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Old 12-24-2013, 12:02 PM   #1
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Another Noob with a new Jeep....overwhelmed

Bought my first Jeep. 2007 Wrangler Unlimited. I've been reading threads on her and other forums for a week now and holy cow, making a decision on mods is more difficult then I ever imagined. I'm going to sell my 2 door Tahoe so I can use the money for a few mods. This is my new daily driver so I'm not looking to get too crazy. Maybe a small lift and a little bit bigger tires. I won't be doing any serious off-roading. Just some trail driving to places cars shouldn't go.

Anyway, just a bit overwhelmed since there are so many different opinions. I want bigger tires but don't want to spend the money to re-gear. I could level the front instead of a small 2.5" lift, since I don't want to make it less stable. I like the ESP and don't want that to be affected by mods. I'll have to keep doing a ton of reading and try to figure out what is the best option for me that will not affect the safety and operation of the vehicle.

Thanks for all the information on here. It really helps newbies like myself.

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Old 12-24-2013, 12:08 PM   #2
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A quality 2.5" lift is not going to be unstable. I am running a 2.5" lift with stock-sized Rubicon take-offs (a great, less costly upgrade for a Sport, hit Craigslist) and it is just fine on the freeways.

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Old 12-24-2013, 12:08 PM   #3
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Another noob checking in here! Congrats on he Jeep! I got mine a few weeks ago and I have been loving it!

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Old 12-24-2013, 12:19 PM   #4
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Looking good. Welcome to the forum!

You could go up in tire size to some 285's and it'll look much better.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reply's. If I go up to 285's, will I need the spacers? I've been doing a lot of reading and trying to learn as much as I can. I read the tire thread posted and assume if I do any off-roading, there could be some "rub" without the spacers.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmrtnsn View Post
A quality 2.5" lift is not going to be unstable. I am running a 2.5" lift with stock-sized Rubicon take-offs (a great, less costly upgrade for a Sport, hit Craigslist) and it is just fine on the freeways.
Thanks for the reply. Did you re-gear for the 2.5" lift? Any noticeable issues with the ESP?
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:29 PM   #7
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2.5 spacer lift and 315 duratracs would do you good. Or 2.5 coil depends on what you want to pay
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnr View Post
Thanks for the reply. Did you re-gear for the 2.5" lift? Any noticeable issues with the ESP?
A lift does not cause issues with ESP. Installing it incorrectly does.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:37 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply. Did you re-gear for the 2.5" lift? Any noticeable issues with the ESP?
Also, you don't regear for a lift. You regear to run bigger tires.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by shawnr View Post
Thanks for the reply's. If I go up to 285's, will I need the spacers? I've been doing a lot of reading and trying to learn as much as I can. I read the tire thread posted and assume if I do any off-roading, there could be some "rub" without the spacers.

You will need spacers because these are wider tires. With out spacers or new wheels with a smaller offset, the wider tire will rub on your suspension parts and eventualy blow out tthe tire and.or bend/brake the suspension.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:43 PM   #11
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The very next thing I would do if I were in your situation is answer the following question:

What *exactly* do I have here?

While I do not have a link, I will alert you to how to solve this. Someone else will provide the link, I am certain.

Since this is an older JK (first year, actually) you really would make your life easier if you emailed DC to get your complete build sheet. This will list all the stuff your JK came with, including the gearing and axle setup. It is very handy information. After all, you need to know where you are before you can decide where you are going...

Have a blast, man. This will be an adventure for you, frustrating at times, and exciting at others.

Like my signature says, Wranglers are like a big set of legos. You can take apart just about anything, any system, and tweak, modify or upgrade it. You can even upgrade the nuts and bolts themselves, since DC used the suspension bolts that we all know and hate. (Hint: after getting your build sheet, get a JK suspension bolt kit from some place like Northridge4X4.)
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #12
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Thanks for the reply. Did you re-gear for the 2.5" lift? Any noticeable issues with the ESP?
No and no.
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:21 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the replies and suggestions. Thanks Holton345, I will definitely get a build sheet so I know what I have.
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:55 PM   #14
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Slow down and drive it a while before jumping into a lot of stuff. I understand the "Tonka Toy" look with a huge lift and tires extending well past the body is very popular. I have nothing against someone who wants to do that, but it is not needed for your intended uses. It is easy to spend a fortune, and make mostly cosmetic changes.

You most likely have 3.21 gears, possibly 3.73's. Even with 3.73's I don't like the performance lost with anything bigger than 33" tires. You don't need a lift to use 32" or 33" tires. Anything bigger and you will need to re-gear in my opinion and lift.

If it were mine I'd put some better 32-33" tires on it that fit the factory rims and be done, at least for now.
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:23 PM   #15
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Slow down and drive it a while before jumping into a lot of stuff. I understand the "Tonka Toy" look with a huge lift and tires extending well past the body is very popular. I have nothing against someone who wants to do that, but it is not needed for your intended uses. It is easy to spend a fortune, and make mostly cosmetic changes.

You most likely have 3.21 gears, possibly 3.73's. Even with 3.73's I don't like the performance lost with anything bigger than 33" tires. You don't need a lift to use 32" or 33" tires. Anything bigger and you will need to re-gear in my opinion and lift.

