JMT

No longer just another auto...
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Hey guys,

I'm new to the Jeep world. Oh, I had a 2004 Cherokee once, but got my first Wrangler TJ in December, 2016, and that's a whole new world. I think I am addicted. Anyone else have that problem around here? LOL. Anyway, this Jeep was stock and low miles, 46K. I looked for six months before I happened on it and was the first to call! Anyway, I want to run 33x12.5r17 or r15. I installed a RE BB last week. Great first project. Supposed to be 2" but in reality the front turned out to be 1 1/4" and rear 1 3/4".

That said, I have three questions. First, what is your opinion on 15's vs 17's? I am not planning to do any heavy wheelin, though I do get offroad weekly. I have gravitated to r17's because I think it might look meaner and tire sizes seem to be going away from 15's. The rims I found that I like are 17x9 Pro Comps but I'm sure there are sill some 15's out there I would like.

Second, the person at Quadratec said all I need to do to run 33's is add a flat fender kit such as Bushwacker or Xenon. I asked about a 1.25' body lift and that seemed frowned upon. I was thinking I may not have to do the fenders if I did the body lift, and the body lift is much cheaper. What are your thoughts? And while your at it, what are your thoughts on Bushwacker vs Xenon as well as 4" or 6" width, keeping in mind the 33's coming on 17x9 wheels with backspacing of 4.75"?

Third, should I do the tires and wheels first and see if they can fit under stock flares? Or do the flares or body lift first because if I don't I'll get myself in trouble? I appreciate feedback from all you guys with years of experience. Here's a pic of the Jeep with the 2"BB ...

Jeep.jpg


Since the build thread is so long and there have been so many iterations, I made a table of contents to help find things. I have had to learn virtually everything along the journey, so a lot of the posts are questions by me and answers from knowledgeable (and some not so knowledgeable) forum members. If you are learning you may want to follow the full discussion. There are lots of great pics and videos along the way! For those who want to find where the changes took place in the build or the steps for mods, the table of contents will help. Unfortunately, I did not always list the steps for a specific mod, but usually I did. I hope this helps you in your Jeep journey.

Table of Contents

1. Safely using jacks and jack stands
2. Install of OME 2933/2942 with 10mm Spacer
3. Brown Dog Motor Mount Lift
4. ZJ Tie Rod Conversion
5. Savvy 1.25" Body Lift (full install)
6. Warn Rock Crawler Rear Bumper
7. Quick Disconnects and Rear Bumper Tie-Ins
8. The Move from 31's to 33's
9. Savvy Transfer Case Cable Shifter (full install)
10. Rancho 5000X Shocks 55239/55241
11. JCR Rock Sliders (paint and install)
12. Dana 44 Axle Swap
13. PowerTrax No Slip Locker Install (full install)
14. MoRyde Tailgate Hinges
15. Video of Front Locker Off-Road Test (Hidden Falls)
16. Video of V-Notch Ledge Crawl (Wolf Caves)
17. First Concerns with JCR Sliders
18. Door Lock Mechanism
19. Stirrups for Easing Entry (design, sewing, and install)
20. Video of Wheeling at Hidden Falls
21. Eaton E-Locker
22. Regear
23. Rockhard 4x4 Hard Hat
24. Raised Stock Gas Tank Skid (full install)
25. First Moab Trip 2019
26. Grabars
27. Videos of Wheelin Denver Creek
28. Broken Dana 30 Axle Shaft Ear
29. Centric Rotors and BMB Pads
30. My Husband is Crazy Video
31. Steering Box Skid
32. Savvy MUA Tummy Tuck
33. JB SS SYE
34. Warn Rock Crawler Front Bumper
35. When I achieved Jeep Nirvana
35. NSG370 to 42RLE Swap
 
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If you do buy fender flares, steer clear of smittybuilt or the cheap e-autogrilles ones on eBay. Bushwhacker makes high quality ones (worth the extra cost over the others I mentioned) and I have read good reviews on rugged ridge's but I don't have experience with theirs.


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the body lift should get you the added clearance with the BB, with proper bump stops added. But BL's come with their own set of drama. Tires will be a lot less $$$ with 15's.
 
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I asked about a 1.25' body lift and that seemed frowned upon.

First and foremost, I don't suggest anything from Quadratec. My experience with those guys has been less than stellar, and everything they sell is overpriced.

