I'm getting close to making my first Jeep upgrade purchase and would like some input, and also verification of a few questions I have.
Vehicle is a 01 TJ 4.0L manual with Dana 44 rear end (with a seemingly still working trackloc limited slip diff), and 3.73 gears. It is my daily driver and will remain so for a few more years, after which point It will probably grow more into a "toy" role, possibly opening up the door to more mods which would make it less DD friendly (but thats down the road)
The most difficult terrain that I encounter is when I go Wheeling in the UP of michigan during the summer. I do not ever take it rock crawling, thus things such as suspension flex/maximum clearance are, while still a consideration, definitely not paramount. Rather, the limiting factors that I have encountered are generally traction-based, I.E. the shoreline of lake superior, which in the areas I go consist of small beachstones etc. There are a few beaches that I really love, and i ventured down some of them last summer. However, due to the very limited traction that I was getting, I did not go very far before my wiser and more conservative side forced me to turn around (which almost got me stuck
All that being said, my main future goals with my jeep are this:
33x12.5 tires on 15" rims
probably a 4" suspension lift (done right, nothing cheap, almost certainly with a SYE and new driveshaft)
Selectable lockers, front and rear
I have been saving, and I think that the first purchase I would like to make is the selectable locker for the front. I have a few reasons for thinking this is a good "first upgrade".
First, as stated I do have the factory track-loc limited slip diff in the rear. Thus, being able to lock up the front would get more wheels spinning than I currently have.
Additionally, the lockers that im looking to get (ARB airlocker) are made for the Dana 30s for gear ratios 3.73 and above. This would allow me to use them with my current gear ratio, while still allowing me the option of going to a higher gear ratio in the future.
Conversely, the ARB airlockers that are made for the Dana 44 are either Ratios 3.73 and LOWER, or 3.93 and HIGHER. Thus, if I were to make my rear locker purchase first (and buy one for my current gearing, 3.73) I would not be able to increase my gear ratios without getting a different locker, obviously not Ideal.
In short, getting an air locker in the front allows me to "put off" my decision of weather or not I want to re-gear, which would obviously be in conjunction with my final future tire size.
So my questions are this:
1) Is my logic sound regarding the gearing? or am I missing something?
2) the my Dana 30 front axle has 27 spline axleshafts from the factory, correct? If i buy an ARB airlocker for 27 spline axles, and then down the road decide that I want/need to upgrade axles, am I going to be able to find good aftermarket axles that are still 27 spline? Or is all the good stuff 30 spline? I would REALLY rather not have to buy a new air locker just because I want to upgrade my front axle shafts.
3) I would obviously need an air compressor also, and that would be purchased at the same time. Does anyone have any insight or experience as to models? I would probably go with one of ARBs models. I would consider it nearly mandatory that it not be mounted in the vehicle, if possible. Can these go under the hood? Does anyone have any pictures of mounting locations/sizes etc?
4) Running the air line out of the Diff requires drilling a hole, correct? Does anyone have any pictures of the best place to do this? I would hope the locker comes with fairly specific directions as to the best location, but obviously i dont know for sure. This part of the install concerns me a little, mainly becasue you only really get one shot at it.
5) once I get to where I want my jeep to be (see future goals above), what do you think my limiting factors/weakest link would be? -mainly from a traction standpoint, think along the lines of driving through super soft, deep, powdery sand or possibly shallow streams that have many feet of small, loose rocks to sink into?
Wow. That was quite the book
Sorry I got so wordy, but I figured too much info would be better than the usual "wut lift is best 4 a jeep?" type post.
Thanks in advance for any replies.