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33's or 35's with Metalcloak Overline fenders?

Yoda

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Hello everyone! Newish here but long time Wrangler enthusiast. I am about to pick up a 98 Sahara Hardtop that has been sitting in a driveway for 15 years. If the frame isn't shot I'm going to go for it. Resto-mod is a bit of a stretch with what we plan to do but we'll essentially be taking it apart, upgrading and rustproofing things and putting it back together.

This will be a father and son build and will become my new daily-driver/weekend toy. I plan on installing Metalcloak Overline's and am wondering if I should go with 33's or 35's. The current suspension is shot as its been sitting all this time with a plow hanging off of it. So are all of the rubber bushings everywhere.

Here are the major plans:
  • Rebuild the engine. Probably go the poor mans stroker route.
  • Swap the 32RE for an AX-15. It will see alot of highway time.
  • Install 03-06 TJ Rubicon Unlimited OEM springs. Probably the 130(FR) and 106(RR) springs.
  • Savvy/Currie Johnny Joints all around
  • Currie HD steering
  • Some sort of upgrade for the trackbars. Either new bars/relocation brackets or new/better bushings.
  • Simple/compact steel bumpers, rock sliders, and corner guards.
  • High clearance tube fenders such as Metalcloak's Overline's.
  • Vanco 17" big brake kit.
  • 1.25" solid body lift in preparation for a future tummy tuck.
  • Regearing to be at about 2500RPM at 70mph with either 33's or 35's.
So overall I am going to have about 1.5" lift over stock. The type of wheeling I do isn't too aggressive, mostly rough fire roads and climbing over downed logs so I don't need crazy articulation. I DO NOT want to sacrifice uptravel though which is a possibility with 35's.

35's on a TJ also requires its own set of upgrades. I'll probably do some upgrades to the Dana 30 but will eventually want to put a Dana 44 in it. I think most of the other complementary mods that are listed above should cover the rest.

All that said....will 1.5" of lift be enough to stuff a 35 on a healthy stock suspension without rubbing using Metalcloak Overline fenders? I'm not 100% committed to Metalcloak either. I want as much tire clearance as possible and will consider other brands if you guys think they offer more room for the tires.

Whatever tire size I settle on...I'll be going with 17x8 rims with a 3.75 or 4" backspacing. So what do you think based on what I've said....33's or 35's???

Thanks in advance!!!
 

Wildman

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First off Welcome to the forum.

Next thing is you will not find much LOVE around here for the Metal Cloak fenders. And you can't fit a 35" tire with only 1.5" lift. The Metal Cloak fenders DO NOT offer as much clearance as they claim which is part of why some members don't like the brand. Others think they are UGLY but as we all know opinions are like ASSHOLES.

For what you say you are wanting to do 33" tires are more than enough. Get a GOOD 2-2.5" suspension lift and a 1.25" body lift and then run the MC fenders and you'll be fine. And there isn't any reason to replace your Dana 35 rear axle. With 33" tires you can get aftermarket 1541 shafts and they'll be fine. If you HAVE to have 35" tires install a Super35 kit with selectable locker and you'll have no issues running 35" tires.

The ONLY fenders that off more clearance is true Hi-Line fenders like what GenRight or other companies sell.
 
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Jerry Bransford

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First, figure out if the rear axle is a Dana 35 or a Dana 44, only the Dana 44 is strong enough in stock form for 35's. Next, no matter what fenders you run you won't have enough clearance for 35's without a bigger suspension lift. At an absolute minimum I'd want 4" of additional clearance which could be created with a 3" suspension lift plus a 1" or 1.25" body lift. And I'd stop taking what Metal Cloak says seriously. They are masters of deceptive advertising. Smoke and mirrors is a term that is often used in the same sentence as Metal Cloak.

I'd want a little more RPMs than 2500 at 70 mph but what to gear to depends on if you go with 33's or 35's.

