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Unread 07-03-2006, 05:49 PM   #1
Wookie06
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Slightly lifting a ZJ that is used for towing.

Well, this is my cherry post here. I'm in the Army, currently stationed in Iraq, and have several projects waiting for me when I get. One of the more important ones is putting a lift on my '96 ZJ. A lift kit might not normally be a high priority project but my daughter backed into something that caused one of the rear control arms to bend and crack. Rather than have it fixed at the dealer while I'm gone, my wife is waiting until I get home and I'm going to use this as an excuse to install a mild lift. I'm thinking about a 3.5" Tuff Country kit. The price seems reasonable. My Jeep will primarilly see road use, maybe in the future I'll do some mild trail riding. I don't want to do anything too wild to it since I occasionally use this vehicle to haul a 24' travel trailer. I have also thought about installing airbags in the coils to help with towing but I'm not sure if there is a product that will work with a lift.

Any comments on parts would be appreciated as well as thoughts on keeping my Jeep up to the task of towing the rather large trailer.

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Unread 07-03-2006, 06:03 PM   #2
zjeepin
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Yes I'll make 1 comment.

You don't want A Tuff Country Lift, there not good, basically you get what you pay for. Do a search for F>R Lift. it nets around3"-4" by swapping your frontsprings to the back. I'm sure Hunter will post the usual writeup. Also look into www.kevinsoffroad.com and rubicon express products all are top gear. You can also contact Kolak@aol.com he knows what hes doing and will talk to you for a while.
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Unread 07-03-2006, 06:14 PM   #3
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I figured the lower cost was a bit of a red flag and I definitely want to put something quality under the Jeep since I need to make sure that it can handle the onroad stress of a fairly large trailer. So, assuming that on the cheap end Tuff Country runs about $400, how much should I expect to spend on a quality setup?
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Unread 07-03-2006, 06:19 PM   #4
zjeepin
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Look up the Front to Rear Swap F>R I was talking about. You can generally get that fo around $400-$600 depends onwhere you buy the parts and what you buy.
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97 ZJ Chop Top-Buggy 5.2L V8, 249 T-Case
5" Lift, JKS Front and Rear Adj. Trackbars, RE Twin Tube Shocks, RE T-Case Drop, Cut Fenders, Chop Top, Half Doors.
33"x13"x16" Super Swamper TSLs on Black Steelies
Custom Rack, 4 Roof Lights, Roof Back-up Lights
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Unread 07-03-2006, 06:21 PM   #5
zjeepin
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Here ya go:

Front to Rear lift
Okay, we're jeepers, so many of us are completely up for the "Down and Dirty F=>R"


So what is it?

The coil springs on a ZJ (production years '92-98) are the exact same diameter inside and out on the front coil springs as they are in the rear.


side note: TJ, XJ, and ZJ all use the same diameter inside and out front coil springs.



The front springs on a ZJ are a bit longer, I don't recall how much longer and they are stiffer. Since they are the same diameter inside and out, you can move them to the rear and it will increase the ride height of the rear end of your ZJ Grand Cherokee.

The front coil springs in a V8 ZJ Grand Cherokee are a bit longer and a bit more stiff than those in the I6 4.0L equipped ZJ Grand Cherokee. The springs from the I6 will not give you the lift you are looking for.

There was a package called "Up-Country" that lifted the ZJ .5"~1" higher than a normal stock height ZJ Grand Cherokee. You can also use this spring as it is even longer and again, a bit more stiff than the normal V8 Spring.


This is all from memory as it has been over 3 years since I had my ZJ, but I do remember this:

UC = Up Country

V8 UC Front Springs when moved to the rear: ~4" of lift
V8 Normal Front Springs when moved to the rear 3"~3.5" of lift

I used Rancho shocks RS5000 shocks all the way around with Rancho 3" springs in the front and normal V8 springs in the rear and added in about 1" spacers for 4.25" of lift in the rear and about 3.75" of lift in the front.

I did not run a rear sway bar, it handled really well for a lifted vehicle. I attribute this due to the stiffer shocks and springs compared to what is normally there.


The total cost? About $100 for the Rach Springs. $45 for the V8 springs if you don't already have a V8. Shocks are $35 each.

You may need a rear adjustable track bar or track bar bracket to recenter the rear axle. The front axle though shifted, was not enough to need a different track bar. Adjustable Track bar was around $140? I think.

You can run your stock shocks till they separate on you if you'd like, but I'd recommend replacing your shocks at the same time.

So, total you are looking at about $340~$450.
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97 ZJ Chop Top-Buggy 5.2L V8, 249 T-Case
5" Lift, JKS Front and Rear Adj. Trackbars, RE Twin Tube Shocks, RE T-Case Drop, Cut Fenders, Chop Top, Half Doors.
33"x13"x16" Super Swamper TSLs on Black Steelies
Custom Rack, 4 Roof Lights, Roof Back-up Lights

Last edited by Texas ZJ1; 07-03-2006 at 07:31 PM..
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Unread 07-03-2006, 07:32 PM   #6
Texas ZJ1
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Nope,

you'll need a drop hitch and probably some load leveler's and swaybars for the hitch.


