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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A.K.A. The '98 TJ 2.5L Build

Hey guys, I've been hanging around the forums for a while and have had my Jeep for about 2 years now. I figured I would start a build thread to give some hope to those out there with the 4-banger :thumbsup:

Anyways, I will try to post up from the beginning and go in order of what I put on.

First off, here's the specs:

1998 Jeep Wrangler TJ
2.5L I-4
30rh Tranny
D30 Front and D35 Rear - 3.73 gearing
Flame Red exterior with Gray interior
Half Doors

Background Story

I had dreamed of owning my first car since I was about 9 years old. My sophomore year of high school is when I really started looking into buying. I had been saving up for about 4 years money-wise (birthday and Christmas money mostly), and got my first job in April of 2006. I was working in a guitar shop making about $6.50 an hour, but all the money went towards a car.

Although I knew I wanted a car, I did not know what kind of car I wanted. I searched high and low at every kind of car you could imagine. I had looked at Jeeps off and on, but I thought their gas mileage was too poor for me to afford. Then one day while on vacation in the Outer Banks, I saw it - a Solar Yellow TJ with (what I can estimate now) a 3" lift, some 33" M/T's, no doors, and 2 hot girls in the back. My mind was made up. Screw gas mileage!

My searches continued, but now I knew what I wanted. I really wanted Solar Yellow or Flame Red, Automatic Transmission, and the 6 cylinder. One day, a friend of my dad's showed me a classified listing from his local paper. Dad and I went to look at it and it was everything I wanted, except it had the 2.5L. However, the condition of the Jeep was too good to pass up, and I bought it a couple days later. It had 55k on the odometer, and I paid $7000 for it (put $3k down and took out a loan for the rest).

Here is a picture from driving it home, which is where I also was introduced to the Jeep Wave :wave:

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So after driving the Jeep (so aptly named Mater, as in Tuh-Mater :rofl:) I decided that my first major modification should be rims. I had just discovered Quadratec, and ordered 5 Cragar D-Window wheels. Came home from school a couple days later to find some big boxes waiting for me :D I packed them into the Jeep and headed out to get them mounted and balanced.

I could only get the 4 main wheels done - the guy at the shop told me the spare was too small to fit on the new rims. I thought he was wrong, but whatever, I didn't feel like arguing.

Here's a pic right after driving home from the shop. Mom is in the background saying, "The wheels and balancing were HOW much??" (Everything is expensive to her)





Looking back on it now, those tires were awfully damn small. Looks goofy :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Months passed and I got a few things here and there - the only thing that really sticks out is black headlight bezels and grill inserts. Then Christmas rolled through and left me with about $500 and a JET Performance Chip :thumbsup: In the spirit of performance with the JET chip, I decided to put a little more oomph into the 2.5L. An order to Quadratec was put in and a received a Dynomax Turbo Cat-Back exhaust and an AEM Brute Force Intake a few days later. Dad and I installed them on New Years Eve that year.

Here's a pic of the grille inserts and headlight bezels



And here are some pics during the intake and exhaust install











I don't know about the 4.0L, but I definitely felt a difference in power with all the new toys. Has a lot more punch than it used to.
 

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A lot of guys put in a 4.0 throttle body spacer for some reason. Might want to do some research into that. Apparently it makes some sort of difference in air flow or something. If that intake and exhaust really are pulling more air you don't want it getting necked down at the throttle body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A lot of guys put in a 4.0 throttle body spacer for some reason. Might want to do some research into that. Apparently it makes some sort of difference in air flow or something. If that intake and exhaust really are pulling more air you don't want it getting necked down at the throttle body.
Actually I put on a 63mm throttle body on a few months ago, but more on that in later posts :shhh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
whats ur backspacing dude...those gsas look like they are more tucked under the flares than mine are
Same as yours with the Soft 8's, but since mine are 15x7 they make the tires look narrower. They don't stick out as far as a 15x8 does.
 

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A lot of guys put in a 4.0 throttle body spacer for some reason. Might want to do some research into that. Apparently it makes some sort of difference in air flow or something.
Spacers only help under a carburetor or the old style throttle body injection systems. They don't do a thing when installed under the type of throttle body our Wranglers use which only have air passing through them. TB spacers only help our type of throttle body if you want a bit of whistling added as some of them do. ;)
 

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Spacers only help under a carburetor or the old style throttle body injection systems. They don't do a thing when installed under the type of throttle body our Wranglers use which only have air passing through them. TB spacers only help our type of throttle body if you want a bit of whistling added as some of them do. ;)
That's what I was thinking but thought since he was in the spirit of performance he could try it and test it out on his own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the thread name change JB! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay, time for more Jeep build stuff.

A couple weeks after doing the performance stuff I bought some new taillight lenses with some extra money I had.



Then after a few months I decided it was time for bigger tires. Searched for a while for good tires, and almost sealed the deal on a set of 5 Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armors - Then one night while checking Craigslist I found a set of 4 Michelin LTX M/S's. Not an all-terrain tire, I know, but TireRack had some great reviews on it and they were within my budget - $325 and they had less than 1000k miles on them :thumbsup: So I called the guy and picked them up the next day. He worked at a Ford dealership, and they mounted and balanced them for me right then for $50. The best part though, is when they took off my old tires, another guy working in the shop wanted to buy them off me for his wife's XJ. I took $125 for them so in the end I basically spent $200 on (almost) new tires! :D



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
After getting the tires, I needed to find a full size spare. I didn't want to drop the $140 on a new LTX, so I called up the local PepBoys to see what they had. They guy told me their cheapest 31" tire was $110. Still high for my budget. Then the guy said he remembered having one 31" that was going to be discontinued. $20! :2thumbsup: Went and picked it up (it was a Futura tire), had it mounted and balanced on my 5th Cragar I had bought, and I was good to go! Best part is that the tread design was nearly identical to the LTX's!

Sorry I have no pics of it guys.
 

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If you don't mind having a mismatched wheel every now and then it is best to rotate your matching spare in with your ground tires in case you need it to keep everything balanced. You don't want one tire to be much bigger than the other especially on that rear axle or anywhere when you put it in four.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
The most recent things I have done to the Jeep are some Hella 500's on an Olympic bumper bar, and Smittybilt Neoprene seat covers. Oh and some Rugged Ridge Classic Rock Crawler bumpers were bought at some point in there :D

EDIT: Some Bushwacker rocker guards were bought as well at some point lol. They are alright, but the 3M adhesive keeps coming off. I need to redo them again.





Now that I think of it, my most recent change was putting some 03-06 style mirrors on. No pics of them though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here's what's on tap for the future (this summer)

Rough Country 3.25 Lift with 2.2 Shocks
33x10.5 BFG A/T's
Olympic Rocker Rails
Regear to 4.88
Possible Aussie Locker up front
 
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