Originally Posted by MartinTravels
Hi folks! I just bought my first Jeep, a Silver 2006 TJ 4.0 liter with 6 speed and 22K on the odometer in perfect condition. It is pretty much totally stock. I have about $2500 to spend on upgrades, and I'm wondering on some priorities/suggestions on what to do.
This is my first post on this forum. I've enjoyed reading these jeep related internet sites for several years. I'm not claiming to be anybody to listen to. In case you haven't checked around, there are quite a few jeep web forums with lots of good information. As you learn more about the topics discussed, you learn that there is also a lot of incorrect information. I suggest you always keep that in mind.
Your question is often asked, so you could spend a little time reading some other postings on this site and others for typical response. There are so many possibilities for you and answers will often reflect the (sometimes limited) experience of the person typing. Sometimes the advice you get is not sound.
Based on that preamble, here is my contribution.
Do not spend any of your money for a few months. Use the time to school yourself about the basic subjects related to modifying a TJ model jeep. A few hours on the internet will pay you back with thousands of dollars saved on purchases that you may later regret.
An '06 TJ is the last production year for your model. The TJ started in '97 and many stock and aftermarket parts will work across the entire model run. There were, however, some factory variations along the way. Some are particularly useful to describe. It will benefit you and others who read your questions to know a little more about your jeep.
Is it a "Rubicon" model TJ? They were available '03-'06. This model jeep brings some valuable components that non-rubicon jeep owners pay good money for. Some of these are tougher front and rear axles, better axle gear ratio for larger tires, locking differentials, better 4wd transfer case.
We know you have a six cylinder motor and standard transmission. If your jeep is not a "Rubicon" model, then look under the rear axle and describe the shape of the center pumpkin. Is is oval shape or more polygon/octogon shape. Look for a small metal tag under one of the cover bolts that will have some letters and numbers stamped on it. It will identify the axle gear ratio. This information is useful when advising new tire diameter choices.
Does your jeep currently have tow hooks on the front bumper? A tow hook or hitch on the rear? Full size steel doors with roll up glass, or half doors with plastic windows? What style wheels and what size tires do you currently have? Is the tire tread still good?
Go to the website, 4wd.com, and register for a free catalog. I''m not suggesting you buy from them, (though I haven't had any problems with using them occasionally). The wrangler model catalog has thousands of popular products for you to review and ask questions about on the internet.
Use the internet to search for a jeep club local to you. There are several near where I live. Some are better organized than others. Go to a club meeting or gathering. They usually welcome newcomers without any obligation. Look at some other jeeps with suspension lifts, tires, winches, etc. Get some ideas of what you like the looks of. Sometimes good looks are otherwise useless products. There are a lot of useless "dress-up" products to learn about.
Some common subjects to become familiar with....
Body lift....(tub lifted off the frame rails).
Budget boost suspsension lift vs. replacement coil springs suspension lift.
Short control arms vs. long control arms.
Transfer case drop....(lowering the belly pan, transmission, and transfer case below the lower frame rail).
Modifying the 4wd transfer case to accept a fixed yoke rear driveshaft....(slip yoke eliminator kit).
Double cardan rear driveshaft to accomodate lifted suspensions.
Wheel back spacing to allow wider tires to clear steering and suspension components....(your factory wheels may work with wheel spacers).
Axle gear ratio changes to effectively use larger diameter tires.
Locking differentials vs. limited slip vs. open (non-locked).
Common steering and brake improvements over factory design.
Rocker panel armor vs. side steps.
Winch brands, wire rope, synthetic rope, front bumpers for winches, safety.
If you just can't resist purchasing something/anything right away, I suggest you ask about tow straps, fire extinquishers, simple and compact cb radios and a good antenna, seat covers, bikini tops, tools, factory service manuals. These kind of things will be useful to you at whatever stage of jeep ownership you get to.