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Old 01-11-2014, 01:52 PM   #1
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Recommendations on modifying jeep

Hi everyone. Im new to this forum. Im 17 and I recently had my dads jeep passed down to me to drive to school and wherever else. It is a 2003 Wrangler Sahara. One of the only problems with it is its completely STOCK. It looks really boring and plain. I like to go mudding but it takes away from the enjoyment of it when you cant get out of 4 inches of mud with the tiny little city tires even in 4wd. Ive been wanting to do several things to it eg: 4" suspension lift, 2" wheel spacers, new black rims, 35" mud grappler tires, rock crawler 4x4 winch bumper and winch, and flat black fender flares. Im on a limited budget because I cant find a job for the life of me and Im relying on my allowance of $150 a month plus extra money occasionally from selling things that I build for FFA in the welding shop. Its gonna take me awhile to do everything I want to do to it. I have enough money saved up to do a couple of things such as a lift kit or bumper but every time I mention buying these things for it, he tells me to not waste my money on it because he says that it has 220k miles on it and "the engine is gonna blow up soon" and I would have to use my money to fix it. I know 220k is alot of miles but it is taken care of and runs strong. The only parts that have ever been replaced on the engine is the alternator, oil filter and air filter (obviously), and spark plugs. I just want to ask for what some other people think I should do. Should I go ahead and do what I want to it or is it shot and I should just wait till we get the engine rebuilt? And sorry about the long post.

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Old 01-11-2014, 02:04 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome to the forums! Feel free to lurk and learn because a lot of these people are quite smart. While the engine is high in miles they are durable. Accessories can be bought and transferred over to the next vehicle. Bumpers and winches can be relocated. Just keep your original parts and put them back on. A small lift won't run you hard if you budget boost. Even wheels can be bought and kept if you buy another jeep.

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Old 01-11-2014, 02:05 PM   #3
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So much to say about this, but I will touch on one issue. To run 35s its going to cost a lot. A 4" suspension lift and 1.25" body lift will clear them, but....you will need a slip yoke eliminator kit (SYE) and CV drive shaft and adjustable control arms to address pinion angle. You will want to re gear your axles or you will lose too much power. Bigger better brakes will likely be needed. Stronger steering set up to deal with the larger tires. It goes on and on and will cost you thousands to do it right. One thing you wont need is wheel spacers if you get wheels with around 3 3/4 to 4" of backspacing. I suggest a 2" lift and 1.25" body lift motor mount lift and 33x12.50 mud tires. You may still need the SYE though. Good luck
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:07 PM   #4
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Get a zone 4.25 combo lift and take those fenders off and throw some 35in goodyear mt/r and you could always replace the engine IMO
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:12 PM   #5
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Honestly expect to spend double what you think you will for a particular mod due to tools, time, and something going wrong. And refer to Gus's post. 35's are an absolutely huge undertaking.

And more of a personal grudge but there are jobs out there. I spent a month looking for mine. Just comes down to printing up a stack of resumes and driving around looking for help wanted signs and applying at as many places as possible. Spend the next week checking in with them again and again and again until they get annoyed with you and admit there is no job or they hire you.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:36 PM   #6
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Thanks for the answers. I guess I will have to wait quite a while for the 35s but to Gus54, the 2" suspension lift and 33s sounds like a good idea to me. I dont think I would have to do the 1.25" body lift because I plan on putting the flat fender flares on it so the tires should clear those? I just have to find a way to convince my dad to let me buy what I want for it because half of the stuff I would have to order online. I live in a fairly rural area so jeep and tire part stores arent just around the corner. To CarolinaBound, I am always in the process of searching for a job. I regularly check for job openings on job websites for my area. I guess I will have to look a little harder. Thank you everyone for the advice and ideas.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:49 PM   #7
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You could fit 33s with almost no lift depending how you build it. I built a TJ with 33x10.50 on only a 1.25 bl and 3/4 front coil spacer. I got rid of the rear flare and inner fender well, and flattened the stock front flare, but eventually installed MCE flat flares. Cleared the tires easily even with the sway bar disconnected. I like the small body lift because it allows use of belly up armor. Also the Motor mount lift helps reduce vibes without a transfer case drop. The build thread is in the military build section if you want to see pics of how I did it. Also if you have 3.73 gears you will be fine with 33s. I had 3.07 so I regeared.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:53 PM   #8
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Hopefully didn't come off as too dickish, just remember its a numbers game and anything in person>phone call> direct email> job sites.

