Bought a ’97 TJ (4.0, AX-15, NP231 w/SYE) in Aug, the previous owner put a Dana 44 and Ford 9in from a ’85 Bronco on it. The front has a Detroit with locking hubs, the rear is open. Shafts front/rear are Yukon (4340/1541). He put 38” Super Swamper TSL’s on it and geared it 4.56. I’m for sure going down to 35”. His intent "have a real head turner on the beach and the trail".
I really don’t want to spend the money going one or two deeper (4.88 or 5ish). Questions are; When I go to 35’s, just be happy with the current gears and save the money? But, I do have the knowledge/tools of regearing at home. Take out the Detroit (sell it, if I even can) and get a posi for the front or a selectable locker for the rear with open front? The TJ is only driven on hardball when my daily driver XJ is down or to get to a mud hole (Florida panhandle)?
Other info: 4in lift (springs are Superlift, lower front arms appear to be Currie due to the joints, front uppers are OE), OE control arms on rear, 3 in body lift (I know, I know). Track bar is Currie, tie rod and drag links are from an F-250 (or so he said). I made the mistake of just throwing parts/money at my XJ, really don’t want to do it this time around. If my budget is $3k what direction should I go?
Currently, I'm thinking; reduce BL to 1", replace OE control arms (Currie short, please only have a strong reason for long arms. I live in the swamp), keep the diffs and gears as they are with the new 35's, and relocate the rear coils vertical. Other option was just to replace all of the suspension and new tires, but that'll eat up more than my budget. Open to suggestions.