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thanley 07-23-2009 11:54 PM

Another Lift Question..
Sorry guys, for another lift question.

Right now, I got a 1997 Wrangler 4.0 Manual that I purchased last month.

I know lots on motorcycles, but a bit lost here. Want to make it trail worthy for the trails here in Indiana, but also want to make it a decent city driver. It's not my primary car, but I'll use it around town when I can.

Looking at the BFG All Terrains. Was dead set on a set of 35's first, but have started looking at the costs of everything. Torn between 33's and 35's on black steel rims.

Pretty dead set on the Rubicon Express Lift Kits, have read good reviews and sounds like stuff that will last. I don't mind spending the money to do it right, but I don't want to have to spend money to replace stuff that was cheaply made.

Was originally looking at their 4.5 inch lift with the long arm extensions through 4wheelparts for like 2800 bucks. Then when I thought of stepping it down to 33's, I took a look at their Suepr Flex Suspension Lift in a 3.5 inch model.

So, they say the biggest I can run on the 3.5 lift is 32's, can I safely run 33's with clearance?

Is there going to be any real hamper or a time where I wish "I had 35's and a 4.5 lift"?

thanley 07-24-2009 12:28 AM

In addition, if I go with the 33's, what is the best option for gearing to keep it with its current feel? I want to be able to drive on the highway with it, and use it as a daily functioning car.

I do plan on doing a Dana 44 kit at some point, but it will be down the road.

njkeagle 07-24-2009 01:00 AM

I think your lift choices sound good since you have the $$ to spend. People run 33's with the 3.5 lift but you can add a 1" body lift. A friend did that and run 33's and looked good. My lift was waaayy cheaper than what you thinking and run on the highway with the cheap shocks.

Ironman 07-24-2009 07:23 AM

The RE kits are really good. I ran the 4.5 for a couple of years and am now running their 5.5 long arm kit with 37 inch tires. In my opinion, I would go with the 35's over the 33's. And regear accordingly to around 4.88's. Remember there's a saying in 4 wheeling. "The bigger the tires, the smaller the rocks".

Sb5551 07-24-2009 07:39 AM

It is more expensive up front, but I love having my 35's. I haven't regeared yet, but plan to in the future. I believe bigsahara is running the 3.5" RE with a 1.25 BL and 35's.

thanley 07-24-2009 08:46 AM

Thanks guys.

So, the difference between the full long arm kit or the Suspension Super Flex lift will be??..


I kind of like the though of running a 3.5 lift with a 1 inch body lift, think that would give me enough clearance for some moderate wheeling and keep it as a decent city driver? Or do I do just the straight 4.5 inch lift and not worry about it? I can do the Superflex in the 4.5 inch too.

Sorry, I'm many options

Or am I being foolish thinking of doing the Super Flex lift and should I just bite the bullet and do the much costlier long arm 4.5 inch lift? I've decided to stick with 35's, so now I just need to get enough clearance and finalize my lift selection.

Thanks in advance.

4Jeepn 07-24-2009 09:36 AM

The biggest difference between short arm and long arm, is the install.. the short arm gets bolted on, the long arm needs to have things cut off the jeep and in some cases welded.

Also to run 35's there is more than just the lift. You need to upgrade the steering, also upgraded brakes are not a bad idea. I think you have the dana 35, plan to upgrade it. Dont forget about installing and SYE kit and new rear drive shaft with either kit.

thanley 07-24-2009 09:53 AM


Was already planning on the SYE and driveshaft with the lift and regear to 4.88.

I'm going to do the 35's for sure and the short arm lift kit. On the RE website they suggest even with the 4.5 to run a 1 inch BL to get the clearance for 35's. Is this just overly cautious, or a real need?

What is the backspacing worries, should I be good with 3.75?

4Jeepn 07-24-2009 10:07 AM

I ran 35's with 6" of lift in the front, and 4.5 in the back with the RE short arm. If you get longer bump stops than what in the kit, you can stick with the 4.5 and be fine. It drove okay until I hit a tree stump.. and then had issues with death wobble for a while. Are you keeping the rear dana 35 for now? 4.88's and 35's for the stock dana is a time bomb.

thanley 07-24-2009 10:12 AM

Is there a quick summary on the axle issue? I know the Dana 35 rear sucks, anything remotely abusive with the big wheels and I risk breaking it.

