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Old 12-29-2010, 07:30 AM   #1
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New jeep girl seeking general advice

Heres my first official post! I'm a recent TJ owner (pretty much all stock), got it right before the semester started and the only thing I've really done to it is replaced a seat and put neoprene seat covers on, and rhinolined (or herculined, whatever) it. I'm a busy girl with nursing school and work, but I'm on break and need to start cracking on this thing.
I'm obviously a newbie, I want to avoid doing things to my jeep that would make me look like an idiot down the road when I do figure all this out (don't worry, theres no lo profile tires and huge chrome rims on my shopping list). I was thinking of starting things out with a 3 inch suspension lift, some 31" tires, and then maybe looking for new bumpers (one of the tow hooks is pulled out of my factory one...oops).
I'm learning all this as I go along. I like a project. I'm a bike girl and learned all of that from my KTMtalk message board pals (and have restored to vintage Kawis and keep up my KTM), so I'm hoping I can be pointed in the right direction to making this thing suitable for me.
Oh, a little background- not only do I not know much about my jeep's inner workings (I have people to help if I need it though), I'm also brand new to the off roading community. I'm excited to learn. I also have too many bad habits like drinking on the weekends and vintage motorcycles and cooking expensive food, so this has to be suitable for a daily driver, but have off road capabilities.

I'd appreciate any recommendations for things to read up on, things to do to my jeep, what I should start out on, or any advice for newbies .
Thanks guys (and gals!). And sorry about the novel.

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Old 12-29-2010, 07:36 AM   #2
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Few things: 31's will fit on it without a lift. However a simple 2" spacer lift with new shocks will give it a bit more clearance, and not cost too much.

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Old 12-29-2010, 07:40 AM   #3
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Congrats and welcome! What year is your jeep? I just got a stock '01, looking at a lift, tires, and some sort of new top. I seem to live in the mud riding capital of the world, but I would sure like some dry trails once in a while! The lift and tires sound good. Stay away from gas saving hardware, lol.

Jeep is pretty basic to work on. You can reach anything you need to. It's all computerized; we seem to have some code happy people around here! With the lift, check your gearing. Stock is 3.07 or 3.73, you might have to go up a bit with larger tires. 31's should be fine, and honestly, I think the metric size on mine is actually 31 with no lift.

Good luck!
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:40 AM   #4
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Few things: 31's will fit on it without a lift. However a simple 2" spacer lift with new shocks will give it a bit more clearance, and not cost too much.
I kind of want to drive over things that require a lift. Besides, that one was going to be my xmas bday gift to myself But maybe i should just start out with new shocks
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:50 AM   #5
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:55 AM   #6
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youll need shocks specific to the amount of lift you want. my advice on a lift: do it once and do it right. how much are u willing to spend on the lift/tires?
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:12 AM   #7
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I kind of want to drive over things that require a lift. Besides, that one was going to be my xmas bday gift to myself But maybe i should just start out with new shocks
As stated the shocks need to match the lift or you will just be buying new shocks again. A great deal will depend on your budget. A 3" lift works well. I ran a 3" rustys off road lift on a past jeep and for the price point it did well. Very basic kit. The thing to keep in mind, the higher lift you get the more stuff you need to add. Thus plan a budget and find a complete kit that meets your needs, and its always better to hold off and save a bit more than rush in and buy something that you will just have to upgrade and pay for again down the road. Check out some of the lift reviews and ask questions on here.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:17 AM   #8
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Do your self a favor and get a 4" lift an 33 tires that's wha you'll want after a 3" an 31. 33 is max tire before regearing which is expensive. I have the combo 2.5 susp and 1 " body lift and 33 tires and I made it thro alot of wheeling stuck once. But I'm also in the middle of putting a 4" in to simply be bigger then the guys.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:23 AM   #9
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yeah 4" and 33's is the way to go. i did a 4" skyjacker suspension lift and 33" goodyear duratracs for around $1350. i did all the work myself and saved $$
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:23 AM   #10
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but u will need wheels with 33's....
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:25 AM   #11
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Ya I think the most helpful piece of information we need first is your budget for your lift, that way we can point you in the right direction to get the most for you money
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:46 AM   #12
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Well, I actually have no strict budget but I have to keep it reasonable, haha. I get overage from school and am putting it into my jeep and bikes. I definitely want to keep it as low as possible. I want to learn how to do this stuff and will have a friend or two retreat into the garage and show me how its done.
Thanks for the advice on the 33's. I'd much rather just do it right the first time instead of kick myself in the butt after.
So, whats the difference (aside from price) of getting a 4 inch suspension lift or getting a 3 inch suspension lift and 1 inch body lift? Basically I want to be practical, save money but not be a tight wad, and have it serve its purpose for off road and on road. Oh, and I don't want to look like a pussy like I do now (although no wrangler is a pussy completely...).
I settled for an automatic 4.0, am I going to totally regret this after I really get into this?
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:47 AM   #13
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but u will need wheels with 33's....
I want new wheels. I've been scouring craigslist for wheels and tires, then sell my stock ones (which had new tires on them when I bought it).
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:57 AM   #14
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4.0 is a great engine and will be able to turn 33s. theres not much of a price difference between a 3" suspension and 1" body lift and a 4" suspension. the 3" susp and 1" body will take longer to put on.

