2.5" or 3.5" Lift? That is the First Question. - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-06-2017, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
Stevectx
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2.5" or 3.5" Lift? That is the First Question.

I have a stock 2003 Wrangler TJ w/5-Speed manual transmission and want to make some changes. I'm very green when it comes to customizing vehicles but this Jeep rebuild is going to happen. The first mod is a suspension lift and tires...question is how big?

Starting with a 2.5" suspension lift and the guy at the shop said I have to consider adding a 1-1.5" body lift on top of that IF I want 33" tires. I'm just not sure extra size is necessary to achieve the aesthetically pleasing, comfortable driving and yet off-road capable machine? This is not my daily driver but do drive it 95% on road and 5% at the deer lease and other little remote excursions. And who knows, maybe we'll take it down the Rubicon trail next summer.

Regardless of all that, first and foremost I want a relatively comfortable driving jeep that is more off-road capable than just stock; and a close 2nd in importance is something that looks really GOOOOD! So again the question is will I be uncomfortable driving around town or down the freeway with a 4" lift and 33" tires? That's my concern and thus I'm leaning towards a 2.5" lift and going with 31" tires (BTW the wife says go bigger fwiw). I also want to keep it towable behind a motorhome and something I have to consider with the lift and tires as well.

Other mods after that will be new intake/exhaust, bumpers, winch, lights, fenders and some other bling.

I'd appreciate some sage advice from some of you more seasoned folks or links to nice, clean proportional builds would be great too.

Thank You!
Steve

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-07-2017, 08:46 AM
AZGLENH
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Hey Steve,
I was in the same spot last year, but I had a 4cyl TJ. I went with RC 2.5" and 31's because I didn't want to re-gear my diffs. You having the 4.0, don"t have that as an issue. A buddy of mine put in the RC 4" kit (SKU: 90630) with 33's and he loves it. Drives great both on and off road. He used the included rear Track bar bracket, and added an adjustable front track bar. Both of our TJ's are great street drivers, and very capable off road. I don't know if I was any help, but I figured I could let you know either choice is gonna work well.
Have a great time!
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-07-2017, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
Stevectx
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Thanks AZGlen! Seems you're happy with the driveability of the 2.5" and 31's ... are you equally as satisfied with the aesthetics ?
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-08-2017, 01:44 AM
AZGLENH
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I like the looks of the 31's, but I would be happier with the bigger lift and 33's. just not worth the extra work on a TJ with the 2.5L
The 4cyl doesn't have enough power to spin the 33's without regearing both diffs. As it is, I almost never use 5th gear anymore.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-08-2017, 10:52 AM
bill4
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Lift and tires

Personally,

id stick with the 31" tires and not go 33
unless you plan on a re-gear job
ive had jeeps with 33 and stock gears and
they were gutless and never really even needed 5th gear
This is a yj i had with 33s and 4" lift to give u an idea on what its gonna look like
i know the tj is different but they are about the same size
i def think the 33s would look cooler.
i use 4.56 gears with the 4.0 or 4.88 with the 2.5 with 33s
lastly, i would never ever do a body lift it doesent get you more ground clearance and they are ugly IMO.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-08-2017, 12:20 PM
222Doc
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A BL will gain you belly if you did a belly up too, you would have to go up 4" in tire to gain what a belly lift does. So in the TJ world there many "reasons" to do a body lift as part of the total job of a BL. at least one can point out mechanical advantages over looks.

If this was a Jk discussion i would agree with 100%, body lift on a Jk is unneeded. Even with a belly up and 37+s. But you wont see many Jk doing a belly up since it cost about as much as a tj today, even if you do the welding and install. its no simple job like a Tj or older.

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post #7 of 19 Old 09-08-2017, 01:19 PM
halcyon612
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32s! They are the best middle tire. Also look better than 31s (too skinny) or 33s (too fat). This is me w/ 32 & a 3 in lift. (and a big ol' load on back).
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-08-2017, 01:22 PM
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Same jeep, tires & lift but also w/ a 1" BL installed. The BL gave me too much space between the tires and fenders, so I took them out about a year later.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-11-2017, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
Stevectx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill4 View Post
Personally,

id stick with the 31" tires and not go 33
unless you plan on a re-gear job
ive had jeeps with 33 and stock gears and
they were gutless and never really even needed 5th gear
This is a yj i had with 33s and 4" lift to give u an idea on what its gonna look like
i know the tj is different but they are about the same size
i def think the 33s would look cooler.
i use 4.56 gears with the 4.0 or 4.88 with the 2.5 with 33s
lastly, i would never ever do a body lift it doesent get you more ground clearance and they are ugly IMO.
Thanks for the insight and rec on the body lift.
I am doing a gear change as there is noise coming from there now so while we're in there changing the gears is not THAT much more expensive... so probably going with 33" tires and the 2.5" lift but debating going higher still.

SteveC - TX
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-11-2017, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
Stevectx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 222Doc View Post
A BL will gain you belly if you did a belly up too, you would have to go up 4" in tire to gain what a belly lift does. So in the TJ world there many "reasons" to do a body lift as part of the total job of a BL. at least one can point out mechanical advantages over looks.

If this was a Jk discussion i would agree with 100%, body lift on a Jk is unneeded. Even with a belly up and 37+s. But you wont see many Jk doing a belly up since it cost about as much as a tj today, even if you do the welding and install. its no simple job like a Tj or older.
Hey Doc, excuse my ignorance but what is a "belly up"?

Steve
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-11-2017, 01:24 PM
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In general its to make the frame the lowest point at the belly. tj its not to hard nor too expensive? relative term, since for some a little is a lot and other the dont question cost. JKs dont ask, you cant afford it and in one state wont be street legal after as well. maybe perhaps a few other states too?.
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-12-2017, 10:21 AM
bill4
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Body Lift

i never thought about the belly
that does make sense I would still keep body lift to a minimum for looks :P
this is good info guys thanks
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-12-2017, 04:48 PM
bobthetj03
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2.5" of lift and 31's will give you the most bang for the buck. You can do 33's on a 2.5" lift, but you'll need to add bumpstop extensions to keep the tires out of the fenders or add a 1.25" body lift. If you're set on running 33's, re-gear to 4.56's, your 1st and 5th gear will thank you. Running a 33x1050x15 tire and wider Rubi flares will also assist in gaining you clearance if you get flexy. . Take it from someone who has gone from 31's, then 32's and now 33's, I wish I stayed at 31's. The Rubicon trail can be done on 31's and 2.5", FYI.
For your reference, here is my progression from 31's to 33's thru the years.
First pic, 31's, 2nd. 32's, 3rd. 33's. All on 2.5" OME lift.
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-12-2017, 04:54 PM
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Also, mine serves toad as well and tow's just fine on 33's if you needed an excuse to put you over the edge, lol!
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-12-2017, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halcyon612 View Post
32s! They are the best middle tire. Also look better than 31s (too skinny) or 33s (too fat). This is me w/ 32 & a 3 in lift. (and a big ol' load on back).
-- Do you find that you have any loss of articulation or tire rub with the 32s?
Also, it seems that the rim/tire options appear to be more limited with 32s... is this your experience as well?
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