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Dr Gonzo 03-07-2011 11:16 AM

New build order/advice requested
I'm a bike guy who sold his bike last year and got a Jeep in it's place. I learn by doing, and I want to learn Jeeps, so I'm going to build my TJ. Here's what I'm dealing with now - stock '98 TJ, 2.5l, manual (4.10). Here's the proposed build:

1. Rear axle w/locker
2. 4" lift and 33" tires
3. Motor and tranny

I want to start with the axle first, as I don't think I can do either of the other two on a stock D-35c. I am running into a quandry over the axle though. I don't have the expertise to work with gears, or even to weld the brackets correctly, so I was thinking the S35 kit. Now, northern Michigan is a lot of sand and loose dirt. I'm not a maniac on the trail, and I like to wheel alone (well, I just like to wheel, and other people aren't always available). Is the S35 dependable enough for what I'm going to do? I still haven't decided if I'm going selectable or non-selectable on the locker yet.

Should I do the lift+tires next or the motor? I don't think my 2.5l and ax5 are going to like pushing 33s, not for very long anyway... but the engine job is going to take me a while. I'm currently looking for a 1980s-90s half-ton GM to rape a 350 and tranny out of, but this will likely end up being next winter's project. Would it just be worthless to do the lift and tires before the motor?

I don't know really what I'm getting into here. What am I forgetting? What haven't I thought of yet? Any advice for a first-time build?

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