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Gearhead31 09-18-2013 09:29 PM

OEM 95 zj bug out/dd upgrades
So I've done some searching for some upgrades across the board. Been cruising the forums for a while now. Not too much seems to pop up or it gets going great then just dies off or gets hijacked and goes off from what I'm trying to find. Maybe I'm just an idiot with the search or maybe I can't get the "keywords" just right, so I wanted to try this and see if this works out better. I'll try to keep it brief for now and let it develop. If this is in the wrong section, please let me know and I'll change it asap.

I have a completely OEM '95 ZJ i6. It will remain the family DD. I plan to build it up so it can still be a perfect family DD but also be a decent(if not pretty great) shtf/bug out/medium trail use vehicle. in line so far is, obviously, a 3.5-4.5" lift kit, upgraded tires(possibly 32"), roof rack, bumper upgrades(probably ARB), spare tire rear bumper attachment, skid plates, winch(swappable to front/rear bumpers) and a possible rear axle 'upgrade' to 44a(for compatibility and simplicity).

What other upgrades could you all suggest that would make this as much a beast as possible? There are a few things to consider, low budget to work around, must remain family friendly and be a good DD, will be used half in virginia mountains half in florida highway types of terrain, will be taken out on occasion to more remote areas for camping, fishing, etc. Lastly, I don't have a full mechanics shop at my disposal so please think of stuff that can be done with some more basic tools, an air compressor, and a single car garage. i can't begin to count how many threads I've seen, the advice given almost requires a 4 bay pro shop with every tool you can think of >_<

A few more things I have considered but couldn't get anything too conclusive to my intended uses: swapping 249 for 242 tc(which is better for all the typical things a dd/offroader would hit, personal experiences between the two!?), changing out the differentials but not sure of best types to get(lsd, elocker, combinations, etc), frame reinforcements, onboard air supply systems, spare electricity(extra batteries w/ solar?)

Opinions, thoughts, comments, anything to add?

These are what I've found and am hoping to expand a bit. If you think something is stupid and I shouldn't do it, feel free to do so, just please explain why. If you know other good resources that might expand a bit on this some, please share away! Thanks! :thumbsup:

dnuccio 09-18-2013 10:02 PM

sounds like you've got a good plan started there

jabba974 09-19-2013 12:24 AM

I'd keep your eye on functionality...I heard this a long time ago, and I know it works for just about every situation you can encounter: "The K.I.S.S. Rule"...keep it simple you dont need alot of exotic upgrades that will break down on you, be it a DD or a bug out vehicle... Small lift...decent tires...good luggage rack....tool box...spare fuel can... auxillary power source(invertor, or generator)... lighting... Saftey stuff... A winch maybe handy, but do you need the extra weight or space when your loading up the family? A good come-a-long may work in a bind... Possibly a dual batt set-up maybe helpful... I wouldnt include anything that you need to find in a jam... just my opinion here..... K.I.S.S. ;)

zj97ltd 09-19-2013 04:56 AM

Just keep in mind after you lift, add the extra weight of bumpers, racks, etc, and twist 32" tires, your 4.0 is going to hate you. Every time I go near the Tampa/St. Pete area everyone is flying (not as bad as Miami but still) lol. You'll definitely want to re-gear eventually.

There are a lot of people on here that would prefer a properly functioning 249 TC over a swap. I like the simplicity of the 249 myself, and with all the rain we've been getting lately it makes daily driving much easier. I've seen a lot of positive comments about 249's being great in the snow too.

Gearhead31 09-23-2013 09:37 PM

Lol, Jabba974 words of the wise! I've been concerned about the added weight so I might nip the 32's and stick with 30's. also, the winch would be easily removable so that would be a "throw on and lock down as you're loading up" kind of piece also reducing daily drive weight. I forgot to add, but I'm also looking for a good way to add a removable power inverter(like a 6,500w+ sized) and converting to dual batt. I already have a yellowtop altima in there(mainly to power the amp and sub for now) so I should be good for now. Side note on that one, does ANYONE know where I can find a charger/maintainer for AGM batteries that is a permanent bolt on kit for AGM batteries? only ones I have been able to find under $150+ will destroy AGMs or are rated 16v and up. I want the kind like the diesel trucks have. Bolts on, hooks to batt, 3' cord hangs out somewhere near underside of front bumper. Anyone?

zj97ltd Thanks. It's been a pain to find someone who says one is better, or rather more practical, over the other by actual use. I was starting to get used to "249's are for amateurs", "231's are crap", "242's are too weak" and the like >_< The weight dragging on an i6 has really been bugging me, especially since a lot of travel is highway as of late. That's why I'm trying to think of ways the weight can be shed off during DD but be rapidly redeployed for say a bug out scenario. We are several decades overdue for a hurricane after all. I have a truck that will be hauling most of the weight so max hauling isn't of highest concern just yet. this is more a "be sure the family will be safe and can get to the more remote areas" kind of build as well as being a toy that can be taken out once in a while. One thing that I may end up doing far down the road is just swap out the motor for a newer I6. I hear those have been having far more praise than the early/mid 90's series of 4.0, anyone else concur?

zj97ltd 09-24-2013 04:48 AM

I thought I read somewhere about the newer 4.0's being prone to cracking heads?

If your mind is set on staying with the 6, you could always look into building a 4.6 stroker. I've never experienced one but I'd imagine you're getting V8-ish performance with one.

Gearhead31 09-24-2013 09:22 PM

Idk.. I've heard that a lot too but my motor is bloody indestructible. I have literally had the whole motor freeze due to someone screwing with my antifreeze mix one winter... Still runs perfectly to this day and that was 4 years ago. Lesson number one, don't tick off hardcore rednecks when you live in the middle of nowhere. They will get their revenge in the worst ways =/
Just a thought. I think this motor is gonna easily take me 350k+ mi at this rate, even with all of it's abuse cause it's still going strong as can be at ~249k

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