Finally, I hate to read where someone is considering converting from the 32RH automatic transmission to a manual. If you were planning to offroad it more I'd push back hard but I kinda-sorta get it if you will mainly be on the highway. But if you think you'll ever want to start offroading you'd be better off keeping the 32RH.
 

imahnu

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Initially, I had a similar plan to get Metal cloak fenders because they seem to be the greatest thing around. After reading here on several threads you quickly realize why exactly they aren't worth even half their cost from a performance standpoint. If you like the look then that's one thing. Ultimately I decided on JCR's Hi-Line kit which does require cutting the hood to gain the additional clearance. These are no longer available but there are other companies out there that still make Hi-Lines for the TJ.

Based on the off-roading you talked about I'd go with the 33's. I had them for years and they worked really well. Plus it'll take less mods to get it riding right if that interests you.

Any particular reason you're going with 17's for your wheels? Just like the look?
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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Thank you for the quick replies guys!

@Gollywomper I'm starting to feel the same after reading a bit more. 35's will fit on the street but if I want to actually use them offroad I'll either rub like crazy or will have to increase my bumpstops alot to limit up travel which defeats the whole purpose. The rear will also get the Metalcloak treatment (or another brand...not sold on MC yet) and I'll be cutting the excess metal on the wheel well.

@Wildman I'm feeling the hate a little bit after doing some digging around here. I happen to like the look of the Overline's...but I'm really after tire clearance. Genright is another option that I'll be looking into as I don't mind chopping the hood. I'm a little new with all the aftermarket fender companies...who else sells a Hi-Line style fender?

@Jerry Bransford I know this TJ has the 31" tire group with the Gambler wheels and I "think" it has the tow group option. I don't recall if it was a Dana 35 or Dana 44 in the rear. The TJ will be probably be 95% street and 5% wheeling and of that it won't be too extreme. I do alot of highway driving and NEED overdrive. I'm not fully committed on going manual either. I like manuals but I'm open to an AW4/42RE swap as well...but that might be more complicated. I know the 32RH is a beast but will be impractical for my needs.

If I stuck with the AX-15 I'd probably go with 4.56's and 33's. That puts me at 68mph @ 2500RPM which I think should be fine.
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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Any particular reason you're going with 17's for your wheels? Just like the look?
Nothing too scientific. I want Vanco big brakes (or the equivalent DIY) and the cost difference between the 15" and 17" isn't a whole lot. I figure bigger brakes are better but have never driven a Jeep with any of the Vanco kits so I have no idea how dramatic the difference actually is. The tire selection at 17" kind of sucks though. I really want a Load-Range C tire. Might stick with 15" just for that reason.

Who else other than Genright currently sells a Hi-Line style fender?
 

Jerry Bransford

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A 42RLE would be a nearly impossible conversion for a '98, due to its computer requirements, and the AW4 would not be a good conversion. It's longer and requires a shorter rear driveshaft, but more importantly it runs significantly hotter and is hard to keep cool in a Wrangler. And then the wiring to get an AW4 working is significant, not to mention there's no way to get an AW4 to shift into its Overdrive ratio automatically in a Wrangler. Many resort to installing a manual Overdrive on-off switch which would work but it'd be a PITA to have to keep turning on and off. The AW4 is no longer nearly as popular as a conversion as it once was for those reasons.
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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@Jerry Bransford I'll admit I have barely done any digging on the actual details involved. I'm not too familiar with the 42RLE, what other than the transmission computer and harness is needed? I thought it had a standalone TCU separate from the main engine's computer. I could be a mile off though.

My (RIP) 93 XJ had an RE3.5 kit and 31's without regearing and I beat the snot out of it. Never had any tranny troubles and sent the XJ to the junkyard at 270k. I agree though that the AW4 is the least viable option.

I'll admit I am partial to GM stuff (don't shoot) and I think Advance Adapters has a kit to swap in a 700R4...but that is another can of worms.
 

Wildman

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I have the Overline fenders and rear corners for my TJ.
And I'm running 38" tires but NOTHING is stock on my rig.
What rear setup are you saying MC doesn't have on their website?

