Jeep Wrangler TJ Sahara project ideas

Aug 10, 2018
Hey guys ! I’m new to this forum and recently got my 97’ Sahara a couple months back, the condition is incredible ! It was garage kept, and I’m not sure whether to keep it stock and restore it, or start with some mods. Let me know what you guys think! Thanks !


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Likes: Squatch
Aug 10, 2018
This TJ belonged to a soldier from Chicago Illinois (which explains the condition of the paint) and was a gift for my 16th birthday here in San Diego just a few months ago !
Likes: Squatch


Master Thread Derailer
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2017
Everett, Wash, United States
If it was me, with something that clean, I would only do mild modifications to it. If the condition is as nice as you say (and as nice as it presents)...well, they're only original once. There are plenty of rougher TJs out there in need of repairs and mods. Of course, that is strictly my opinion. Looking at your profile page, I see you're off to a good start of tasteful mods. BTW, I have the same tires you do for my '98 Sahara project (green, like yours).
Beautiful rig, friend. Helluva 16th birthday present! :thumbsup:


TJ Overlander
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Jul 16, 2016
Missoula, MT, USA
The half-doors are a real score! And it looks to be in pretty good shape.
Do what you can to maintain it and make it as mechanically sound as possible. I would get a spiderwebshade or similar on there and do a nice clean bumper upgrade next in my option.
Likes: Squatch


TJ Enthusiast
Feb 22, 2018
Central Florida
Since that TJ is so nice and pretty much original, I would leave it pretty stock. But it depends on what you are going to do with it.

If you are going to drive it mostly on road, with a few mild trails or beach, leave it mostly stock...maybe upgrade the bumper, put grabars on it, upgrade the stereo, etc. All things easily returned to stock. However, if you are going to get into wheeling on more advanced trails, then you will have to upgrade the usual stuff (suspension, diffs, etc.)

If I were buying a TJ to ride hard and put away wet on all kinds of trails and/or rocks, I would buy a well used TJ that was already partially built with good parts...that due to higher miles, or not good paint, etc, was cheaper to buy into. Then I could spend that money making sure all the mechanics and maintenance were brought up to top notch...then do all the heavy duty upgrades like 33 or 35" tires with appropriate lift and diff and gear upgrades, brake upgrades, lockers, etc, etc.

But if I were buying a TJ to enjoy as a second vehicle or daily driver almost always on road, I would look at a lower mileage beauty like yours, do only a few tasteful upgrades, maintaining the driveability and road manners, and spend my effort maintaining it and keeping it looking great. You see so many used lower mileage TJ's fort sale that somebody bought, never considered how they would use it, but went for all the "cool guy" mods like huge tires and big lifts, not knowing the proper way to do so (i.e. Rough Country, drop pittman arms, etc.). Then when the TJ was an absolute bear to drive on the road, they dump the vehicle in the used car market for something else.
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Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
Salem, Oregon
Good lord that thing is CLEAN! Wow... nice buy!

If it were me, I would put some 31s on that thing with a 2" lift and do very minor upgrades like LED headlights, etc. That thing looks so damn good the way it is!
Aug 10, 2018
Thanks for all the replies ! TJ’s are becoming harder and harder to find... especially in this condition, so I agree 100% that I should keep it in stock condition or minor mods that can easily return back to stock, any suggestions on what specific lift to use, 2” ? 2.5”?
Dec 30, 2018
Winchester, VA
Good looking TJ! Personally, I’d go with an OME 2.5” lift and 32x11.50’s or 33x10.50. Plenty of power still, no rubbing with minor bump stop adjustments and it gives it that OEM+ look. Here was my ‘99 Sport with 2” coil spacers and 33x10.50’s