If you are gonna run 33's it's still recommended to get the body lift since it's not the plastic you're worried about, but the metal lip the hangs off the fender. No body lift= more bumpstop= less up travel
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:58 PM   #9
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Also even with only 2" suspension lift some TJs will need a SYE C/V. Mine did.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:06 PM   #10
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I I put a 2" lift on it, could I wait several months after to put a SYE and C/V because I wouldnt be able to afford it right away.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:07 PM   #11
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Here is what I have learned from many, many projects I've involved myself in. Write down everything you would like to do to it. Number each item according to it's importance to you. Write down the cost next to each item as you research it. Then research, research, research.

I found a lot of things I thought were cool, practical, or necessary wound up being a waste of money, over priced, or just a phase. The items I learned to focus the most on were the basics of what I needed, not wanted. If I liked to play in the mud, I'd find out what the essentials were to have fun and stick with those parts. With a limited income it's much better to afford parts when they break then to have a project that sits forever due to a lack of funds. Not trying to sound like confucious but I have learned this the hard way through experience.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:15 PM   #12
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Lol at 17 my resume could have fit on a sticky note.

Planning to go to college?
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wranglernmud View Post
I I put a 2" lift on it, could I wait several months after to put a SYE and C/V because I wouldnt be able to afford it right away.
Hmm, depends how bad the vibes are. You might not get any, you might only get them at a certain speed, and worse case they could make it impossible to drive. Every Jeep is different. In my case I couldnt wait, the vibes were too bad and it isnt mechanically good to leave it like that. SYE/CV installed will probably be around $800. I suggest saving for that first in case.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:39 PM   #14
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To THE COYOTE, yes, I am planning on going to college.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:51 PM   #15
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To THE COYOTE, yes, I am planning on going to college.
Right on! If you're gonna need every penny (as most college students do), i would recommend squeezing some 32" mudders on it and using it as-is until you get a job and adjust to your new lifestyle. I know thats the lame option and the last thing you want to do is have a jeep that doesnt live up to its full potential but you're headed for a big change. Not to mention that you may need to dump money into the engine to keep it running well so that it's ready to be turned into a tank. I had the same issue with my tacoma and looking back, i wish i could have had the ~$3k i dumped into it to spend on girls and parties.
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:10 PM   #16
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I would find a second color you like and spray your interior a different color, mine is Lime Green right now
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:51 PM   #17
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Gus54, instead of the sye c/v kits, could I just go with a TC drop kit. That is only $32 versus the $500 for the sye c/v.
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Gus54, instead of the sye c/v kits, could I just go with a TC drop kit. That is only $32 versus the $500 for the sye c/v.
With a 2" lift and transfer case drop you would almost certainly be free of vibes. However, I hate tcase drops because you are making the already low hanging shovel even lower. But it is a budget wise way to get by until you can afford to do it right. Many lifts come with a tcase drop in the kit.
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:00 PM   #19
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Also I should clarify, I needed the sye because I did an ultra high flat tcase skid.
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:30 PM   #20
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Ok. On ebay, I found a 3" full lift kit that uses the spring spacers and new shocks and it comes with a tc drop kit all for $200. That looks like a deal to me but with the 3" instead of 2", would I have to do anything else to it?
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:43 PM   #21
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If you like to weld, and build things, consider fabricating up your own bumpers. Many forum members have. Do a search on here, Jeep Forum, and Pirate.

It's very doubtful that you would need either a transfer case drop or sye with a 2" suspension lift. Even in the off chance that you had a minor vibe, it could be remedied wit a couple of washers between the skid and frame, or a motor mount lift. 3" spacers are a really bad idea.
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:50 PM   #22
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Wrangler- Jeeping can be a very expensive hobbie! My best advice to you would be a 2" suspension lift (springs and shocks). Mine (BDS) lifted me 2.75", kept almost a stock ride and I did not have to "add" any other parts.

Run 32" tires and you will have a good look.....still practical for driving to school or work, and you save big $$.

