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Old 06-28-2010, 06:50 AM   #1
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Upgrading... finally. Need a little help

Howdy, folks! I just registered and this is my first post, but have been reading the forums a LOT the last several days. This seems like a really great community here, I'm glad I found it. I've already learned quite a bit so far, but still need some help/suggestions/clarification on some things.

I have a '03 Wrangler X hardtop with about 16k miles on it, everything is still completely stock. It's got the I-6/manual and 3.73 gears, and those tiny little 215/75/15 tires that came with it. After researching tires/wheel upgrades and reading the forums here, I think I want to go bigger than 31's so would require a lift as well. I'm thinking either 32" or 33" would be a good choice, and from what I'm reading, about 4" of lift should cover it and avoid any rubbing.

I've looked at several kits and the ones that caught my eye so far are:
Ultimate / Super Ultimate TJ/LJ Wrangler Kits from DPG Offroad
Rubicon Express RE7000 4.5 Super-Flex Kit & SYE Combo and Shocks from 4x4groupbuy.com

So here are my questions and concerns so far,
  1. I will probably never go bigger than a 33" tire, and any offroading I do likely won't be too hardcore (for a while, at least). Are either of these lifts overdoing it? I'd like to "do it right" the first time, but would a less expensive lift be better for me?
  2. How difficult and involved is installing one of these lifts? From what I've read so far, it doesn't sound too bad, but I got the impression that the SYE install can be tougher. I've worked on a lot of stuff when I was younger, like replacing shattered differentials, engine head replacement, and other things but have never done a lift. I'm fairly confident I could do it, but want a better idea of what I'm getting myself into before ordering anything. Also, how feasible is a 1-person lift install?
  3. I've read that 32-33" tires can mess up the tailgate if a full sized-spare is put on the stock mount, so should I also be shopping for a spare tire carrier and rear bumper replacement? I definitely want to have a usable spare tire, and can only assume that full-sized is the way to go.
  4. I would really like to avoid re-gearing the 3.73's I have now, which is why I'm limiting my options to 32-33" tires. Are my current gears too tall for 33's to really be practical? Also, I think what I have is a dana35. Am I correct to assume that going bigger than a 33" tire would be unwise without upgrading to bigger axles?
  5. 15x8 seems to be the wheel size of choice here for 33's, are there advantages to a 15" wheel vs. something bigger like a 16-17"? Also, does ordering a mounted and balanced wheel/tire package online instead of buying locally tend to save much on costs?
  6. And finally... I've considered getting A/C installed but have no idea what something like that would cost. Anyone here have it done that can give me an idea as to what I should expect to pay?

That's all I can think of for now, my apologies for being a little long-winded about it. Thanks in advance for any info or suggestions you can give me.

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Old 06-28-2010, 07:00 AM   #2
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I can answer a few of your questions, and others will be around with the rest:

1) I think you should do it right the first time if you have the money. The dpg offroad kit is sick. (there is a review in the lift review section)
2) I'm about to install a similar lift to the dpg and i'm no mechanic. If something is hard, the forum is here to help.
3)Sorry no help there
4)Will def lose power, and mpg's. People with experience will let you know what they feel.
5)The 15" wheel will be cheaper + the tires will be MUCH cheaper. I am going to order my wheels online and buy my tires at Town Fair Tire. Thats just me tho.
6) No help there, mine came factory with it.

Hope this helps, welcome to the forum, don't forget to wave!!

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Old 06-28-2010, 07:17 AM   #3
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Welcome Eastern Wa Jeep owner! I hope I can add to the post above. I have an 04 X, and unfortunately, the only axle combo available for the TJ X is a dana 30/35 combo. I have been running 33's for a few years without breakage. As long as you do not lock a stock D35 and are easy on it, you should be OK. No guarantees though. But, I have an auto, which also helps the D35 out. A couple guys in my club run the OME 2.5 lift with a 1" Body lift/ motor mount lift. (BL/MML) from DPG Offroad. They run 33's and are very happy with their lifts. I am still running a 33" tire on my stock tire carrier even though it is not recommended. With an aftermarket wheel, you have to make sure you space out the rubber bumpers so they contact your spare tire snug or you will have tailgate problems. I used longer bolts and hockey pucks. I will be going to 35's soon and will have to get a bumper/tire carrier. I am swapping in a D44 and 4.88 gears in my TJ. I have been running the D35 with 3.73 gears and it is doable, but you will notice a definate loss of power on the road and hiway. My auto makes this worse though.
Congrats on your new Jeep.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:14 AM   #4
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Thanks, I appreciate the info. OK, so now I'm thinking more about the tire size with that stock dana 35, and 33's are starting to make me a bit nervous with it. Sooo, now I'm thinking more about what I want to do. I got to looking, and saw a Super 35 kit that beefs up the dana 35. It looks to be about half the cost of upgrading to the dana 44 rear and appears to be able to easily support 33's. So now I'm wondering if it would be strong enough to take 35's instead.

