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Lift and tire recommendations for ‘97 TJ 4 cylinder?

97BLKTJ

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Sep 1, 2018
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01702147-7038-4FE5-A869-F8D653183F9D.jpeg



Hi,

I’ve spent some time looking though the posts on lifts and tires. So much info on the 6 cyl but I’m having a hard time finding info on the 2.5L, 4 cyl. Looking for some help and direction please.
  1. Not a daily driver. Used for fun on weekends and driving around town. Would like to hit some mild to moderate trails for camping trips. No rock crawling yet.
  2. Thinking 2-3” max lift but I’m open to staying stock with slightly larger tires. Prefer not to start modifying a bunch of stuff (brake lines, gear ratios, etc) but I’m open to it.
  3. Concerned about power. Currently have 255/70/18 (purchased that way) and the Jeep has no power and the power steering keeps going out. I realize it’s not a powerful vehicle but maybe smaller tires and rims will help.
  4. Definitely want to replace the tires and rims.
  5. Maybe intstall a winch and will install some roof racks.
Can you please recommend a good lift/ tire combo for the 2.5l? Or should I stay stock with bigger tires. If so, what size would you recommend keeping in mind the engine power and power steering issues?

Much appreciated,
Craig
 
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Jerry Bransford

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Since your sig and name say you have a '97, that means your engine is the 2.5L, not the vastly different 2.4L that came in newer TJs. The biggest tire I'd recommend for the 2.5L TJ is a 33x12.50 but that means you would need to regear your axles to 4.88 or 5.13, with the 5.13 being more desirable. A 3" suspension lift plus a 1" body lift is a good recommended combination. Zone makes a good 4" combination lift kit that includes that 3" suspension lift plus a 1" body lift, with pretty much everything else that is needed too.

I wouldn't go larger than a 30" tire without regearing your axles, which is about a $1500-1600 upgrade. Well worth it but still not cheap.

The only way to create more power without regearing is to go to a smaller tire size. Nope, engine add-ons like throttle body spacers and similar malarkey don't help. Not in the least. :)
 

Chris

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Do you have a number figure to work with in terms of budget? I'm asking because my answer will vary based on that number.

One thing is for sure, I wouldn't go above 33" tires on a 4 cylinder, but ideally you'd keep it at 31". The bigger tires you put on the 4 cylinder, the more it's going to suck. You'll still want to re-gear it no matter what tire size you move up to, as the 4 cylinder is lacking on power from the factory.

Gear ratio of course will depend on tire size and whether it's an auto or manual.
 
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twistedlv

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I had a budget boost and 32x11.50-15 Mud T/A's on my '97 SE. Definitely needed more gear. With 4:10s fifth gear was pretty much useless. But it did ride really nice, and performed pretty well offroad.
 
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Boinked

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Mesa,az
You should have a AX-5 in there with a final gear of .85 final gear ratio. The AX-15 has a .79 final gear. When you go about figuring out what gears you need remember you have a taller (biger) final drive.

With 4.56 gears you will be at 3k rpm @76mph
According to http://www.grimmjeeper.com/gears.html
Just for example i have a 97 with the 4.0l 4.56 gears and the AX-15. At 75mph im at 2750 (give or take) real world.
You can put in any gear and tire size to give you a close estimate on rpm vs gear vs tires.
 
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97BLKTJ

97BLKTJ

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Sep 1, 2018
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California
Do you have a number figure to work with in terms of budget? I'm asking because my answer will vary based on that number.

One thing is for sure, I wouldn't go above 33" tires on a 4 cylinder, but ideally you'd keep it at 31". The bigger tires you put on the 4 cylinder, the more it's going to suck. You'll still want to re-gear it no matter what tire size you move up to, as the 4 cylinder is lacking on power from the factory.

Gear ratio of course will depend on tire size and whether it's an auto or manual.
Budget is $500-$1,000 for the suspension. It’s a manual. Was looking at the BDS and OME 2” lifts with 31” tires. But according to Jerry it sounds like Iike I will need to regear with the 31’s for $1,500- $1,600. I really don’t want to spend that much to regear. My Jeep currently has 32” tires with 18” rims and it has very little power, super noticeable on hills. Do you think I’ll be fine with the 2” lift and 31’s with a 15” rim or will I need to regear. If so, maybe I’ll just do new tires and rims and keep it close to stock.
 

Chris

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Budget is $500-$1,000 for the suspension. It’s a manual. Was looking at the BDS and OME 2” lifts with 31” tires. But according to Jerry it sounds like Iike I will need to regear with the 31’s for $1,500- $1,600. I really don’t want to spend that much to regear. My Jeep currently has 32” tires with 18” rims and it has very little power, super noticeable on hills. Do you think I’ll be fine with the 2” lift and 31’s with a 15” rim or will I need to regear. If so, maybe I’ll just do new tires and rims and keep it close to stock.
Do you know what gears are in there now? I think a 2" lift with 31" tires on 15" rims is perfect. You don't need to re-gear by any means at all, but with a 4 cylinder already lacking on power, the re-gear will definitely make a big difference. But, like many of us, you can put off a re-gear for months, or even years if you want! As long as you can live with it! 31" isn't that extreme, so I don't think you'll be hurting as bad as you would on say 33" tires or larger.
 
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97BLKTJ

97BLKTJ

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Do you know what gears are in there now? I think a 2" lift with 31" tires on 15" rims is perfect. You don't need to re-gear by any means at all, but with a 4 cylinder already lacking on power, the re-gear will definitely make a big difference. But, like many of us, you can put off a re-gear for months, or even years if you want! As long as you can live with it! 31" isn't that extreme, so I don't think you'll be hurting as bad as you would on say 33" tires or larger.
4.11
 

KCsTJ

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Jan 9, 2018
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Farmersville, TX, United States
Thanks for the photo! Looks great. Did you change your gears? How does your Jeep do on hills and grades?
No, I have not made a gear change and probably wont.
I use my TJ as a DD and on my work service route. The 3.73s are perfect for running around town. It's a very quick and responsive jeep but you are right, on hills and grades it struggles esp if there's a head wind so I don't like that.
But if you have a choice drive in the right hand lane if you have to.
Also, I have had my 2.5 wheeling in some nasty granite rock in the heart of Texas hill country with some 4.0s from the forum and I was surprised at how well it performed.
With 3.73s in 4 lo I climbed everything I had the nerve to try. Only my inexperience held me back from the harder stuff (plus I had to make it back to Dallas). :)
 
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Richard Brust

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Oct 26, 2018
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El Dorado Hills, CA
I also have a 4cyl with OME 2" lift (plus .75" spacers in just the front to level it). When I did the lift I had just purchased new tires (stock - 28"-ish I believe), so the upgrade/upsize tires are still on my wish list. Please let us know the final outcome :)