Choosing the right lift kit - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-23-2019, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
44racer
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Choosing the right lift kit

I just picked up a 2005 TJ Rubicon that I’m going to build, it’s a blank slate. My dilemma is that I want it to climb over most obstacles and hills but I don't want to lose the drivability on the street. 99% of the time I’ll be tooling around the northern suburbs of Atlanta, I will though be wheeling when I can.
My understanding is that my build needs to start with the wheel size so I’m torn between a 35 and a 37” tire. It seems to me a 37” with a 6” long arm lift kit is going to be great for wheeling but it’s not going to be a friendly ride on the street. I’m trying to figure out if a 35 with a 4” long arm lift is going to be more streetable than the 37? I’m also fond of the classic look of a Jeep so flat fenders up front don’t appeal to Me much. My very knowledgeable friend says to build a machine that will handle the toughest situation I will ever be in and that makes sense but this will be a rare occasion for me. Any advice is appreciated, I haven’t bought even a bolt yet until I make this decision and then it’s on!
FYI-I do understand that axles, heavier steering components and regearing may follow. For now though I need to choose my wheel size and lift kit. Share your experience.

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post #2 of 7 Old 11-23-2019, 09:42 PM
222Doc
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37s gearing is not a choice and really to do it well is going to cost you way more then i think you want to get where you need as streetable and wont break off road. 37s are not a great street choice DD. forget mpg and tire cost. stopping at speed with tires that weigh in at 120 pounds+. So much goes into 37s. more so on a tj wheel base to be good on or off road.

35s is still not a choice really for street. its going to be real slow, worse on mpg with out gears. Though off road that Rubi would work since the low range is 4:1.< that is when you find out 37s locked can snap d44 stuff even going slow. since these jeeps need at least 5.13s for 35s and even 5.38s if an auto. You really need to be thinking that cost into the picture. I want to say all in with quality parts. 10k. Gears, lift and what ever it takes to flat belly it. 35s. brake upgrade. tie rod upgrade as the stock on tjs tend to taco.

The Tj section here has some very good people that can save you a few 10k worth of trouble get you on 35s make it a good enough trail jeep to run most any trail you wont try. on say 3.5" lift. Tjs need the body lift of what 1"? 1.5"? But you will get more help in the Tj section for sure.

forget about long arms on a short wheelbase on 35s makes no sense off road at all and will get stuck more then the guy on short arms and less lift.

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post #3 of 7 Old 11-24-2019, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
44racer
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Originally Posted by 222Doc View Post
37s gearing is not a choice and really to do it well is going to cost you way more then i think you want to get where you need as streetable and wont break off road. 37s are not a great street choice DD. forget mpg and tire cost. stopping at speed with tires that weigh in at 120 pounds+. So much goes into 37s. more so on a tj wheel base to be good on or off road.

35s is still not a choice really for street. its going to be real slow, worse on mpg with out gears. Though off road that Rubi would work since the low range is 4:1.< that is when you find out 37s locked can snap d44 stuff even going slow. since these jeeps need at least 5.13s for 35s and even 5.38s if an auto. You really need to be thinking that cost into the picture. I want to say all in with quality parts. 10k. Gears, lift and what ever it takes to flat belly it. 35s. brake upgrade. tie rod upgrade as the stock on tjs tend to taco.

The Tj section here has some very good people that can save you a few 10k worth of trouble get you on 35s make it a good enough trail jeep to run most any trail you wont try. on say 3.5" lift. Tjs need the body lift of what 1"? 1.5"? But you will get more help in the Tj section for sure.

forget about long arms on a short wheelbase on 35s makes no sense off road at all and will get stuck more then the guy on short arms and less lift.
I appreciate the input, I’m new around here and to the Jeep world. I posted in the TJ section but not one response in days so I erased it and moved it over here.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-25-2019, 10:20 AM
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In the TJ world, building a rig is really split into two types based on tire size: up to 35s and 37s on up. Up to 35s can be done really well with with a stock Rubi drivetrain and be a great on road and off. Even non-Rubis with a rear D44 can be done fairly easily.

