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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It looks like my wife will be getting a Grand Cherokee and I will be taking over her 04 TJ and selling my YJ so I am already trying to figure out what I can do to make the TJ a little more offroad friendly. Its a Rocky Mountain edition so it already has the 44 rear with a limited slip and 3.73 gears. Its also got the 4spd auto so I know a SYE will be needed if I go too high. I figure with the 3.73s and the auto it will be livable with 32s or 33s for a while and as it is going to be my daily driver/highway commuter/weekend wheeler I don't really want to go any bigger than that for now. So do I go for a full 3-4" suspension lift with adjustable control arms, track bars, SYE, etc... or do I go with a 2" budget boost and a 1" body lift for now maybe going for a MML, SYE, and flatter skid down the road. I would love to say I am going to wheel it all the time but realistically if I get out once a month I would be lucky. I'm kind of new to working on coil sprung rigs so I'm looking for input on what people have really used and what worked well for them for this kind of setup. Also it will be staying this way for at least 2 years so I need a setup that will last and not give me a bunch of problems like death wobble etc...
 

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I have a 3" lift with 32-11.50's and a 5 speed 4 cyl. With 4.11 gears it leaves a bit to be desired on the highway, but that is apples to oranges. Lifts: I have a Rusty's lift and while it has served me well, I would recomend RE or similar lift with adjustable control arms. With 3" I do not use t case drop insted I use a MM lift. No SYE and no problems so far. My springs are really flexy, which is good ofroad but can cause some squrilieness on the road.

SYE is needed over 4 inch lift. I need stiffer shocks to help out for road use.
 

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I have an OME 2" lift with 1 1/2" spring pucks and run 32X11.50. I'm happy with mine, except with the swaybar disconnected I still get some fender rub at full stuff.
 

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I can offer suspension advice on two different kits/manufacturers...
Skyjacker 4" with long arms: good but $$ /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Trailmaster 4": crap /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/AR15firing.gifTheir fit and finish sucks.
I would say right off the bat don't mess with the body lift and spring spacers... when you add the time and money you spent putting those two separate items on, you're not saving much over a decent 3-4 inch lift kit. Definitely go for the long arms, the difference in ride between stock arms and longer is amazing...
 

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Obviously a decent lift is better, but if cash is tight for you like it is for me, I'd go with a spacer lift to get on the trails cheap.
You can make 2" coil spacers for around $10 for all four, and 1" body pucks for just a little more, once you get the new hardware to go with it.
This is what I'm running and have less than $40 in the whole mess. I'm running 33x12.50's, but I do rub at full stuff. Of course every time I make a little more clearance for them. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
But like I said, if you can afford it I'd go with a decent spring lift for the improved performance and clearance.
Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do. And of course before and after pix are always appreciated.
 

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Good point JB, I wasn't thinking about making the coil spacer and body lift kits... I was looking strictly at the cost of buying those kits from 4wheel whoever... and I know what you mean about tight cash... I work for Uncle Sam. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
 

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Depending on how much, and how hard you intend to go wheeling - the spacers will get you by - if the wheeling's light.

Something to keep in mind - the control arms, mainly the lower ones - Stock they are extremely weak! Almost all kits worth even considering replace those arms with stronger ones. Stock they bend like pretzels!

For the budget minded - it's not a hard cure, strengthen them before you bend them.
I put 2 hunks of 1 1/4" tube inside them, welding that tubing in securely. Then I box them in. Makes for a stout arm for sure.

The easy way is talk to somone that's already done a lift - they probably have their old arms left over. Modify those, then swap with yours. It's about an hour swap - if you've never done one before.

But - I have the Long Arm Rubicon Express on my Rubi - absolutely love it!
 

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While I would have loved to put a RE long arm lift on my TJ, I was very strapped for cash. (I still am.) I went with a Rusty's 3" suspension lift with an adjustable front track bar. I think the kit was about $550 and included shocks. Sure, there are better kits out there, but for the money, I think the Rusty's kit is great. I run 32" BFG ATs on 8" steelies with 4.5" backspace and get no rub, even at full stuff. I will probably go with 33" tires when I wear these out. It rides pretty well and flexes great.

