Need Lift Recommendations For 03 TJ Sahara


jsfoster75

Member
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
31
Location
Bluff City, TN
So, I picked up a 2003 TJ Sahara Hard Top today with 163,000 miles. He was asking $8,500, I offered $7,000 on the spot and he took it...

Jeep has:
  • Never had the hard top removed.
  • Came with a brand new Soft Top (still in the box)
  • Has never been off road and the 4 wheel drive was only used to get up their driveway in the snow a few times over the years.
  • 4.0 L Straight 6 engine
  • No rips/tears in cloth seats
  • has original radio and awesome sound system
  • Cold A/C
Known Issues:
  1. Minor frame rust, taking it tomorrow to get a repair estimate
  2. Code: P0122 - Throttle Position Sensor, Voltage Low
  3. Code: P0456 - Evaporative Emission Leak Monitor Small Leak Detected
  4. Rust Spot on fender, sand/paint door handles - Low Priority
Current owner had it since 2005 and his wife used it to commute to work, they weren't much into off-roading.

Wanting recommendations on size lift to put on it, and tires/wheels?
Was thinking 35's (maybe Rubi take-offs), don't want to spend a fortune on them as this will be our off-roading Jeep.
Any other recommendations?
Planning to put new bumpers and a winch on it at some point.

Jeep.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ron505

Rubicon88

TJ Addict
Joined
Sep 24, 2020
Messages
1,868
Location
Western PA....Altoona area to be exact.
35's ?
Not unless you're planning on a gear swap too.
The lowest gear ratio you possibly have is 3.73's. You might have the dreaded 3.07's

You definitely need to find this out first and foremost.

If you've got 3.73's IMO the biggest you want to run is a 32" (if not changing the gears)

If you've got 3.07's I wouldn't go above a 31.
Anything bigger will turn you Sahara into a sluggahara.

Even just as off road only...35's even with the 4.0 will zap your power. Add in the wrong gear(they're both wrong for 35's) and it will be annoying as hell.

Start at your gearing and find out what you have before dreaming of big old meats and lifts.
 

Fishtaco

TJ Addict
Joined
Sep 29, 2020
Messages
1,612
Location
Perth AU
So, I picked up a 2003 TJ Sahara Hard Top today with 163,000 miles. He was asking $8,500, I offered $7,000 on the spot and he took it...

Jeep has:
  • Never had the hard top removed.
  • Came with a brand new Soft Top (still in the box)
  • Has never been off road and the 4 wheel drive was only used to get up their driveway in the snow a few times over the years.
  • 4.0 L Straight 6 engine
  • No rips/tears in cloth seats
  • has original radio and awesome sound system
  • Cold A/C
Known Issues:
  1. Minor frame rust, taking it tomorrow to get a repair estimate
  2. Code: P0122 - Throttle Position Sensor, Voltage Low
  3. Code: P0456 - Evaporative Emission Leak Monitor Small Leak Detected
  4. Rust Spot on fender, sand/paint door handles - Low Priority
Current owner had it since 2005 and his wife used it to commute to work, they weren't much into off-roading.

Wanting recommendations on size lift to put on it, and tires/wheels?
Was thinking 35's (maybe Rubi take-offs), don't want to spend a fortune on them as this will be our off-roading Jeep.
Any other recommendations?
Planning to put new bumpers and a winch on it at some point.

View attachment 249426
Realistic price! show us the inside, And when you change the front bumper with the lift I have first Dibs on those totally useless fogs you wont need :) I have cash and shipping costs to Australia + I will buy you a 6 pack of Fosters or a Koala Bear lol
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: Vasq and harbiison
OP
jsfoster75

jsfoster75

Member
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
31
Location
Bluff City, TN
35's ?
Not unless you're planning on a gear swap too.
The lowest gear ratio you possibly have is 3.73's. You might have the dreaded 3.07's

You definitely need to find this out first and foremost.

If you've got 3.73's IMO the biggest you want to run is a 32" (if not changing the gears)

If you've got 3.07's I wouldn't go above a 31.
Anything bigger will turn you Sahara into a sluggahara.

Even just as off road only...35's even with the 4.0 will zap your power. Add in the wrong gear(they're both wrong for 35's) and it will be annoying as hell.

Start at your gearing and find out what you have before dreaming of big old meats and lifts.



LOL, the Red Rubi is the wife's Mall Crawler that she lovingly calls the "Princess Jeep"... LOL I have an '18 black Sahara that I've upgraded quite a bit that we currently take off road, but I'm trying to cut down on the miles I put on it.

We are new to the Jeep World (Oct. '19), so still learning about Jeeps. Can you tell which rear end I have from these photos?

Rear Diff 1.JPG


Rear Diff 2.JPG
 

TheBoogieman

Disturbed Jeepaholic
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
2,617
Location
CharlottesHELL, Va
Last edited:

Jacket4256

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 6, 2021
Messages
114
Location
Tennessee
I have a 3 inch lift with 33s on mine with manual 4.0 and 373s, if your not trying to drive 75 all the time and decide you really hate 5th gear then its a ok set up, I am currently saving for gears and rear locker.

Also I am from East Tennessee as well so I understand the terrain.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
62,705
Location
Florence, AZ
 
OP
jsfoster75

jsfoster75

Member
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
31
Location
Bluff City, TN
Well, I'm guessing 35's aren't in my future LOL thanks for that post, great write-up.
 

Ron505

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
570
Location
SE Ohio
I'm pretty used to driving my 4.0/auto with 3.73's and 4.25" lift, so I don't hate it. It's fairly capable, on or off road. I'm certainly not saying it's right, but I've gotten used to it. One day when I stop putting so much money into my other toys, I'll change my gearing and get this thing running like its supposed to.

BTW, nice find!
 
OP
jsfoster75

jsfoster75

Member
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
31
Location
Bluff City, TN
Update on the frame rust situation...

Got it on a lift last night and started taking it apart, turns out the inside of the frame had more rust that we expected, so we'll be ordering a replacement aftermarket piece to redo the majority of the driver's side. Labor is going to be $900 or so, parts around $300 or so.

The skid plate/transmission support nearly fell off on the driver's side, the bolts weren't holding anything, they just spun freely when he tried to remove them.

Rust1.JPG


Rust2.JPG



Rust3.JPG



Rust4.JPG


Rust5.JPG
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Hopper