37s on up change things significantly and really take it out of the daily driver class. Because of the cost and complexity, you will see very few TJs on 37s. Most will go straight to 40s if they are doing a build right.

I'd stay with 35s. Do 4" suspension and 1.25" or 1.5" body lift. No reason for long arms. Use quality components and don't cut corners and you will have a very capable rig that can comfortably be driven daily.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-28-2019, 10:10 AM
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Will this be a daily driver, or a rig that you just want to be able to occasionally drive reasonably comfortably on the street? Makes a difference in trying to get to your stated goal of going up wherever you point it.

Also, even with 35ís the brakes on the TJ are questionable, and you should plan on an upgrade. Black Magic pads and rotors are a good option, a big brake kit is better.

As stated, a long arm kit is not a good option for your setup. More negatives than positives within the range of travel for a coil spring setup. That having been said, the stock suspension setup on the TJ is limiting. The best option in the 35-37 range that I have seen is the Savy mid-arm setup. But, thatís not an easy, nor inexpensive, install. I know several folks who have gone this route, and the feedback is all positive.

35ís = gears, steering and brakes to do it correctly. Good luck, and keep us posted as you progress. And definitely start a build thread as that is a good way to get a lot of help.

Jeff

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post #6 of 7 Old 12-01-2019, 07:00 PM
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If it will be driven on the street 99% of the time, and you want to be able to drive over most obstacles (so you're not doing black diamond off-road trails on a regular basis), may I suggest a 3.5 - 4" lift with NO BODY LIFT and 33" tires? Re-gear it to 4.56 gears (Rubicons come with 4.10 gears and 31" tires) to keep it in its happy place.

Unless of course you've got size issues...

The ability to go where you want to go in 4WD isn't just about tire size; it is also about suspension flex and power getting to the tire (or tires) that have traction. If you've got the Rubicon model, you've got the traction covered.

Suspension and flex? Plenty of good 3.5" - 4" suspension and shock options out there (everyone has their favorites). I'd recommend adding a Currie Anti-Rock front sway bar to help with off-road flex.

The only difference between a 33" tires and a 35" tires is ONE INCH of clearance under the differentials. Now if you're running the super hard-core off-road trails (like out west where yards traveled are measured in hours climbing over rock ledges and VW sized boulders) then larger tires will be helpful with approach and departure angles, but for the regular wheeling Joe, I think 33" tires will work just fine. And 33" tires won't overtax your axles or steering or brakes like even larger tires will.

Pictured below: TJ with 3.5" Rubicon Express (RE) 3.5" Superflex suspension (I know there are RE haters out there), Bilstein 5100 series shocks, Currie Anti-Rock front sway bar, and 285/75/16" tires on 16x8" rims. And 2.5/5-speed, Dana 44 rear Detroit locker & 33 spine alloy axles, Dana 30 front with 27 spline alloy axles and an Aussie locker and 4.88 gears f/r, AA SYE, CV rear driveshaft, etc. etc. I've never been anywhere off-road where I wished I had taller tires.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-02-2019, 08:21 AM
Ross
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I ran 35s for a while. It just wears front end components out faster and only give you a little more clearance than 33s.

I would save the money on all the extra crap you should do with 35s and you will have to do with 37s and get 33s and do a belly up, lockers and a winch.

Tires, I ran aggressive tires for years. If you hare hitting hard core trails you need them but if not get some good ATs. I went from 12.5 mpg with super swampers to almost 16 mpgs with ATs.

I run RCs flex arms. Just like RE people will talk crap about RC here. I have had mine over 6 years, no problems and great performance. I have tera 3" springs, 1 inch body lift, 1" spacers up front, winch, belly up and ARB lockers and my Jeep is very capable off road.
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