I went with Metal Cloak because of the option to remove the flares. On tight trails the 8" wide flares would be a issue. But it keeps me more street legal for the times I drive it on the roads.

20211212_175842.jpg


And I happen to like the look of the Overline fenders.

20211212_175909.jpg


I'd look at gearing it for closer to 3k RPM's at 70 MPH.
And don't worry about the dislike for them. There are a few members who run them.

GenRight and Poison Spyder and JCR and MotoBuilt are a few vendors that sell hi-line fenders.
 

imahnu

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Nothing too scientific. I want Vanco big brakes (or the equivalent DIY) and the cost difference between the 15" and 17" isn't a whole lot. I figure bigger brakes are better but have never driven a Jeep with any of the Vanco kits so I have no idea how dramatic the difference actually is. The tire selection at 17" kind of sucks though. I really want a Load-Range C tire. Might stick with 15" just for that reason.

Who else other than Genright currently sells a Hi-Line style fender?
A few I'm aware of are TnT customs, crawltek, motobilt, poison spyder. I've never owned anything poison spyder but I've heard a lot of people on this forum aren't fans of their products.

I have the 15" BBK and think its definitely up to the tasks of stopping your 33's or even 35's without any issue. I ran that for 3 years, which included several trips towing a camping trailer and never felt like my brakes were a liability in my build. 15" wheels will help with airing down, tire selection and price.
 
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Jerry Bransford

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@Jerry Bransford I'll admit I have barely done any digging on the actual details involved. I'm not too familiar with the 42RLE, what other than the transmission computer and harness is needed? I thought it had a standalone TCU separate from the main engine's computer. I could be a mile off though.
The 42RLE's TCM has to be integrated with the PCM and with a 2002 or older TJ that's not possible. And you can't use a 2003 or newer PCM where that is possible in a '98.
 
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imahnu

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It does, i was about to buy their rear fenders about a week after I bought the fronts and that's when I realized they no longer carried them. So now I'm thinking of going the custom route for my rear fenders. I'm glad I got the fronts before they were gone, I really like them.
That sucks. It's been a while since I've looked at their website.
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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Wow...you guys are pretty quick!

@Wildman That's a pretty sweet ride! I do like the 8" flare option from MC and the ability to take them off. I'll be on the street alot so I do worry about being street legal a bit. Doesn't 3000RPM seem a bit high for highway cruising? Sure that is closer to peak torque but I'd expect 2500RPM to be more livable and maybe more fuel efficient. I have no data to back that up though.

@imahnu17 You may have me sold on 15". Good to know. And thanks for the heads up on the other fender companies.

@Jerry Bransford That's a bummer. I'll either live with the 32RH, swap in a manual....or do something silly like toss in a 700R4. I already have one so that may influence my decision. I'll have to look up the length and compare it to the others.
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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So I just checked out Genrights video of them installing the front Hi-Fender flares...those things are sweet! Not that I NEED 35's with only 1.5" of lift....but out of curiosity would I have enough room for 35's under the Genright Hi-Fender flares? It would probably come down to Metalcloaks or Genrights.
 

imahnu

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Room? sure you can turn your tires and have a gap between the tire and fender, but you'll seriously limit your up travel and if you don't change your bumpstops you might damage those new fenders you buy. It is definitely not worth it with only that much lift. Plus your rear tires will have even less room. if you really want to go that route and are interested in having up travel, you need more lift than 1.5"
So I just checked out Genrights video of them installing the front Hi-Fender flares...those things are sweet! Not that I NEED 35's with only 1.5" of lift....but out of curiosity would I have enough room for 35's under the Genright Hi-Fender flares? It would probably come down to Metalcloaks or Genrights.
 
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Yoda

Yoda

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Thanks for all your help guys! You have me sold on 33's. I don't want a mallcrawler. Maybe someday if I upgrade the axles and put some 2-3" springs on it I'll go to 35's but until then 33's should do.

Now to choose between Genrights and Metalcloaks...
 
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