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Old 10-06-2010, 04:07 AM   #1
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New wrangler owner with questions

Hi everyone! I'm new to the Jeep family. I recently purchased a manual '97 TJ Sport 4.0 with 203k fwy miles. I'm mechanically inclined but very new to servicing vehicles. Eager to learn and get dirty though. My questions are:

With the high miles, are there certain parts in order or priority, that you would replace? Everything is stock. I don't know where to start.

I'd like a lift. But would like a similar ride to the OEM shocks. Any suggestions?

Also, occasionally when I press on the clutch and try to place in reverse, a grinding sound occurs. I've tried pumping the clutch and pressing it all the way down and it still grinds.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-06-2010, 05:51 AM   #2
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Mine use to grind when goin into reverse, try going into 1st then straight to reverse. My jeep hasnt grinded since doing this.
Good luck with your new rig.

No longer a jeeper, BUT I will return!
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:57 AM   #3

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start with basic maintenance you would do on any vehicle. since you just got it, i would change everything or at least check that they were done. start with oil, filter, plugs, i cant remember what year they started the distributorless ignition if you have one then do plug wires, and distributor cap. you should have the alignment done if you feel it needs it or at least checked if the tires are fairly new and you dont want un even wear. check tire pressure. check/fill all under hood fluids. check transmisssion, t-case, and diff fluids. get a chilton manual if you need to reference anything, it will be useful down the road. that all really isnt hard at all and it shouldnt take more than an afternoon. i just sort of started naming things as i thought of them, not really in any particular order.

your clutch problem is usually due to a slave cylinder failure. most of the time hydraulic clutch problems this is the first thing to go. try bleeding the system.

i cant comment first hand on lifts. all i know is what ive read. the rubicon express kits seem to be rated the highest in ride quality. some people say their ride has improved over oem.
2003 Rubicon, 4.0L, 5SPD, Custom 4.75" lift, 33" MT Baja Claws
1999 SE, 2.5L, 5SPD, sold it
PM me for wheeling in and around Northern Illinois
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:40 AM   #4
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i heard the rough country 2.5'' lift is almost the same as a factory ride it is the one i am going to get
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:30 AM   #5
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I put the rough country 2.5 lift on mine and I would say it rides the same as stock.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:37 AM   #6
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I did the 2" Skyjacker BB on my Jeep and it rides better than stock I think. I got the Hydro shocks. I believe the Nitros are stiffer.
04 Dodge Dakota
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:10 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone! This forum is so helpful. I'm pretty excited with my new ride and the endless ways to customize it. I just want to make sure I take care of the basics from the inside out.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:52 PM   #8
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Besides what has been mentioned, jack up one side at a time and check the unit bearings/ball joints/steering components for play and wear. You will eat tires and mileage if these are bad.

As far as a lift goes, short arm kit any higher than 3" will stiffen the ride more so than long arm kits. Hydro shocks will be more forgiving on the street than Nitro. Deciding now, if possible, on what type of wheeling you will be engaging in is key to purchasing the lift height and type once (if buying a lift kit once in a rigs life is possible ).

Enjoy your new rig. Oh yeah! When the motor goes, rebuild it with a stroker kit.
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:07 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info AOR. When I jack up each side to inspect the joints/arms, will it be pretty obvious which parts will require replacement? I suspect something with the suspension needs to be replaced because i hear a loud metal "clunk" sound every time I go over bumps.
As for the lift... I was thinking something around 2". I'll be doing some light trails and mud but mostly using the vehicle for camping and weekend driving around town. I currently have 31's on it.
Btw, what exactly is a Stroker kit?
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:23 PM   #10
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A stroker kit is an engine rebuild/upgrade kit for the 4.0L 6cyl (not exclusively) that will give you more stroke on the piston, which in turn when properly built gives you significantly more power. The way I see it is, if your looking for more performance out of your 4.0L and you have to rebuild it anyway, kill two birds with one stone.

Do a Google search on it. There is tons of info out there. Here is one from This is on a YJ but the principles are the same.

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