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Unread 06-03-2010, 06:42 PM   #1
Fire-Wrangler
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JK owners, I need your help desperately!!

So I have a 1997 TJ - 4 inch lift, rock bumpers all around, 33's on steelie wheels, bla bla bla - that was ticking, and to make a long story short, blew up the other day - hole in the cylinder wall. I dont want to mess with it, so I am looking at a 2007 or so JK. I have a lot of questions because I know nothing about the JKs - TJs I did my homework - now I am doing my homework with the JKs. If you guys can give me any info on what is best, worst for it I would greatly appreciate it. My questions...

1. Lift kit?? I have heard the horror stories about the drive shafts?? I was thinking of going the Teraflex 2.5 BB with a 1.75 body lift. Any known problems with that combo??

2. I will probably go with the 6 speed cause of the power when needed factor, and really only want to go with 16 inch wheels with 33's.

3. Any other known problems to be aware of when modding these??

Any other info or opinions you can give are welcome!! Thanks all!!!

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1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport - Dark Montego Blue - 4 inch Superlift kit - 33x12.5 BFG's with 15x8 black steel wheels.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 06:56 PM   #2
hansonian
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personally i'd just slap another motor in your tj. it seems like everything on the jk's are computer controlled, even the throttle. i'm not saying the jk is bad (it rides better than my last two jeeps) but i'd definitely prefer a throttle cable over the drive by wire setup.

what were you doing to bomb your motor?
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Unread 06-03-2010, 07:02 PM   #3
Fire-Wrangler
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The jeep had a very small tick to it when I bought it. Only wheeled it one time, other than playing in the snow. The tick got louder and louder - sounded like a rocker click or something. Went to take it over to my buddies house the other day to work on it and enroute the thing started missing, knocking and rattling, then died. We towed it back to his house, started taking it apart and wa la...pistons soaked with oil and antifreeze, and the #6 piston was gone, desentagrated.....I mean gone. Then we realized and nice hole in the cylinder wall. I just dont feel like messing with a new engine. The jeep has some rust and stuff and who knows whats next with it. Obviously the owner before me didnt take as much care of it as he made it seem???
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1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport - Dark Montego Blue - 4 inch Superlift kit - 33x12.5 BFG's with 15x8 black steel wheels.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 07:03 PM   #4
skivviss
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sounds like you got a perfectly good TJ that just needs a motor.

get a cheap used tow rig and trailer, spend the rest on engine + dana 60 axles with lockers and keep the TJ alive as a towed toy.

just sayin'... sounds good right now with a few beers.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
RockyClymer
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As to your original question - no problem with drive shafts when lift is 3 inches or less, and maybe not even a bit above (4 door has longer rear shaft, so less angle) personally, I put adj control arms on the rear, reset the rear pinion angle and the resultant Rzeppa joint angle at the t-case is about the same as a stock vehicle...no problems in over 10k+ miles.

I do have to agree, why not a new engine in the TJ...a lot cheaper.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 09:53 PM   #6
ZBoater
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As a former TJ owner I'd say go for the JK. It may be electronic, but the TJ design ran it's course. The JK shows the improvements modern technology can offer. At first when i got my JK my first reaction was "this ain't a Jeep!". Too comfortable. Too nice a ride.

Exactly. Depends on what you are looking for and your budget. I've seen some pretty modded rigs here. JKs give you many options. I got a 2007 a little while back that still had some warranty. Had the fuel tank replaced under warranty. Other than that it's been perfect. Warranty ran out last month so I am taking the plunge and doing a 2" lift and 35s.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 10:52 PM   #7
Prot
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Avoid budget boosts above two inches. Trying to take the cheap way out leads to long term problems. If you are just going with 33's, that is only one lousy inch more than stock which to me hardly seems worth it when Rubicon take off tires/wheels can be had for $500 and requires no alteration to the suspension. If you want 33's, go with Teraflex's leveling kit for $129 which will provide the right amount of lift and level the Jeep off at the same time.

3" lift and 35's can be done correctly on a modest to medium budget. Going to 37's and a 4.5" lift and beyond gets substantially more expensive, hence most people stopping at 35's because of the cost vs. benefit.

You mentioned wanting a six speed. With the manual transmission, the following differential gear ratios ate recommended for the tire size:

32"...4.10
33"...4.56
35"....4.88
37"....5.13

If you opt for the automatic, the following gears/are recommended:

32"....4.10 or in mountainous areas 4.56
33".....4.56 or 4.88 for towing/mountains
35".....5.13
37".....5.38

There are some issues that sometimes arise with doing a body lift on a manual transmission JK such as being able to shift in certain gears. Those issues can be fixed, but it is often something not anticipated and people generally don't like to go hacking on their Jeep needlessly when a better lift would have prevented the problem.

