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Old 05-25-2012, 02:19 PM   #1
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Newbie looking for LJ lift advice...

Disclosed up front...I'm a newbie, so hopefully my questions aren't too stupid.

What I have: Stock 2004 Jeep Wrangler LJ with I6 and 4-speed Auto trans w/ 3.73 gears. I'll post pictures soon. Pristine flame red w/ 24k still riding on OEM tires. I'm happy with my find.

Lift or not to lift?

The LJ factory tire specs: 30x9.5 15 sitting on 15x8 aluminum wheels. According to the BF Goodrich website, I can pair 33x10.5 15 Terrain T/A tires to these wheels. Good tire choice? I'd prefer a 10.5 width to stick with my current wheel...save some cash. I'll consider a different wheel after my next set of tires are shot.

How do I make this work? There is a reputable alignment/lift garage in town that comes highly recommended by local off road enthusiasts. The garage recommends a 3" suspension lift (they seem to be against BB kits) for a 33" tire. Their garage service includes a 2 week re-torque and a 6 month inspection/re-torque/alignment. It sounds like they know what they're doing. They offer Pro-Comp or BDS at the same price...$550 out the door. I'm all ears for 3" suspension lift recommendations.

Concerns include:

Do the factory wheels provide the offset required to support a 33x10.5" wheel under a 3" suspension lift? I don't want to rub at any angle/under any driving condition.

Are there any steering upgrades/adjustments required for a 3" lift?

Will my 3.73 ratio provide the torque I need to run a 33x10.5 tire? I love the immediate response of the I6. I'd hate to lose that and I'm not looking to change gears anytime soon.

Odo and Speedometer calibration...easy? worth it?

If I asked too many questions for one post, fire away...open to constructive criticism.

Cheers

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Old 05-25-2012, 03:03 PM   #2
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I have a 2005 LJ. Teraflex 3" lift and run 33x10.5 BFG ATs. I did get new wheels (w/ proper bs) with the rubber via a craigs list deal. You could use the stock wheels and add wheel spacers. No steering upgrades required. I didn't recal the speedo yet and see just short of 10% difference so 60 on the dial is about 65/66mph. I have the I6, 3.73 gearing but a 6 speed manual tran. I tow a starcraft camper to Big Bear Lake and across the pass on I 8 so you'll probably be fine but I will eventually upgrade to 4.56 gears. There are many details to make any mods work right and you can search some posts to get the idea. I also recommend books by Jim Allen and Christian Lee for a complete list.

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Old 05-25-2012, 03:05 PM   #3
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:40 PM   #4
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JYJeep...thanks for the information. I'll look up the authors you mentioned. If you can make the I-8 pass towing a boat on 33" with a 3.73 ratio, I should do alright with the bigger tire.

You mentioned changing to wheels with the proper backspacing. What is the proper wheel backspacing for a 33x10.5 15 on a 3" suspension lift?

Thanks again
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:01 PM   #5
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I have an 06 lj and i put the on the Old Man Emu Ultimate TJ/LJ Wrangler Kit | dpgoffroad.com and love it. Ive found this other post from a different website that has tons of info and mods about a fellow jeeper and his lj build. Unlimited04's LJ Build - JeepForum.com
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:19 AM   #6
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Your stock wheels will work fine with 33 x 10.50s. If you want the best 3" kit, check out the Savvy Offroad website. They offer a 3" kit with fully adjustable aluminum control arms. I have a set of the control arms and they are top quality.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #7
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I have the Dick Cepek DC2 wheels 15x8 with 3 5/8" (3.65") backspacing, & Good Year Duratrac tires- 33x12.50x15. No rubbing issues. All tires actually vary in size, do some research and you'll see. My tires actually measured 32" tall by 11" wide, mounted on the 15x8" rims. After I adjusted tire pressure to 26 psi, they measured 32x11.50.
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:24 PM   #8
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TJ Newbie...Did you lift your Jeep? I like the look of the 32 in tires. My stock wheels, after a lot of newbie research (15x8 w/ 25.4 offset), have a 5.5" backspace to your 3.75. If I need to get new wheels to accommodate a larger tire, so be it.

