Newbie "Build" - Seeking Advice - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-18-2020, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
Wizumz
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Wj Newbie "Build" - Seeking Advice

So I have a new-to-me WJ... A lot done to it, main stuff I've listed below. I'm looking for advice on a few things I want to tackle first and foremost. I have access to a handy buddy that's done a lot of car work, but I'd prefer to learn and do a lot myself.

The Rig, I named him, CHONCHO. Pulls about 13mpg, quite the pig.


2002 GC 4.7L HO
Zone 4" Lift Kit
American Racing 17x9 Wheels
Falken Wildpeak 265/70/17 Tires
IRO extended length lower control arms
Goliath Off-Road Roof Rack
Rugged Retrofits headlights with DemonEyes
Rugged Retrofit taillights
Magnaflow muffler
K&N Cold Air Intake
Apple Carplay (Pioneer unit)

I recently did some trimming up front, but there's still a slight rub (full turn) near the middle where the back of the fog light pushes out against the liner, not sure I could fix this without ripping out the fog lights (which might be in my future). Though I have hesitations doing that since I live in the Northeast and we salt the road, my thinking is that it would expose the underside more and accelerate corrosion/rust.

In my more immediate future I need to figure out a slight death wobble when hitting larger bumps above 30mph... it's only happened two or so times and I've hit decent bumps at speeds excess of 60 with no DW, so it might just be worn components or loose steering (i have about 1" of play in the steering wheel). ALSO, need to trim the rear of the front wells, it rubs at full turn and I think that portion is metal so it makes me rather nervous. Advice on trimming that portion is welcomed! It's a bit more complicated than the front bumper, which is all plastic.

More long-term, I'm looking into how to smooth the ride. The roads here in CT are a disaster and riddled with pot holes and bumps. The zone lift is nice but it sure does ride rough and I'm starting to get annoyed bouncing around in the driver seat cringing at each WOMP. Can I throw in some Bilstein 5100's to the existing setup? I heard those do well on the pavement handling typical bumps (I don't wheel, but occasionally go on dirt trails and through fields).

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post #2 of 14 Old 02-18-2020, 12:03 PM
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Nice rig man! What town or county you in? I'm in Bristol. Gotta love out suspension testing roads hahaha
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-18-2020, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TastyWheatLoaf View Post
Nice rig man! What town or county you in? I'm in Bristol. Gotta love out suspension testing roads hahaha
I'm in Fairfield county, so fairly close by! I picked up an angle grinder the other day, plan to watch some youtube videos on how to trim the back of the front wheel wells then get after it this weekend. As for the suspension, I'm going to start by checking the torque on anything I can find torque-specs on.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-18-2020, 12:41 PM
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Awesome man. I would say if you're afraid of the rot, keep it clean, expecially the fenders, got lots of nooks and crannies to hide ****, but also get some cans of fluid film and go at it. Mine looks almost like yours minus the hood vinyl. Also converted the whole front bumper and assembly to the 04 style.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-18-2020, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome man. I would say if you're afraid of the rot, keep it clean, expecially the fenders, got lots of nooks and crannies to hide ****, but also get some cans of fluid film and go at it. Mine looks almost like yours minus the hood vinyl. Also converted the whole front bumper and assembly to the 04 style.
Oh yeah, definitely fluid filming once it warms up around here then again in the fall.

Do you have a build thread or any info on that 02 - 04 front-end conversion? Does it give you more clearance?
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-18-2020, 01:43 PM
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No idea on if it actually gives more clearance, I more so did it for looks. And you usually have two ways, the legit way or the hack and screw method. Legit, you need the headlight retainer panel from an 04 to make everything match up, then the bumper and grill of course. All in all takes maybe 30 min to swap it all over.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-18-2020, 11:39 PM
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Do you have the extended length lower control arms on the front and back? If you add the adjustable upper control arms to the front, you should be able to move the axle more forward in the wheel-well, and still keep your Caster for alignment purposes. Then you dont have to hack up the fenders.... just trim the plastic front fender like you like.

If death wobble is happening occasionally now, its only going to get worse, especially on your roads, ha ha. You need to go over EVERYTHING in the front end and look for ANY play. Ball joints, tie rod ends, drag link ends, and wheel bearings can cause death wobble if they have play. Then when you make sure everything is tight, replace or upgrade your steering stabilizer(s) to finish off Death Wobble for good.

'00LMTD-4.7l,242hd,D30,D44A,3.73's,True-trac front,Spartan rear,3"BBfront,2"BBrear,JK'sW/32's
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-19-2020, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Do you have the extended length lower control arms on the front and back? If you add the adjustable upper control arms to the front, you should be able to move the axle more forward in the wheel-well, and still keep your Caster for alignment purposes. Then you dont have to hack up the fenders.... just trim the plastic front fender like you like.