I am on stock driveshafts with 37,000 miles on the lift and tires. Any higher and I would need to change them. Most coil spring lifts for a JK raise the vehicle higher than advertised.

It is critical that steering wheel be centered. It is also important to center the axles and maintain parallel steering geometry to avoid death wobble. JK's are more susceptible to death wobble than previous models. Tighten the track bars with the vehicle on the ground, not still on jack stands or a shop lift.

Do not overinflate tires. Stupid shops constantly put 50psi in my tires because that is what the sidewall days. I run 30psi in 35's.

The stock tie rod is pure crap. Replace it with a chromoly unit from Poly Performance. The stock one never stays adjusted correctly and flips when you so much as sneeze on it. Replacing it improves steering feel and helps combat death wobble.

JK rear brakes wear out twice as fast as the fronts. Be mindful of that.

Use relays when adding accessories. Even just replacing a headlight or fog light bulb with a more powerful one will cause the computer to freak out due to the canbus system. Use the original circuitry to trigger a relay and everything will be fine.

The intermediate steering shaft sucks. There is no permanent cure for it other than to inject grease in the boost periodically.

Personally, I would replace the engine in the TJ with a 4.6L stroker instead of giving up on the TJ in favor of a bunch of cheap plastic and computers wrapped in sheet metal thinner than a sheet of paper.

JK accessories cost twice as much as the same accessory for a TJ.

Some 15" wheels will fit, but most do not and just about all require grinding the caliper. You are better off by just using 16, 17, or 18" wheel.

The stock spare tire carrier will hold up to a 35" spare if the wheel spacing is correct, although some prefer the swing put carrier for more support. Rear visibility is limited with a 35" spare and nonexistent with a 37" spare.

The hood flutters in high winds, but it will not fly open.

Poly Performance and AEV/Nth degree are probably the two best lift and steering manufacturers for a JK.

Do not use a dropped pitman arm. It is not necessary and will put undue stress on the steering box, which is already very weak.

If lifting 3" or higher, use a high steering kit to correct geometry and tighten the turning radius.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 11:20 PM   #8
kking08
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id fix the TJ, drop in a 4.6 stroker or a hemi. I like my JK and all but id trade it in a heartbeat for my old 03 rubicon
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Unread 06-03-2010, 11:35 PM   #9
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I'd buy a JK, if the previous owner destroyed the engine on your TJ which is known for being one of the most bullet-proof on the planet, probably everything else is in as bad a shape. I have a TJL Rubi and a JK Rubi 4-door, both sticks. If I had to choose, no contest, I'd keep the JK. I was thinking like you, and planning on a lift before even buying it. After driving it for a short while, I liked the way it handled and looked as it sat. Get a Rubi and maybe you won't have to touch it. Hi-way handling has been transformed!
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Unread 06-04-2010, 08:30 AM   #10
Ravik
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I think Prot hit the trouble spots petty squarely.

But there are some perks to the JK compared to older models though - the Jeep my JK replaced was a '76 Cherokee, so that's where my opinions come from...

Highway manners: The JK actually has some. I live in Colorado, 30 minutes from what I figure is some of the best OHV land in the world, and the thought of driving my old Cherk up there some days was enough to make me not want to go. A half hour at 65 in it was enough to simply wear a person out.

The 'Rubi on the other hand is pretty much your average highway car, until you put it in 4-lo and hit the diff locks and swaybar unlock buttons... Then it turns into a mechanical mountain goat.

Gas mileage: The JK seriously trumps my old Jeep in this department - about 20 on the highway and 18 in town. The '76 got about 12 on the highway and 8 in town.

Technology: Yes, the JK has more computing power than your average third world country, but this has proven to be useful... I certainly wont miss having to ether the crap out of a big 4bbl in the dead of winter and hope there's enough juice in the battery to get fuel back into the bowls, or getting out to flip hubs, or having one tiny speaker in the dash that was trying to overcome 3" magnaflow'd exhaust, or any of the other stone-age stuff I was so used to. These aren't things you've probably had to do with your TJ, but for me it's a pretty nice change.

I think my favorite thing right now is that the 'Rubi tells me when it would like to have the oil changed and how much further I can go on the gas left in the tank... That's pretty neat.

Safety: The JK actually stops when you would like it to... With the '76, standing on the brake pedal was merely a suggestion to the vehicle that slowing down would be nice... And everything was well adjusted - 4-wheel drums are just, well, not very good.

Suspension: Lets face it, there's a reason the world moved away from leaf springs... The '76 was a harsh ride and to get any articulation out of it, you had to get pretty extreme with some welding gear. The 'Rubi just works, and works quite well, and you don't suffer from internal bleeding from washboards.

