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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I've got TJ-Fever REALLY bad, and I've got some questions that I hope you folks can help me with...

1) What are the pros and cons of waiting (for financial reasons) to order a new '00 TJ Sport with absolutely everything I want (including 0 miles) versus giving in to my impulses and snatching a used 97-99 with fairly low miles for $3-5K less?
Considerations: I plan on dumping A LOT of time and money into my Jeep, and keeping it for a very long time. I currently have a 90 Bronco's not fit for the trails and it's getting pretty tired. I WANT TO CRAWL ROCKS. If I order, it won't be for at least another 6 months. I currently have my eye on a 97 Sahara (5-Speed, Dana 44, 32K miles) for $17K and a 98 Sport (Auto, Dana 44, 26K miles, suspension lift, quick disconnects, Bulletproof front bumper, winch) for $23K...both these prices are sticker at dealers, so I would definately shoot lower.

2) I've always been a manual tranny guy, but just how bad is the auto tranny in the TJ (response, higher gearing, etc.)?

3) Did the Dana 44 automatically come with a 3.73 rear end in 97 and 98? If not, how can I tell what the axle ratio is? I haven't been able to find it on the sticker inside the door. I also haven't been able to find the axle code (Dana 44)- Chad (TrailJ) from told me how to physically recognize the 44 vs. 35.

4) Is there such an animal as front end limited slip/TracLok from the factory?

5) What is the accepted minimum suspension lift for 33X12.5 tires (no rubbing, even with flex)? I am planning on running 15X8 rims with 4-4.5" backspacing.

6) What kind of suspension/gearing mods can you perform without voiding your factory warranty?

7) Has anyone considered engine swaps in TJ's yet? I know the 4.0 is great on the rocks, but I am also concerned about useable power once I have 33" tires on it, especially if I tow a small trailer when I go hunting, etc...okay, dammit, I just like to have some power! How feasible is a 5.2L or 4.7L V8 swap? My hope is that since it's all Chrysler, it won't be too bad. Is the stock tranny (manual or auto) strong enough to hold up to those engines? I assume the Dana 44 will be fine in the rear.

Thanks for your time, knowledge and opinions, folks. This is a great, informational forum.


Discussion Starter · #2 ·
1) Can't comment on US prices - but THE main thing is the Dana44.but you found those. If you are happy with what you find 2nd hand then buy it.

2) Personally I'd opt for an auto if nothing else for ease of auto locker usage.

3) Did the Dana 44 automatically come with a 3.73 rear end in 97 and 98? I beleive thats right but we get a different spec (d44+3.07) here in aust.

4) No such an animal as front end limited slip/TracLok from the factory.

5) Minimum lift is 2"spacer + 1" body. or you could opt of a 3" Susp lift.

6) All modifications to suspension void suspension warranty - but there is no case for the against non suspension warranty.

7) TJay on the JU forum is nearing completion of a 5.9L swap.


Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think you already figured out why it is best to buy the used TJ. The price tag. That is a decent price for the Sahara. Don't buy an already built TJ. Do it yourself. As for 5 speed. VS Auto. I have a 5 speed and love it. I have never driven an auto offroad so I couldn't tell ya. I like the idea of the autos crawlability but I am a 5 speed kinda guy. Good luck.


Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Go used and use the left over money to set it up for off road. See my post under TJ owners Oct 29.


Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the lowest gear ratio for the '97 with the D44 was 3.55, starting in '98 they offered 3.73.

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