A Dana 44 is what I read as the good upgrade. What is the best way to go about the upgrade (cost effective), I look at the whole axle assemblies on 4wheelparts and they're pricey (but if it's needed, it will be my next upgrade).

I just got a nice bonus, and plan on having some fun with it. I just added the full Tuffy Security setup, glovebox/center stereo console/rear box, and now want to move further with some of the more fun options.

What is the best way to aquire a Dana 44? And do I really need to worry about the front as well?

thanley 07-24-2009 10:13 AM

One other question, with a 4.5 inch lift and possibly an inch body lift, along with 35's, any idea how much height I am adding from the 31's and stock setup that are on there right now? I want to be able to park it in the garage...

4Jeepn 07-24-2009 11:40 AM

A TJ dana 44 would be direct swap. Used prices have changed a lot. Auto Parts Market Will give you an idea of going rates for used ones.

The dana 35 does not like big tires, low gears, and lockers. The problems is the small shafts. If it brakes the axle shaft will let the tire pull out and away from the jeep.

As for fitting in your garage, mine fit with 35's and the bigger lift with a 7' garage door.

jdhallissey 07-24-2009 11:50 AM

IF you go to they have bare housing for a decent price. I bought mine from there and it had the mopar sticker on it still. The front dana 44 housing ran me 900 bucks shipped and the rear I didn't have to buy but I think they were 600 shipped. That would be your best best best bet on doing that. They are rubicon 44's so they already have the air fittings drilled thru the housing ready for air lockers.

thanley 07-24-2009 12:15 PM

And is the front the same way and an immediate issue? Replace both front and rear with Dana 44's?

thanley 07-24-2009 12:33 PM

And last question for the day...

Are you guys running ARB airlockers both rear AND front? What should I be looking for on the Locker front?

IslandTJ 07-24-2009 12:58 PM

If you're set on a max tire size of 35", another option would be to upgrade your D35 to Superior's Super35 kit. The kit comes default with a Detroit Softlocker but you can change it to any locker (ARB, OX, eLocker) compatible with a 30 splined shaft.

Ironman 07-24-2009 01:01 PM

Remember, with the Rubicon axles, you get the bigger shafts (inner) and a bigger ring and pinion, but the housings are basically the same as what you have. When my rear D 35 exploded, and yours will too with all the new mods, I had already saved up a decent amount of cash for a new rear axle. I went all out and had a HP Dana 60 built with all the goodies. I know not everyone can do this. But my point is, start saving now for a rear axle because you will need it.
I ran a Superior Axle and Gears Super 30 kit in the front of my Jeep for a while and it worked great. And I was running 37" tires, lockers, and 4.88's on all the toughest trails locally. This might be an option.
I run ARB's front and rear and wouldn't change for anything. They are great. Very dependable lockers and work as a open diff when off. Just be prepared to maintain them occasionally.

Sb5551 07-24-2009 02:04 PM

I have a detroit in the rear dana 44 of mine running 35's. I have my stock dana 30 up front and run all the hard trails at Rausch Creek without a problem.

Another, idea for the rear axle would be to get an 8.8 out of a ford explorer for a couple hundred bucs. Then have the needed brackets welded on to it.

KBR97 07-24-2009 02:49 PM

also something to keep in mind. The RE kits usually sit out to be a little higher than they state.
The 3.5 will really be almost 4.5 inches.
And the 4.5 kit will be almost 5.5 inches.
You could do the 3.5 with a 1" body lift with 35's, or just get the 4.5 and run 35s without the body lift.

4Jeepn 07-24-2009 03:19 PM

Here is a past jeep of mine, should give you a better idea of what your looking to do.

Re 4.5, w/2"spacers front superflex short arms
Prorock 60's front and rear
35x12.50s on 15x10 rims


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