basic's 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (LJ)

basic

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 8, 2018
128
74
Dubuque, IA, USA
#1
History -
I purchased my LJ in June 2015 with 85000 miles on it from a dealer specializing in Jeeps. Was looking for an clean XJ, but always wanted a wrangler (who doesn't?) so the wife said "Get the one you really want". If only she knew what she was getting into.

Purchased stock expect for some 31's instead of the stock tire size. Came with Hardtop (which I would later learn was a great thing - they are impossible to find).

Some Photos from when I found it on the dealership lot.

20150530_164547.jpg


20150530_164500.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
basic

basic

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 8, 2018
128
74
Dubuque, IA, USA
#2
In the first thing month or so, I installed a 2" budget boost w/ bilstein 5100's. I was able to find some 16" Moabs semi-locally to replace the Ravines that came on it. Installed 32" Duratracs (265/75R16). Also changed all the fluids, replaced transmission filter, replaced leaky oil pan gasket as well as rear main seal, and installed an auxrillary transmission cooler. Got a trektop nx soft-top for it, and made some DIY sway bar disconnects from clevis pins.

Some photos from the first outing to the Wichita mountains and wild life refuge in South western Oklahoma.
20150628_161858.jpg 20150628_161927.jpg
 
OP
OP
basic

basic

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 8, 2018
128
74
Dubuque, IA, USA
#5
Continued -

After a while with the setup above - I got a new job and moved to eastern Iowa. Unlike SW Oklahoma - Easter Iowa has hills. That means the 42LRE OD gears + 32" tires + 3.73 diff gears weren't doing me any favor in terms of power. So, in spring of 2017, a friend of mine and I installed some 4.88 gears in the stock diffs (Dana 44 rear, 30 up front) as well as rebuilt the rear stock VLSD.
Made a big difference in get-up-and-go, and almost no impact on MPG. Much better now. :) Would recommend 4.88 to anyone that is limited by the Dana 30 (like I am).

Also installed some aftermarket front and rear bumpers from eBay - I needed a rear trailer hitch to do some light towing, and instead of buying just a hitch, I got a bumper w/ a hitch.

Some Photos before/After new bumpers as well as out on a C level road here in eastern iowa. Most of the good off-road stuff is private land around here.

20170319_144645.jpg 20170319_173303.jpg 20170420_165553.jpg 20170418_181747.jpg 20170418_200038.jpg
 
Likes: Don Ashcraft
OP
OP
basic

basic

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 8, 2018
128
74
Dubuque, IA, USA
#6
Most Recent update -

Found an ARB bumper and warn 9000i winch a couple hours away for a good price - so have picked those up. Installed the bumper last month and did a full rebuild on the winch. Still have yet to install the winch as I'm waiting for custom-splice to get some grey rope in stock.

Also have a rock krawler 3.5" max-travel lift kit sitting in my garage waiting on warmer weather. Hopefully this winter will release it's hold by this weekend.

20180407_165445.jpg 20180329_161044.jpg 20180329_161036.jpg
 

glwood

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Sep 16, 2016
5,052
4,588
Albuquerque, NM
#7
Continued -

After a while with the setup above - I got a new job and moved to eastern Iowa. Unlike SW Oklahoma - Easter Iowa has hills. That means the 42LRE OD gears + 32" tires + 3.73 diff gears weren't doing me any favor in terms of power. So, in spring of 2017, a friend of mine and I installed some 4.88 gears in the stock diffs (Dana 44 rear, 30 up front) as well as rebuilt the rear stock VLSD.
Made a big difference in get-up-and-go, and almost no impact on MPG. Much better now. :) Would recommend 4.88 to anyone that is limited by the Dana 30 (like I am).

Also installed some aftermarket front and rear bumpers from eBay - I needed a rear trailer hitch to do some light towing, and instead of buying just a hitch, I got a bumper w/ a hitch.

Some Photos before/After new bumpers as well as out on a C level road here in eastern iowa. Most of the good off-road stuff is private land around here.

View attachment 38896 View attachment 38897 View attachment 38898 View attachment 38899 View attachment 38900
Interesting information regarding the 4.88 gears and the 32" tires. I've considered that long and hard, and was wondering if the 4.88 were going to be too low for 32" tires. I don't plan on ever going bigger on tire size, and my Rubicon with the 4.10 axles does ok, but I would prefer some more get up and go without overdoing it...