thats mine with a 4" susp lift, cragar soft 8 wheels and 33" goodyears.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:01 AM   #15
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The advantage of having the body lift though is if you intend on adding skid plates in the future. Most companies recommend having a 1 inch body lift to install the skids, such as a gas tank skid or a tummy tuck for example.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:02 AM   #16
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^^ that is a sweet looking rig.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:30 AM   #17
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found this online...has a 4inch lift

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Old 12-29-2010, 10:52 AM   #18
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It is easy to spend other peoples money. I would do a 1" body lift and 2" budget boost add a set of Skyjacker Hydros. Then get a nice set of rims and 31 or 32" tires.

If you go with 33's you will want to regear.
A Wrangler setup as above is definitely very capable off road and will have great manners for a dd.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:07 AM   #19
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Speaking of pussy's, anybody see Wild Bill rolling his Jeep on TV? Maybe too much lift for serious off roading? He's no pussy though
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:24 AM   #20
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Speaking of pussy's, anybody see Wild Bill rolling his Jeep on TV? Maybe too much lift for serious off roading? He's no pussy though
Not sure where you are going with this.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:28 AM   #21
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Welcome! Mine is sitting on 4" and 33s and I love it. Go as big as you think you can handle, cause you will always want more...
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:47 AM   #22
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I want new wheels. I've been scouring craigslist for wheels and tires, then sell my stock ones (which had new tires on them when I bought it).
You may want to think about running 2 sets of tires: one set of good ice/snow tires for winter.
Just food for thought.

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Old 12-29-2010, 11:56 AM   #23
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Welcome to WF great to have another female member! 4Jeepn has some very good advice, if you follow that you can't go wrong
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:59 AM   #24
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Well, I actually have no strict budget but I have to keep it reasonable, haha. I get overage from school and am putting it into my jeep and bikes. I definitely want to keep it as low as possible. I want to learn how to do this stuff and will have a friend or two retreat into the garage and show me how its done.
Thanks for the advice on the 33's. I'd much rather just do it right the first time instead of kick myself in the butt after.
So, whats the difference (aside from price) of getting a 4 inch suspension lift or getting a 3 inch suspension lift and 1 inch body lift? Basically I want to be practical, save money but not be a tight wad, and have it serve its purpose for off road and on road. Oh, and I don't want to look like a pussy like I do now (although no wrangler is a pussy completely...).
I settled for an automatic 4.0, am I going to totally regret this after I really get into this?
Once you go up to 3 inches, or especially 4 inches of suspension lift, you need to think about SYE drive shaft mods and other things that get very expensive quickly. To make it very functional and less expensive, consider the 2 inch suspension lift, or budget boost along with the small body lift. This will let you run larger tires, up to 33 inch, which also depends on how you want to drive this Jeep off road. There is nothing wrong with the automatic transmission either. A lot of members prefer these over manuals.

By the way, I like your choice of dirt bikes as you can see by my name.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:16 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyk282 View Post
Well, I actually have no strict budget but I have to keep it reasonable, haha. I get overage from school and am putting it into my jeep and bikes. I definitely want to keep it as low as possible. I want to learn how to do this stuff and will have a friend or two retreat into the garage and show me how its done.

