I Might Just Know What I'm Talking About
Join Date: Sep 1999
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Re: money saved ....tires & lift or axles?
Ah the struggle...
So many points to consider...
If you want 44s, you'll likely be going 5 on 5.5 wheels, so you won't want to buy new wheels now for your existing 5 on 4.5
You will want to regear for the 35s, and you don't really want to spend money on regearing a dana35.
And, you don't 'really' want to run 35s on a dana35, anyway.
So, for our first conclusion .....suspension aside: 35s, wheels, and axles, all sort of go together.
Now, there are other options to going 44s that you may want to look into. The dana 30 front you have will handle 35s (with the larger u-joint halfshafts) but many consider that its limit. Put a Ford 8.8 in the rear, retaining your 5 on 4.5, you'd have disc brakes all around. There 'are' dana44 rear axles for YJs (from comanchees and cherokees) with a 5 on 4.5 pattern, but they are hard to find, and are drum brakes.
So, you could go different ways....
Now, suspensions: a 4" suspension is the limit for your slip yoke, and you may go through u-joints in your rear driveshaft at a higher rate. A SYE, and a CV shaft are in the cards at some point. Because, a 4" lift with a drop-transfer case is ok, but you really lose ground clearance with it, almost defeating the lift.
Someday you will want a SYE and a CV shaft to go along with your lifted suspension.
1) Do nothing now, put money in bank, save more money to get new axles, 4" lift, regear, wheels, SYE, CV shaft, 35s.
2) Smaller lift now - 2.5"-3.5", 31s on your stock wheels, and have a great time as you learn. Go bigger later.
3) Go 4" suspension now, 32s (probably the outside limit on your stock gears, and won't wheel as well - your crawling ability is more reduced the larger you go.)
I'd go #2.