Does changing the backspace put more stress/wear and tear on the wheel bearings?
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:35 PM   #9
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I wouldn't think you'd need less back spacing since I know you can run a 31x10.50x15 on stock wheels and height. Maybe have to adjust the steering stops, but I'm not sure.

As far as fitting them goes, if you're on a budget, I really like the idea of a small suspension lift and body lift like I have. I think DPG Off-road packages together an OME 2.5" suspension kit and a 1-1.25" body lift. Not only will you negate any vibes but you'll also have a low COG and be ready for a tummy tuck when the time comes. Here is my TJ with a 2.5" suspension lift and a 1.25" body lift on 33x12.50x15 tires



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Old 05-28-2012, 10:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Matt_C-130 View Post
TJ Newbie...Did you lift your Jeep? I like the look of the 32 in tires. My stock wheels, after a lot of newbie research (15x8 w/ 25.4 offset), have a 5.5" backspace to your 3.75. If I need to get new wheels to accommodate a larger tire, so be it.

Does changing the backspace put more stress/wear and tear on the wheel bearings?
Yes, I did a Skyjacker 2.25" Budget Boost Lift kit- (BBL) it is spacers that go on top of the springs, and my kit came with new Skyjacker Hydro shocks that are long enough for up to 3 inches of lift. I also added 3/4 inch Spring Isolator Pads in the front, so I've got 3" of lift in the front and 2.25" in the back. the kit was $229 from 4wheelcustoms.com. I'm really impressed with the Skyjacker Hydro shocks they're very good on the road and even better on the trail.

If you're going with 32s or 33s I strongly suggest going with wheels that have less backspacing, it's not just the steering rub that's a problem, it's the space between the rear tires and the rear spring perches (as in the pic). That can rub through your tires and give you a blow out whenever, while on the road or on the trail. The lower backspacing will keep your tires out of harms way. Personally, I think the wheel bearing issue is neglegible, for the gains you get in return- better clearance for your wheels/tires, better stability on the road and trail, and the looks it gives your jeep. Besides even if you don't change your wheels, eventually wheel bearings need replacement, and it's not that hard to do yourself.

I went with the DC2s because the backspacing 3.65" (3-5/8") was right, they were affordable, and the more I considered them the better they looked to me.

When I installed the BBL kit I measured the springs (without a load on them), then later did some research and found that they had sagged over an inch in front, and 1.75" in the back (my jeep is 12 years old and previous owner towed a pontoon boat with it).

I have decided to swap out the springs with BDS 2" springs, keep my Skyjacker shocks and still use the 3/4" isolator pads if I need them. The BDS springs are $114 a pair, for the front springs and $110 a pair for the rear. And are designed to carry the added weight of after-market bumpers, and oversized tire carriers, rock sliders, gear ect.
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:32 PM   #11
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Thanks for the detailed information. I've been inundating myself lately with all the after market Jeep modifications that are out there...paralysis by over-analysis.

Now I'm just starting over with a modification objective: Increase Jeep clearance and articulation supporting difficult level (subjective to an extent) off-road trails. Max modification parameters: 3" lift and 33" tires. Excellent road/highway handling and feel (stability and comfort are important) as 75% of Jeeps use will be commuting and day driving.

Now I'm trying to determine what's better for my modification goals:

Long arm or short arm kit?

Is the stance vs. lift correlation linear? e.g. 3" of lift requires an increase in stance by 3"? I'm looking for lift to be functional on roads and trails. Stability is a high priority.

Stock wheels with spacers? All of the spacers out there are either 1.25" or 1.5". If I go with 1.25" spacers I'll effectively have a 4.25" backspaced wheel (5.5" factory backspace less 1.25"). I still can't find any data suggesting the bearings can/cannot handle a 2.5" increase in front/rear stance. The modified backspacing will support my max lift parameters...just want to make sure the bearings don't crunch under the increased stance/pressure.