In addition to that, a 1.25" body lift is a great idea, especially if you're ever considering a tummy tuck. I would not rule it out at all! Many of us (myself included) have a 1.25" body lift. It's when you go over 1.25" of body lift that it's frowned upon.
 
First, what is your opinion on 15's vs 17's?

I hate 17" wheels on TJs. If you're not planning on any wheeling though, you'll be fine. If you do plan on wheeling, the larger sidewall on a 15" tire will be beneficial. I think it looks better too!

Second, the person at Quadratec said all I need to do to run 33's is add a flat fender kit such as Bushwacker or Xenon. I asked about a 1.25' body lift and that seemed frowned upon. I was thinking I may not have to do the fenders if I did the body lift, and the body lift is much cheaper. What are your thoughts? And while your at it, what are your thoughts on Bushwacker vs Xenon as well as 4" or 6" width, keeping in mind the 33's coming on 17x9 wheels with backspacing of 4.75"?

Idiot advice if you ask me. If you run 33" tires on a stock height TJ, you'll run into a lot of rubbing issues, even with flat fender flares. To run a 33" tire, you really want 3" or more of lift. An idea combo is the 2.5" OME lift and a 1.25" body lift. That setup is widely regarded as one of the best you can get.

Bushwackers are GARBAGE. I can't stress that enough... There's a reason people refer to them as Bushcrackers. They break easier than you can imagine, and IMHO, they look ugly as sin. I don't have any experience with Xenon though.

Third, should I do the tires and wheels first and see if they can fit under stock flares? Or do the flares or body lift first because if I don't I'll get myself in trouble? I appreciate feedback from all you guys with years of experience. Here's a pic of the Jeep with the 2"BB

Not if you're doing 33" tires. If you're doing 33" tires, you should do the LIFT first, then the wheels / tires.

But ultimately, why bother running 33" tires on a vehicle that won't see any off-roading? You could put a nice looking 31" tire on there and it would be cheaper, look great, and give you way less hassle.
 
From what you guys are saying, I already have 31x10.5 Goodyear Wrangler M/T w/Kevlar. Maybe I should stick with those for now, get some better looking 15" rims, and if I want to add a body lift I could go to 32's later (or something like a 285/75r15). That way save some bucks on tires and still get the look I'm looking for. That would certainly be cheaper. Thanks for help guys. More opinions are appreciated...I like advice, but not very much from those who are trying to sell a product.

Chris, who do you like to buy parts from?

I saw Jerry suggested this body lift...https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B4JWQ52/?tag=wranglerorg-20

If anyone has any advice on what flat fender flares are good quality I'd like to know. That might still be in the cards in the future...
 
From what you guys are saying, I already have 31x10.5 Goodyear Wrangler M/T w/Kevlar. Maybe I should stick with those for now, get some better looking 15" rims, and if I want to add a body lift I could go to 32's later (or something like a 285/75r15). That way save some bucks on tires and still get the look I'm looking for. That would certainly be cheaper. Thanks for help guys. More opinions are appreciated...I like advice, but not very much from those who are trying to sell a product.

Chris, who do you like to buy parts from?

I saw Jerry suggested this body lift...https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B4JWQ52/?tag=wranglerorg-20

If anyone has any advice on what flat fender flares are good quality I'd like to know. That might still be in the cards in the future...
I'll confirm what everyone has said. I have a 2.5" lift, MC fenders, and 33" MTR's. I love the way my jeep is, but 33's can be a pain at times (read anytime you have to take the tires off).
And flat fender flares are only for looks. They add zero functionality to the jeep because if they tire ever contacted them, they'd just move out of the way like they were designed to do. You can easily cut your stock flares to be "flat flares". Unless you just really love they way a certain brand of flat flares look and can't live without them.
 
From what you guys are saying, I already have 31x10.5 Goodyear Wrangler M/T w/Kevlar. Maybe I should stick with those for now, get some better looking 15" rims, and if I want to add a body lift I could go to 32's later (or something like a 285/75r15). That way save some bucks on tires and still get the look I'm looking for. That would certainly be cheaper. Thanks for help guys. More opinions are appreciated...I like advice, but not very much from those who are trying to sell a product.

This is what I would do. You'll hear a lot of us say (myself included) that if we could have done it all over again, we would have just stuck with 31" tires and a high quality, small lift, such as the 2.5" OME lift.