PS I am still using the t-case drop kit, until I can afford the SYE/Driveshaft.
 
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If you want a spacer lift, I would buy nothing other than Fabtech!! I have put one on and it the best built value lift out there in my opinion. I have a custom RE long arm kit and I would like to burn it, but I have heard they have fixed the problems. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/40BEER.gif
 

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HL Guy --- You are the first I've ever heard with the RE LA that had any trouble.

What kind of troubles are you having? Maybe we can help.

Really Curious RRich
 
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Well....I think I got the first kit they ever made. They sent the wrong belly pan to start out with. I was pressed for time due to an up-coming event so I had to make it work. Welding to the frame was required to make it work. Nothing lined up at all at the time. It's fine now since I put full-size axles under it. This allowed me to move all the brackets to make it line correctly for the time being. I also bent the rear lower control arms. I have had to replace every joint on the ends of the arms and track bars after one year of use. But I am stuck with it now and with a little help from some other suspenion companies we figured out how to make it work good.

Note: One of the other guys that works here has the same kit as I do, and his went together great and works awsome. I think there might have been some bugs that got worked out after the first six months selling those kits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
[ QUOTE ]
Obviously a decent lift is better, but if cash is tight for you like it is for me, I'd go with a spacer lift to get on the trails cheap.
You can make 2" coil spacers for around $10 for all four, and 1" body pucks for just a little more, once you get the new hardware to go with it.
This is what I'm running and have less than $40 in the whole mess. I'm running 33x12.50's, but I do rub at full stuff. Of course every time I make a little more clearance for them. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
But like I said, if you can afford it I'd go with a decent spring lift for the improved performance and clearance.
Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do. And of course before and after pix are always appreciated.

[/ QUOTE ]
I might pick up some used RE BB spacers for $30 but I hear they are actually only 1.75" so I was thinking of making my own and maybe going 2.25". How did you make yours, any pics? Also did you extend your bumpstops at all?
 

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Wow! Sorry to hear that. My experience with them has been great, good quality, great fit etc. And performance wise they are awesome!
But then, I didn't get one of the first ones either.

Wow, and you bent the rear lower arms? I didn't think that was possible without jumping and landing hard on them. I've scraped and landed on mine - just makes marks - so far.

He He the ones that I've seen have problems after problems with -- Fab Tech. They have the reputation of snapping the trackbars, both front and rears.

I'll post another thread on weak areas I've found on TJ's in general.
 
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Your second choice is probably the cheapest and most effective, especially if you're trail use is minimal. My basic strategy is to tuck everything up so that you can squeeze more clearance out of the lift you have. One thing that I would put at the top of the list is the SYE kit. For 3 reasons.

1) Fairly inexpensive preventative maintenance, when you compare it to the cost of trying to get your DD operational again, when every parts store is closed, after a busted t-case.

2) You will be able to remove your drive shaft and limp out of a trail in front wheel drive without bleeding oil all over the place.

3) It will allow you to add other upgrades when your ready without having to worry about vibrations and snapping the rear output shaft.

I say this because most upgrades to the TJ seem to pivot around this one component.

Good luck!
 

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[ QUOTE ]
How did you make yours, any pics? Also did you extend your bumpstops at all?

[/ QUOTE ]

No I didn't extend my bumpstops. Would have saved me a little tweaking to the fenders, and few small cuts on the tires though. I'd have to recommend it if you go this way.
Put pucks on your pads, instead of dropping the bumpers.
This writeup is what I used to make the spacers. Includes Fastenal part numbers and everything. It's for an XJ front, but it works the same for a TJ.
Only thing I'd do different next time is get a little bigger OD washer for the rear ones, but the ones from the writeup do work.
HTH
 
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