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Old 07-06-2018, 03:08 PM
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newb needs build advice

Hi All, Iím new to this forum and looking for some build advice. I recently inherited my Fatherís 1989 Jeep YJ (red), 2.5L (manual transmission). He was the original owner, itís completely stock (original everything). Itís always been garage kept (no rust on frame or body whatsoever), it has 40K miles on the odometer. I own a vintage Porsche 911 and Iím active on those forums; but Iíve always loved wranglers (to me, both are legendary iconic vehicles), so Iím happy to own both. Iíve spent the past couple of weeks searching threads and educating myself to the world of the Jeep YJ, however the more I look the more overwhelmed I am feeling, so any advice would be a real relief. I would like for this to be a fun build project for myself and my two teenage sons to work on this summer. It will become a fun weekend vehicle (not a daily driver, so Iím not concerned about gas mileage). Also, I will not be doing any serious off-roading or rock crawling, maybe some light trails and snow. I would however like it to look the part of an off-roader, so Iíd like to change the stance and appearance of the vehicle so that it looks more aggressive (but also stay true to its vintage nature - think more ďretro modĒ). So I was thinking new suspension/lift kit, new wheels & tires, new front and rear bumpers, new fender flares, and a host of other cosmetic improvements (seats, mirrors, etc.). Iíve gotten almost everything figured out but Iím really struggling with the suspension, wheels and tires (shocker). I was originally thinking of installing a new 4Ē lift/suspension upgrade kit with 15x8 steel wheels and 33X10.5/R15 tires. But Iím worried this may be ďtoo muchĒ for my small underpowered YJ. I really do not want to replace the engine or other drivetrain components or gearing as part of my project, but I would like to improve the look with a taller and more aggressive stance to the vehicle. Understanding my goals, what lift/wheel/tire combo would you all recommend for my use/vehicle? If people could comment on the following, that would be amazing, thanks in advance for your help!

Suspension: Height of lift? Body Lift (yes/no)? Recommended brand (Rough Country, etc.)?
Wheels: 15x8 or 15x10?
Tires: 31Ē or 33Ē? 10.5 or 12.5?

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Old 07-06-2018, 10:10 PM   #2
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My advice would be to keep it stock, throw some BFG AT's on it and maybe some new springs if your originals are starting to sag... If you insist on lifting it give the ole girl some love with OME 2.5 springs, and 31" tires.

If you would like to see some photos of a YJ with new stock springs and AT tires let me know and I'll send you some.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:35 AM
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Thank you for the advice! much appreciated!!
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:32 AM   #4
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If you do not want to change the gears IRQ has provided solid advice. You will not like 33's with stock gearing.
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:30 PM   #5
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Building a Jeep is no easy task and once you look at the cost of things it can get a little crazy. 33’s (In my opinion) are the largest tires I’d ever go on a Jeep, or well really any of my off roaders. I’ve got a buddy with a 95 YJ that has the 2.5l and 33’s…it’s not a speed demon by any means and it struggles to get above 65 on the highway. It’s got 4.11 gears so I think maybe some more aggressive gearing would help the get up and go – maybe like a 5.29 or a 4.88. Once you start adding the bumpers and the spare tire things get heavy quickly.

Lift wise, I think a 4” lift is a good size if you want something that looks aggressive but has decent street manners. Stray away body and shackle lifts, just get a good suspension lift and it will last.

By the way, post some pics of your rig! We all gotta see what you’re working with.

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Old 07-16-2018, 10:43 PM   #6
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How do you make a capable vehicle horrible on the road and off?

You put too big a tire on and don't regear! To just reiterate what others have already said, keep it small and build as your budget allows. You may find that you only need a 2.5L and 31" tires to enjoy the YJ. A 2.5" RE or OME lift compliments 31" tires well and will provide some lift to undoubtedly old and worn out springs. It would also be a good idea to freshen up factory bushings and steering components.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:26 PM
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Thank you all very much for the advice. I'm moving forward with the following:
- O.M.E 2.5” Lift Kit w/ transfer case drop
- M.O.R.E. 1” Body Lift
- O.M.E Front and Rear Grease-able Shackles
- O.M.E Steering Stabilizer with new bushings
- Mickey Thompson Baja ATZP3 Radial Tires (31x10.50R15LT) w/ 15" Matte Black Steel D-Window Wheels

I'm feeling pretty good about this set-up, I will post before and after pics.
Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:31 PM
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Before Pics - will post after pics when work is complete
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:02 PM   #9
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You've got a nice YJ to start with. Sound like a good plan too.
Keep us posted.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:23 PM   #10
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Very nice base YJ to build! Please keep posting!
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:33 PM
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Just a quick update, all the items have been installed:

- O.M.E 2.5Ē Lift Kit w/ transfer case drop
- M.O.R.E. 1Ē Body Lift
- O.M.E Front and Rear Grease-able Shackles
- O.M.E Steering Stabilizer with new bushings
- Mickey Thompson Baja ATZP3 Radial Tires (31x10.50R15LT) w/ 15" Matte Black Steel D-Window Wheels

Also, Installed Corbeau Sport Reclining Front Seats - Black Vinyl/Cloth and rear bench seat.

I went with this suspension build because it gave me the option to go with 33" wheels in the future, but I'm thinking it may be too high? I did the transfer case drop, but I'm getting a ton of vibration from the drive shaft, it's almost not drivable. If I were to lower it a bit, what should be removed? the body lift or the shackles?? or both.