I realized after I did 33" tires, that I absolutely do not need them at all. It's way too much for the sort of stuff I do with my Jeep.

Chris, who do you like to buy parts from?

I'm a bit biased. I order most of my stuff from Amazon for a few reasons:

1) I have a Prime membership and the free 2-day shipping is awesome.

2) If you've ever dealt with Amazon customer service, you'll never want to go anywhere else. You can return something easily from your online account, print out a shipping label, put it in the mail, and you'll get your money back usually the same day it's in the mail (before they even get the part back!). It's seriously the BEST customer service you'll ever deal with in your life, honest to goodness.

3) Buying through Amazon links on this forum supports the forum. See this thread here.
Obviously I don't expect people to shop with Amazon in every instance, but if people follow links to Amazon on this forum, a small portion of the sale goes to supporting this site.

When I'm not buying from Amazon though, I always buy from @4LowParts whose website is https://www.4lowparts.com

Between Amazon and 4LowParts, there's nowhere else I need to go.


Yes, this is a great body lift, I wouldn't hesitate to go with it.
 
I'm sitting at 3" in the front, and 2" in the rear and am running 33x12.5x15 MT tires. With extended bump stops in the front, this setup has been working great for me. The reason for the extended bumps stops is that the tire would stuff into the fender when flexed. Even with flat flares, it would still hit as it's hitting the metal part of the fender where the flares attach.

Once my tube fenders arrive, and I get them on, the extension will be able to come out.

Now, if you stay with 31's, you're golden. I wheel almost every weekend, on varying terrain, and the 33's work the best for me. I did run 31's, but they didn't give me the clearance that I wanted. Quite a few (almost all) the guys I wheel with run 35's, but I haven't personally seen the need for that big of a tire.

If you're not going to wheel it, don't waste the money on getting setup to run 33's. IMHO
 
Canyons Offroad Park is like 5 miles from me.

It's so close I keep thinking of wheelin. I've never done it before but love other offroad and outdoor sports (MTB, Hunting, et. al).

Maybe I should keep the option open for setting up for wheelin. In any case, getting some 15x8or 15x10 rims is not going to hinder going that route. I could stay with the 31x10.5's and the BB for now, add a 1.25" body lift and save for the OME 2.5".

On the 15x8 or 15x10 which preference? I've read that guys like 15x8's because it bulges and protects the rim. What is the ideal backspacing for each?

This one thread has been a good learning experience. I've been researching since Dec 23, read lots that Chris and Jerry put up. It's all a steep learning curve since I haven't been into the mechanics of vehicles. But I wanted that I6 so bad and now I have her and so I appreciate all the knowledge your pouring out...
 
15x8 is also preferred because when you air down the tire, the skinnier wheel helps retain the tire bead better.

And it's always better to take things slow and really see what you need then save up for the best. Every time I've rushed something, I have regretted it and usually end up replacing it with the more expensive, usually better option that I should have just bought in the first place.
 
And it's always better to take things slow and really see what you need then save up for the best. Every time I've rushed something, I have regretted it and usually end up replacing it with the more expensive, usually better option that I should have just bought in the first place.

Story of my life. If there's one bit of advice I wish I had listened to when I was new to Jeeps, this would be it.

Save your money and buy the good parts, right from the start. You'll regret it down the road if you buy cheap parts, I GUARANTEE you that.
 
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Thanks for the great advice. Hard to not buy stuff for the Jeep. That is the main reason I got in this forum, to get you guys advice before buying some piece of trash mod from some piece of trash company!

Following you guys advice, some alloy 15x8 Dick Cepek's are on the way from Amazon prime. The back spacing is 3 5/8. Should be here Tuesday. Hopefully get my 31x10.5 mounted on them by Thursday. I'll post pics.

I got into looking at tires for 15's and holy camoley, a lot cheaper than going the 17 route! A lot more options too. Actually affordable for a guy with five kids.

P.s. We were riding MTB yesterday at Flat Rock Ranch in Comfort, TX, and they were just finishing up a Jeep promo for the new Compass. They had been out there for two weeks. Funny thing was every time I was out there they were driving the Rubicon's around! LOL Even saw a couple of TJ's! Anyway, they left some Jeep signs and the property owner said I could have them. Great for the garage walls! Here's a pic of one of the Jeep trails they built for the promo.
 
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