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Old 06-28-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Smile Help a new guy! Upgrade path...

Hey all - Looking for some help on the "right" way to upgrade a 94 YJ. I'm a car audio guy with some limited experience with euro-suspensions, but a complete newb to offroad suspensions & jeeps in general. That said I'm mechanically inclinded, a quick(ish ) learner, and need a new project vehicle to keep me busy for a few years.

The jeep in question currently has Dana 30/35 axles, 4" pro-comp lift, 1" body lift & 35" x 12.5" tires. 4.0L engine & auto trans...interior is beat up, soft-top is torn & the windshield is cracked, but structurally the body seems pretty sound.

I live near Ouray, so intended use will be maybe 50% trails / 50% putzing around town...more of a man-toy than a daily driver , so not too concerned about MPG/horsepower/etc. End goal (maybe a few years from now) would be a stretched suspension on 37's, some beefy axles to support that, and a full engine swap or rebuild.

I've got about a $2500 budget right now to get some things upgraded real quick and then back on the road for the rest of the summer. After alot of reading on here, this is what I'm looking at doing right off the bat:
  • Upgrade Dana 35 to Ford 8.8
  • New shocks
  • Re-gear to 4.88
  • Locker(s?) - not sure what kind
  • Clean & tune-up motor, replace fluids, clean up brakes, & troubleshoot any other easy electrical/mechanical stuff I can get done.
  • Clean up rust in tub, coat with some type of bed-liner
  • Replace speakers, add a couple 8" subs into the center console

Any thoughts on the above?

It seems like the pro-comp lift, and body lifts in general, don't get too good of reviews on here...is it worth removing them and just going SOA while I'm doing the axle swap? I'd do a SYE, CV driveshaft & traction bar at the same time, just not sure if that's all worth doing right away.

Also I'm not sure on lockers, if I need front, rear, or both, and what brand is best. I don't intend to do any crazy 4wheeling or wall-climbing this summer, and I'll still drive this thing around in the winter, so whatever the functional middle-ground locker is, I guess that's what I'm after.

Other things that are on my short list to add or replace:
  • Seats
  • Soft top
  • Front bumper w/ winch mount (currently stock)
  • New tires/wheels
  • Aux lights
  • Tube fenders
  • Skid plates

Am I missing anything? Or focusing on the wrong things? Would you do things differently? And are there any other options for suspension upgrades that would provide more value vs. what I'm looking at?

Appreciate any help/input/guidance. Cheers!

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Old 06-29-2013, 12:39 AM   #2
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You should certainly get good skid plates if you plan on anything but the most basic trails because one rock in the wrong place can cost you some serious cash (I found that out the hard way). If you do go for lockers go selectable because I have heard that permanent options (such as welding your axle) make winter driving deadly. Other than that lose the track bars and get disconnecting sway bars. Have fun and be safe.

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Old 06-30-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
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Thanks, I will put skid plates a bit higher up on the priority list...

Bump for anymore input!
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:44 PM   #4
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The resounding advice is dont build twice when you have an end goal. Use that 2500 on a set of used geared axles to support 37s. Grab some cheap 8lug 15s to put your 35s on. Go soa while you are at it.
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