Also remember.....big tires x big lifts x mudd'n = big $ !
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:51 PM   #23
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Ok. On ebay, I found a 3" full lift kit that uses the spring spacers and new shocks and it comes with a tc drop kit all for $200. That looks like a deal to me but with the 3" instead of 2", would I have to do anything else to it?
What brand is it? And are you saying its using 3" spacers instead of new springs? If so Id stay away. And yes, anytime you lift other things need to be done, especially over 2". Your axles will shift and need to be centered with an adjustable trac bar. Listen, dont half ass this or you will be sorry. Save up and do it right the first time. Patience. Do yourself a favor and call Dirk at DPG offroad. He will help u get what you need on your budget. Great guy. http://dpgoffroad.com/
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:54 PM   #24
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What is bad about the 3" spacers? Just wondering
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Old 01-11-2014, 05:56 PM   #25
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Nevermind, you already answered that
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:04 PM   #26
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Lots of good info here. My thoughts are keep your lift as low as practical (lower center of gravity), given the tires you want to buy. Maybe skip the lift, save for 32" tires and some fender trimming. These tires shouldn't over-tax your steering or brakes. Adding a quality limited slip or even a locker in the rear with a good set of mud tires will go a long ways. As several have already suggested, don't skimp or go by what looks 'cool'. Also, set some money aside to school!
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:04 PM   #27
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I'm roughly in the same boat as you, I'm 18 but I'm currently in college, but no job also so funds are limited to what I have in the bank. What I did that was a pretty cost efficient way to lift my jeep is use the shocks and springs off of the JKU (mine was off of a 2013 with 30 miles for $90) the rear was lifted about 2.5 inches and with a 1.75 spacer in the front it was lifted about 2.25 inches. I got pretty bad vibes from it so I did a 1 inch transfer case drop until I can afford the SYE and CV. Eventually I want to do a small body lift but it runs good for now, but definitely keep in mind a budget in case things break, just broke my front sway bar link the other day and I need to replace my oil pan. I also found a great deal on barely used 33x12.5 BFG KM2's on dick cepek DC2's, all 5 and the transfer case drop for $750. My dad gave me KC spotters for the windshield because he replaced them with LED spotters and I got a radio and infinity 10 inch sub for Christmas, definitely is a slow build but being in college and jobless it runs well for now

Definitely look around for the JK springs and shocks though, cheap way to lift it with a pretty good ride still. Also if you need a transfer case drop I have another one that I could sell you for cheap
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:22 PM   #28
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I feel like I can contribute on these "budget build" pages.

Put JK springs and shocks on. It cost me $50 and about 2 hours. Read this. Did a little testing of what JK parts fit TJ suspension wise

I did this 1 year ago, this week actually. I've had 0 problems. And again, it only cost me $50 +/-

Feel free to PM me, I'd love to help out.
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:11 AM   #29
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What size tires are on it now? If your budget is that tight, you can get some pretty knarley looking 31 x 10.5 x 15's (cheaper than 32 or 33's) that will fit without any lift (expense "$0").

Post a pic, there maybe some other mods that could be done to upgrade the stock look without breaking the bank.
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:00 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wranglernmud View Post
Hi everyone. Im new to this forum. Im 17 and I recently had my dads jeep passed down to me to drive to school and wherever else. It is a 2003 Wrangler Sahara. One of the only problems with it is its completely STOCK. It looks really boring and plain. I like to go mudding but it takes away from the enjoyment of it when you cant get out of 4 inches of mud with the tiny little city tires even in 4wd. Ive been wanting to do several things to it eg: 4" suspension lift, 2" wheel spacers, new black rims, 35" mud grappler tires, rock crawler 4x4 winch bumper and winch, and flat black fender flares. Im on a limited budget because I cant find a job for the life of me and Im relying on my allowance of $150 a month plus extra money occasionally from selling things that I build for FFA in the welding shop. Its gonna take me awhile to do everything I want to do to it. I have enough money saved up to do a couple of things such as a lift kit or bumper but every time I mention buying these things for it, he tells me to not waste my money on it because he says that it has 220k miles on it and "the engine is gonna blow up soon" and I would have to use my money to fix it. I know 220k is alot of miles but it is taken care of and runs strong. The only parts that have ever been replaced on the engine is the alternator, oil filter and air filter (obviously), and spark plugs. I just want to ask for what some other people think I should do. Should I go ahead and do what I want to it or is it shot and I should just wait till we get the engine rebuilt? And sorry about the long post.
I was in the same boat. Neighbor had a jeep in 35s and I wanted mine like that. Once I saw some prices I decided to build it to make it more capable. I bought is bone stock in 2010. The interior was rhino lined. I bought 31 Goodyear authority's, added led lights to the windshield and hood. Added reverse lights (kc driving lights) 2" bb over the summer and cut the bumper to 45 degree angle and trimmed flares 2". It's not to ba on gas. I drive to college. Just my opinion but once you graduate college, that's when you can really build it up.

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