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Old 02-03-2011, 09:09 AM   #1
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Lift and Tires advice

Hey everyone,

I am new to the forum but have been reading different posts and there seems to be some great info on here. I recently purchased my second wrangler, a blk 2007, 4dr, hard top, 4x4, sahara unlimited. I love the truck so far and would like to begin to make some changes.

I've been reading a bit on here about tire size and lifts. I would like 35's with around a 3" lift however from what I am reading it seems like 35's are a magic number to where other upgrades may be necessary (drive shafts, gears, etc.). Are those types of upgrades necessary? I will be driving mostly hwy and city with some moderate off roading (no hills, rocks, etc.).

Is it a better idea to stick with 33's and a lower lift? I'd love to go 35's but would also like to avoid spending a ton on new brakes, drive shafts, gears, etc. if thats what 35's will eventually lead to. Thanks in advance for any helpful replies!

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Old 02-03-2011, 10:53 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

The need for driveshafts is dependent on lift size. The need for regearing is dependent on tire size.

A 3" lift on a 4-door won't require new driveshafts. At least not right away. But keep an eye on the boots at the transfer case ends of the driveshafts. It might take a while, but when those rip open due to the steeper angle and start spewing grease, it's time to replace them. You could be good for a year or so though. I've had a 2.5" lift on my 2-door for 17 months so far and the stock driveshafts are still good.

With 35" tires, you'll experience a significant loss of power. I've got the stock Rubicon 4.1 gears with auto trans and it's just barely toerable, but I'm normally not heavy on the gas anyway. With your Sahara, you'll likely want to regear.

With the wider stance of going 35's you'll also be putting more stress on your axle housing and axle C's, so it's advisable to reinforce your front axle with sleeves and C gussets. You'll also want an aftermarket spare tire carrier to avoid damaging your tailgate with the added weight.

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Old 02-03-2011, 11:02 AM   #3
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:23 AM   #4
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Stick with 33's, avoid all the regearing and reinforcing. 4" lift is the magic number for many changes, not tire size...it's the lift that changes axle angle, driveshaft length, linkage, steering, etc. And you won't need to change brakes...not sure why someone might have told you that. For mostly street driving and moderate off roading, 33"s will do you fine and get you almost anywhere. BUT you do want to consider skid plates...because if you DO go offroad, even 33's with a lift aren't going to prevent you from running into things you are trying to go over!
Engine and transmission skid plate, transfer case/belly pan, and gas tank skid...all necessary. Even on the rubicons-the 'factory' skid plate pans are a joke...won't take a good rock hit at all.
By the way...I'm running a 2003 Rubicon (auto) and now have 4" lift, skid plates completely end to end, 6" Xenon flares, 33" x 12.5" Cepek Crushers on 15" x 8" d-hole steel rims, winch, custom front and rear steel box and tube bumper system...and I've run into things I couldn't get over. It's the nature of the beast...the more you go offroading, the more challenging stuff you want to tackle...means the more modifications you need to do...which means the harder stuff you can tackle...which leads to even MORE modifications....endless cycle!
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for the informative responses guys! I guess it looks like taking it down a notch to the 33's is the way to go to avoid costly headaches down the line. You're right about the power loss too. That I experienced first hand when I borrowed my buddys 2009 4dr Rubicon with a 4" lift and 35'2. The thing was a DOG. Definitely loved the look and height of the truck w/ that setup though.

What do drive shafts and a re-gear usual run? Also what size wheels do you recommend for 33's or (just in case) 35's? Again thanks for taking the time to respond.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Wheel View Post
Thanks for the informative responses guys! I guess it looks like taking it down a notch to the 33's is the way to go to avoid costly headaches down the line. You're right about the power loss too. That I experienced first hand when I borrowed my buddys 2009 4dr Rubicon with a 4" lift and 35'2. The thing was a DOG. Definitely loved the look and height of the truck w/ that setup though.

What do drive shafts and a re-gear usual run? Also what size wheels do you recommend for 33's or (just in case) 35's? Again thanks for taking the time to respond.

