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Old 04-10-2011, 04:30 AM   #1
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33s on the trail

I currently own a 97 TJ Wrangler with 4 cylinder and manual transmisson. I know this is not the Jeep of choice but I got a really good deal on it. I have read many posts/threads about how 33 inch tires with a 4 cylinder completely sucks on the highway without regearing to 4.88 which I plan to do ASAP. However, I havent seen any info on how the 2.5L I-4, 4.11 gear, with 33s handles on trails. Most of my offroading consists of simple trails where the most difficult obstacle will be crossing a flooded bayou or a muddy creek bed.

I thank you in advance for any advice that you can share.

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Old 04-10-2011, 09:56 AM   #2
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Well, for reference last night I went wheeling (alone stupidly) and got to a section where: to the right was a huge ditch that would've flipped me, left was a big tree, ahead was a dip that would flip me, and behind me was the only way out. I almost got stuck, mud was all behind me, but I rocked myself and managed to floor it out of the mud.

So, if it helps, a 4cyl with 33s is perfectly fine and has more than enough torque for riding.

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Old 04-10-2011, 04:19 PM   #3
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Well, for reference last night I went wheeling (alone stupidly) and got to a section where: to the right was a huge ditch that would've flipped me, left was a big tree, ahead was a dip that would flip me, and behind me was the only way out. I almost got stuck, mud was all behind me, but I rocked myself and managed to floor it out of the mud.

So, if it helps, a 4cyl with 33s is perfectly fine and has more than enough torque for riding.
Thanks for the advice.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:08 PM   #4
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i think most people complain about the 2.5 with its lack of get up and go. i would think as long as your gear to tire ratio is correct low end torque wouldnt be a problem
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:09 PM   #5
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The 2.5L is pretty gutless, even when completely stock. Its still an awesome Jeep for weekend adventures with your friends though. The specs say that the 4 banger is rated at 140 ft/lbs. I am just unsure if that will be adequate torque when trail riding with 33s. Would it be best to go a smaller tire size?
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:30 PM   #6
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I don't know about 33's, but I'm running the 2.5L 5 speed and 4.11 with 31's and it is perfect even on the highway.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:35 PM   #7
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The 2.5L is at its best in 4Lo. It will be fine on the trail without a regear, but it will be great with a regear.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:28 PM   #8
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A gratious thank you goes out to all who has posted
their answers to my question thus far. I feel tremendously better about the idea of squeezing 33s onto my TJ.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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Are you regearing your D35?

I wouldn't. The D35 isn't worth putting your money in to.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:26 AM   #10
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Are you regearing your D35?

I wouldn't. The D35 isn't worth putting your money in to.
Yeah I was planning on regearing the D35. Am I missing something? I have read numerous posts about gearing to 4.88s with the 2.5L but nothing about D35. I am not very mechanically inclined so please bare with me, why isnt it a good idea to regear the D35 axle? And what axle should I replace it with? Do I need to buy a different front axle as well?
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:44 AM   #11
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Haha, I don't mean to freak you out. It's just a weak axle. If you never plan on locking it, or going bigger...you'll probably be fine. If you aren't to heavy on the skinny pedal on the trail, you'll probably never break it.

The problem comes in when you say you won't lock it or go bigger. I've told myself that many times, and I've always ended up going bigger and badder. That comes with the Jeep addiction.

If you never plan on locking it, than regear it. If you have the slightest thought that you might, don't regear it.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:48 AM   #12
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Adding a locker will get you a lot better off road performance out of your 2.5 than a re-gear. Only problem is don't lock the D35... My YJ is a 2.5 and it is geared at 4.56 with 35s and does just fine. Who needs to go over 65 in a YJ anyway! :-)

I also live in IN and we don't have too many hills. I don't drive my YJ much except to the trails and just cruising around (try to avoid the highway). I probably would have been better off with 4.88 gears but got a great deal on 4.56 gears so I snatched them up.
Save your money and do an axle swap in the rear and regear the front at the same time...
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:18 AM   #13
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ditto. lock a 35 and throw on big tires and you're probably going to wreck the axle. HOWEVER, and there's always a however, I know a guy who has lockers, runs 36s and has a d35. he says he just takes it easy on the skinny pedal. Though I bet most here would not recommend that.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:54 AM   #14
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Mine works best in 4lo 3rd gear. Hardly have to touch the gas and it will walk/climb anything. Regearing is great, but if you dont have the cash, just use a lower gear. I know several people who rock crawl with 33's and lockers on dana 30's and 35 with no problems. Throttle control is your best friend.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:58 PM   #15
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Geat tips, I appreciate it. I was going to regear the D35 this summer but I think it would be wise to save up my money for a complete axle swap now. Yes, I too have been bitten by the "Jeep Bug". Most of my paychecks go towards upgrades. I am just never satisfied until its overkill lol
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:45 PM   #16
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Agreed; it will do great on the trails. Now the highway getting to said trails may be a bit slow if you have any long hills, but when on the trail it should do great.
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Old 04-16-2011, 04:36 PM   #17
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I had 33s on my yj 4cyl. Don't plan on using 5th and drafting is ur friend. Other than that I had no real problems.
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:04 AM   #18
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What does everyone recommend as for as manufacturers for 4.88 gears?
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:17 AM   #19
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Yukon or Superior are excellent. I personally have all Yukon gears (4.56) and axles and have been running them for 10 years. Never a problem.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Yukon or Superior are excellent. I personally have all Yukon gears (4.56) and axles and have been running them for 10 years. Never a problem.
Good choices. Also...spicer...yes...I said spicer...they make gear sets too.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:44 AM   #21
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I run 33s on my rig and I do fine on easier trails most the time I have it in 2wd till I find some puddles or snow and boulders. The only difference is I have dana 44s. I have stock gearing on it. And no I have no clue what ratio they are cuz I don't have a build sheet. But I easily can get 70to 75 on the highway it my tj. (I think you said u had a yj) so idk how much of a diff that makes.
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:13 AM   #22
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The above posters have basically said what I would say.

My experience with 4 banger and 33s with 4:10s- I didn't mind it, but i'm a pretty laid back driver and wheeler..4low is your friend and 5th gear doesn't get used much.

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