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Old 11-30-2009, 02:45 PM   #1
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What do the pros think?

Whats up, guys? Just joined up and wanted to run my plan by the experts for (constructive) criticism. Ive never built a Jeep before, but I've built a lot of other types of trucks and cars and I've been refining a game plan for a bit.
First, It's a 1997 4-banger TJ, tire size will be 33-10.5. on 15x8 alloys.
Objective is to keep it low and fairly cheap, but be able to run decent trails. This thing will be driven daily around town, no freeway. Maybe the occasional backroads trip around AZ to other trails.
So, after looking at what other guys have done, heres what I came up with.
I'm not really a "kit" type of guy so I have broken it down to front and rear end specific...hopefully to achieve exactly what I want.
Front end: since most articulation seems to happen in front, and I'm not a huge fan of the stock rake Jeeps have, I'm thinking of lifting just the front with 2" OME springs, some DIY tube fenders (no flares), and discos. Front D30 will get an Aussie and 4:88s. Tube lower control arms.
Rear end: the rough plan is: no lift, fixed tube control arms (upper and lower)
and cut the wells to make it work. My thinking is that if JP could fit 35s with no lift by moving the axle back an inch, 33s would require a little less. One question is how much longer on average is fixed tube control arms? My thinking is if an inch is all it took to get 35s away from the front of the wells, would tube arms, unlifted, move the axle back enough for 33s? Speaking of axles, I'm going to jump straight to an 8.8 or D44 from the start, same innards as the front. Is either more of an issue with gas tank clearance?
With 8.8s with discs will the P-brake hook right up? As far as the body is concerned, I'm not concerned with tire coverage at all, so flares aren't going back on, and I figure I could open it up a lot. And I'm sure I'll be extending the bumpstops some...
Armor on the tank, rockers and Steering box, and anywhere else, cause it will be low.
I think thats it for suspension... if I think of anything else I'll post it.
I know this will be a lot easier said than done, and I'll be tweaking plenty of stuff here and there to make it work. This is just an idea at this point, and I want to hear anyone's opinion. This rig will get wheeled a lot...

Thanks for reading...sorry for the book.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:56 PM   #2
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Lift it all the way around 2", get some D44's if your going to lock them. You will be able to fit 33's without messing around with your control arms and trying to stuff 33's on stock rear suspension.


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Old 12-01-2009, 06:25 PM   #3
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I considered a BB early on, but the more times I read the JP article w/ the no-lift TJ, the more I wanted to try it w 33s. I dont have any issues w/ cutting metal, frankly I kinda like the opened wheelwells look. Reminds me of early Jeeps. But one thing keeps knawing at me...If this works, why is the Jeep in that article the only one I can find that has had that done? Anyone know firsthand why this would be a bad idea? Is there anything keeping 33s from fitting (in the back) @ stock height besides sheetmetal?
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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because throwing 33s on a stock suspension or even a budget boosted suspension wont give you the belly clearance needed for a lot of trails. you also wont have have alot less up travel. LCOG jeeps look cool and can perform very when setup for the "area" you wanna wheel. but i know in AZ you guys have some awesome trails. I would find a forum or find the AZ guys in this website who can give you advise needed to run in your neck of the woods.
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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Hello gabeinaz, welcome to the forum my fellow Tucsonan. Post some pics. Laters,
"Death gotta be easy, 'cause life is hard."
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:07 PM   #6
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i think no one else has done it b/c its $50 and an hour to do a BB in the back, and more money and time to do all that. I would keep it simple, there is already enough that can go wrong when offroading. Bessides that looks good!!
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:09 PM   #7
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True. True.
Maybe I need to think about this some more. Still want to keep it fairly low, but you make a good point, Rawkon. I was also thinking I could get by w/out a SYE and such... Guess I'd better just do it right...
Yo, Blade, fellow t-towner. I'll put up pics of my rig soon, in all it's stock glory
Gotta start somewhere, eh?
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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regearing to 4.88s by a shop is going to cost in the $1000s for front and rear.
You also cant just regear one axle, also more people I believe lock the rear axle and not the front. Trying to get a new axle in the rear especially a D44 is going to cost another $1000 plus re gearing to 4.88.
With a 8.8 which is probably same strength as D44, youre going to need to weld in brackets to mount into a TJ
Armor, thats going to be around $300 + $300 + $50.
We would need to know your budget to give you an estimate.
With what youre trying to do, theres really no way of going cheap.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:04 PM   #9
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8.8 will be cheaper to find in a junk yard. since you are gonna regear it will not matter too much. try to get one with disco's. you may not need to go 4.88 if your biggest tire is gonna be a 33. if you are gonna be on the highway alot go 4.56. I would suggest not to go budget boost. go ahead and replace the crappy springs and shocks. Rough Country is good and cheap too.
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:53 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice, guys.
Yeah, I knew my plan would be fairly expensive. When I said "relatively cheap" there was emphasis on "relatively". Like "cheaper than a long-arm kit"...
I've found a couple 8.8s around here for under $400, but truthfully, I think I may be selling this guy and stepping up to a 6-cyl w/ an auto so the wife could borrow it. I'll probably just look for one w/ a D44 in it already. And I'm definately locking both ends...
Thanks again, guys.
Blade, I'll see you on Charleau someday...
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Old 12-02-2009, 12:08 PM   #11
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8.8 should only be about $150 at junkyard unless its fulled assembled.

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