs. That said, anyone can go as high as they please – provided they factor in tire size and added capability.
Choosing a Jeep Gladiator Lift Kit
With the number of aftermarket options readily available, deciding which lift kit to purchase and install on your Jeep Gladiator can easily become arduous. Here are some helpful pointers to make decision-making less difficult:
As there are different price points for lift kits, determine first how much you are willing to spend before choosing which lift kit to buy.
Ascertain if your existing suspension components can handle a particular lift kit, as it is not a one-size-fits-all option. You may have your eye on a lift kit that is too high for your factory shocks and struts to handle.
Another example is that you may initially prefer a lift kit compatible with coil suspensions when your vehicle has leaf springs. This doesn’t apply to the Jeep Gladiator, which has a five-link rear suspension design with coil springs. But this tip may come in handy if your vehicle is of a different make and model.
Condition of Stock Components
It is also critical to examine the state of your Jeep’s ball joints, control arms, and shock absorbers since these parts tend to fail first. Their condition may not necessarily affect your choice of a lift kit. However, you may need to spend more on replacement parts.
Where do you spend more time when driving? If the answer is on the road, a small performance lift kit may be more than enough for your needs. Conversely, lots of off-roading would warrant a more robust lift kit that can accommodate tougher tires and handle more abuse.
The kind of terrain you mostly drive on should be one of the biggest deciding factors when choosing a lift kit. Paved roads only require a small lift kit. On the other hand, a more substantial lift kit would suffice for frequent off-roading.
Ease of Installation
This factor is especially critical for DIYers. If you have decided to install the lift kit yourself, you will be better off with a kit that is not highly complicated or one that requires less time and effort. Mechanically-inclined Jeepsters need not be confined within these parameters. However, new Gladiator owners would be better off getting a lift kit that is easy to install.
You do not have to spend more than necessary if you intend to clear slightly larger tires. A budget lift can do the trick for you. But if you are aiming for a full-on rock-crawling setup or prepping for your next trip to the Moab, then a high-spec suspension lift kit would be needed.
While you have the final say in what type of lift kit you will go with, temper your decision with moderation. In some instances, a Jeep Gladiator 6-inch lift could be excessive and may do your vehicle more harm than good.
Veterans and enthusiasts often recommend two to four inches of lift for optimal performance. To go beyond this range, do your due diligence in researching different aftermarket kits and consulting a professional.
Other Considerations when Choosing a Lift Kit
- Double-check your lift kit with your warranty before installation, as some lift kits may void your car warranty.
- Unless you are tech-savvy or an experienced mechanic or outfitter, you should not treat a lift kit installation as a DIY project.
- Your onboard computer or PCU/ECU has to be re-programmed once you have your Jeep Gladiator lifted.
- The better the trail capability it gives, the higher the cost.
- The higher the lift kit, the more uncomfortable the ride.
- Braking and handling mannerisms of your Jeep Gladiator may be adversely affected.
- In fitting your vehicle with a lift kit, you increase the exposure of suspension and steering components to the elements.
- You may find it more difficult to park your Gladiator due to its taller stance.
- The higher the lift height, the greater the rollover risk your vehicle will have.
- Be prepared for reduced acceleration, fuel economy, and tire life.
How Much Is a Lift for Jeep Gladiator?
You can expect to spend between $500 and $2,000 on a quality lift kit. However, actual expenses in getting your Jeep Gladiator lifted will vary depending on the type and size of the lift, lift kit inclusions, and its manufacturer. If going for a large performance lift kit, you need to account for the price of new tires and rims.
That said, it would be better to enumerate the best Jeep Gladiator lift kits to give a good idea of expenses.
Top Picks for Your Jeep Gladiator
(** Price not specified, currently unavailable or out of stock)
Alloy USA 61001 Suspension Leveling Kit, Front, 1.5 Inch Lift**
This leveling kit includes polyurethane coil spring spacers and comfort-enhancing bump stops. It has a no-drill, bolt-on installation and will not require you to replace your OEM springs and shock absorbers. Furthermore, the kit raises your vehicle’s front end by 1.5 inches so that you can fit 35-inch tires and get a balanced ride height.
