I am new to the whole 4x4 scene and want to form a game plan for modifying my recently acquired 98 Cherokee. For various reasons I do not want to significantly raise my jeep yet. I pull a fairly heavy boat and I am afraid too much lift would be dangerous. It seems that to go with tires larger than 31 inches you have to lift 5-6 inches which requires a SYE, custom drive shafts, control arms and gear changes. It also seems that most people want to run 31’s with 3-4 inches of lift because they are trying to avoid all of the above changes. The problem is that from the looks of a lot of the posts, people end up with vibration problems anyway and have to do everything they were trying to avoid (SYE, etc…).
From what I have read, you can run a 30 inch tire with a 2 inch lift and avoid all of the drive train problems and even get away using the stock 3.55 gears. You can also install a locker like the Lock Rite or the No-Slip without much cost if you don’t need to change gears. I can get a 2” BB and front and rear No Slips for about $1000 without tires. With this set up I can run a good 30x9.5, 29x10.50, or 29x11.50 like a Super Swamper. If I go to a 31 I have to go up 3-4 inches, which will probably cause drive train problems on my 98, especially when pulling the boat. I will be at the absolute limit gearwise (31’s with 3.55’s). To do 31’s right, it looks like I will spend over $2000 without tires for 4” lift, SYE, drive shaft, shocks, 4.10s plus labor, and a rear locker. A 31 inch tire will give ½ inch extra clearance over the 30 and 1 inch extra clearance over the 29 at the bottom of the diff. Are the benefits of running the 31’s that much greater than a 30 or 29. It looks like 31” tires are a break over point. Running shorter cheap. Taller expensive. 3-4 inches of lift. Less, cheap. Taller, expensive. I have 235 75 BFG AT’s on stock wheels right now which are fine for the road and to learn on for a while. I was shocked at what the jeep can do right now even with the open diffs.
I am thinking about upgrading in the following order.
1. 2” budget boost (spacers and either add-a-leafs
or shackles) and sway bar discos
2. No slip locker rear or front and rear (depending
on how aggravated I am at my wife when I place
3. set of 15x8 inch wheels and 29x11.50 or
30x9.50 Super Swampers
4. have fun and learn
5. save money
6. save money
7. 6” plus lift, SYE, drive shafts, shocks, 4.56’s,
selectable lockers, 33-35’s, bumpers, and winch…
Does this progression seem logical or am I off base. What is the consensus on the 2” lift? Shackles, add-a-leafs, or blocks? Has anyone out there tried the No Slip locker. Also as for as tires go, how much does width matter. I live in a muddy area, Louisiana. Should I go with short and wide or tall and narrow… tall and wide will lead to clearance problems with the low lift.
Thanks for any advice.