Sounds do-able. a 2.5" Rubicon Express or Old Man Emu lift with YJ front springs will run about $1300. 31" tires - ~$600 add $200 for steel wheels, $400 for aluminum. Paint supplies (sounds like you will do it yourself) will be under $300.
I was thinking about doing the Black Diamond 3 inch lift. I was going to get a wrangler kit without the shocks, and get some conversion shackles. Would that work? That kit is usually under $700. Was looking at 31" ProComp X-terrains for tires, and some polished steel wheels..
All the tune up stuff, new U joints everywhere, probably snag a Contour fan, 95 YJ brake booster, power steering...
Probably won't be able to cut out rust, but luckily I don't have very much of it. I don't have a welder, nor have I ever welded. I think I'll just fiberglass it and then roll on my paint. I've seen some nice results with the 4" foam rollers..
Thats about it really. I'd like to get some new bumpers, maybe new gauges and and a custom dash, but that might have to come later..
This post is the key and WayneMeuir hit the answer on the head.
Plan for all the maintenance first. This includes fluid changes and all the basic tune up stuff. Replace anything you think is bad. I know it's boring, but that cool 1,200 dollar stereo doesn't sound nearly as good when your broken down on the side of the road with a bad u joint (that you should have fixed!).
Since you're not planning on any mongo wheeling, you can go a lot farther with your money. As stated above, a couple of inches of lift and some nice tires. Some nice bumpers, decent sound system (I don't spend much on mine, too many stolen components), some chrome nick nacks, rugs, etc....
Do the body work yourself and rattle can the rig. You will be surprised how nice it can come out with a little patience.
Then drive the wheels off of it!!!!
Like Jeepdaddy said, this route will make the 3grand go the furthest IMO. Do all the work you can do yourself and with some time you'll have that DD ready to go. Once it's to that point you can save some pennies and mod if you'd like. And if it makes you feel any better, I'm trying to build two CJ7's for 4 grand between the both of them.
Seems like everyday is a Monday.
Same song I always go with, CAGE AND BELTS FIRST!
You didn't survive the combat zone to get wounded/killed by cheap factory 'Safety Bar'! Belts come cheap if you know anyone that races, belts have expiration dates on them, and have to be changed yearly.
The old ones are fine for what we normally do.
Get yourself a COMPREHENSIVE first aid/medical kit!
Mine fits in an ammo can, and can cover everything from bee stings, poison ivy, & diarrhea to fairly sever trauma. DON'T FORGET EYE WASH! Rust & dirt in the eyes is pretty common!
Then start thinking about brakes or front axle upgrade depending on how heavy you wheel...
Winch, rubber and gears.
If you can do the work yourself, $3,000 should about get you these things.
You're saying I messed up, because of my age? No offense, but I probably know more about Jeep's then you do. I've been working on them since I was 6, so I know quite a lot, and I've come by pretty much every problem you could have with one. So please, lay off. You don't know me, and I don't know you
My CJ will mostly be driven on the street. My wheeling for now will consist of some very mild trail rides.
The fact is, CJ's are not safe in the current configuration by todays standards...
It's VERY EASY to install a 'Halo' around the driver/passenger and one would be pretty silly to spend money where it won't save your life!
That would be CAGE AND REPLACING 25+ YEAR OLD BELTS!
Then comes your investment.
With 25+ years of crud, dried oil, rats nests, rotted wires, ect.
A fire is always 10 seconds away!
Battery disconnect and AT LEAST a 5 lb. fire extingusher is a really CHEAP INSURANCE POLICY!
Then you think about fingers, toes and eyes...
What are they worth to you?
No better way to ruin a fairly expensive weekend out Jeeping than getting a good does of the runs,
Bug bites, poison ivy, or a good sun/wind burn and not having anything to fix the situation!
Comprehensive first aid kit set up to take care of ALL minor first aid, and some of the more serious stuff, like rust/dirt/bugs in the eye, good cut or burn, broken finger or twisted ankle,
Not to mention all the kicks, scratches, cuts, burns & headaches you are going to get WORKING ON THE JEEP GETTING IT READY!
$30 for first aid with eye wash and a good water proof box to store the stuff in is pretty cheap in the long run!
Then worry about seat covers, lights, chrome shift knobs, ect...
I agree that 3,000 won't get very far. But 2,600 for a decent lift is extremly high. It might cost close to that if you paid someone to put it on. It would cost more to lift it using YJ springs. But a regular CJ lift kit is only 600-900. And please don't put in a 3" body lift.
i hate my body lift the po put it in and would have to re do a lot of lines and exhuast so its there for now
I am going through this right now on an 80 CJ5. What I advise you to do is check out all the normal wear items and fix them first. Make sure the transfer case, tranny, drive shafts are working correctly. First, replace any worn out stuff like U-Joints, seals, gaskets, cooling system, heater, wiring/electrical stuff, etc. so that it is realiable and usable. Then, with whatever money is left (there may not be any left), go for the improvement stuff you want. It won't do you any good to spend $500 on a lift, $1000 on wheels and tires, etc, etc, only to find out you can't drive it because all the necessary stuff is worn out.
I bought a nice 80 CJ5 cheap knowing that I would probably have to rebuild the 258. T176 and Dana 300 and both axles are in good shape and work great, brakes work good as does the clutch, etc. In two weeks, I have spent $1300 on misc stuff, which is about twice what I thought I would need to spend. New heater blower, new radiator, new rear driveshaft, u-joints etc. and I have not even gotten to the cost of the engine rebuild yet.
I think it is worth it, or I wouldn't do it, but it still costs money, and in the end, I don't think I am going to be upside down in it financially, I'm just trying to prepare you for what lies ahead.
BY THE WAY, THANKS FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE!! YOU GUYS ARE THE HEROS OF OUR TIME!
and Full agreement on the maintenance my fc-170 was bought cheap knowing it'd be a lot of work to get it driving boring I know but a driving Jeep is better than a parked one