How much lift can you put on an XJ without causing driveline issues? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-20-2020, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
Rg0403
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How much lift can you put on an XJ without causing driveline issues?

I see all sizes of lift kits available and wonder how large you can go before driveline issues happen. I’m guessing a drop transfer case kit is pretty much necessary with any lift 2” or more? And another question about larger lifts. Long arm means? I see both long arm and short arm kits. Can someone explain the difference and purpose.

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post #2 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 12:27 AM
sAe23
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Any amount of lift has the potential to cause issues.
Anything over 2-3 inches will probably require one or more of:
T-case drop, Leaf spring shims, and/or SYE.
Long arms are supposed to give a smoother on-road ride, and better off-road articulation.


How high are you thinking (of lifting your Jeep), and why?
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Rg0403 View Post
Long arm means? I see both long arm and short arm kits. Can someone explain the difference and purpose.
In theory, long arm lifts (longer control arms) are supposed to ride smoother in lifts over 4" with better control arm angles. It doesn't always work out that way. Those drooping arms love to hang up on big rocks. Ask some of the TJ guys where NOBODY uses them anymore offroad.

p.s. I have 5.5" of lift on short arms and it rides very good with my new Rancho rs5000x shocks.
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TheBoogieman is a jerk.
03' Rubicon/Zone 4" coils with 1" spacers up front/Rancho shocks/5.13 gears-35" MTZs/BM brakes
99' XJ /4.0L-AW4/ 5.5" lift / Rancho shocks/33" DC Extreme country MTs. Jeep #18
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I actually haven’t bought a vehicle yet. I am doing my research and educating myself as best as I can. This forum has been great information. I appreciate that a lot. I am new to the off road idea. So I need all the knowledge I can find. I am wanting an XJ to tow with my rv and play with grandkids. Got a couple of them getting old enough to help out on the project. Living in the high desert in CA there is a lot of places to play and I really want to have a vehicle to take with us to southern Utah this summer when we go. I don’t think I’ll need a huge lift for rock crawling. But don’t want to regret not doing enough the first time. I imagine as the kids get older they will want to play a lil harder. There is so much to learn. I am great full for all the knowledge here and the people willing to share it.
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for the input. I actually havenít bought a vehicle yet. I am doing my research and educating myself as best as I can. This forum has been great information. I appreciate that a lot. I am new to the off road idea. So I need all the knowledge I can find. I am wanting an XJ to tow with my rv and play with grandkids. Got a couple of them getting old enough to help out on the project. Living in the high desert in CA there is a lot of places to play and I really want to have a vehicle to take with us to southern Utah this summer when we go. I donít think Iíll need a huge lift for rock crawling. But donít want to regret not doing enough the first time. I imagine as the kids get older they will want to play a lil harder. There is so much to learn. I am great full for all the knowledge here and the people willing to share it.
Look for a 99' or older because 2000-01' 4.0L Jeeps have head cracking issues. Both of my 00-01' Jeeps cracked the head at around 130-145,000 miles. It's a 50/50 shot that I won't take again. 90% of the Jeeps listed on my local craigslist are 00-01' for a reason. After having 18 Jeeps (mostly wranglers), I've learned to NOT go small (IF bigger tires are in your future), thinking you will never go bigger. I had 31s on my first TJ years ago. That lasted about 6 months. I went to 35s and never went smaller again, until I bought another XJ. 35s aren't really an option without cutting, to maintain a good ride and height. Wheel wells are too narrow. I end up selling most of my Jeeps and cutting it up will kill any resale value where I live. My current XJ on 33s.
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TheBoogieman is a jerk.
03' Rubicon/Zone 4" coils with 1" spacers up front/Rancho shocks/5.13 gears-35" MTZs/BM brakes
99' XJ /4.0L-AW4/ 5.5" lift / Rancho shocks/33" DC Extreme country MTs. Jeep #18
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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I have noticed that the 2000-01 models are the ones seen for sale most. And you are not the first to say the head was a problem for those years. Than you. And I will follow your advice on that.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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So 31’s are about as big as you can go with the XJ? Or will 33’s fit with the right lift?
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-21-2020, 10:12 AM
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So 31’s are about as big as you can go with the XJ? Or will 33’s fit with the right lift?
I wouldn't go over 235/75r15's with a 2" lift and 33's with a 4.5" lift or more. My old 2000' with a 4.5" lift and 31's. Second pic is a 3" lift and 31's. I also run mud terrain tires on all of my Jeeps, so there's a little less clearance with the large tread lugs.
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XJ1 (2017_11_20 00_38_12 UTC).jpg   XJ 3 inch lift 31s2.jpg  

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TheBoogieman is a jerk.
03' Rubicon/Zone 4" coils with 1" spacers up front/Rancho shocks/5.13 gears-35" MTZs/BM brakes
99' XJ /4.0L-AW4/ 5.5" lift / Rancho shocks/33" DC Extreme country MTs. Jeep #18
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-23-2020, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rg0403 View Post
So 31ís are about as big as you can go with the XJ? Or will 33ís fit with the right lift?


