First Jeep, a 2004 LJ


ALScott

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I pulled the trigger and I am picking her up at the end of the week! It has 93K miles and is an automatic. I have been pouring through the forum reading tons. First on the list is to replace valve cover gasket and an oil change. Not sure if I should change transmission or diff fluids. Advice?

I am buying this primarily for hunting and some easy trail riding, not rock crawling. It is bone stock. I would like to put 31's on it, maybe 32's. I don't want really wide tires either. Can I do that with just a small body lift? Or is this the only way to go: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/a-recipe-for-an-affordable-but-quality-2-5-lift.41687/
Is replacing the stock skid plate a good idea? What size wheels would be best with what I want to do? I looked up vin and it came with Ravine wheels but I really like the look of Moabs and I know those are two different sizes.

Any other tips for a first time TJ/LJ owner would be much appreciated.
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CodaMan

California Prisoner (for only a while longer)
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If it were mine and I was on a budget and using it like you will be, I would either do a 2" spacer lift or a 1.25" body lift and add some Rancho 5000X shocks then put some 31X10.5 tires on it. I would leave everything else the way it is and go.

Edit: I would replace all those tube bumpers as well, but that's a personal opinion.
 
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PCO6

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ALScott - Nice Jeep! I use my LJ in a similar way that you plan to. I don't hunt but I do fish (badly). Mine is an '04 too. It has a 2" lift with 265/75/16's (31.6") on MOAB wheels. I use Duratracs, both because I Like them and there's not a lot of choice when it comes to 16" tires.

19-11-13 1.JPG
 
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ALScott

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Feb 9, 2021
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Alabama
If it were mine and I was on a budget and using it like you will be, I would either do a 2" spacer lift or a 1.25" body lift and add some Rancho 5000X shocks then put some 31X10.5 tires on it. I would leave everything else the way it is and go.

Edit: I would replace all those tube bumpers as well, but that's a personal opinion.
HAHAHAHA Tube bumpers are a goner!!!! What about those sweet pinstripes!! They are painted on.
 

AjRagno

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Dec 27, 2019
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351
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MN
31s are the limit with the stock 3.73 gears. If you go any larger without regearing the fun factor is greatly reduced.

Unless you know the service history and it's been less that 30,000 miles you should absolutely change the fluid and filter in the transmission, and add a drain plug or buy a pan that has one, like Dorman 265-818. The 42RLE is the weakest link in the drivetrain and does not last long if overheated or gummed up due to lack of service.

Going back to service history: If you don't have records then replace every fluid, including brake fluid, power steering(ATF+4), coolant (HOAT G05), differentials (friction modifier in rear), transmission and transfer case (ATF+4 for both).

For the top and dash panels, 303 UV Protectant will keep them looking new for years and years.
 
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ALScott

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31s are the limit with the stock 3.73 gears. If you go any larger without regearing the fun factor is greatly reduced.

Unless you know the service history and it's been less that 30,000 miles you should absolutely change the fluid and filter in the transmission, and add a drain plug or buy a pan that has one, like Dorman 265-818. The 42RLE is the weakest link in the drivetrain and does not last long if overheated or gummed up due to lack of service.

Going back to service history: If you don't have records then replace every fluid, including brake fluid, power steering(ATF+4), coolant (HOAT G05), differentials (friction modifier in rear), transmission and transfer case (ATF+4 for both).

For the top and dash panels, 303 UV Protectant will keep them looking new for years and years.
Thanks for this. What do you mean "and it's been less than 30,000 miles?"
 

AjRagno

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Dec 27, 2019
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MN
Thanks for this. What do you mean "and it's been less than 30,000 miles?"
Sorry, I meant if more than 30,000 miles. The regular service interval for the 42RLE 60,000 miles and severe service is 30,000 miles. I bought my '05 LJ when it had 76,000 miles. The previous owner had the transmission serviced at 30,000 and 60,000 miles. I've drained the pan every 15,000 miles and also replaced the filter every 30,000 miles. There are a lot of complaints about the 42RLE but mine is still doing fine with over 252,000 miles and much of that, I'm certain, comes down to maintenance.
 
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AndyG

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That transmission likes to be full of fluid and performs is best with the overdrive off.

The front left nutsert on the crossmember in front of the transmission is one to watch...you will hear it before you see it.

The flares can be painted with SEM trim paint and look new.

Typically one that age need little things and service.

It's a good starting point when you get one like that that hasn't been messed with much.

The Facebook ad he has shows a white one in one pic...I wonder what else he has.
 
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ALScott

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Feb 9, 2021
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Alabama
That transmission likes to be full of fluid and performs is best with the overdrive off.

The front left nutsert on the crossmember in front of the transmission is one to watch...you will hear it before you see it.

The flares can be painted with SEM trim paint and look new.

Typically one that age need little things and service.

It's a good starting point when you get one like that that hasn't been messed with much.

The Facebook ad he has shows a white one in one pic...I wonder what else he has.
Thanks AndyG. What in the world is "The front left nutsert on the crossmember in front of the transmission is one to watch...you will hear it before you see it?" And "hear" it? I am mechanically inclined but this is first Jeep ever.

Do you mean Sutton or Gilbert? if Sutton, I did not see the white one. He had one TJ Rubi and four or five LJ's (incl my purchase) but one sold while i was there, so now three. All of them are super clean as in little to no rust.