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Unread 04-30-2015, 10:12 PM   #1
DrgnRebrn
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1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 32
First Mods From Stock....Thoughts?

I have a '98 ZJ 4.0L 242 - currently bone stock except the 235 70r15 Cooper Discoverer S/T tires I have. I need to buy new tires, and would like to go to 31's - which require a minimum 2" lift. I've been doing A LOT of reading and have pretty much narrowed down to the following options:

Tires: 31x10.50r15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R
Suspension: Either the IRO ZJ 3.5" Benchmark Series Lift Kit OR IRO ZJ 3.5" Foundation Series Lift Kit - both would be with the Doetsch Tech 8000 shocks upgrade

I originally decided on the cheaper Foundation, but after reading several threads on this where a front track bar was recommended I decided I should expand to the Benchmark. Now, if I can manage without a front track bar, I'd prefer to save the money - so I'd like to know you're opinions on this. I also know from reading that a rear track bar is recommended, but I simply cannot afford that now (total budget is $1400).

Now, I do have some additional concerns that I could not find solutions for in my reading. They are:

1) With either of the above lift options, should I be concerned about "death wobble" - assuming all my front end bushings, steering stabilizer, and any other possible stock contributors are solid? If so, what - other than an alignment after the lift install - may need be done to prevent this?

2) Will I need to install a SYE?

3) Will I need to install extended brake lines with a 3.5" lift?

I know these have been answered at some point in time, but I could not find them. I do apologize for any inconvenience, but am very appreciative of any advice offered. Also, I am very much open to educated suggestions/options/solutions within my budget.

Thanks for your time!

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Unread 05-01-2015, 12:47 AM   #2
evan1395
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Paradise, California
Posts: 1,357
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrgnRebrn View Post
I have a '98 ZJ 4.0L 242 - currently bone stock except the 235 70r15 Cooper Discoverer S/T tires I have. I need to buy new tires, and would like to go to 31's - which require a minimum 2" lift. I've been doing A LOT of reading and have pretty much narrowed down to the following options:

Tires: 31x10.50r15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R
Suspension: Either the IRO ZJ 3.5" Benchmark Series Lift Kit OR IRO ZJ 3.5" Foundation Series Lift Kit - both would be with the Doetsch Tech 8000 shocks upgrade

I originally decided on the cheaper Foundation, but after reading several threads on this where a front track bar was recommended I decided I should expand to the Benchmark. Now, if I can manage without a front track bar, I'd prefer to save the money - so I'd like to know you're opinions on this. I also know from reading that a rear track bar is recommended, but I simply cannot afford that now (total budget is $1400).

Now, I do have some additional concerns that I could not find solutions for in my reading. They are:

1) With either of the above lift options, should I be concerned about "death wobble" - assuming all my front end bushings, steering stabilizer, and any other possible stock contributors are solid? If so, what - other than an alignment after the lift install - may need be done to prevent this?

2) Will I need to install a SYE?

3) Will I need to install extended brake lines with a 3.5" lift?

I know these have been answered at some point in time, but I could not find them. I do apologize for any inconvenience, but am very appreciative of any advice offered. Also, I am very much open to educated suggestions/options/solutions within my budget.

Thanks for your time!
SYE is not neccesary (although it would be a sa-weet upgrade), and no extended brake lines are needed. I have the 3.5" benchmark kit with the front adjustable trackbar. This is highly reccomended. The kit comes with a rear trackbar relocation drop bracket, which apparently is quite notorious for breaking hardware. I have yet to have any issues with mine so far except having to sinch down the hardware once in the past 4 months or so. I actually just purchased the rear adjustable trackbar from Kolak. Great investment.

As for the death wobble concern, as long as all your front end components are tip top, i dont see why you would get a DW. I got one before my lift and cured it with a new steering stabilizer.
One thing you MAY run into after the lift is a driveline vibration in the rear. It being a suspension lift, your axles are now going to be even lower from the transfercase, hence ever so slightly throwing the rear pinion angle off. I opted to buy upper rear adjustable control arms from IRO. Had a driveline shop tune in the perfect angle and its smooth as can be now at all speeds and harder accelerations. Surely a prime component to consider. As for the front end, i really would splurge and get the benchmark kit and get the front adjustable trackbar.