Drivetrain: My '76 was essentially a tractor - 4:88 gears, T18 4-speed with granny 1st, and a D20 transfer case with the terra low kit in it... Basically it was a three speed as 1st was useless for anything other than crawling and fourth would get you to 70 if you held on really tight and watched the pyros like a hawk...

The six speed in the 'Rubi is a godsend, really. Sure, you get to shift a whole lot due to the close ratios, but it's sooo nice to 'have a gear for that', no matter what you're doing.

But, overall - for me at least - the 'Rubi is still a "Jeep"; it has real axles, a frame, real four wheel drive, lockers... Even though it has a lot more creature comforts and more gizmos, I can see all of my 70's era Jeeps in there still...

So I bought one.
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Last edited by Ravik; 06-04-2010 at 08:43 AM..
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Unread 06-04-2010, 08:52 AM   #11
AustinCJer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravik View Post
I think Prot hit the trouble spots petty squarely.

But there are some perks to the JK compared to older models though - the Jeep my JK replaced was a '76 Cherokee, so that's where my opinions come from...

Highway manners: The JK actually has some. I live in Colorado, 30 minutes from what I figure is some of the best OHV land in the world, and the thought of driving my old Cherk up there some days was enough to make me not want to go. A half hour at 65 in it was enough to simply wear a person out.

The 'Rubi on the other hand is pretty much your average highway car, until you put it in 4-lo and hit the diff locks and swaybar unlock buttons... Then it turns into a mechanical mountain goat.

Gas mileage: The JK seriously trumps my old Jeep in this department - about 20 on the highway and 18 in town. The '76 got about 12 on the highway and 8 in town.

Technology: Yes, the JK has more computing power than your average third world country, but this has proven to be useful... I certainly wont miss having to ether the crap out of a big 4bbl in the dead of winter and hope there's enough juice in the battery to get fuel back into the bowls, or getting out to flip hubs, or having one tiny speaker in the dash that was trying to overcome 3" magnaflow'd exhaust, or any of the other stone-age stuff I was so used to. These aren't things you've probably had to do with your TJ, but for me it's a pretty nice change.

I think my favorite thing right now is that the 'Rubi tells me when it would like to have the oil changed and how much further I can go on the gas left in the tank... That's pretty neat.

Safety: The JK actually stops when you would like it to... With the '76, standing on the brake pedal was merely a suggestion to the vehicle that slowing down would be nice... And everything was well adjusted - 4-wheel drums are just, well, not very good.

Suspension: Lets face it, there's a reason the world moved away from leaf springs... The '76 was a harsh ride and to get any articulation out of it, you had to get pretty extreme with some welding gear. The 'Rubi just works, and works quite well, and you don't suffer from internal bleeding from washboards.

Drivetrain: My '76 was essentially a tractor - 4:88 gears, T18 4-speed with granny 1st, and a D20 transfer case with the terra low kit in it... Basically it was a three speed as 1st was useless for anything other than crawling and fourth would get you to 70 if you held on really tight and watched the pyros like a hawk...

The six speed in the 'Rubi is a godsend, really. Sure, you get to shift a whole lot due to the close ratios, but it's sooo nice to 'have a gear for that', no matter what you're doing.

But, overall - for me at least - the 'Rubi is still a "Jeep"; it has real axles, a frame, real four wheel drive, lockers... Even though it has a lot more creature comforts and more gizmos, I can see all of my 70's era Jeeps in there still...

So I bought one.
If I was one of those guys who FLOODED my signature line with quotes, id make this entire post my signature. Well said, sir! two thumbs up.
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Unread 06-04-2010, 09:03 AM   #12
skivviss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravik View Post
I live in Colorado, 30 minutes from what I figure is some of the best OHV land in the world
to threadjack a short moment...

i'm planning a CO road trip this july, what should i search for to find this area?
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Unread 06-04-2010, 09:19 AM   #13
Jeepin_Dad
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I think you are looking a too much lift for 33's, I am running a 2" BB with some 4dr Rubicon front springs to offset the added weight of the bumper and winch on my 2 dr X and have more than enough clearence for my 33"s. Personally I think that the 6-speed with 4.10 gears are perfect fo 33's plenty of acceleration and 6th is still usable on the highway, I usually average 17-18 mpg. Some '07 X's & Saharas have the 4.10s along with all JK Rubicons. As far as other misc. mod stuff the evap cannister needs to be either relocated or skidded.
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Unread 06-04-2010, 09:21 AM   #14
Ravik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skivviss View Post
to threadjack a short moment...

i'm planning a CO road trip this july, what should i search for to find this area?
Depends on what you're after. Check here (Trail Talk - Colorado4x4.org Forums) for trail reports, staging and a generally good group of local guys who'd be more than happy to show ya around.
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