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Old 07-24-2009, 12:48 PM   #1
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What to do, What to do???

I have a 97 TJ, soft top, 4 banger, I just recently bought it with 82 thousand on it, and Kumho 31x10.5s. I want to put some fog and driving lights on it, some new wheels and maybe one day in the future a lift. Right now i think im gonna with the wheels, I read about the cragar steel wheels on Summit and was wondering whicih ones whould be the best to get, i want black wheels as i love the black and red look. I will post some pictures tomorrow of the Jeep. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-24-2009, 12:56 PM   #2
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When you buy rims make sure they have around 3.75in of backspacing. Here is what I would do and did in mine.( you have the same truck as me)

I put on fog lights, wheeled it twice before I started to figure out what I wanted to do. In that time I went 4in lift, 33's and rims. Then I get dana 44's for a smoking deal. The 4banger tj on 33's with the 4.10's was a little sluggish but manageable. With the dana 44's I bought they were already re-geared to 5.13's.

So really I would do the lights first and wheel it and wheel it to figure out where you want your truck to go and work a game plan. I would not buy rims right now and then buy tires because you will be paying a mounting and balancing fee twice.

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Old 07-24-2009, 01:12 PM   #3
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I was thinking of KC Daylighter Fog light set up and driving light set up, I found the cheapest set of both on amazon. Ive taken the jeep out mudding twice, once it had only rained a little bit and wasnt super wet but the second time it rained about 2 inches and was super wet, its only about a half mile trail by the local lake but I made it threw without any problems or even close calls, however going down in one of the mudholes, i did bottom out and scrape the bottom in the mud. I dont think i want a ton of lift, just an inch or two. I do alot of highway driving, at least 40 miles round trip and the 4 cyl. stuggles to keep 65 when driving into the wind. So ive thought about re-gearing. Any ideas on what gear to go with?
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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What transmission do you have, the 3-speed auto or 5-speed? Either way, it's not cheap to regear ($1100-1200) and I really can't recommend regearing untill you get to a 33" tire size. Face it, the 2.5L four-banger is going to struggle against the wind, especially running even a slightly larger than stock tire size.
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:54 PM   #5
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Its only the 3 speed auto, haha i know its gonna stuggle, nothing like driving a barn at 65miles per hour.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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Check your axle ratio by looking at the tag bolted onto the differential cover at its 9 o'clock position. The tag (if still present) will have either "3 07" or "3 55" embossed into it. You'll want to take a rag to wipe it off and a flashlight so you can read it.

With your automatic, you might have the dreaded 3.07 which is way too high of a ratio for 31" tires. If it's 3.07, you'd greatly benefit by regearing to the lower 3.73 ratio if you have no plans to go to a bigger tire. In that case, the $$$ might well be worth it.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:37 PM   #7
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Jerry is getting as bad at selective reading as me.

He has a 4cyl.

Your gear ration is 4.10's. and rear D35 axle.

I'd also go for some nice fog lights first and wheel it how it is until you determine what mod's will best benifit your wheeling style.

If you are just going for looks go ahead and get the wheels.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:45 PM   #8
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Jerry is getting as bad at selective reading as me.

He has a 4cyl.

Your gear ration is 4.10's. and rear D35 axle.
Remember, he has the 3-speed automatic. '97 TJs with the 3-speed automatic more often came with 3.07 or 3.55. 4.10 with the 3-speed automatic would produce pretty high rpms with factory size tires which is why TJs with the 3-speed auto more often came with 3.07 or 3.55 (3.73 in 1998 and newer).
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:47 PM   #9
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Even with the 4 cyl?

I've never came across one with other than 4.10's.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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Even with the 4 cyl?

I've never came across one with other than 4.10's.
Yep, there's a big difference in what's right in axle ratios for the 3-speed automatic vs. the 5-speed manual and the factory recognized that.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:52 PM   #11
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Roger...one thing I didn't know there.

Drummer...you'll have to look at the tags.
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:04 PM   #12
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I want everyone to think i can off road like a mother haha but more importantly i want to be able to back it up, what tags do i look at the find the gear ratio? door jam? VIN plate? What does everyone have to say about the KC Daylighter Fog set up?
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:07 PM   #13
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...what tags do i look at the find the gear ratio? door jam? VIN plate?
I could have sworn that was covered in post #6 above.
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:11 PM   #14
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The tags will be on the diff cover at the 9'o'clock posistion...just check the rear diff cover. It will say 3.07, 3.55 or so on.




The KC daylighters are a good product.
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:17 PM   #15
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haha read right over that. I couldnt find it on my tag, all my tag says is 52099 249 73 5747
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:19 PM   #16
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ok i bet it says 3 73.....that corner where the 3 should be is worn off and just aluminum. So i imagine i have 3.73s??
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:10 PM   #17
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Yep, 3.73. You must have a very late '97 as earlier '97 TJs came with 3.55 and the full switch from 3.55 to 3.73 happened officially with the '98 model year.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:18 PM   #18
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Well lucky me! So in the future if i were to re-gear, what ratio would be best?
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:20 PM   #19
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That will all depend on the tire size.
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:25 PM   #20
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Id like to get 33's
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:47 PM   #21
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For 33" tires, I'd go 4.56 because of your 3-speed automatic and four-banger engine.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:16 PM   #22
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Thanks for the help guys, i was looking at a 2" body lift. Are they easy to install or would you suggest a full suspension kit?
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:22 PM   #23
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For 33" tires? If so, a 2" body lift doesn't provide enough clearance. At the bare minimum, you want 3" of lift whch can be a 2" suspension lift plus a 1" body lift... but for offroading needs, 4" of lift is better as it provides that added amount of clearance 33" tires need when offroading.
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:29 PM   #24
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Ok cool thanks guys, I think for now I'll keep my 31's(just bought em) and get the 2" body lift on until i can get the suspension lift and the 33's and the gears all at once. But first im gonna get a set up of KC Daylighters Fog and Driving lights! Ill post pictures of the jeep now tomorrow and then some more when i get some stuff done.

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