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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a 99 Sahara, auto (3 speed) (dana 44 rear, 30 front) hard top and doors. I got it from a friend of the family, it has 54,000 miles and has NEVER touched a dirt road. Unfortunately I will probably destroy it over the next two years, as the work will beat it to death. I am building a vehicle for work, which will be driven 100-200 miles a day, and at least 50 miles EACH day off road. Trail conditions will go from light cattle trails to fairly rocky tight mountain trails, but no rock crawling. The roads are very rough. My final effort will need 33" (33/12.50/15) aggressive tires, 8" wide, off set wheels, with 3.5" backspacing, new chrome molly rear axles with a Detroit locker, and all re-geared to 4:11's. Am I out of my mind thinking I can remove the fenders, either purchase or make extremely lifted fenders to clear the tires, and just get away with new Bilsteins, and possibly a 1" body lift only? I want to keep this rig as absolutely low to the ground as possible, as there are Many off camber roads in this area. A big concern is good road manners for at least 100 miles of pavement pounding every day. I would love a new Rubicon, but I don't want to work for a new Jeep payment. ***Please let me know any Ideas.***has anyone tried to do this? I have wheeled for years, and am currently using a 4x4 F150 (locked in the rear)(which is really too big for these roads) and a nice early Bronco, V8, locked F&R, 35's, and its a little too tall for the off camber roads. my goal is to keep it low as possible, but be extremely capable, and reliable.
 

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Definitely dont do the body lift if you're trying to achieve a low center of gravity. Upgrade the stock suspension but keep stock ride hight. Cut the fenders or buy new ones to clear the 33s when fully flexed.
 

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You can get pretty far with a stock jeep with 31s and since its a 44 you probably have a LSD.
 

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you can do it.. i would also invest in some suspension seats... look into high clearance fenders(metal cloak) might be able to fit the 33's with out much of a lift that way. would also armor the underside..oil pan trans gas tank rockers etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can get pretty far with a stock jeep with 31s and since its a 44 you probably have a LSD.
I most definitely NEED a rear Detroit locker, and I will purchase beefier axles, as some of the climbs are what I call serious. I had a buddy ride with me one day, and he thought I was crazy driving these roads! 33's are me self imposed minimum, as both of my vehicles now have 35's. I am thinking the slightly smaller Jeep, is a little lighter too, so 33's would work.
 

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I would look at this setup. You could probably skip the body lift if you wanted, but you probably want good shocks and springs. Probably the best LCOG suspension for the $$$.

Old Man Emu Ultimate TJ/LJ Wrangler Kit | dpgoffroad.com

I forgot to measure my Jeep stock with 30" tires to the above with 33" tires. Obviously it is higher than stock, but I think it handles much better. Here is a pic from DPG Offroad website of a before and after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
you can do it.. i would also invest in some suspension seats... look into high clearance fenders(metal cloak) might be able to fit the 33's with out much of a lift that way. would also armor the underside..oil pan trans gas tank rockers etc...
I do like the way metal cloaks are higher that the lip of the hood, they alone look like they would give you 4" more clearance than stock. I don't know the stock capacity of the gas tank, but I would like to replace it with a larger tank too, if it doesn't stick down too far. Skids and a steering box skid are a must too, your right
 

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I would do nothing to the jeep's ride height and go with 31 inch tires, they will take you anywhere 33's will in your particular case, but 33's will air down to a smoother ride off road and save your suspension.

MCE fenders, bump stops, and maybe a 1" puck lift (if they make those) if you're set on running 33's. Maybe some under armor (sliders, oil pan, belly, steering box, and gas tank skids) if these trails are a little scarier than you described.
 

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I most definitely NEED a rear Detroit locker, and I will purchase beefier axles, as some of the climbs are what I call serious. I had a buddy ride with me one day, and he thought I was crazy driving these roads! 33's are me self imposed minimum, as both of my vehicles now have 35's. I am thinking the slightly smaller Jeep, is a little lighter too, so 33's would work.
This is where 31s and an LSD can take you with a 2 inch lift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
well it's for work, but elevation is all above 5,000 feet, on up to 8,500 feet. Its snowing today, so I'm stuck in my camper, Most of the roads are still impassable up around 7,800 and above, depending on which side of the mountain the road is on. Many of the trails are SEVERELY off camber, and when there's Icy snow, or muddy roads, it gets really hairy. This is why I would like to build a jeep as low as possible. many places you need to do 5 point turns, with a 92" wheel base, just to make the switch back. I have even screwed my turn stops all the way in, to get that extra inch of turning radius. If you look at some of the Colorado 4wd runs, like black bear road, these are very similar trails. there is not a lot of large rocks, or boulders, but I have dragged the tow hitch on the Bronco with 35's and a 3.5" lift on approach and departures. I think the jeep with 33's may still drag at times, but I will cut off the jeep bumpers. I just searched the "metal Cloak" website, and their fenders are 5" above stock, with 6.5" more opening to the rear. I was hoping to find someone who runs this same type of low set up, to speak with them.
 

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Just a thought but you may wanna look into a selectable locker like Arb rather than a auto like the Detroit. Being able to switch from open to locked will make off camber, tight turns and pavement much much easier with a short wheel base of the wrangler. I think if I were you I would start with fenders add your desired wheel tire combo and chromoly shafts and go from there. What about gearing? Any plan to re-gear?
 

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I built a near no lift TJ on 33x10.50s. Only a 1.25" JKS BL MML, and 3/4" pucks up front. Swapped springs with some low mileage LJ hardtop springs. Fabbed my own flat fender mod and later went with MCEs. In the rear eliminated inner liners and flares. No rubbing anywhere even when discoed. Heres a link to the build.
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f346/gus-99-tj-build-sgt-gusty-143726.html
 

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I never got finished pics in that thread but heres a driveway shot after the MCEs. Im not sure if a 12.50 would have rubbed, but the 10.50 KM2s were awesome.



ForumRunner_20140506_160332.jpg
 

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I would look at this setup. You could probably skip the body lift if you wanted....

A minimal body lift will NOT adversely affect your COG.

In fact, a text book LCOG build is 2 or 2.5 inch spring kit (OME or BDS), 1 in. body lift, 1 in. MML, tummy tuck (high clearance skid plates - look at Savvy, Rokmen and UCF), 8 adjustable control arms, highline fenders in front with the rear trimmed to match (remove flares, liners, etc.)

Doing your build this way you can easily fit 35s and fully tuck them (better than generic 4 in lifts can) and only raise your COG an inch or two.
 

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^ Truth

I was going to say, the small BL is needed so you can do a high clearance belly and gas tank skid. Very important mods on a LCG build.
 

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A minimal body lift will NOT adversely affect your COG. In fact, a text book LCOG build is 2 or 2.5 inch spring kit (OME or BDS), 1 in. body lift, 1 in. MML, tummy tuck (high clearance skid plates - look at Savvy, Rokmen and UCF), 8 adjustable control arms, highline fenders in front with the rear trimmed to match (remove flares, liners, etc.) Doing your build this way you can easily fit 35s and fully tuck them (better than generic 4 in lifts can) and only raise your COG an inch or two.
Yes, and that is why I went with the DPG off-road Ultimate Kit. :) All that I need now is the tummy tuck.
 

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This one has a low CG:



Any weight up high is hurting you.

  • Lose the hard top. That's a lot of weight quite a ways above the CG. A frameless soft top should move the CG down some.
  • Do you need the back seat? Get rid of it and lay the spare flat in back.
  • Lose the sound bar?
 
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