Gears? 3.73s enough...I guess I can make that determination after driving the modified configuration for a while.

Head is spinning...I guess this all part of the fun.

Cheers
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:34 PM   #12
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Yep all part of the fun
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:51 PM   #13
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Are the tires loud?
Do you have a front on pic so we can see how much the tires stick out of the fenders?
Thanks!
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:43 PM   #14
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I'm definitely interested in the info here too. I believe I just bought pretty much the same LJ. I got mine not too long ago. A Flame Red '05 with I6, Auto and 16k miles on it

I've been looking into a lot of things and fell in love with the look of another used TJ they had on the lot at the time. It didn't look like it was lifted much so I'm wondering if you can run a 2" BB with 33x12.5x15's or if more is required. I plan on changing the wheels when the tires wear out and need replacing.
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:47 PM   #15
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I had 31x10.5r15 duratracs mounted on original canyon rims with 5.5 bs. These rubbed at full lock to the point of cutting into the sidewall. Fixed with 4 washers under steering stop bolt. Went to new wheels with 4" bs. Btw, i have a 2" bds lift, did not do anything to help with the rub. If you can reduce bs to 4.25 using spacers you should be fine if these are legal in your state. I got a set of 5 alloy wheels for $500 plus another $60 for mounting and balancing. You will.probably spend about $200 for 4 spacers - arent these about $100 per pair?
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:50 PM   #16
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Other thing i forgot to mention. If you go with bds. I think they have a limited lifetime warranty on their parts. I have not really heard good things about pro comp lift kits. There is a stiky somewhere on lift kit reviews on this forum. You should take a look at that.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:19 PM   #17
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Matt C-130 (is that a USCG HERC?) you have the point, this is supposed to be fun. I have gone to Big Bear CA and wheeled Gold mtn and Holcomb Creek with earlier mods and my current set up. I occassionally have to get a quick strap to get thru tougher parts but much of that is the line picked vs the jeep. Locker(s) would help and that will happen when I regear. I think short arm is fine (and several others would agree including someone who has had both) just because the shorter arms don't get hung up as often. There is a trade off in that the higher you go the worse the angle between the driving force thru the control arm and the axle (think wheel barrel held handles level and handles higher and which is easier to control) Anyway, do your research, create a plan and then go from there. The two authors referenced are a must read to get a good overview on what the pro/cons are of any mod. Unlimited04 LJ always has sound advice. See what Jerry Bransford says when he jumps in a conversation (and I don't discount any of the other posters either, just happen to have an LJ and seen the issues Unlimited addresses and know Jerry) I need to measure the BS on my current wheels but it is less than stock and I don't get significant rub (just a little at full articulation)
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:29 PM   #18
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Matt congtrats. I have a fabtech 4" on my 05 lj actually ended up at about 3.5 inches of lift with warn front and rear bumpers with tire rack. It has zero body roll at highway speeds on curvy roads I love the on and off road ride of the jeep. I am run running BFG KM2 33x12:50. I only have about 3k miles on them but they seem to be a great tire so far as I am a huge BFG KO fan but wanted something with more meat to get the look I wanted with the lift. My two biggest suggestions are spend the money on regearing as soon as possible to 4:56 or 4:88 to lighten the load on the transmission as the 42rle you have is not a very tough tranny and the second is a trans cooler is a must as it runs hot with stock tires much less the bigger ones. Look around this forum at the people that have had tranny issues and you will understand what I mean. I'm not bashing you jeep as I drive the same thing and wouldn't trade it for a JK because I like 2 doors and the lo get wheelbase
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:32 PM   #19
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Congrats