If you are still running that combo, you would be the one to give a real world evaluation. Most with 4.88 gears are on 33" tires.
 
OP
OP
basic

basic

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 8, 2018
128
74
Dubuque, IA, USA
#8
Interesting information regarding the 4.88 gears and the 32" tires. I've considered that long and hard, and was wondering if the 4.88 were going to be too low for 32" tires. I don't plan on ever going bigger on tire size, and my Rubicon with the 4.10 axles does ok, but I would prefer some more get up and go without overdoing it...

If you are still running that combo, you would be the one to give a real world evaluation. Most with 4.88 gears are on 33" tires.
I thought about it for a long while as well - trying to decide between 4.56 and 4.88. The point that drove me to the 4.88 is the silly 0.69:1 reduction for overdrive in the 42LRE. If I had a manual, I would have gone to 4.56 I think.

That said; I am likely going to go to at least 33" or 34" tires after I get the lift installed. Eventually planning a bodylift and tummy tuck as well - but at that point I will need to get an SYE and CV driveshaft as it will effectively be around a 4.5" lift as far as the driveline is concerned. The LJ should let me get away with 3.5" without vibes, but not sure about 4.5-5".
 
Likes: Don Ashcraft

glwood

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Sep 16, 2016
5,052
4,588
Albuquerque, NM
#9
I thought about it for a long while as well - trying to decide between 4.56 and 4.88. The point that drove me to the 4.88 is the silly 0.69:1 reduction for overdrive in the 42LRE. If I had a manual, I would have gone to 4.56 I think.

That said; I am likely going to go to at least 33" or 34" tires after I get the lift installed. Eventually planning a bodylift and tummy tuck as well - but at that point I will need to get an SYE and CV driveshaft as it will effectively be around a 4.5" lift as far as the driveline is concerned. The LJ should let me get away with 3.5" without vibes, but not sure about 4.5-5".
Let's say for argument's sake that you had no plans for a taller lift, or bigger tires, and were happy to stay with your LJ as is...would you say that 4.88 would be the go-to gearing for how you're set up? I know the LJ is a somewhat heavier vehicle, but I imagine the difference isn't a lot over a TJ.
 
Likes: Don Ashcraft
OP
OP
basic

basic

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 8, 2018
128
74
Dubuque, IA, USA
#10
Let's say for argument's sake that you had no plans for a taller lift, or bigger tires, and were happy to stay with your LJ as is...would you say that 4.88 would be the go-to gearing for how you're set up? I know the LJ is a somewhat heavier vehicle, but I imagine the difference isn't a lot over a TJ.
I can say that I've never wanted less gear, even with the 265/75R16's. I still occasionally use the OD-off button (usually because I want to jeep to drop to 3rd for going up a hill) but I can use OD now. I know it will be worse with the larger 33" or 34" tires.

For reference, at 70mph indicated (about 66 mph actual with the speedo gear I have in) the RPM is right around 2500 RPM.

If you don't need to go fast (70 actual - 75 indicated is about the fastest I ever drive it) and aren't too worried about MPG - I'd recommend 4.88 if you have the 42LRE with the 0.69:1 overdrive (03-06).

If you have the earlier auto (32RH I think) or the manual NV3550, AX15, or NSG370 - the 4.56 may be better due to the shorter overdrive gears in the transmision.
 
Likes: Don Ashcraft

glwood

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Sep 16, 2016
5,052
4,588
Albuquerque, NM
#11
I can say that I've never wanted less gear, even with the 265/75R16's. I still occasionally use the OD-off button (usually because I want to jeep to drop to 3rd for going up a hill) but I can use OD now. I know it will be worse with the larger 33" or 34" tires.

For reference, at 70mph indicated (about 66 mph actual with the speedo gear I have in) the RPM is right around 2500 RPM.

If you don't need to go fast (70 actual - 75 indicated is about the fastest I ever drive it) and aren't too worried about MPG - I'd recommend 4.88 if you have the 42LRE with the 0.69:1 overdrive (03-06).

If you have the earlier auto (32RH I think) or the manual NV3550, AX15, or NSG370 - the 4.56 may be better due to the shorter overdrive gears in the transmision.
I very much appreciate your input, thank you. I have the 42RLE auto.
 
Likes: Don Ashcraft

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