Iím on a 3Ē lift with 31Ē tires. Did the t case drop and still had vibration issues. Just did a SYE and driveshafts are in the mail. Hope this solves it. Best to fix the problem with SYE than throw a bandaid on it with a t case drop if youíll be doing any freeway miles. Angles get changed quite a bit when you load the Jeep with passengers and gear vs. empty.


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post #10 of 17 Old 01-23-2020, 06:26 PM
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What is the budget ?

2 - 3 inches of lift and 30's or 31's with a rear locking differential will take you just about anywhere, and will be less expensive than 4+ inches of lift. More lift means more modifications to deal with the lift, and usually larger tires, which then makes re-gearing the axles necessary. Short arms are fine, and will be less expensive than long arms. I prefer 1997-2001 for the newer styling and OBD-II diagnostics. I think the 0331 head cracking issues is overhyped, and can be addressed easily. If you find a 2000-01 with head or engine issues it should be a steal to buy, and simple to swap in a good used engine. The lower cost of the 00-01 with repairable issues may make it a good deal.

At about 3 or more inches of lift most newer Cherokees really should have an SYE to address driveline issues caused by the lift kit.


My 1998 has 1.5" of lift and 30's, the 1999 has 3" of lift and 31's, and the 2000 now has 5.5" of lift with 31's and I am saving for 33's.

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post #11 of 17 Old 01-23-2020, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Well I have located a 98XJ original owner vehicle. Trying to get in touch to set up a meeting. It has the up country package and tow package. So it has a lil higher stance and better cooling equipment. Better alternator output and factory skid plates. Also has Laredo trim with aluminum wheels. 195k on the miles but from Carfax it only shows about 7-10k annually. Sounds like a great place to start. Only one picture but looks very well taken care of and seller has original window sticker. That’s how I got the option info. Hopefully I’ll be able to get ahold of seller and it is still available. Online ad and email contacting is all that was available.
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post #12 of 17 Old 01-24-2020, 01:07 PM
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You mention the CA high desert and rock crawling. I moved out here to Reno from south Georgia. There is a world of difference between the mudding that is common back east and the rock crawling here. A rig like TheBoogieman's gold XJ on 33's will have a lot of trouble in the rocks out here because of limited articulation. On my old XJ on a 5.5" long arm and 33" tires I had to cut the front fenders up higher than where the top of the fender flares would be to get the most out of it.


For comparison, another guy who would wheel with us had an XJ with a 5.5" short arm lift and 33" tires. He didn't have near the articulation with the short arms, especially droop. He didn't cut the fenders and used longer bump stops to keep the tires from rubbing during up flex. We both had a rear locker and open front diff. He couldn't even come close to making it over obstacles that I could manage fairly easily. The limited flex would cause the tire opposite the obstacle to come off the ground. He eventually stopped wheeling with us until he got a different rig that could keep up.


It doesn't sound like you want to go real big or are planning on the more challenging rock crawling, but as you said, the grandkids will get older and probably want to play harder. I don't know how close you are to the Rubicon or Fordyce. If you plan on ever doing those trails, even 33's won't be enough. There are guys around here running 37's on XJs and even one I've seen on 39.5's, so it is possible to upgrade an XJ to more serious stuff. As TheBoogieman inferred, going small is usually the more expensive way to go, because you end up doing it twice (or 3 or 4 times). That said, if you really get into it you will end up wanting more no matter how big you go first.



As far as the longarm/shortarm thing goes, I definitely suggest longarms for 4" or more out here. Yes they do hang up on rocks more, but not enough to counter their advantages. Ones like the bottom pic TheBoogieman posted that are bent up out of the way also help with clearance. And an SYE and STEEL shims for the rear is the way to go for the driveline.
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-24-2020, 07:36 PM
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50% MPG decrease?

04 Grand (dead)
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post #14 of 17 Old 01-31-2020, 10:55 AM
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I'd factor in a slip yoke eliminator kit, even on a stock Cherokee. They're less than $200 and take about an hour and a half to install. The slip yoke transfer case is a horrible design. Not only does it make the driveshaft much shorter but if a driveshaft u joint breaks the yoke comes flying out (if you're going any faster than a crawl) along with all your t-case fluid. If you have an auto trans and lift it between 4 and 6" you can use a stock front auto driveshaft in the rear, which can be had for $50. If you have a 5 speed, such as myself, you can use a zj with an auto/dana 30 combo stock front shaft for the same price. If you're going less than 4", grab either shaft and take it to a driveline shop and they'll shorten and balance it for around $80
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-31-2020, 12:27 PM
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You said a 98 XJ but mentioned laredo.... XJ's only had a laredo trim up until 92. So it would have to be a grand cherokee ZJ. 98 was the last year ZJ before the WJ.
I have about 5" of lift and 33's with the t-case drop built into the crossmember (i have a long arm kit) which i think is an inch and i haven't had any vibration issues.
If you don't plan on doing intermediate to hard trails i think a 3" lift would be perfect. I had a 94 XJ with 3" of lift on 30x9.50 all terrains and a rear lunchbox locker. The setup cost me about $200 plus tires and would go a lot of places.

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