My reasoning behind limiting myself to 33's originally was to simply avoid re-gearing and axle upgrades/swaps. But now that I'm learning that 33's seem to be just barely within the abilities of the stock dana 35, it would probably be safer to upgrade the rear and I may as well re-gear it too while I'm at it. So... Would a Super 35 rear with the detroit locker that's included stand up to 33's or even 35's?

I've also read that the RE 4.5 Superflex yields 5+ inches usually, so would it be big enough for 35's along with a Super 35? Or are 33's still more ideal for that combo? Also, looking at the gear ratio chart, 4.56 looks like a good match for 35's. Would that be a good choice to go with?

My apologies about all the questions, but just want to be sure before I start ordering all this stuff and spending so much. Thanks again for the replies!
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:24 AM   #5
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I think that most will recommend a D44 with 35's. Lots of guys do 35's with a D35 or super 35, but I'm pretty sure the smart money says go with the 44 if you are going to spend money to beef up the axle. Depending on how you use it, you aren't terribly likely to have problems with 33's and a D35. You just have to take it easy on the skinny pedal. If you aren't inclined to do that, then you should probably upgrade the axle. As for going to 35's, you probably should really think about this before you do anything so you don't have to do it twice. If you are spending the $ for the axle and gears, know before hand where you want to end up and only do it once. Nothing sucks more than regearing for 33's and then in a year deciding to go to 35's and having to regear again.... $$$$$
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:27 PM   #6
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Today I ordered the dpg ultimate kit with 33's to keep costs down and not need to upgrade axles/gears right now. Now I just need to find the wheels I want, and find a good local place to get the tires. Thanks again everyone for the input, these forums are great!
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:45 AM   #7
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First, thanks again for the input on my previous questions.

So far I've ordered the DPG Ultimate lift, which should be here in the next few days. Ordered some 33x12.50 Duratracs and Black Rock Viper 900 wheels from a local tire shop, those arrived at the shop today and are just waiting for me to go get them after I get the lift installed. Also ordered Smittybilt XRC front bumper, XRC rear bumper w/ tire swing, and XRC rock sliders w/ step. Those should have shipped out today. Yeah, I know it's Smittybilt which a lot of times is considered sub-par in the quality department, but I got both bumpers, tire carrier, and rock sliders for just over $900 shipped... which sounded like a pretty sweet deal. I originally wanted to go with the Bestop Highrock stuff, but it would have been a pretty good sized difference in price so went this route instead. So that's where I'm at now so far...

So now I'm thinking I will need new fender flares and am also leaning towards getting a winch as well. And that's what my next questions are about...

Fender Flares:
I like the look of the Xenon & Bushwacker flat fender flares, but also like the look of the Bushwacker pocket style ones. I keep hearing great things about the Xenons, and I'm also hearing that Bushwackers are prone to cracking. The thing is... I can get the Bushwackers for a lot less.
Bushwacker flat - $340 shipped
Bushwacker pocket - $367 shipped
Xenon flat - $407 shipped
Are the Xenons worth the extra $60? Also, would 6" flats be too wide for 33x12.50's on 15x8 w/ 3.75 backspacing? And would they open up the wheel wells too much and make 33's look funny? I'm sort of at a loss here as to what I should do...

Winch:
I'm thinking I want to get something with synthetic line, mainly for safety reasons. I know Warn is pretty much unmatched when it comes to winches, and the m8000 is on sale at a lot of places for a great price, but it comes with wire cable :/ So here's what I've narrowed it down to:
Warn M8000 (wire cable) - $487
Smittybilt XRC8 (Synthetic) - $395
Smittybilt XRC10 (Synthetic) - $449
Superwinch EPi9.0S (Synthetic) - $839
What's the best value for the money? I probably won't be using the winch much, but it would be nice to have one just in case I manage to get stuck somewhere on my own. I've heard a lot of good things about the XRC winches, but I already have several Smittybilt things coming and don't want to end up being a rolling posterboy for that brand or anything. So I'm at a loss as to what to do in regards to a winch also :/

Whew, just realized I'm rambling again... it's probably all the ale tonight. Anyway, so what would you guys do? Thanks again for the feedback, I really appreciate it. Need to do some stereo/speaker upgrades too, but that can wait until I get this other stuff sorted out
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:56 AM   #8
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"Also ordered Smittybilt XRC front bumper, XRC rear bumper w/ tire swing, and XRC rock sliders w/ step. Those should have shipped out today. Yeah, I know it's Smittybilt which a lot of times is considered sub-par in the quality department, but I got both bumpers, tire carrier, and rock sliders for just over $900 shipped... "

If you don't mid me asking... How did you get this deal?
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:16 PM   #9
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Got it from autoanything. Promo code for 15% off, and microsoft bing gives another 12% cashback at that store. Only catch is that you gotta wait 60 days on the bing rebate.
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:27 PM   #10
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How does the bing rebate work? I found it online and it directed me to autoanything... and after i entered my email it went away.. And it does not show up in my cart??

