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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2007, 02:24 PM
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Afternoon all, I'm brand new to the Jeep community and to off-roading. I just bought a 2004 Jeep Wrangler X and would like to get some advice on what the best plan of action is to get into off-roading. Please bear in mind I'm a balding 48 year-old airline pilot that isn't into anything extreme, but would like to drive my Jeep other than tarmac. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks. FLCH
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2007, 02:53 PM
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Welcome. Not to long ago I was doing the same with 97 TJ. I think the best advice would be to protect the vehicle, then recovery equipment, and then go BIG with tires and lift! Driving a TJ in stock(ish) format is fun and will really teach you how to choose the best line. You'll have to work harder at getting through the trails without a lift and bigger tires. That makes you a better driver so when you go big with tires and lift you'll already have learned how your Jeep works.

Step one - Get a power steering skid plate, engine oil pan skid plate, a good gas tank skid plate, and some solid rocker rock sliders. Also before going out on the trail have solid tow points on both the front and rear so you can be yanked out if you get stuck. All of these are readily available from dozens of vendors on the web just do a quick search.

Step two - Invest in your own recovery equipment. Get a nice recovery strap (no metal hooks), get a couple of tree saver straps, a couple shackles to attach them to a vehicle, and buy a nice winch. Even without big tires and a big lift you can wheel the heck out of that TJ and then pull yourself out when you get stuck. With the armor you just put underneath your Jeep you'll be able to drag yourself over fallen trees or rocks that are to big four your jeep.

Step 3 - Going big! Once you start you will NOT be able to stop yourself 31's lead to 33's which lead to 35's. All that tire needs more and more lift. There are hundreds of threads that cover which lift and which tire you should buy so this isn't the place for that but once you get good at trail riding you'll want to do the obstacles that your buddies are doing with their 35" tires and 4" lifts. Of course bigger tires means you'll have to upgrade your axles and re gear. Its just the way it works.

Have fun
post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2007, 03:08 PM
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  • Protect you and your passengers. Install a full roll cage. The OEM sports bar ain't gonna cut it.
  • Install a good winch that will pull twice the weight of the Jeep... as you'll be pulling against the suction of mud.
  • Do as little modification as you can get away with.
  • Learn to do your own work
  • Join a local 4X4 Club to learn how to handle your rig, and find out what type of wheeling you like to do.
  • List the modifications needed to fit your wheeling likes.
  • Research those modifications
  • Buy tools/manuals
  • Don't buy the least expensive anything for the Jeep, usually it's junk.
  • Have fun!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2007, 03:49 PM
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i'd say get in with a local club....they are everywhere.

wheel your jeep as-is with other stock vehicles in the group......

the more you drive the better a feel you will have for what you really need

maybe some fellow PA people will chime in here on ocal groups by you


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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2007, 07:32 PM
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I guess I agree with greg more than anyone on this. Offroading means something diffrent to everyone. Try it and see if you like it before droping a bunch of anything (time, money) into it. I love foruwheeling but I have gotten into things such as boating that I had no idea what I wanted to do until after I had already dropped thousands of dollars into doing it, Boats were to much work and expensive for me so I bought a jeep,,, go figure.

Then if ya like it, There were some good points brought up. You can never go wrong with protection as long as yu get the good stuff.

It is alot like buying rubbers, the ones at the gas station will probably work, but If you value your future ya might want to stop by the drug store! Armor and jeep products are similar, go with a reputable company, not cause the others are junk, but because they have the kinks worked out.

OH an be carefull there are alot of hacks out there who will sell you a million dollar Idea just to get the deposit, Then they don't come around again.

good luck and welcome.

Ya only go around once, best to enjoy it the first trip.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-11-2007, 01:01 AM
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I'd have to vote against NOT going big...
No big tires, no big lift...

I'm a trail rider, but I have an old jeep that doesn't have any road manners to start with...
If you slap in a big lift and tires, what road manners yours has will go out the window, plus you raise the center of gravity, making it unstable.

I vote for taking some trail rides and see what you like.
If you decide you like mud, then set up for mud. Same with trails or rocks.
Around here, we have so much mixed up stuff, mud, dirt, trails, tree dodging, and some rocks, but not much...

Your stock axles will tolerate 31" tires or 32" tires pretty well, but I wouldn't go much larger with stock axles and brakes.
If you go with big tires, you will have to change gears to turn them, and upgrade brakes to stop them, and all that is expensive!

Your I-6 engine is a pretty good and very reliable, and every body makes something for them, and most of it works.
I'd be more concerned with keep water out of the differential oil and engine oil than anything...
Always good to 'Weather Proof' under the vehicle... Cause jeeps create their own weather, and most of it winds up under the hood!

I'd be concerned with safety issues...
Fire extinguisher, first aid kits, basic straps & chains, and solid tow mounts.
Later jeeps aren't known for being 'Tow Friendly' or in most of our cases, 'Recovery Friendly'...
Good solid mounts to chain or strap onto are a must.
These don't have to be expensive, but they do have to be solid... No such thing as overkill!

The next thing I'd look at is safety belts and some overhead protection.
We call it a 'Halo' bar from the factory 'Safety Bar' or 'Sport Bar' over the passengers and over the windshield.
Builds a 'Cage' around the folks inside, and if you learn to keep your hands off the cage, you will do just fine.

After that, I'd consider some tools, replacement parts, and accessories.

Then I'd spring for a winch... A BIG HONKIN WINCH!
And a good solid mount for it!

If you hang around here much (and I think you will fit in just fine, we aren't the 'X'treme types) you will grasp this stuff pretty quickly, and there are ADULT experts in all fields to help you with any questions you may have...

Good to have another 'Face'! (especially one that is dry behind the ears!)
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-11-2007, 04:28 AM
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Many thanks for the replies guys, I have a lot to think about...Cheers
post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-11-2007, 06:27 AM
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Howdy and Welcome

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-11-2007, 05:07 PM
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Refering to self as 'FNG' will gain you points with the former military guys here!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 06-11-2007, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Junk Yard Genius View Post
Refering to self as 'FNG' will gain you points with the former military guys here!
Not with us older former military guys. We may have used it but had enough consideration not to in “mixed company” especially where there might be minors around.

There are 10 kinds of people in the world.
Those who understand binary and those who don't.
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