Everyone will have a different answer for you, on everything.....just do what you want to do period.....


Woods custom driveshafts will run around 450.00 ....
Regearing seems to be different from place to place, around here(TX) the going price is 899.00 or 999.00 depending on who you go to..

With a 3 inch lift on a 4dr you will be just fine, but plan to upgrade over time.....

35's will turn it into a dog.....I just regeared to 5:13's and love them.

Mine had 18's I dropped to 17's for more of a tire choice that was also cheaper..

Re-enforcing the front is up to you, with very light use on trails and rocks you will be just fine, but if you decide to start jumping on bigger rocks it would be good to do C-gussets ..

Have fun building up your new JK....
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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Driveshafts are about $500 each, give or take $50.

Gearing cost vary widely depending on who is doing it. Most of the expense is labor. I have someone doing mine for $900, including gears, bearings, oil, and labor. I've seen people pay up to $1600 for the same thing though.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:34 AM   #8
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Thanks again guys for the helpful advice!
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:24 AM   #9
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It's interesting to me how "forum think" happens. If you go to some other forums where the JK is discussed, the recommendation would be: if you are wavering between 33 and 35s, go with 35s, otherwise you will spend 3 years on 33s wishing you had gone bigger. I'm on 32s now, so 33s don't buy me much.

There is no right answer. Personally, I'm going to go to 35s on 15 inch wheels, since I have a 2 door manual with 4.10 gears. I don't have to be the fastest guy at the stop light any more. I want 35s for the additional inch of ground clearance (over 33s) and the bigger look.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:35 AM   #10
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re: "Are those types of upgrades necessary?"

in my area, bigger tires/higher lift is the local version of the codpiece....

I can step into & out of my Sahara without climbing up or down either direction. Being a recreational daily driver, I have no mudder/rock crawler plans. There's plenty of other off-road opportunities that don't require re-engineering my bank account to placate the minions of styling fashion. Jeeps went around the world with far less mechanical and engineering sophistication than even the most base X model has today.

Profiling and parade behavior to curry the favor of our imagined fashion meisters de jour motivate some Jeepers and don't affect others.

From what you describe your use to be, I don't see any advantage to the mods you mention.

Cheers on your Jeeping Journeys regardless of your choices....
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:03 AM   #11
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For a daily driver with only moderate offroading, a stock JK is more than enough. Modding a Jeep is part of the fun for many (including myself), but people with new stock Jeeps considering modifications need to be aware that first of all many dealerships will give you trouble regarding some types of warranty service, and also once you mod your Jeep you're entering into a life-long (life of your Jeep that is, or until you sell it) commitment of regular inspection and maintenance of your Jeep, because bolts will come loose and need retorquing, and some aftermarket parts need regular lubing. If you don't want to add this new dimension to your life, then keep it simple and don't start modding your Jeep.
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:24 AM   #12
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Go with 33s or 32s.... You wont need anything bigger than that unless you just want to LOOK like you're into offroading. To avoid all the maintenance and problems put a 2'' spacer lift in a call it a day. No matter what size tire you get, when you up from the stock you'll notice it in the gears... it actually made my 6 speed smoother as i doubt it was originally geared for the awful 225/65s that were on it. Bigger wheels take more power to turn and can crack so consider 15s or 16s with bigger tires, although you shouldnt have a problem with 33s.
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:29 AM   #13
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On the other hand, there are folks like me who do not care what the rig looks like but simply add bigger tires and a lift to improve performance. Yes, the JK is quite capable off road stock, but it has a clearence issue. Even on green rated trails, I had quite a bit of rubbing in my JK and some knocks. The stock tires are very weak and will give out first is my experience. My stock tires have cuts down to the belts in them, and I was out with a Rubi who blew a tire their first trip out on a beginner trail.

I went 33s, 2.5" TF lift. Does it look better? Absolutely, but that's not why I did it. I put a lift on my rig and bigger tires to avoid breaking something.

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