Impressions and thoughts? Any advice is welcome.
Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2018, 07:48 PM   #12
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Looking good. That 2.5 lift sure raised it up. You shouldn't have a vibration with that much lift and a TC drop? Did you replace your u-joints when you lifted it? The body lift should not effect it at all. I would check u-joints.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:08 AM
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I think the combination of the lift kit, the body lift and the new shackles brought it approx 4" in total lift, but your right, the BL should not matter. I will check the u-joints, thx!!
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Old 08-27-2018, 06:45 AM   #14
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Thumbs up

Looks great
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:07 AM   #15
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As already mentioned, the u-joints are you best place to start. Once you lift it you change the geometry and things get wonky, especially on older, worn joints. A good permanent fix would be to install a SYE kit or with your small lift, likely just a MML (motor mount lift). I personally don't like t-case drops. There is no purpose in lifting a rig and adding bigger tires to add ground clearance, to then have your belly plan hang down and get caught on everything.
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Old 08-27-2018, 06:13 PM
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Thank you very much for the advice, I will look into the SYE kit, I had not heard of that before, so much appreciated.

Also, I had read about this, and it's true. Corbeau Sport Reclining Front Seats installed easily on the existing seat mounts/brackets, but they are way too high. The extra thick bolsters and seat cushions don't really fit ergonomically, my thighs hit the bottom of the steering wheel. so I ordered the Corbeau seat mounts, hope that improves things.

Will be adding new front and rear bumpers along with rock rails soon and will post more pics
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:08 PM   #17
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Let us know if the Corbeau mounts lower the seats
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:31 PM   #18
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That paint job will come to life if you buffed it. Buy a thing of meguiars ultimate compound and rub it in. You'll get your factory clear coat back.

Install your factory shackles and I'm more than positive you'll get rid of that vibration. You've got too much suspension lift, look at the angle of your driveshaft. Needs to be level. Every jeep is different. Mine has a 4" suspension lift and a t case drop. No vibrations.
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Old 08-28-2018, 08:04 PM   #19
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It's possible to lower the seat brackets, although it requires some welding. I've done it and worked out better than I imagined.
Search " lowering my 87 seats" for the best discription and instructions.
Worth a look.
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Old 08-29-2018, 12:41 PM   #20
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I emailed Corbeau, as I have their seats also. They said their mounts will lower the seat about 2". They are $109 each. If you had to pay someone to redo your stock base, it probably would not be much different in cost.
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Old 08-31-2018, 07:16 PM
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Thanks, for the responses. I'm thinking its the new shackles too, I may remove them because I think the overall ride height is a tad too tall. I'm also not sure that I like the look of them. I'm likely going to have an SYE kit installed and a new CV drive shaft, but I will try the shackles first. Buffing the paint is on my to-do list too!
My new Corbeau seat mounts arrived and I will install them this weekend, I will let you know how it goes and if they improve the seat ergonomics form the stock brackets.
Thx
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:29 AM
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I installed the Corbeau seat mounts, they lowered the seat height approx 2". Riding height is better, it also altered the seat rake, the entire seat position is more "flat" and does not lean back as much as it did with the stock brackets. I think like the new mounts better, although there is not a lot of adjustability to the riding position. They fit my 5'-10" frame well, but if you like to ride with your seat slid back in the far back position, the back of the seat-back hits the vertical side roll bar support where the upper anchor for the seat belt is located. As mentioned in other posts, the seat brackets do not line up that close with the stock holes. It takes some fiddling and muscle to get them to fit. I made slight bends in the support legs by placing the legs in my table vice and gently bending (us a rag in the vice so you don't scratch the heck out of the powder coat. The supports are malleable and easy to adjust. Here are some before and after pics:
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Old 09-02-2018, 02:05 PM   #23
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Which Corbeau seats are you running?
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:51 PM
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Corbeau Sport Reclining Front Seats
https://www.extremeterrain.com/corbe...-yj-tj-jk.html
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:36 PM   #25
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Ok. I have Baja RS. I think I understand what you are saying. It seems the stock base makes the rear of the seat bottom dip down. Your saying the Corbeau base levels it out.
Did I get that right?
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:17 PM
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That's correct, and the Corbeau seat frame itself is lower than the stock seat frames. Hope this helps!

I'm ordering a SYE Kit and rear CV driveshaft, I'm considering the following:

Tom Woods 52301 901 Extended Rear Driveshaft
https://www.quadratec.com/products/52301_901_07.htm

Teraflex 4444401 231 Short Shaft Kit
https://www.quadratec.com/products/52237_901_07.htm

My jeep has 3.5" of lift.

Thoughts and/or recommendations?
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:34 PM   #27
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@Veersberg , thanks
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:37 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veersberg View Post
That's correct, and the Corbeau seat frame itself is lower than the stock seat frames. Hope this helps!

I'm ordering a SYE Kit and rear CV driveshaft, I'm considering the following:

Tom Woods 52301 901 Extended Rear Driveshaft
https://www.quadratec.com/products/52301_901_07.htm

Teraflex 4444401 231 Short Shaft Kit
https://www.quadratec.com/products/52237_901_07.htm

My jeep has 3.5" of lift.

Thoughts and/or recommendations?
I got mine from JB conversions and my drive shaft from Adams, the drive shaft should be made to your length. Adams had a super fast turn around ( ordered it on thurs morning had it on monday. there are directions for measuring on there website. Each jeep can have different variables and the shaft should be made to fit ,not a universal hope it fits.
Do some research there are other's out there, these are who I used and am happy with.
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Old 09-04-2018, 07:58 PM
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Thanks @gbyenko , I will do that! Did you go with the standard length SYE? I’m thinking of doing the super short with the idea the longer the rear driveshaft the better.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:50 AM   #30
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Yes I went with the standard on my 1990, it has a 4" lift and it all worked out great. My 89 that I'm working on now I am considering a SS I will be doing a V8 conversation with a 700R4 trans and a 4" RC lift.

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