I really enjoy this lift/tire combo. Even though its nothing too big, its tasteful on the ZJ.

forumrunner_20150430_234458.jpg



forumrunner_20150430_234525.jpg



forumrunner_20150430_234548.jpg



forumrunner_20150430_234631.jpg
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Unread 05-01-2015, 03:28 AM   #3
PolkaPower
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1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: The Abyss, Italy
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I would go with a 2" budget boost, new shocks, and those tires you want. I'd put the rest of the money into fixing the worn out parts like bushings, control arm bushings, motor mounts, trans mount, ect and maybe a better stereo.

At that height you won't need adjustable control arms or track bars.
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Unread 05-01-2015, 06:45 PM   #4
DrgnRebrn
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1998 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 32
Thanks to both of you for your replies and advice! Hehe, plans have changed for me. I just came across a posting for a '98 5.9 LTD with 183K miles. Excellent condition, bone stock. So, now I'm going to be selling my 4.0L and will look into what I will be doing to my new 5.9! I'll most likely swap out the 249 to a 242, go with a 2" BB + the Doetsch Tech 8000 shocks, and put my 31x10.5r15 Wrangler MT/R's on. Thanks again!
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Unread 05-01-2015, 11:55 PM   #5
DrgnRebrn
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evan1395 - Just wanted to say thanks for your reply. Also, your Jeep looks damn good! That's exactly what I want mine to look like in the end. It's also the first one I've seen in that color that I really liked! I'll post some pics of mine once I get it done - whether it's my current '98 ZJ 4.0L or this 5.9 I'm looking at tomorrow morning.
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Unread 05-02-2015, 01:22 AM   #6
evan1395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrgnRebrn View Post
evan1395 - Just wanted to say thanks for your reply. Also, your Jeep looks damn good! That's exactly what I want mine to look like in the end. It's also the first one I've seen in that color that I really liked! I'll post some pics of mine once I get it done - whether it's my current '98 ZJ 4.0L or this 5.9 I'm looking at tomorrow morning.
I appreciate it man. This thing was bone stock when i got it. Ive probably put more into it than what I bought it for.
The 2" BB are nice if all you wanna do is stuff 31's under it, but if youre looking for overall greater suspension travel and quality components, the IRO 3.5" lift is what you want.
The color has grown on me to say the least. I always told myself when I first got it, that a paint job would be the first thing I do to it. Well, 2 years and 13,000 miles later, and all my money has gone to trail upgrades and the burgundy/amethyst color is still present. And i actually really do enjoy it these days.
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Unread 05-02-2015, 01:29 AM   #7
evan1395
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Here it is bone stock (with the Aussie Locker in the rear).


forumrunner_20150502_002907.jpg
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Unread 05-02-2015, 03:58 PM   #8
DrgnRebrn
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Ok, so I started with an original budget for my Jeep this year of $2200. I've already spent $500 on diagnostic, parts, & labor for my power steering pump, a new serpentine belt, and some minor electrical issues that were preventing my blower from turning on (new pigtail and blower motor resistor). So I've got $1700 remaining to invest. My biggest thing now is to do a final diagnostic on my possible transfer case issue. I've been having problems getting it out of 4wd into 2wd. Eventually it goes back to 2wd, but not without putting up a fight. My mechanic - who never looked inside the TC - said I needed to replace my entire TC assembly. I think that's overkill (and expensive @ $1700 p&l!). I've also had an experienced TC guy tell me, without looking at my vehicle (over the phone diagnosis) that I'm running different sized tires and that if I get 4 identical tires my problem will go away (this impressed me because all I did was tell him what was happening and he said that - and it's true). This is accurate as I have two tires with 13/32" tread depth and two with 3/32" tread depth - so a 5/16" difference which equates to 5/8" difference in tire height (basically I'm running 29" tires in the rear and 28.375" tires in the front). Then, I have a third guy at a local 4wd specialty shop (where I went to order my tires) telling me the tire height difference doesn't matter, and that it's most likely the shift fork lever inside the TC - that the chain-driven TC's in the ZJ's have enough tolerance to allow for the different tire sizes.

Hehe, so my brother and I figure we can decide if it's the tires or something with the TC by putting her up on jack stands and shift in and out of 4wd while in 1st gear. If there's still shifting issues, then it's the TC. If it's smooth, then it's the tires. I'm hoping for the latter as it's the cheaper option.