If it were mine I'd put some better 32-33" tires on it that fit the factory rims and be done, at least for now.
Thanks. I think all I'm going to do for now is a Teraflex leveling kit and Duratrac 33's. Anything else will be farther down the line when I learn more and really know what I want to do with it.
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:31 PM   #16
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Slap some Rubi takeoffs on it, take it wheeling a bit with no lift. Be impressed. Decide whether you really need more. If you are serious about going off-road then you may decide a winch is more important than a lift and bigger tires. If looks are paramount then just proceed with your plan - you don't need to drive it for a year to know what it looks like stock.
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:32 PM   #17
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Heres my old JKU with a teraFlex leveling kit and 285/70/17's

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Old 12-24-2013, 05:05 PM   #18
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Looks good with the leveling kit. I think that's all I'm going to do for now and as suggested by i82much, may look into a winch. From what I understand, I would want the leveling kit with a winch anyway, since it can weigh down the front end even more.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:29 PM   #19
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Congrats. If you had 3.6 pentastar i would say go for 35" tires. I run 35" with 3.21 axle ratio and its fine. But im not familiar what it would feel like with 3.8 engine. Heard it really asks for regear with 35". If your not ready for regearing then go with 33". I personally think unlimiteds looks perfect with 35" or 37". But thats me .
Anyway, hope you enjoy your jeep and don't forget to wave
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:34 PM   #20
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Thumbs up

Congrats on the "new" Jeep! Very cool. I think you're going to have a blast with it.

Re the leveling kit, I went with this 1.5" leveling kit from Teraflex:


Very simple to install. Not real expensive. Higher spring rates than what I had stock. Improved the ride & handling considerably. I've got a winch on the front of my JK, and it had a real bad case of droopy nose which has been completely eliminated by addition of the kit.

A set of good All Terrain tires (I went with BFG's but there are many avail) and the stock Jeep will do amazing things for you. They don't need to be real big either, 32" or 33" is enough to perform very well on many trails.

I like your thoughts on adding a winch. Eventually, many of us get stuck, or come across someone who is stuck, or just find a big ol' tree across the road... In each case, a winch is a handy thing to have.

The leveling kit has worked out real well for me, as have the slightly bigger, more aggressive tires. The JK is a formidable four-wheel drive, even bone stock. Minimal mods can help it a lot. If you want to go play with the big dogs on the big dog trails, you can do that too. All it takes is time & money... Take time to explore what your new Jeep can do, and set it up For You.

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Old 12-24-2013, 06:48 PM   #21
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Slow down and drive it a while before jumping into a lot of stuff. I understand the "Tonka Toy" look with a huge lift and tires extending well past the body is very popular. I have nothing against someone who wants to do that, but it is not needed for your intended uses. It is easy to spend a fortune, and make mostly cosmetic changes.

You most likely have 3.21 gears, possibly 3.73's. Even with 3.73's I don't like the performance lost with anything bigger than 33" tires. You don't need a lift to use 32" or 33" tires. Anything bigger and you will need to re-gear in my opinion and lift.

If it were mine I'd put some better 32-33" tires on it that fit the factory rims and be done, at least for now.

Agree here.
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Old 12-24-2013, 06:53 PM   #22
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...you are never going to be done...

...and you have already started...so slow down...enjoy the process...

...drive it...find it's flaws...get it "up to snuff" in stock form first...now that's not to say that you should put on a stock bumper because the one on there now has a blemish...but rather make sure your ride is not using oil...and that the driveline is solid and free of dying sounds...make sure the important electrical and electronic systems are working...get a feel for it...then start looking at what ya wanna do...
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:59 PM   #23
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First, congratulations and welcome!

As a recent graduate of the jeep noob club, I would recommend you ask yourself what exactly you really want it to be able to do.

The stock Jeep will get you plenty of places you want to go, it's very capable despite what you might think after reading the forums for a while.

First, you should look to stock up the basics of what you might need when you go "places cars shouldn't go." Off the top of my head, I would say:
  • gas can
  • a trail jack (that can be used as a winch in a pinch)
  • water (for drinking and for any radiator issues you might encounter)
  • jb weld for fixing the radiator enough to limp out
  • tools and a toolbox
  • shovel
  • d-rings (front and back)
  • tow straps
  • a towel (seriously: put it on the tow cable or strap if you are being winched so if a d-ring snaps it doesn't fly though the windshield and take an eye out)
  • some kc lights front and back

For your jeep, you probably need to get a simple bumper with a place for d-rings. Pavement ends has a inexpensive one that should do for now, and you can get a tow-hitch recovery d-ring for the back to stay cheap.

FWIW, I have a 2.5" coil lift and it is perfect for what you are talking about. If you are on a budget, start small with shock extenders and then add as you can with new shocks etc.

Bigger tires are not really necessary, unless you are looking for more crawling clearance or if you're just in it for the look. I agree with @Holton345 that you should get your build sheet. Mainly because if you have 3.21 gear ratio you will not be happy with bigger tires. Tires and wheels are expensive and you might just find that after you drive it a bit you will get the bug and be unhappy with only getting 33s anyway.

Welcome to the obsession. Start small and drive. You will find what you need will become clear.
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Old 12-24-2013, 10:35 PM   #24
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Thanks again for all the insight everyone. Great information and a lot to think about. And thanks for the warm welcomes. You guys have been a lot of help and I appreciate your insight and knowledge.
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Old 12-25-2013, 12:51 PM   #25
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I can't reiterate enough on the point to drive it.. if you think you want to off road it, do so now and see what it will do as is. Then decide what you "need" versus "want".

Mods change things as an example
Going from the stock tires on my JKU from 17" with whatever came stock street treaders to 33x12.5 with 15" steel wheels dropped my MPG from 21 to 17 on average. More rolling resistance, heavier tire, heavier wheel. no big to me, I have short commutes.

Just another point to consider.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:03 PM   #26
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I added a locking gas cover. Discovered it's tough to put in gas if the lock is frozen.
Mine froze up/seized up. Ended up taking off the whole thing and replacing lock cylinder. Replaced with a unit I can leave unlocked if I choose to during winter months.
Also replaced hood hold downs with Drakes.
Both were good moves in my case.
Modding the drive train takes time, money and a solid knowledge of the results intended. I'd go a step at a time.

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