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Old 10-03-2014, 12:17 AM
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WJ Gettin There... Help Would Rock!

So y'all can see I'm new here and glad to be exploring a new hobby.

My project is a '99 Grand, 4.7L that is now very sound mechanically and safe daily driver, mostly for my wife as I have to use a pick-up for work, but coming from NW NM (Farmington) and SW CO (Durango), I've been around crawlers most of my life, but due to life, kids, etc., I haven't had the time or $$$ till now to devote.

My goal is to just have a super smooth daily driver, but able to hit most intermediate trails with the family on the weekends. My budget is limited. I'm a Carpenter living south of Denver, so I'm sure some of you know

THE LIFT:

I bought a lightly used set of pro comp coils that'll get me ~4" of lift and pieced together the rest of the components as they popped up at my local 4x4 shop. So I've got quality shocks and most everything ready to go for the first lift and I think I've done my homework and know what to expect.

Most of my budget lies with the tires. Where we live half the time we have to plow our way up our driveway, which is a steep 200 yds and since the kids rarely get a day off due to weather, I want it to handle great on the snowy roads.

So I want to get the best components when its appropriate and hope you guys with more experience can guide me a bit.

Me and a couple of friends of mine (Big time rock crawlers from Farmington, NM) are gonna throw the lift on this next weekend. That gives me time to order additional components.

QUESTION(S):

Aside from the basics, what is the most important area to focus on with this platform? I have read that it is wise to replace the factory sway bar with an addco, or a solid 1" from a model 2004 or later? Is it that big of a difference maker? I was thinking definitely front, rear too??? Other suggestions?

I have 2 adjustable sway bar links that I can use until I find a permanent solution, what links would you recommend?

I have a beast of a track bar from rock crawler, but need hardware. Any suggestions?

ANY OTHER suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

All my experience is strictly basic automotive and a few crawlers I tagged along for a project or so. . .

I am pumped to be working out a balance that I can trust my family in for a long drive to the mountains and then through a fun' 1-2 day alpine trail and back home. I'm asking a lot out of this project, but I think it is doable. Not opposed to any mod AT ALL. Trimming is OK if that'll help me choose the right size tire.

What should be my list of priorities?

Thanks ALOT!!!

Dan

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Old 10-03-2014, 10:03 AM
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Re: WJ Gettin There... Help Would Rock!

Welcome D!

Also, welcome to the world of the WJ. Former XJ owner who took a few years off and came back to the WJ. This is a great forum with knowledgable members but I have found they are a bit more towards the daily driver/street scene than the off-road.

As for lift options, it seems you are on your way. My reading helped me understand the WJ does not like lifts over 3" with stock control arms as the suspension geometry get way outta spec. I am one of those daily driver crowd. Take some time and do a google search for "WJ 4" lift" and see what you find about the set-ups.
If I were to go more than the factory UpCountry spring (which are in the garage), OME 2" HD springs would be my choice.

Recommendations for shocks are all over the place but my reading and personal experience says Bilstein are the best. Most members here would also agree with this - if you have the funds in the budget they are worth it.

As for Addco bars, there are many here who say they are a must have. I don't have experience with them. I contemplated them but think the looseness I am experienceing in the suspension has more to do with wear in the lower and upper control arms. I have parts to replace those when I do the springs on my WJ. Also, the upper ball joint on rear upper triangulated arm is know to wear and add to looseness in the rear suspension. This piece is a pain to replace and I think it often gets overlooked. Check out the threads in the WJ section for more details on this project.

Finally, tires suggestions are all over the place. Many love M/T and others swear by A/Ts as a nice middle of the road on a daily drive. I have been very happy with the Cooper Discoverer AT3s I have. Last winter they were great weeks of sub-zero Iowa winter and record snowfall. There were many times I was out in 5-8" of fresh snow and had no problems getting around.

FWIW - I will start a thread when I do the UpCountry suspension swap on my WJ in the next week or so. Between lower front and rear arms, all parts to rebuild the rear upper a-arm, UpCountry springs, and some other small parts I have about $750 in parts. I will have a factory ride and handling, will be able to run 31" tires (currently have 30.5" tires), and will need no trimming.

Travis
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:29 PM
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Re: WJ Gettin There... Help Would Rock!

