87-95 Wrangler is known as the YJ (it's the one with rectangular headlights
97-06 (no such thing as a 96) Wranger is the TJ
07-present Wranger is the JK
I won't go through the rest of the nicknames as they are actually all indicated on the Forum page of this site in small font.
The TJ uses shocks, not struts and has no use for struts. http://www.shockwarehouse.com/news/d...ocksstruts.cfm
If you need new shocks, the TJ guys will be happy to share their experience and opinions with you in the TJ forum.
Tires always have trade-offs. The most comfortable tire possible for you won't be going off the road ever, and won't be too great in winter. The greatest winter tire for you won't be good for anything above 45 deg F. The greatest off road tire won't be good on the road nor in snow.
You're likely looking for something in the all-terrain category, and many of them are mild enough to be comfortable enough for a TJ and still rugged enough to handle light duty off road. Don't ask about brands. Brand is meaningless. Every brand has winners and losers. For example: Goodyear Wranger Silent Armors, Duratracs, Adventurers (I assume so far anyway), and MTR are great while Goodyear Wrangler HT, SRA, and ATS all suck. Bridgestone has some great touring tires, but I'm entirely unimpressed by their all-terrain tires.
My picks given your info/budget in no particular order:
- Firestone Destination AT
- General Grabber AT2
- Hercules Terra Trac AT2
- Kumho Road Venture AT KL78 (tends to be a little cheaper, but also tends to be a little shorter-lived)
- Treadwright ATG
- Treadwright Puma
- Treadwright Warden
- Goodyear Wrangler Radial (not the greatest ever, but definitely great for the money if you really want to pinch pennies, but just be a little extra careful in heavy rain--I haven't experienced it yet with mine on my work truck, but they look prone to hydroplaning)
I could add many more great tires to that list, but they're more expensive and, honestly, not necessarily any better for it. These are all among the best, and they are also among the cheapest at around $100 or less per tire in a size typical for your TJ. If you want to be spendier or have any other questions/info for me, just let me know, and I'll adjust my advice as necessary.
You can fit tires as big as 31" in diameter on a stock TJ. Honestly, I'd tell you to go for P235/75r15 (assuming you have 15" wheels)--it's a 29 x 9.25" tire that is so common that tons of options are available and for good prices. You don't need huge tires or heavy duty LT tires. Smaller sizes commonly fount on a TJ are 225/75r15 (28 x 8.8) and 215/75r15 (27.5 x 8.5). 30x9.5r15 and 31x10.5r15 are larger sizes that will still fit. Changing tire size from stock can throw your speedometer and odometer off, but getting that back in order is as simple for a TJ as using a single wrench to undo one bolt and swap a plastic gear in your 4wd transfer case. Going too much bigger with tires can also make your TJ feel underpowered/sluggish. Larger tires provide you with more ground clearance, but it doesn't sound like it need it really. 215 or 225 is probably your official stock size, but have fewer options due to being less common which is why I'd suggest just going to 235--it's not so different that you would even need to change your speedo gear, but I'd still suggest it especially if your original tires were 215's.
I do recommend you buy all 5 tires and regularly do a 5-wheel tire rotation. Incorporating your spare in your rotation will make your tires last 20% longer. I hate seeing Wranglers with a mismatched spare that has never been used. They only replace 4 tires and just let that spare sit on the back and rot; if they ever need it, it'll probably be so damned old that it will fail on them--what good is a spare that fails? Using it in a 5-tire rotation means that you're not spending any extra money in the long run (cuz your tires last longer than if you just drove on 4 100% of the time), and you guarantee that you'll never have to risk driving on an ancient, underinflated, dry-rotted spare. You also guarantee that it will be the same size as the rest of your tires which is much safer for a 4x4.