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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:25 AM   #1
djlarroc
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How to build a capable XJ on a budget

Hi everyone, I just bought a 95 xj, 2 dr auto w/a 3" lift comprised of spacers in front and AAL in rear. I don't want to put any more money into the lift as well as avoid all the "death wobble" problems, and having to install an SYE, adjustable track bar, etc etc.

What I want to do is build a pratical and capable jeep with about $1000. Where do I start? What will net me the most bang for the buck? I live in CO so it's main purpose will be rock crawling.

So far, here is what I'm thinking.
  1. Armor (sliders, t-case skid, diff cover, ?)
  2. Rear locker
  3. Tires, what size?
Tires is the tricky part. I'd like to get as much clearance as possible, so I was thinking 34x10.50s, but I don't want to pay for a regear. So 31x10.50?

Thanks for any help

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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:28 AM   #2
dm33buckeyes
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Well 34's wont fit on an XJ with a 3" lift. 31's is about the max you can run without major fender trimming. What kind of rear axle you got? I would go with a locker if you got a 44, not with a 35 though. Armor is always a safe bet.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:31 AM   #3
Toms87
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A locker should be #1 IMO. Up front if you have a 35 rear.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:35 AM   #4
djlarroc
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Thanks for the replies guys. I have the 3:55 gear ratio in a Chrysler 8.25. From all the reading, I've learned it's decent, or at least better than the D35.

Forgot to mention. I don't mind cutting big time into fenders to make 34s fit. Just don't want to pay for a regear until I at least get my money's worth in fun, on these inital expenses
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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:41 AM   #5
99Greenmachine
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Because you're going to be staying low here's what I recommend:

-Diff guard for D30 ~$100
-Tcase/Belly skid ~$100 (Rusty's is pretty good for price)
-Rock Rails ~$250 AJs FTW...(used to be $150......BOO AJ )
-Tires ~$600

If you have money left over...
-ZJ V8 Tie rod- ~$100 (price depends on if you get new TREs or not)
-LCA skids - ~$40 (you can make your own for teh cheap)
-Lunch-box locker ~$300
-Tow hooks/recovery aids ~$ Varies
-Rear tow hitch - ~$80
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Last edited by 99Greenmachine; 06-25-2009 at 11:56 AM..
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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:51 AM   #6
dcorn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99Greenmachine View Post
Because you're going to be staying low here's what I recommend:

-Diff guard for D30 ~$100
-Tcase/Belly skid ~$100 (Rusty's is pretty good for price)
-Rock Rails ~$120 AJs FTW
-Tires ~$600

If you have money left over...
-ZJ V8 Tie rod- ~$100 (price depends on if you get new TREs or not)
-LCA skids - ~$40 (you can make your own for teh cheap)
-Lunch-box locker ~$300
-Tow hooks/recovery aids ~$ Varies
-Rear tow hitch - ~$80
The AJ's rails are $250, not sure whre you got $120. I'd get the superrails though. Ruff Stuff cover with countersunk holes too.

32's will fit on your lift with the fenders trimmed. The LCA skids are definitely necessary if you are on rocks a lot, you can make them yourself out of 3/8" steel though.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:54 AM   #7
djlarroc
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What size tires? If I go w/34s I'm sure I have to buy new which will run $600+. If I go 31s I may be able to find a score on C-list for $250-$300. I just missed 2 sets this week.

Greenmachine, do you have a link for the rock rails?
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Unread 06-25-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
99Greenmachine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcorn View Post
The AJ's rails are $250, not sure whre you got $120.
Holy cats!!!

AJ went up on his prices...BOO

His standard rails use to be like $150 wtf

my bad...I'll edit the above
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Unread 06-25-2009, 12:01 PM   #9
djlarroc
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Aw crap lol. Oh well. Ok.

So I'm wondering what tires size then. How crappy would 34s be on the trail? This won't be my DD, and if I had to use it as a DD, it would be in winter and I'll just slap the stock 28" tires on. 34s would give me an extra 1.5" of lift. What's better in the rocks? Torque or clearance?

I've read so many threads saying either or. It's so confusing.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 12:07 PM   #10
99Greenmachine
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Well, I don't have experience on the rocks, but IMO 34X10.5 is kinda an odd tire size in that its not very common. I'd look at some 33X10.5 which are much more common.

IMO your best friend on the rocks would be a low crawl ratio...which means lower gears in your axles and Tcase. Traction is also a biggie on rocks so I guess you'd want a locker to help out with that end. When you start climbing up a rock, all the weight gets transferred to the rear, and a locker really helps you get up and over stuff.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 12:27 PM   #11
mgramann
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I wish I had a 1000 budget!

Go to craigslist, buy an arc welder. I see very nice lincolns all the time for under 100. Get an angle grinder as well. I got my ryobi from home depot for 30 bucks. These two items will be a gift that keeps on giving...

If you look around, you can probably find a ford 8.8 with a limited slip and 3.55's for under 200 bucks. It is a pretty easy swap, and the axle is beefier than a D44. With the perches, I bet you could get away for 250 bucks easy.

Tires and rims you could get away for 500. I'd run 32's without regearing.

This leaves you 120 bucks to buy steel and build your own armor/skids
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Unread 06-25-2009, 01:05 PM   #12
djlarroc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgramann View Post
I wish I had a 1000 budget!

Go to craigslist, buy an arc welder. I see very nice lincolns all the time for under 100. Get an angle grinder as well. I got my ryobi from home depot for 30 bucks. These two items will be a gift that keeps on giving...

If you look around, you can probably find a ford 8.8 with a limited slip and 3.55's for under 200 bucks. It is a pretty easy swap, and the axle is beefier than a D44. With the perches, I bet you could get away for 250 bucks easy.

Tires and rims you could get away for 500. I'd run 32's without regearing.

This leaves you 120 bucks to buy steel and build your own armor/skids
Haha. Nice! My friend has a welder and I already have a grinder. I have read about the 8.8 swap, but I don't know if it will work for me because I have ABS. I thought it was only for non-abs?

I guess I'm looking at sliders $230. Locker $275. Tires $200-$600 (going on stock wheels). And there goes my budget lol. Not much you can buy with $1000.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 03:55 PM   #13
djlarroc
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Just verified w/the dealer that my truck is non-abs so that opens up a whole new can of Ford 8.8 worms lol. I think I may do the Aussie locker in the D30 then. I can get a 4cyl axle and swap it to that later on right? Same axle?
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Unread 06-25-2009, 05:33 PM   #14
schaffer
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lock the front and rear and get a set of decent tires and armor...then you don't need lift
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Unread 06-25-2009, 05:58 PM   #15
djlarroc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schaffer View Post
lock the front and rear and get a set of decent tires and armor...then you don't need lift
The jeep was already lifted when I bought it. I don't want to spend more on a lift, so that's why I'm asking where to use my money. What size tires?
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