KL Cherokee Lift – A Second Look

KL Cherokee Lift – A Second Look

It’s hard to believe it’s been just over a year and nearly 17k miles since we installed the first lift on Klondike.

If you remember that install write-up (See it again HERE), you will recall that we decided to order and try a Hazard Sky AD2 lift. Upon receipt of this initial lift, we were slightly disappointed with a few things and offered some criticism. It seems the owner of Hazard Sky caught wind of these criticisms and, rather than getting upset, he simply (and quietly) improved the offering.

Today, there are several options when ordering a KL Cherokee lift or leveling kit from Hazard Sky. Whether you have a Trailhawk or any other type of KL Cherokee, there is a lift option available. Beyond the original UHMW (that is now water-jet cut), you can also select aluminum as a spacer material.

While everything has worked rather well for us with our original lift, we haven’t been completely suspension issue free either. The lift itself has been great! It’s keeping a decent alignment that has been an issue and, honestly, this has nothing to do with the lift. While dealing with the alignment issues and when we knew we were in need of another alignment anyway (again not related to the lift), we decided to take another look at the latest Hazard Sky AD2+ lift and give it a review, achieving just a bit more lift in the process.

Initial impressions of the new lift were good. The packaging is more than adequate for the contents and it’s hard to imagine shipping damage rendering it beyond use.

 

Upon opening the packaging I was relieved to see a very nice set of instructions right at the top. While we don’t really need them, we did give them a thorough read and review and feel they are very clear and detailed. It’s nice to see the extra cost put into color pictures. We know this isn’t cheap, but small black-and-white pictures that are all too common on manufacturer instructions are largely useless and leave the installer running to the internet with cruddy hands for clarity.

There really isn’t much to this lift. 4 spacers for the rear, a couple bolts for the front, a temporary jig for the front, and that’s it. Also in the box is a nice little sticker!

 

For the install, we began with the front. As with the initial install, the toughest part is opening/relocating the hole in the strut for the bolt that clamps the knuckle in place. I have seen where many are opting to simply remove this tab altogether rather than deal with opening up this hole. While we can see this as an easier approach, we personally like it there to ensure the toe stays in the ballpark. Below, you can see the material that needed to be removed. Because it was splitting the hole we knew drilling wouldn’t go well. So, this time we used a carbide deburr and a pneumatic die grinder to whittle away the material for bolt clearance.

 

The little jig that Hazard Sky provides really does make setting the front height pretty easy. One thing we’ve noticed is that the radius of the jig doesn’t perfectly match the strut, but it still works just fine. The deburr made pretty quick work of opening the hole and before long the bolts were in, torqued and front was done.

Moving to the rear:

Our original lift that we purchased from Hazard Sky was for an AD2. However, we ended up making our own spacer for the upper spring perch for a few reasons. The spacer we made caused the rear lift to be more like an AD1. Here is a picture of the old spacers (left) alongside the new ones (right).

 

The rear actually went a little easier than the last time we did this. I think this was likely due to some softening of the arm bushings. We also have some new spring compressors that work a little better than our old set. The bottom-line is, about 30 minutes after we began, both the front and rear were done and we were ready to set Klondike back down on the ground.

We worked really hard to get the before and after picture seen below. You can’t see any of it in the picture, but we taped and marked the floor for both the Jeep and camera to do our best to get everything back in exactly the same spot and from the same perspective. Still, the front isn’t represented as well in the after picture as in reality. Keep in mind, this isn’t a before and after from no lift to a lift, this is from an early version of the HS lift to the current AD2+ lift.

 

Now, a little more on the alignment issue. You may remember that we were actually out of spec a little bit after our initial lift install. To compound this, we had trouble holding a decent alignment. While we are still troubleshooting this a bit… We took our Jeep to the dealer for an alignment. What I am sure of is that our previous alignments were not done to current specs and the bolts were not torqued correctly. The bottom line is that we now have not only a totally in spec alignment, but its all darn near nominal. 😛

In summary:

We were pretty happy with our original Hazard Sky lift. While we did have some constructive remarks on it, it is priced very fairly when compared to other lifts on the market for the KL Cherokees. Hazard Sky has improved their products over the last year and they are still VERY well priced. What’s not to like?

For more information on Hazard Sky, please visit their website HERE.

For more information on our initial install write-up you can see it HERE.

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