SO - my budget will go one of three ways:

1) Replace or rebuild my NP242J TC. I'm not confident in my ability to rebuild a TC, so I'd most likely buy a re-manufactured TC assembly and then do the work myself, which will leave anywhere from $1000 to $300 in my budget. Either way, any extra money will go towards tires (235x75r15 only as those are the largest I can fit on my stock suspension)

2) New tires @ $781 (quote for 4x Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac 31x10.50r15 with a lifetime no questions asked non pro-rated warranty) + IRO ZJ 3.5" Benchmark Series Lift w/Doetsch Tech 8000 shocks upgrade @ $520 + IRO ZJ Heavy Duty Rear Track Bar @ $120. This leaves $300 or so remaining in my budget that I'll use to get my alignment done from a specialist shop familiar with aligning lifted off road vehicles.

3) Same tires as above @ $781 + IRO ZJ 1.75" Budget Boost @ $60 + K&N Cold Air Intake @ $300 + MagnaFlow Cat-Back 2.5" Exhaust System (Part# 15858) @ $530.

I'm going to keep this thread going for any modifications I do on my ZJ, and would really appreciate any continued feedback and advice ya'll may have. If I get her lifted and find I can miraculously shift in & out of 4wd, I'll still have to decide between options 2 & 3 and would like your opinions between the two (my brother is the one who came up with option 3 - He thinks I'll want a little more power out of my 4.0L with the bigger 31" tires).
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Unread 05-02-2015, 06:28 PM   #9
DrgnRebrn
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Posts: 32
Here's my front u-joints.
front-driver-axle-joint.jpg   front-passenger-axle-joint.jpg  

Last edited by DrgnRebrn; 05-02-2015 at 06:44 PM..
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Unread 05-03-2015, 05:52 AM   #10
PolkaPower
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Stop wasting your money and buy a low maintenance vehicle.
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Unread 05-03-2015, 07:11 AM   #11
t600
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I wouldn't waste money on the air intake and exhaust system. I read an article where they did a bunch of different mods on a 4.0 and they didn't gain much (1-3HP), and that was on a dyno. I believe they are tuned to the max from the factory. Any of your plans will be more money in reality, you always have the miscellaneous stuff. I'd look over all the ware items first, brakes, ignition parts, belts, bushings etc.
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Unread 05-03-2015, 08:51 AM   #12
vlackattack
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No one on here seems to get any significant performance increase from a cold air intake, I wouldn't bother with it. You'd probably be better off spending the money you'd spend on that on better tires or lift.
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Unread 05-03-2015, 08:57 AM   #13
DrgnRebrn
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1998 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkaPower View Post
Stop wasting your money and buy a low maintenance vehicle.
Hehe, if only we could all take that advice! Sure would make the forum pretty boring though.

I have two other low maintenance vehicles already, and this is a low maintenance vehicle. Having owned it for almost 17 years now, I've only had to do minor repairs & maintenance. I started another thread where I posted a video of my Jeep up on jack stands, testing out the t-case shifting issue. Here's the thread link:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/v.../#post29845073

If you watch the video you'll see that the 4WD to 2WD shifting problem disappears when the tires are off the ground. This makes me fairly confident that I don't have a TC problem, but simply need to get identically sized tires (mine are currently 5/8" different, front to rear).

Watch the video and let me know what you think though! I'd really appreciate any feedback.
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Unread 05-03-2015, 09:04 AM   #14
DrgnRebrn
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1998 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by t600 View Post
I wouldn't waste money on the air intake and exhaust system. I read an article where they did a bunch of different mods on a 4.0 and they didn't gain much (1-3HP), and that was on a dyno. I believe they are tuned to the max from the factory. Any of your plans will be more money in reality, you always have the miscellaneous stuff. I'd look over all the ware items first, brakes, ignition parts, belts, bushings etc.
The idea behind the tires + power boost options was to try & "equal out" any performance decrease I may see from running a larger, heavier tire, with a larger footprint. K&N advertises an estimated 7.71 HP @ 4684 RPM. MagnaFlow doesn't advertise any HP increase, but I'm thinking it may only be 1-3 HP. Even those two combined won't provide anything close to mind-blowing performance changes, but if they make my Jeep seem like there was no change in performance by putting on bigger tires it could be considered a win.
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Unread 05-03-2015, 09:06 AM   #15
DrgnRebrn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vlackattack View Post
No one on here seems to get any significant performance increase from a cold air intake, I wouldn't bother with it. You'd probably be better off spending the money you'd spend on that on better tires or lift.
That's good to know. I haven't crawled the forum to review real-life experiences from ZJ owners yet, so I appreciate the feedback. Do you think there may be a performance decrease from running larger tires, without any power modifications to the engine?
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