Hunter
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Unread 07-04-2006, 01:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1
Nope,

you'll need a drop hitch and probably some load leveler's and swaybars for the hitch.


Hunter
When you say "swaybars" I assume you're talking about the swaybar on the vehicle and not the anti-sway bar that can be used on the hitch with the trailer. I already have a load distributing hitch and I can probably reposition the hitch (not the receiver) as it is adjustable to compensate for the lift.

Okay, I should have already said that I have the typical 5.2 "Limited" (black with gold trim). So as I understand it:

1- I relocate the front springs to the rear
2- purchase new springs for the front
3- purchase new shocks for all the way around
4- possibly purchase new spacers for each spring
5- I need to purchase new control arms for the rear since one is already destroyed (any suggestions for brands and should I replace the front arms?)
6- Is it a good idea to purchase lowering brackets for the transmission/transfer case to keep the geometry close to stock? If so, suggestions?
7- Trackbar. So I may need a rear trackbar maybe a front. Assuming there aren't any drawbacks to intalling them would it just be a good idea to put them in especially with the added stress of towing? Any brand recommendations?
8- Swaybars. Once again, I would think it would be good to have because I tow. Is there a complication with keeping them, stock at least, because of this lift?

Okay, I think that's about it. I just want to make sure I get all the information very soon since I want to get this accomplished very soon after getting home. Short story is a baby carrier and stroller don't fit into my other daily driver very well. A 2000 Trans Am. I did get word yesterday that I'll be leaving about a month sooner than I expected so if all goes well I'll be leaving here (Iraq) in about a month and a half.

I can't use the image tags yet but here a couple links to pictures I have uploaded:
http://webpages.charter.net/wookie06...s/P1000710.jpg
http://webpages.charter.net/wookie06...s/P1000623.jpg
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:13 PM   #8
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I would go with RE adj. CA's for your application. IMO they are the best for the money. I have 4 of them on the front of my Jeep...

Also how much weight are you towing. I have a 4.5" lift and I tow a 3,500LBS trailer for work. I do have a 5.5" drop ball and a stiffer rear swaybar. I have TeraFlex springs and they do not sag at all with that extra weight... but every srping will be differant with that.
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:23 PM   #9
Texas ZJ1
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Sir,

you may want to get an 3.5 lift kit from RE or www.kevinsoffroad.com under ZJ lifts.

The price will be comparable and you'll have all new stuff.


Hunter

However, you were corrrect on the hitch and anti-swaybars.
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:31 PM   #10
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The travel trailer is in the first picture I link to above. If I remember right the empty weight is 4600 pounds. I think max weight is rated around 6000 or more pounds so it basically is at the max rating or slightly beyond a stock 96 5.2 4x4. Generally speaking it does a good job towing although my Jeep is starting to show it's age. It was high miles when I purchased it used in 98 with about 82,000 miles. I had the transmission rebuilt under extended warranty around 120,000 miles. Now it has about 160,000 miles on it. It usually tows strong only getting seriously bogged down on long steep uphills. I do of course have concerns for transmission and engine upgrades so I will probably ask some questions about that in the coming months.

RE? Is that Rubicon Express? I just did a quick search. A little pricey but my primary concern is reliability. I see there are front CAs, like you said. Primarilly, I need rears right now. I see some pricey Sky Jacker models. $600 plus. I would think I don't need to spend that much!
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:37 PM   #11
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RE does also make rear CA's... you can get them from kolak (kolak@aol.com)... IMO they are decently priced.
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:38 PM   #12
Texas ZJ1
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If you want to lift a Grand and make it perform, you're going to spend some cash. You can do it cheaply, however, unless you know exactly what you're doing, it'll ride cheaply too.

Mine is very similar to yours except that I'm at 6.5. Our max tow rating is 6.5K. I'll be towing a trailer from Omaha NE to Tx in the next two weeks.


Hunter
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:38 PM   #13
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Doh... another thing to think about is if you lift it of course you are yoing to get bigger tires. That will DRASTICLY effect towing without re-gearing your axels.
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:49 PM   #14
Wookie06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlaineWasHere
Doh... another thing to think about is if you lift it of course you are yoing to get bigger tires. That will DRASTICLY effect towing without re-gearing your axels.
My current plan is to leave the tires because they are pretty new. I'll go larger when I need to replace them. I may not worry too much about regearing since my next vehicle purchase will be something that will handle the towing without breaking a sweat (3/4 or 1 ton) but that won't be for a few years.
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Unread 07-04-2006, 02:50 PM   #15
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Just let us know how it works out for you.


Hunter
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94 5.9 Laredo 6.5 RE lift with 35 Maxxis Bighorns
and 33 Bridgestone Duelers
Detroit and true trac
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602.841.3355

For your performance needs:

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