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Hi guys,

I'm going to start with a little info about myself, so if you give **** all about that, no hard feelings, just skip to the next paragraph. I've always wanted a wrangler, but I've always decided against one in the past because I was more concerned about having a solid daily driver. Last year, when I purchased a new car I really searched long and hard for a wrangler in my price range, but I just couldn't swallow spending 20k on a used JK with 100k plus miles when I could get something much newer for the same price. Fast forward to this year, and I had some extra money laying around and a "live while you are young" mentality from my parents, and my girlfriend and I decided to go halves on a jeep. We ended up with a 97' TJ , and I couldn't be happier with it so far..

My question is where do you all recommend I start with this? We are aiming for some type of middle ground between off and on road capabilities (mostly light to medium trails, but I still think it's mostly going to be a mall crawler). For the most part, this Jeep has been untouched. It has a new cat back exhaust, a glovebox full of wiring that I need to sort out, and 30" mud tires. From our research, we think we want to go with slightly larger tires and 2-2.5" lift. I also think that it needs regeared, because I practically never use 5th gear, save for the downhill stretches of I-68. I just need some direction with this, because diving into the jeep community can be really overwhelming
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Pictures look nice but what about other info

Is frame sound or significantly rusted?
2.5 or 4.0 engine?
Auto or 5 spd?
If 97 just about all night n export were D35 so probably not a D44 rear end
What gear ratio in axles?


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Discussion Starter #3
Pictures look nice but what about other info

Is frame sound or significantly rusted?
2.5 or 4.0 engine?
Auto or 5 spd?
If 97 just about all night n export were D35 so probably not a D44 rear end
What gear ratio in axles?


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Sorry, I forgot to mention it's a 2.5L with 156k miles. It's actually not very rusted at all. It's spent most of it's life so far in SC, somehow ended up in a dealership further north. I'm going to clean up the frame and give it an under coat. This is the worst of the rust.

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I think it's still factory gearing. Most driving I very rarely get out of 3rd gear. Maybe 4th on a straightaway. I'm thinking that it needs to be regeared but I'm an absolute rube when it comes to things like this, so I'll listen to anything you have to say.
 

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2” coil spacers with new shocks or Zone offroad 3” lift, 33x10.5x15 tires and regear to 4.88:1. This will accomplish what your goal.

BTW, Rubicon Trail is a moderately difficult trail. Watch some videos on YouTube and see if you are actually interested in setting your rig up for this level of terrain.
 

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2” coil spacers with new shocks or Zone offroad 3” lift, 33x10.5x15 tires and regear to 4.88:1. This will accomplish what your goal.

BTW, Rubicon Trail is a moderately difficult trail. Watch some videos on YouTube and see if you are actually interested in setting your rig up for this level of terrain.
Thanks for the response. For reference, I'm talking east coast trailing, so probably less than that Rubicon trail. I was thinking of going with a 2" suspension lift kit by OME or Teraflex, because I had figured that I replacing the 24 year old stock suspension would be a good idea.

So you think that a 4.88:1 regear would be a good middle ground between off road and on road?
 

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Thanks for the response. For reference, I'm talking east coast trailing, so probably less than that Rubicon trail. I was thinking of going with a 2" suspension lift kit by OME or Teraflex, because I had figured that I replacing the 24 year old stock suspension would be a good idea.

So you think that a 4.88:1 regear would be a good middle ground between off road and on road?
4.88:1 is an excellent choice for a mainly street driven rig. I’d go lower (numerically higher) on a trail only rig. Use the grimmjeeper calculator so you can estimate RPM given different tire sizes and gear ratios. I’d also read some threads discussing gear ratios for 4 cylinder rigs.
 

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I wouldn't undercoat. I would use a durable paint intended to slow spread of existing rust or prevent new rust from developing (Rustoleum, P.O.R. 15, etc.).
 

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I wouldn't undercoat. I would use a durable paint intended to slow spread of existing rust or prevent new rust from developing (Rustoleum, P.O.R. 15, etc.).
Thanks for the input! I was looking at P.O.R. 15. It looked like it had pretty good results from some videos I watched.
 

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Thanks for the input! I was looking at P.O.R. 15. It looked like it had pretty good results from some videos I watched.
I like to use corroseal rust converter. here is a before and after on the frame of my avalanche. its white and looks like milk just a tad thicker. put it on with a paint brush and walk away and in less than an hour you have the after. well you should at least clean it first and a wire brush for any loose stuff.
 

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Thanks for the input! I was looking at P.O.R. 15. It looked like it had pretty good results from some videos I watched.
I have not personally used P.O.R. 15, but I remember a friend of ours talking about using it on the frame of their Model A Ford when it was restored. That was over 40 years ago, so it has been around forever. When my dad and me restored our Model A in the 70's, we used Rustoleum gloss black on the entire undercarriage and frame. It wore like a rock for over 45 years. No rust ever cam back! We did wire brush everything beforehand...
 

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There is no such thing as stock gearing. Your differentials should have tags on them. You must first decide what size tire you’re going to run. That will tell you how much lift you need. I would be thinking about 4.10 gears for 33 inch tires. My Jeep came with 3.08 gears but some had 3.73. It’s an automatic so that’s a whole different animal. You are lucky to have a five speed with overdrive. Good luck
 

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Pictures look nice but what about other info

Is frame sound or significantly rusted?
2.5 or 4.0 engine?
Auto or 5 spd?
If 97 just about all night n export were D35 so probably not a D44 rear end
What gear ratio in axles?


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Get rid of it get a jk
Believe me,you ll regret the tj
 

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I have not personally used P.O.R. 15, but I remember a friend of ours talking about using it on the frame of their Model A Ford when it was restored. That was over 40 years ago, so it has been around forever. When my dad and me restored our Model A in the 70's, we used Rustoleum gloss black on the entire undercarriage and frame. It wore like a rock for over 45 years. No rust ever cam back! We did wire brush everything beforehand...
I bet the farm that his Jeep will see a totally different environment than your Model A. Apples and Oranges!
 

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I wouldn't undercoat. I would use a durable paint intended to slow spread of existing rust or prevent new rust from developing (Rustoleum, P.O.R. 15, etc.).
Another, albeit easy alternative is Dupicolor's "Rust Fix" tho not easy to come by. Follow instructions to the T.

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I bet the farm that his Jeep will see a totally different environment than your Model A. Apples and Oranges!
True. While we didn't go rock climbing or stump jumping... Our old Model A was a frequent driver on the road for over 30 years. Was never a show car. We loved country road drives. Many turned into dirt and then quickly turned into washed-out double tracks. I was just making the point that the good old Rustoleum did its job to prevent rust extremely well on a vehicle that was driven many years in all kinds of New England weather. That should say a little something about how the product stood the test of time.
 

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This tj is only great when its new or everything has been replaced and upgraded. Other than that its a bucket of bolts. No one can tell me how great the tj is .cuz it aint.
Engines have the same shared breakdown issue. Transmission is crap. I wouldn't have bought this for 16 500,if i knew what a junkpile these are. But,now,AFTER,i have rebuilt it bigger stronger faster,now its good to go.
 
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