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Unread 06-27-2015, 06:58 AM   #1
DjFlockaFlame
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New To Me ZJ. First Mods Thoughts

So I just got a new to me ZJ about a month ago. Its a 97 Laredo with 203k miles. I paid $1500 for it. Over the past month I've been going through and doing minor stuff really. Both o2 sensors(which were mangled by the way), lift gate struts so I'd stop hitting my head, spark plugs, CEL bulb, center console lid, and other mostly cosmetic stuff.

Now I'm looking into starting to mod this baby. I plan on doing a brush guard and a safari rack to get my spare out of the cargo area. I plan on swapping out all of my steering components and shocks since I don't know when those were replaced last, and the O2 sensors were the originals, so I imagine they've probably never been replaced.

So far this forum has been a wealth of information, but now I need opinions on what to start doing to mod my ZJ.

Its going to be a daily driver mostly, but I would like to be able to take it down some trails too. Its not 4x4 so I know I can't do anything too crazy, but I'd like to get more than driveway mud on my doors. So, thoughts?

TLDR: Got a new ZJ a month ago, what should I do to it?

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Unread 06-27-2015, 07:20 AM   #2
DrgnRebrn
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Check out my thread for what I did.
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showt...php?p=29817761
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Unread 06-27-2015, 07:29 AM   #3
DjFlockaFlame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrgnRebrn View Post
Check out my thread for what I did.
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showt...php?p=29817761
Yeah I've been browsing your thread to get some ideas. I was planning on doing the air intake and exhaust system, but after reading through your thread I figured that ~$500 would be better placed somewhere else lol.

The stock height on a 97 Laredo from the center of the hub to the edge of the fender is 18" right? Because IIRC mine measures 19", so I guess the previous owner stuck a lift kit on it. Surprising considering it doesn't look like they did much else to maintain it. Even minor stuff. The driver door panel was held on with duct tape when I got it.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 07:33 AM   #4
zjmaster
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Being its a 2 wd I would go with a locker of some sort in the diff. If you don't already have one.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 07:53 AM   #5
DjFlockaFlame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zjmaster View Post
Being its a 2 wd I would go with a locker of some sort in the diff. If you don't already have one.
I didn't put one on, so the previous owner probably didn't either. Pretty much everything is stock on this ZJ. The only thing not stock is the tires, shocks, and O2 sensors. I did the tires and O2 sensors. I think the previous owner treated it as a throw away vehicle. If only she knew the treasure she had...

Also another question I've been meaning to ask that I haven't seen posted in this forum yet. My driver door sags. A lot. I know that's usually the pins or the bushings, but this problem is way outside of that. The bracket that mounts the door to the hinge is actually broken off at the weld. Would it be easier to have a body shop weld the bracket back on(I don't have a welder, or a buddy to loan me one), or to just buy a new door and replace it?
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Unread 06-27-2015, 07:54 AM   #6
DrgnRebrn
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I'd go with 2" Old Man Emu springs paired with Bilstein 5100 Series shocks. That'll give your your best DD rode comfort & offroad improvement as far as ground clearance & flexibility go. You'll probably want to replace your upper spring isolators too.

Look at the bushings on your control arms, track bars, & sway bars & consider changing those. Check for play in your tie rod ends as well. If needed, upgrade your steering to the Crown HD setup.

Being a 2WD DD, I personally would be hesitant to go over 2" because you really open up a world of other required component upgrades, equating to more money. The 2" OME springs will let you stuff a 31"or 32" tire & give you a more aggressive look.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 07:56 AM   #7
DjFlockaFlame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zjmaster View Post
Being its a 2 wd I would go with a locker of some sort in the diff. If you don't already have one.
Which locker should I get? Its probably the stock axle, but I'm not 100% sure. Any way to check that? Also any write-ups on how to install a locker would be great.

Sorry, I'm a newbie.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 08:02 AM   #8
DjFlockaFlame
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And sorry for my lack of knowledge on stuff, I'm kind of a newbie on doing this much to a car. This is the most involved I've ever been on a vehicle because this is the most I've cared lol. I try to research as much as I can, but this ZJ is really going to be a learning experience for me.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 08:05 AM   #9
DjFlockaFlame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrgnRebrn View Post
Being a 2WD DD, I personally would be hesitant to go over 2" because you really open up a world of other required component upgrades, equating to more money. The 2" OME springs will let you stuff a 31"or 32" tire & give you a more aggressive look.
I'm probably not going to go above 2". I'm not sure if I want to do a BB or just a full lift or not. I'm debating on just keeping it at the 1" lift that's on it now, but I'm not 100% sure.

My neighbor is actually from Vermont, and since everyone is so into hockey up there they used to do BB with hockey pucks lol.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 10:12 AM   #10
kg6mov
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A BB is a good way to go, that will let you throw on the 31's, wheel it, and then decide if you want to keep the 2" or go higher.

Once you get a taste for what you can do you can pick a tire size and build around that. Either polishing your 2" lift with some nice OME springs or going all out for the big stuff.
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1996 ZJ Green Laredo V8, 2.5" OME and Bilsteins, 33's, Holes drilled in the roof.
1998 ZJ Platinum Limited 5.9, Backyard parts fodder
1987 Mercedes 300D Turbo, the diesel daily, 30mpg in style

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Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 10:15 AM   #11
DrgnRebrn
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^^^ x2
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Unread 06-27-2015, 10:22 AM   #12
DjFlockaFlame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg6mov View Post
A BB is a good way to go, that will let you throw on the 31's, wheel it, and then decide if you want to keep the 2" or go higher.

Once you get a taste for what you can do you can pick a tire size and build around that. Either polishing your 2" lift with some nice OME springs or going all out for the big stuff.
OK that makes sense. Is there a certain kit that you would recommend?
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Unread 06-27-2015, 10:34 AM   #13
kg6mov
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I'd just PM kolak and tell him you want a 2" BB and shocks to taste. As with any lift (and new jeep) it's also going to be a good time to look at all the CA bushings, steering components, etc.
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1996 ZJ Green Laredo V8, 2.5" OME and Bilsteins, 33's, Holes drilled in the roof.
1998 ZJ Platinum Limited 5.9, Backyard parts fodder
1987 Mercedes 300D Turbo, the diesel daily, 30mpg in style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
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Unread 06-27-2015, 10:52 AM   #14
DjFlockaFlame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg6mov View Post
I'd just PM kolak and tell him you want a 2" BB and shocks to taste. As with any lift (and new jeep) it's also going to be a good time to look at all the CA bushings, steering components, etc.
Yeah I saw that from DrgnRebrn's First Mods thread. I'm going to be checking all of that tomorrow probably. I've checked all my steering for looseness a couple times and everything seems to be pretty tight, but I still have some play in my steering. I know there's roughly 900 threads about that so I'll figure that out when I do the lift because I imagine that'll only get worse with the lift.
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Unread 06-28-2015, 10:23 AM   #15
zjmaster
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I have an aussie locker up front and a Dana True Trac in the rear. They both work great. Use the search mode to find write ups foe diffs
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