Black Diamond’s X2 Wrangler 7” kit takes the XCL to the next level
Superlift engineers created an updated kit that is easier to install than the XCL and also had better street manners — without sacrificing off-road capability. The prototype X2 system used a 3- link front suspension. This offered exceptional articulation and ground clearance. Unfortunately, its flexibility meant that the link-arm bushings needed to be changed after every good off-road romp. Superlift’s engineers bet that the average owner wouldn’t want extra flex at the expense of ongoing maintenance. So, a 4-link front design was chosen.
For bind-free operation, the system uses internally threaded Rockrunner lower link arms. Although they don’t look as “racy” as arms that have Heim ends, the Rockrunner arms have a greater range of motion, and the threaded two-piece design allows caster to be precisely dialed in. The arms are also contoured to allow full lock-tolock steering and to maximize ground clearance. Finally, the X2 link arms, which are made from 0.188”-wall DOM tubing (1.5” OD uppers, 2.0” OD lowers), have grease fittings for squirt-in squeak elimination. As with the XCL, the X2 uses a bellypan assembly as link-arm attachment points. This allows the longest possible arm length, which translates to lower operating angles and less caster change as the front axle moves.
Getting better control of big tires is the real-world benefit. In addition to securing the front link arms, the X2 pan assembly uses a 3/16”- thick inner plate as a transmission crossmember. Protecting this crossmember is a full-width 1/4”-thick skidplate. Removing the plate allows easy access for routine maintenance to U-joints, shifter linkage and the transfer case. Road-ability comes from spring-overaxle (SOA) rear leafpacks — even for the TJ system. Superlift’s testing revealed that long-travel rear coils often transfer weight too quickly. So, although coils offer more wheel travel than similar-lift-height leafs, the benefit is undermined when the Jeep tips and the high-side coil comes off the ground.
The Black Diamond leafs maintain the center of gravity better than 7”-lift coils. Throw in a rear locker and an X2-a quad-coil Wrangler with the samesizes tires on the street, and will give a run for its money through the rocks. The springpacks include numerous features. Flex comes from nine thin leafs that are shot-peened and pre-set. Tapered ends, anti-friction pads between each leaf, and bolt-type spring clips increases movement, as do rubber eye bushings and boomerang-style shackles.
For strength, BD uses triple military-wrap main leafs. Rear shocks are Bilstein monotubes with 12.75 inches of travel. The kit includes a dropped pitman arm, an adjustable Heim-ended front trac bar, extended-length swaybar disconnects, bumpstop extensions and Kevlar-lined braided-steel brake hoses. Optional Equipment X2 YJ kits include 10”-travel, progressive- rate coilover (single coils eliminate squeaks) shocks with remote reservoirs. These are optional for TJ applications; the base round-headlight Wrangler system uses taller coils and monotube shocks in the stock locations. Brackets are available for popular axle swaps.
The YJ front system mimics the stock TJ link-arm mounting at the axle: Bolt-on brackets are used for the OE YJ Dana 30 while weld-on hardware is offered for the Dana 44 and Dana 60. In the rear, SOA spring pads can be radiused with a grinder to fit non-factory axle tubes. One highly effective option is the Torque Fork triple-action traction bar. It attaches to the rear axle and bellypan with shackles to stop wheelhop. Other available extras are a steering stabilizer, eXtreme Rings diff-cover protectors and the TruSpeed speedo recalibrator for Wranglers that have electronic speed sensors. Additionally, the X2 requires a Superlift) if retaining the NP231 transfer case, and a longer rear driveshaft and custom exhaust routing around the front link arms and over the bellypan. Tires & Wheels Superlift recommends a maximum 37x12.50 tire on at least a 9”-wide wheel having 3.75”-4.375” of backspacing.
We decided to match the new X2 kit with the recently introduced Pro Comp Xtreme M/T with Tri-Ply sidewall. These mud-terrains’ three-ply sidewalls with a nylon overwrap are particularly attractive for desert duty, where side punctures seem more the rule than the exception. Obviously, we wanted to fit the maximum 37” tire under the 7” X2 lift.
One compromise was limited sizes in the Xtreme M/T initial roll-out. The 37x12.50 size was offered for a 17” wheel and only in a D load range. This is stiff for a 1/4-ton Jeep, so the solution for a decent road ride was airing down to around 20 psi. Although the mud-terrain tread pattern is aggressive, it’s possible to have a normal conversation with the top off at road speeds. Wheel-wise, while shopping for alloys to keep unsprung weight down, we noticed that many 17x9s are hub-centric: 4.5” backspacing.
This creates slight rubbing on the front coils at full steering lock (many wheel manufacturers don’t recommend using spacers), and the new nubs on the tire lugs barely kiss the fender flares at full jounce. Pro Comp Series 102s were chosen because they combine classic 5-spoke centers with modern beadlock styling. This Jeep is a daily-driver, so we didn’t consider true beadlocks, many of which aren’t DOT-approved yet. Installation
The X2 scraps much of the OE suspension and replaces it with new components, making the job too intense for the average Jeep owner. (Black Diamond recommends professional installation.) The X2 YJ job shown here is of the final pre-production kit being installed at the 4 Wheel Parts’ Thousand Oaks, CA, store. This X2 job took three full days, including delays for photos and instruction-sheet double-checking (and not including installing the NP231 SYE kit, a custom exhaust and an alignment). The YJ installation is a bit more involved than the TJ due to the front-coilover/4-link conversion. Highlights of the kit’s features and installation are shown here.