If death wobble is happening occasionally now, its only going to get worse, especially on your roads, ha ha. You need to go over EVERYTHING in the front end and look for ANY play. Ball joints, tie rod ends, drag link ends, and wheel bearings can cause death wobble if they have play. Then when you make sure everything is tight, replace or upgrade your steering stabilizer(s) to finish off Death Wobble for good.
Appreciate the info and advice! The extended arms are both lower front and rear, rear has a spacer too for improved geometry. The IROs are in the rear and fronts are what came with the Zone lift.

Would I need both upper and lowers to be adjustable in the front? At that point, should I just get long arms in the front to improve the ride? Would long arms in the front also be adjustable in that I could shift the wheel forward and not have to chop the back of the front wheel wells (which I'm now hesitant to do as I've never used an angle grinder before).
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-19-2020, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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On a separate note, I've done some looking around at Zone lift reviews and it seems like the go-to is to replace the shocks for better on-road and off-road performance. I'm looking around but not entirely sure what's compatible. Could I run bilstein 5100's? Or should I hold out for something like Fox 2.0s? This would likely make the biggest difference in ride quality, right?
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-19-2020, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Wizumz View Post
On a separate note, I've done some looking around at Zone lift reviews and it seems like the go-to is to replace the shocks for better on-road and off-road performance. I'm looking around but not entirely sure what's compatible. Could I run bilstein 5100's? Or should I hold out for something like Fox 2.0s? This would likely make the biggest difference in ride quality, right?
Two schools of thought. Some say coils make the biggest difference others say shocks. I believe coils have more of a determining factor on over ride quality verses shocks.
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3" IRO lift, fastman TB, 32s, lunchbox rear 242HD, 3" exhaust
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-20-2020, 12:41 AM
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Two schools of thought. Some say coils make the biggest difference others say shocks. I believe coils have more of a determining factor on over ride quality verses shocks.
I only slightly disagree. I have had some cheap shocks before that rode like crap. Swapping out for Bilsteins should make a big difference. BUT great shocks wont make up for springs that are to stiff.

Long arms should also be adjustable. The lower arms adjust to move the wheel in the wheelwell, and the upper arms adjust to get your pinion angle and caster here you need it.

Part of what makes these Jeeps ride poorly is to much lift on short arms. The steeper angle on short arms makes these unibody frames feel every bump. The long arms are expensive, but if it fits the budget, dont waste money on adjustable short arms, go all long arm, and dont look back.

'00LMTD-4.7l,242hd,D30,D44A,3.73's,True-trac front,Spartan rear,3"BBfront,2"BBrear,JK'sW/32's
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-20-2020, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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I only slightly disagree. I have had some cheap shocks before that rode like crap. Swapping out for Bilsteins should make a big difference. BUT great shocks wont make up for springs that are to stiff.

Long arms should also be adjustable. The lower arms adjust to move the wheel in the wheelwell, and the upper arms adjust to get your pinion angle and caster here you need it.

Part of what makes these Jeeps ride poorly is to much lift on short arms. The steeper angle on short arms makes these unibody frames feel every bump. The long arms are expensive, but if it fits the budget, dont waste money on adjustable short arms, go all long arm, and dont look back.
Makes sense, thank you for the input! I'm looking around the web and am able to grab adjustable upper and lower fronts as well as adjustable lower rears, AND a Tier3 adjustable trackbar (I have the zone offroad one, which may be worse, I'm not sure) for all-in around $300. The lowers and trackbar are by core4x4, is this a reputable brand? I haven't confirmed the brand of the front uppers. They all appear to be in decent condition but certainly used (likely off a part-out wj).

If I run that as well as either new shocks/springs, it should give it a better ride. I'm not sure I want to dump that much into the car with the long arms, considering I just put new wheels and tires on (woof$$$).
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-20-2020, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Makes sense, thank you for the input! I'm looking around the web and am able to grab adjustable upper and lower fronts as well as adjustable lower rears, AND a Tier3 adjustable trackbar (I have the zone offroad one, which may be worse, I'm not sure) for all-in around $300. The lowers and trackbar are by core4x4, is this a reputable brand? I haven't confirmed the brand of the front uppers. They all appear to be in decent condition but certainly used (likely off a part-out wj).

If I run that as well as either new shocks/springs, it should give it a better ride. I'm not sure I want to dump that much into the car with the long arms, considering I just put new wheels and tires on (woof$$$).
Disregard the above. Did some researching, going to attempt some rear fender chopping this weekend and look into new shocks. Looking at Bilstien 5100's, these should fit with a 4" lift right?
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-20-2020, 07:56 PM
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Core4x4 is only about 15 mins away from my house. I stopped in and purchased some adjustable uppers for the front. They look like real nice pieces, and the guys there were super good to talk to. I would spend my money there again.

I have the bilstiens, and they are awesome. Only issue there is to get the ones for the right length. They have them for stock to 2" lift, and then 3-4" lifts. I used the 3-4" ones. They fit perfectly. Just dont forget to install the rear shocks with the writing on the outside facing up. The shocks look upside down, but they arent. The boot end goes down.

'00LMTD-4.7l,242hd,D30,D44A,3.73's,True-trac front,Spartan rear,3"BBfront,2"BBrear,JK'sW/32's
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