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Old 11-20-2017, 12:06 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: El Paso, TX
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I'm utterly overloaded and confused...

Just bought my first Jeep flat-out with cash after years of budget Ramen meals and avoiding anything that may end in a bill from anyone with MD after their name.

2011 2dr Rubicon, 6spd manual
Sahara Tan

PO took care of some Bushwhacker flat fenders for me, as well as what I think is a 1" body lift.

Everything else is stock. But here is where I get crazy confused. I've spent the last three months since I bought the thing scouring forum thread after thread about tires, wheels, lifts, and the like.

OMG OVERLOAD... I realize there are tons of threads about these things but all I've been doing is constant research and attempting to understand them and I'm burnt out. This isn't fun anymore because there's too much info.

I've driven it stock now as per the forums advice, I've off-roaded stock a tiny bit, and it just isn't quite right. I have a vision but I lack the vernacular and know-how to get it there. My goal is to have a lift and large tires, I want ground clearance and performance, but I also want everything to be kosher...what I mean, is I don't want to be putting stupid stress on anything, I want to do everything properly and proportionally, I want to keep the structural integrity of the machine so as to make this Jeep last a very, very long time. This Jeep will be moderately off-roaded, camped out of, used as a point-to-point when rockclimbing, as well as my daily driver (I'm also military so I move around a lot and clock a lot of highway miles) so I recognize I'm already asking a lot of this vehicle...which is why I want to do things right. I need a workhorse.

From what I can understand:

33in tires work best so that I can keep my stock gear ratio (4.11). At what point do Dana front and rear axles play into this? Do I want front and rear to match, why would I want axles to be mismatched front/rear? Are stock axles okay? Which mods will push the limit of stock axles? Is it worth it instead to regear to 4.56 or 4.88? I could go 35s then?

33x10.5, from my research, was the better middle ground than 12.5, since I will use this as a daily driver, too. I'm also from the North so skinny for snow.

If I want to clear 33x10.5 with 15x8 wheels and I want absolutely NO scrubbing, including at full flex, will 3.75" backspacing totally solve the problem? Or do I also need a lift/spacers/leveling/there was so much information and lingo slung around in these forums I'm totally lost!? Also, what would change if I were to consider 16x8's instead?

Are the Bushwhackers be enough to clear? Will the body lift be enough? Quite frankly, I feel like a body lift is cheating and weak and not good for off-roading (with the exception being that apparently some mods require some form of body lift in addition to suspension lift? My goodness, there is no end to the confusion). I'd rather go with a proper suspension lift (which will also help a little with smoothing out the ride too, right?) , but then I wonder if a lift with 33s and flat fenders will look skimpy? I haven't been able to find many photos of a 2door JK with flatties and 33x10.5r15x8's. So then I'm back at 35s and a regear? What about a spacer lift? Is that similar to a bl? And then the golden question: which size lift and which brand do I go with?

What other components do I need to consider with a lift? Disconnecting sway bars, etc?

When talking about weights of tires and wheels, what should I be considering? I prefer the classic look of steelies but they're heavy, so alloy wheels with the look of steelies are better right? And do I need to consider the added weight of a new front and rear bumper with tire carrier, Jerry can holders, and cargo rack? Will the added weight be an issue that I need to compensate for with whichever lift I get?

Also, do I need a driveshaft upgrade? Slip yoke eliminator? When might I consider a tummy tuck? Power brakes? Exhaust?

As you can tell, I'm spinning my wheels...no pun intended. I just feel like I've fallen down the rabbit hole that is Jeep mods and while it's all fun and new and exciting...like I said, I've spent the last few months attempting to research these things and while there is tons and tons of information out there, for someone just starting out, this is all very confusing and intimidating and Google searching has only made things worse.

Help. Me.

And please be nice...

shelbehjk is offline   Quote
Old 11-22-2017, 09:40 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 250
General rule of thumb. The taller the lift and tire the more money and modifications to support it.

Bigger everything put a more stress on everything. Things will need to be maintained more often, things will wear out much sooner than what on a stock jeep would last, things will break regardless. Tires are tires. Ats, Mts, Super Swampers. Basically the more performance oriented the tire the less road friendly and life it will have. You have to give up to get, give up some road manners for off-road performance or looks whatever you are going for.

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Old 11-22-2017, 10:57 AM   #3
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Off-road more! The first few times are always "not right" just because real off roading is so different. Did you air down and disconnect? Those make a tremendous difference even on wash board dirt roads. Driving a manual in the rocks takes LOTS of practice. I have been at it 3 years so far - on a Moab trip I finally got a compliment - the trail guides behind me did not realise I was in a manual until almost the end of Hell's Revenge.

I would recommend shoring up the protection underneath. Stronger diff covers and lower control arm skids front and back are not too costly and protect the most vulnerable parts. After that skids for the fuel tank on a JKU or engine/oil pan on a JK. Do the transfer skid last and forget about the evap cannister - I have a pristine skid on mine...

If you wheel with others see if you can try their Jeep to compare lifts, tires etc. Most important - have fun and get out there and off the forums - you will eventually determine what you want and can go from there.....

After three years I am not yet convinced I will lift my Jeep anytime soon....

Oh, and thank you for your service
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