Our rules were strict this year. Whereas last year we left it "open" to whoever had a kit that raised the truck the height we had chosen, we knew we had to tighten up the class this year. We opened the invitation to anyone who could show up with a two-door 4x4 JK Wrangler adorning a 4-inch short-arm lift, using four new coils, four shocks, front-axle caster correction, new track bars (or relocation brackets), and retaining the front sway bar. The powertrains had to be stock, and only open differentials would be used during the program (we were testing suspensions, not lockers). Mickey Thompson worked with us and was kind enough to provide every JK with 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja MTZs on 17x9 Classic II wheels so only suspensions would vary from JK to JK.
Mickey Thompson provided every participating JK Wrangler with a set of 35-inch Baja MTZs o
Some of you may be wondering why we didn't test long-arm kits with 37-inch tires. That was definitely an alternate plan. But after much deliberation, we decided that the majority of you (our readers) would be building your JKs with "short-arm" kits and 35s. The short-arm kits can be bolted on in a driveway, and the new JK arms are so much longer (than the previous TJ arms) that its debatable if long-arm kits are even needed. The short-arm kits retain good suspension geometry until around 6 inches of lift. Why not 37-inch tires for the test (since they will fit with a 4-inch lift)? Because more of you are going to do your everyday driving on 35s, not 37s.
All that being said, we found eight suspension companies willing to converge in Parker, Arizona, for three days of grueling testing that would leave their Wranglers in a "not-so-brand-new" condition. While all eight entries were more than worthy of being there, you might not see some names you expected in a test like this. It was unfortunate that some companies either did not have JK Wranglers that met our requirements, or did not have their short-arm lift kits ready in time for testing or production.
Knowing that we would be out for three days in the desert, we wanted to make sure that every Jeep had the minimum requirements to be a few miles away from base camp. Therefore, we worked with Mickey Thompson Tires, Mac's Custom Tie Downs, SOG Specialty Knives, and Ringers Gloves.
SOG Specialty Knives made sure that all our participants in the Wrangler Runaround had a m
Mac's Custom Tie Downs supplied every single Wrangler had a 3-inch by 30-foot recovery str
Ringers Gloves made sure that everyone in our program had his hands protected whether he w