This spacer leveling kit lets you put on slightly bigger tires without compromising versatility. The extra height it gives helps offset added weight from an aftermarket bumper, recovery winch, or recreational gear. You can use this kit with the Jeep Gladiator’s stock shocks, but it will work better if used with Falcon Performance Shocks.
Mopar 77072468AB 2″ Lift Kit**
Because this kit is designed by the same company that manufactures Jeeps, you are guaranteed a perfect fit of parts and accessories – on top of increased articulation and contact patch. When fitted, it gives your 4×4 an extra two inches of height with no detriment to your vehicle’s on-road capabilities. The kit includes high-quality 2.5-inch monotube Fox shocks, longer coil springs, and longer front control arms.
AEV 2″ Spacer Lift for JT Gladiator, Non-Mojave (view on Amazon)
This lift kit comes with “front/rear coil spacers, front/rear bump stop extensions, extended-length sway bar links, shock extension brackets, and a driveshaft carrier bearing spacer” – all the essentials for adding larger tires and improving road clearance without taking away that comfortable factory ride quality and ditching your original coil springs and shocks. It also includes a ProCal SNAP for hassle-free speedometer recalibration.
ReadyLift 69-6025 2.5″ SST Lift Kit for JT Gladiator (view on Amazon)
This is a perfect kit for those who want their Jeep Gladiator lifted without switching up things too much. Thanks to front shock extensions, front/rear bump stops, and sway bar end links, it eliminates raking and improves stability without changing your vehicle’s factory ride quality and smoothness.
Superlift 40051 2.5″ Leveling Kit – 2020-Current Jeep Gladiator (view on Amazon)
Analogous to the AEV Lift, this kit includes coil spring spacers, extended sway bar links, and shock extension brackets. Its main difference from the former is its built-in compression bump stops, which lend to a smooth ride and reduced pressure on the suspension. The 2.5-inch lift it provides is enough to accommodate 35-inch knobbies on a base Gladiator model. But a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Lift Kit would be required to fit 37-inch tires. (Note that this kit only levels the trademark nose-down look of the Gladiator and provides no visible lift to the vehicle.)
Daystar-KJ09192 .75″ Rear Lift Kit for 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT (view on Amazon)
This lift kit is specifically designed for those who would like their Jeep Gladiator, or Jeep Gladiator Rubicon lifted for towing and hauling purposes. Contrary to the rest of the items in this section, this kit raises the vehicle’s rear-end to give you enhanced fuel economy, better aerodynamics, and improved hauling capabilities.
Rough Country 3.5″ Lift Kit**
This kit gets your Jeep Gladiator lifted on 37s while enabling you to keep stock coils with its front and rear coil spacers. The lift kit features “nitrogen-charged, 10-stage variable-valving N3 shocks with a durable 18-mm spring-loaded piston rod and reinforced seals to keep gunk out.” Plus, it comes with a forged, adjustable front track bar and sway bar links and entails a no-fuss, bolt-on installation process.
ReadyLift 69-60414 Terrain Flex 4-Arm Kit**
It lifts the front of your vehicle by four inches and the back by three inches. Despite its higher price tag, it is the go-to option for serious overlanders, as it gives the Gladiator a taller stance and four extra arms for increased performance and capability. Lift kit inclusions are as follows:
- High-performance Falcon 2.1 monotubes (with thicker front springs providing more travel and improved weight support)
- Stronger, hard-wearing lower control arms
- Adjustable front track bar that keeps your vehicle aligned correctly
- Terrain Control Technology that offers maintenance-free bushings
- EVO 2.5″ Lift with King Shocks
- Fabtech K4162 Sport II Lift System
- Skyjacker Coil Spring Spacer Kit
- Skyjacker Coil Spring Leveling Kit With Black MAX Shocks
Conclusion – Jeep Gladiator Lifted (Guide, Cost, Lift Kits)
The info shared in this guide should help you select the most appropriate lift kit and get started on having your vehicle lifted. And while a Jeep Gladiator 6-inch lift sounds very tempting, it is not the ideal option if you are after improving your 4×4’s trail capability without compromising its on-road handling.
The best route to take? Strike a balance between budget, mechanical savvy, and wanted gains, and the lift kit you will end up choosing should be a worthy addition to your vehicle.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.