This time my research led me to Calmini manufacturing. They offered a 2" lift that used redesigned tubular control arms, and longer springs to achieve the lift.
It was a night and day difference. The re-designed tubular control arms give you great clearance under the front of your kick, the ride is much better, and the install is easier. After installing the kit, I found that the Calmini lift was only " lower than the Pro-Comp, achieving 2.35" of lift. When installing the Calmini kit, I decided to remove the sway bars to achieve more suspension travel. This led to occasionally destroying the drivers side C.V., so Scott ?Jeep Crafter? Correll at Adventure Off-Road fabricated a spacer to keep the C.V. joint from over extending (I have not replaced a C.V. in the three years sense the spacer was made.
My next mod, as most people could guess, was larger and more aggressive tires. I decided to install a set of 29x10.5x15 Interco Thornbirds on my 15X8 rims.
They worked great, but rubbed a little. The front would rub the floor pan under tight steering and the back would rub the wheel well under full compression. These tires worked well in every challenge I put them through. They even had 50% tread left after two years of use. The only trouble with Thornbirds on a Kick is the weight of the vehicle. I would air down to 8-10psi on the trail and my Kick still could barely wrap the heavy side walled Thornbirds around rocks.
After installing the Thornbirds, I noticed a large decrease in both on and off road engine performance. The larger and much heavier Interco?s were bogging down my motor. I looked at lowering my axle gears, but the insane price of the gear set and installation kit made me look elsewhere. I decided to try to get more power out of my 1.6L FI motor. Once again I looked to Calmini for the solution. Their catalog boasted that their Tri-Y header would give my Kick a noticeable increase in low-mid range horsepower and torque. I decided to give it a try. When I was having Kenny at Cookeville Muffler install the header, we decided that we needed to let the motor breathe better, so a Flow Master 2 " exhaust was bent and installed with the header. There were no disappointments here. As soon as I pulled out of the shop parking lot I noticed a big difference. The 1.6 was pulling stronger than it did with stock tires on it. I drove my Kick straight to the local riding area and became even more impressed with my latest modification. With the new exhaust and header, I could now lug my motor down to 300-400 rpm with no problems and it would lunge forward from any RPM with the slightest touch of the gas pedal.