Thanks for the advice on the 33's. I'd much rather just do it right the first time instead of kick myself in the butt after.

So, whats the difference (aside from price) of getting a 4 inch suspension lift or getting a 3 inch suspension lift and 1 inch body lift? Basically I want to be practical, save money but not be a tight wad, and have it serve its purpose for off road and on road. Oh, and I don't want to look like a pussy like I do now (although no wrangler is a pussy completely...).
I settled for an automatic 4.0, am I going to totally regret this after I really get into this?
A 4" suspension lift may require a new pitman arm for steering or additional work to keep it working properly. A 3" suspension lift and a 1" BL won't be as likely to need that. Your driveline, as pointed about above, may also dictate the need of additional mods with the slip yoke eliminator setup on the back of the transfer case and a new driveshaft to compensate for the driveline angles. That also necessitates the need for adjustable control arms (upper) in back.

The body lift also gives you space later on for adding a flatter transmission skid (a belly up or tummy tuck). Combine that with a motor lift, and you have more space between your oil pan and a skid plate to protect it.

Consider the systems as a whole. Changing one thing usually means you have to change out a few more so everything works well together.

Good initial investments are underside armor like rock rails to protect under the door, engine skids to protect the oil pan and engine, and a steering box skid to protect the steering box right in front. Those should adapt to any lift you want to install later AND protect you for offroading now.

When considering a lift, consider a reputable brand and buy a good one the first time. Rusty's, Rough Country, Rubicon Express, and Old Man Emu (OME) are considered good lifts. OME and RE can be a bit pricier, but their ride quality is excellent. I have the OME setup.

Secondly, consider where you live, where you want to offroad, and the soil type. Here in Alabama, All Terrain tires are useless in the mud. It simply won't clear out. Mud Terrains are required here, but in California, where I lived previously, All Terrains did just fine in the softer, drier sand and decomposed granite soils.

With 33's you MAY need to regear, depending on your transmission. It isn't required, but if you don't, you WILL feel a 'loss of power' compared to how you're configured now. I have a 2.5L engine and I HAD to regear to be able to drive on the highway. But for the most part, with 4.0's it is a personal choice of yours as to whether you feel the 33's make it too slow on the road. Also consider that when you get larger tires, buy 5 not 4. If you get a flat, you really don't want a 30" tire and a 33" tire on the same axle at the same time, locked or not.

Other things to consider:
- aftermarket bumpers with tire carriers.
- lockers for the differential to provide increased traction.
- safari/duster combinations for alternative tops in the summer.
- winch for the front end

Invest in a factory service manual for your year of Jeep. It has GREAT information for fixing and maintaining your TJ. If you can't afford one right now, get at LEAST a Haynes manual. They're a bit more basic, but for the common fixes/troubleshooting, they're not bad (and usually under $20.00).
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:26 PM   #26
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A 4" suspension lift may require a new pitman arm for steering or additional work to keep it working properly.
why? ive never heard anything good about a dropped pitman arm.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:34 PM   #27
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If you are planning to run 31's, I'd suggest throwing on a simple 2" budget boost (spacers and shocks) and wheel the hell out of it . . . see what kind of trails you like, etc and then go from there. Then if you want 33's you can just throw a 1" body lift on it or go all out and replace the entire suspension with a full 4" kit. The jump from 31 -33's is an expensive one especially if you don't just add a BL as you'll not only need a bigger lift, but will probably need other things like a SYE, CV Driveshaft, adjustable control arms, regear, etc. A lot of people will tell you to do it right once, and I don't disagree with them, however being new to Jeeping, what is right for you is yet to be determined. I went this route and started with a 2" BB and then went to a 4" full suspension lift with 33's and don't regret it a bit. I sold my BB and maybe lost $100 bucks . . . big whoop. One word of caution when you decide to go with a bigger lift is to really do some research on the set up and products you go with. Personally there are only a couple of "kits" that I've seen that are worthwhile and they aren't made by the big name companies . . . most "kits" suck and they throw low to moderate quality components together that you'll end up having to replace. Look at the 4" Currie kits which consist of quality components and compare the components offered in most name brand crap kits. Transfer Case Drop , Bushings in the control arms (at least if you plan to flex the thing), etc.