Oh and congratulations on you new machine. Sorry for bad typing as I'm on my silly iPhone
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:18 AM   #20
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Concur about larger gearing. I recall reading a comment from Jerry B recently where the discussion was gearing for 32" tires with an I6 and auto trans. He indicated this is a tough call as gearing would lie between 3.73 and 4.10. He recommended 4.10 if entensive offroadingwas planned, or especially if there was ever going to be a thought of going to 33". From some of the above posts, looks like 4.10 would be too small. I have 3.07 in my jeep.am thinking about not if but when to regear to 3.73 for my 31s, possible future 32s. I think you have it right, though. Just get the wheel config you want and drive the 3.73 you have in all conditions on and off road for a while. Then think about regearing. But ifyou regear i would think about lower than 4.10 - the cost is too much for that small of a change over what you already have.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:32 AM   #21
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Matt - next question for you is what rear axle do you have. D35c or D44? Lots of info and opinions on D35c (or D35 or dana 35) axle on WF, you can use the search function. The axle question opens a can of worms, but is something you should think about.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:40 AM   #22
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Matt - next question for you is what rear axle do you have. D35c or D44? Lots of info and opinions on D35c (or D35 or dana 35) axle on WF, you can use the search function. The axle question opens a can of worms, but is something you should think about.
Nevrrmind. You have an LJ? should be d44.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #23
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Thanks to everyone for generous information and time. I appreciate a group of folks willing to exchange advice and Jeep experience amongst total strangers.

So, where do I stand with my LJ? I've decided to take a little time before I make significant modifications. I found a highly recommended alignment/suspension guy in Tucson. He fits the border patrol/BLM vehicles for lifts and off-roading. His recommendation was to hang everything (bumpers, winches, rails, etc...) on the Jeep and take time before committing to a lift. He puts customers into two buckets: "lifts to look cool"...for the not-so-discerning 4-wheeler and "functional lift" folks...e.g. BLM/ border patrol, serious off-roaders, etc...

His take: A Jeep is an off road vehicle. Use it as such and determine needs with specific off-road objectives. I may learn that I fit in the "lifts to look cool" group if I do everything I want with a stock LJ. I just bought BFG Terrain 30x9.5 15s to seal my stock configuration fate for the time being.

Custom shock valving?...apparently that's the way to go for a functional suspension lift customized to off-road/on-road driving style and vehicle configuration. The going rate for a custom valved shock is ~$400. This should prevent bottoming out under one's prescribed off-road driving conditions while providing road worthy stability. Pricey!

Other considerations:

Stance: New wheels with less bs. Increases stress on bearings/axle joint...may be negligible. Stance is critical to stability...also results in turning radius reduction.
Tires: bigger if desired
Gearing: Big tires change gear ratio. 4.56 if you want your torque...bye bye mpgs
Slip yolk: Often overlooked...3" lift stresses articulation point at transfer case and may cause binding

I'm sure there are plenty more lift considerations. This info, which may be flawed, is mere newb research with the help of WF folks and a guy in a garage downtown. With that said, I look forward to customizing my Jeep, but I'll take time to learn before taking the plunge. Next purchase...service manual. wax on...wax off.

Cheers
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:24 PM   #24
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Matt C-130 (is that a USCG HERC?)
USAF Herc!
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:17 PM   #25
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Hey Matt I think you are way overthinking the backspacing and wheel bearing issue.... People run oversize tires with very little backspacing or wheel spacers all the time... I'm about to get wheel spacers for my TJ with 130k on it and I have not one worry about the wheel bearings....
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:18 PM   #26
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Oh yea, and where are the pics??? Love the LJ's
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:38 PM   #27
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Are the tires loud?
Do you have a front on pic so we can see how much the tires stick out of the fenders?
Thanks!
The Duratrac tires are very quiet, only a light whhhrr sound at highway speeds. Here's one from the front while I was doing the lift/wheel and tire swap. the front is the 33x12.50x15 on DC2s, and the back still had the 30x9.30x15 BFG T/A KOs on Gambler wheels.

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