2018 Jeep JL Rubicon | Icon Stage 2 System
Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated vehicle releases in recent memory has been the Wrangler JL. The JK Wrangler set the bar very high in terms of being the ‘ultimate canvas’ to build upon to create the ideal, modern off road vehicle. While it might not look much different than the JK, the JL is significantly refined in many key areas. A 3.6L V6 carries over as the base engine, but the new 8-speed automatic and turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engire both bring the JL square into the 21st century. With better mileage, more power, and 2 more gears than the retired JK model, the JL is sure to go down as one of the best Jeeps yet.
Knowing that the 4-link and track bar suspension design already has decades of refinement into it, Jeep didn’t change much. Everything is different, but in a very subtle way. The upper shock mounts no longer have the despised ‘stem top’ bushings, and are much taller. Out back, the shocks have moved completely outboard of the frame, allowing for a longer shock body with a better angle. The steering and track bar mounts have all received more optimized geometry, and the front link system is significantly longer than the stock ‘short arms’ which came stock on a JK. Icon Vehicle Dynamics may be our go-to manufacturer for Toyota and other IFS platforms, but they have plenty of experience with Jeeps and solid front axle vehicles as well. Applying their holistic philosphy of suspension design to the JL, they were one of the very first companies to release full systems for the JL. Using lessons learned from the JK, their systems use a dual rate spring both front and rear. By using dual rate springs, Icon was able to squeeze an extra 3″ of wheel travel from the front, and 2″ from the rear. Paired up with these springs, are 2.0 Aluminum bodied monotube shocks, with plenty of tuning time to dial them in for the perfect balance of off road control and on road comfort.
There is more to a quality suspension system than just nice springs and shocks with a lot of tuning time. It’s important to consider, how will all the other systems be affected by a lift, and increased wheel travel? Icon takes a modular approach, building their kits in easily scalable stages. In this case, Stage 2 includes new front lower control arms. These arms are slightly longer than stock to help correct the caster geometry, as lifting a Jeep usually adversely affects this critical alignment spec. One of the early issues that has already popped up with the JL is front spring bow, so we added a Daystar Coil Bow Correction kit. To round out the package of hard components, longer rear sway bar links allow the rears to move up front and keep the sway bars from binding with all their new-found wheel travel; front and rear bump stop spacers ensure that the springs will not bind and tires won’t tear into fenders. Speaking of tires, in this case our customer will have clearance for up to 37″ of tire, with only 2.5″ of lift. When the time comes, and our customer is ready to go even further with his build, stepping up to Stage 3 or beyond is as simple as adding the extra control arms, track bars, and larger bodied shocks. As it is, this JL now has the hops to match the pop of the new turbo engine!