You should only need a drop pitman if your track bar has a bracket to drop it too. No TB drop bracket, then no need for a drop pitman.

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Old 12-29-2010, 12:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyk282
Well, I actually have no strict budget but I have to keep it reasonable, haha. I get overage from school and am putting it into my jeep and bikes. I definitely want to keep it as low as possible. I want to learn how to do this stuff and will have a friend or two retreat into the garage and show me how its done.
Thanks for the advice on the 33's. I'd much rather just do it right the first time instead of kick myself in the butt after.
So, whats the difference (aside from price) of getting a 4 inch suspension lift or getting a 3 inch suspension lift and 1 inch body lift? Basically I want to be practical, save money but not be a tight wad, and have it serve its purpose for off road and on road. Oh, and I don't want to look like a pussy like I do now (although no wrangler is a pussy completely...).
I settled for an automatic 4.0, am I going to totally regret this after I really get into this?
I would say 3 in and 1.25in body.lift. because some other clearance mods need the body.lift .( tummy tuck high clearance skids etc.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:52 PM   #29
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again, it all comes down to the dollar range you want to spend. i personally wouldnt bother with a budget boost lift (coil spacers and shocks) because if you want to do any real lift, you will have to throw out the whole budget boost lift. that being said, id say you could do a 2.5",3",3.5" or 4" suspension lift and be in a really great position to upgrade later down the road. of course you could mix a body lift and a suspension lift to acheive your desired height. with stock gears and 33" tires you wont NEED to regear. you most likely wont have to install anything more than a transfer case drop kit to avoid vibrations (no CV drive shaft or SYE). every jeep is different however.

(im assuming you will not be doing any hardcore offroading, just some minor to medium trails/fooling around)
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:05 PM   #30
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A 4" suspension lift may require a new pitman arm for steering or additional work to keep it working properly. A 3" suspension lift and a 1" BL won't be as likely to need that. Your driveline, as pointed about above, may also dictate the need of additional mods with the slip yoke eliminator setup on the back of the transfer case and a new driveshaft to compensate for the driveline angles. That also necessitates the need for adjustable control arms (upper) in back.

The body lift also gives you space later on for adding a flatter transmission skid (a belly up or tummy tuck). Combine that with a motor lift, and you have more space between your oil pan and a skid plate to protect it.

Consider the systems as a whole. Changing one thing usually means you have to change out a few more so everything works well together.

Good initial investments are underside armor like rock rails to protect under the door, engine skids to protect the oil pan and engine, and a steering box skid to protect the steering box right in front. Those should adapt to any lift you want to install later AND protect you for offroading now.

When considering a lift, consider a reputable brand and buy a good one the first time. Rusty's, Rough Country, Rubicon Express, and Old Man Emu (OME) are considered good lifts. OME and RE can be a bit pricier, but their ride quality is excellent. I have the OME setup.

Secondly, consider where you live, where you want to offroad, and the soil type. Here in Alabama, All Terrain tires are useless in the mud. It simply won't clear out. Mud Terrains are required here, but in California, where I lived previously, All Terrains did just fine in the softer, drier sand and decomposed granite soils.

With 33's you MAY need to regear, depending on your transmission. It isn't required, but if you don't, you WILL feel a 'loss of power' compared to how you're configured now. I have a 2.5L engine and I HAD to regear to be able to drive on the highway. But for the most part, with 4.0's it is a personal choice of yours as to whether you feel the 33's make it too slow on the road. Also consider that when you get larger tires, buy 5 not 4. If you get a flat, you really don't want a 30" tire and a 33" tire on the same axle at the same time, locked or not.

Other things to consider:
- aftermarket bumpers with tire carriers.
- lockers for the differential to provide increased traction.
- safari/duster combinations for alternative tops in the summer.
- winch for the front end

Invest in a factory service manual for your year of Jeep. It has GREAT information for fixing and maintaining your TJ. If you can't afford one right now, get at LEAST a Haynes manual. They're a bit more basic, but for the common fixes/troubleshooting, they're not bad (and usually under $20.00).
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