I also have the 15% code on there

And thanks for the info!
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:31 PM   #11
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Warn M8000 if it was my money.

You'll love the Ultimate kit from Dirk. Let me know if you need any help with the install.

*cough* dpg is just down the road from me. Also check out my jeepprofile for pic's .
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:17 AM   #12
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Yeah, I talked to him on the phone for about 45mins and he seemed like a really cool guy, was very helpful. Springs and shocks got here monday, just waiting on the rest of the lift now
I remember shecking your Jeep out when I was lift shopping to get an idea as to what the DPG kit with 33's looks like. Nice looking Jeep you have! I see you also have the OME steering stabilizer, is that something you'd also recommend getting to replace my stock one?
As for the winch, I keep leaning towards the Warn as well. The XRC bumper says it has a built in winch plate, are those fairly standard and able to take a Warn? Or would I need to get a Warn plate also?
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:28 AM   #13
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Your stock stabilizer will be fine with 33's It is only there to assist. If your stock one is leaking then replace it. Not a "must have" with the mods your doing. Any decent brand name stabilizer is fine. If you deem your stock one is leaking or no longer has compression.

The bolt pattern for the warn M8000 is 10'' x 4.5'' the same as the holes in the smittybilt bumper/plate and the smittybuilt winch. Most winches use the 10x4.5'' mounting pattern.

Me I'm also not a smittybuilt fan and would rather buy US products but if that is the bumper you can afford or just want it will work with any winch with the 10x4.5'' pattern.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:09 AM   #14
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How does the bing rebate work? I found it online and it directed me to autoanything... and after i entered my email it went away.. And it does not show up in my cart??

I also have the 15% code on there

And thanks for the info!
After you have a live/bing account, just use the link to click through to the store. The rebate won't show up in your cart, it shows up on the bing site and after 60 days it's available to be paid out. Sometimes it takes a couple days before it shows up in the "pending" section on bing, i think it's got something to do with when the store actually charges you.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:40 PM   #15
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Tanks for the info!

Ok so I ordered the xrc front and rear and the tire carrier. I got both coupons to work but it came out to 838 shipped... Without sliders!

Did you order the rear bumper and the tire swing? They are seperate parts 350 bumper and 224ish $ for the swing! Just making sure you didn't forget the carrier!

Oh and I have a delay on my order should have shipped today, now its scheduled to ship on the 19th! Did yours get delayed?
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:20 PM   #16
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I ordered front/rear/carrier/sliders, total came to $1042.78 shipped. Yes, it did get delayed a couple days, but I ordered it on the 3rd, shipped on the 9th, and I got the first 2 pieces today (12th). The other 2 pieces should be here tomorrow. Boxes arrived in good condition and came via UPS. Bing cashback should end up being 12% on the total after discount, assuming they don't screw me out of the rebate
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:03 AM   #17
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if you're thinking about 35's eventually you should go with 4.88's. thats what ive got right now and its pretty close to right with 33's. i lose power in the 40-50 mph rage when going up a steep hill. its right on the edge between 4th and 5th gear. 55 mph is where i can hold it going up a steep hill and 60 is where im high enough in the rpms to increase speed. as for the bushwackers, i think they are sweet. ive got the pocket style and i smashed em into a tree pretty hard right on the front corner and it popped out all on its own. ive got 4" lift and they rub sometimes with 33's so id recommend the flat style by bushwacker. ive also heard that the flat style flares are made of a stronger material like the xenons. hope this helps out
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:22 AM   #18
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Yeah, I decided to order the 6" Bushwacker flat style flares, should be here day after tomorrow. Will post some pics after I get all my parts installed, this past week has been like X-Mas in July, lol. I think the UPS guy has a stop scheduled here every day this week

The gears I've decided to hold off on for now, mainly because when I do it I'm going to want to upgrade the axles at the same time which should save some money. That's actually one of the main reasons I decided on the 33's for now, was to prevent needing to do the axles at the same time.

Eventually I'm going to want to go with 35's and 4.88, but that will be after I upgrade to a D44 rear w/ locker and upgrade the front as well. The costs of doing that are a little more than I wanted to spend right now, but it's all on wish list
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:48 AM   #19
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Great shopping list. We are hungry for pics!

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