Thanks for all the info.

I have also read about not going too high with the WJ, but since I got a steal on the springs, I'll throw 'em on with all the proper transfer case drop and sway bar links and see what happens, if it doesn't feel comfy for the driving we do, then I'll swap them out?

The guy at the local 4x4 shop uses 4" as the limit for the WJs he does. Maybe due just to the kits he has available?

Anyways, I'll snap some photos when we throw it on and see how it reacts.

Can't wait!
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:01 PM
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Re: WJ Gettin There... Help Would Rock!

Well Diggs let me share what i learned the hard way. As far as sway bars go if you're gonna wheel it stay away from Addco or any other performance sway bar. Hey they're great on the street but limit wheel travel way too much for the trail. Now maybe a front one with quick disconnects but definitely not the rear. Here's an example on mine.

If your gonna go 4" at the very least your gonna have to invest in some adjustable lower control arms front and rear to come to some happy medium between castor angle and pinion angle or trust me you'll hate every minute behind the wheel. Honestly if I had it to do all over again I'd have stayed with my Rusty's 2.5 " lift saved up my pennies and went straight to a long arm setup. With the 2.5 " setup the Jeep handled better than stock,didn't need extended links or fat sway bars. Everything was cool till I tried to go up some more on short arms. If you're gonna go over 3" you really need to go with a long arm setup. As far as tires go I was a BFG AT fan until I bought these. Probably $50 less a tire, better traction and last just as long. Hope this helps.

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OK, fine...I'll admit...some amber lamps are good, and necessary.
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:59 AM
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Re: WJ Gettin There... Help Would Rock!

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Originally Posted by cheapjeep View Post
Now maybe a front one with quick disconnects but definitely not the rear.

With the 2.5 " setup the Jeep handled better than stock,didn't need extended links or fat sway bars.
I'm curious as to why you don't recommend quick disconnects on both the front and rear sway bar when wheeling? My recommendation would have been a nice performance sway bar with quick disconnects for wheeling. Then it stays a decent ride except when you want to go wheeling. I'm just trying to understand why not have them in the rear.

While extensions aren't necessary for the 2.5" setup, my buddies Jeep definitely needed them. Before we extended his the Jeep seemed very unstable coming out of turns. We extended the links and it was night and day difference.
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Old 10-04-2014, 03:42 PM
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Re: WJ Gettin There... Help Would Rock!

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Originally Posted by JeepMe View Post
I'm curious as to why you don't recommend quick disconnects on both the front and rear sway bar when wheeling? My recommendation would have been a nice performance sway bar with quick disconnects for wheeling. Then it stays a decent ride except when you want to go wheeling. I'm just trying to understand why not have them in the rear.

While extensions aren't necessary for the 2.5" setup, my buddies Jeep definitely needed them. Before we extended his the Jeep seemed very unstable coming out of turns. We extended the links and it was night and day difference.
Well I'm sure you could fab something up but you would have to find a way to secure both the link and the rear sway bar out of the way on the wj since it is bolted to the rear end and not the frame like the front. So you have to keep the link away from the shock and spring and sway plus keep the sway from rotating down into the ground and if it doesn't away from a bunch of other important stuff while it's moving up and down with the diff. Just way too much going on back there to make it practical. The stock "spaghetti sway" is the perfect compromise for street and off road. Now for the more important point of controlling weight transfer. Say you're on a side hill and you have no sways, you hit a little bump and it's just enough to transfer all your body weight to the low side.There's nothing to control it and it happens all at once. Could be enough to roll you over and that would really suck Here again that little factory sway might save the day.If still had the dub I was gonna ditch the rear Addco ,buy a front to run with my disco's and put the stock rear back on just to have a little control.
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OK, fine...I'll admit...some amber lamps are good, and necessary.
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Old 10-04-2014, 06:54 PM
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Re: WJ Gettin There... Help Would Rock!

Thanks for all the feedback and since the common theme seems to be not to go over about 3" unless one plans to make quite a few upgrades, that are typically costly. Since I spent so much on this Jeep just getting it mechanically "new" in condition and it gets us to most of the areas we frequent, as is... the lift is mostly a convince upgrade, will open up some intermediate trails and give me more confidence with the family in tougher and remote areas.

That said I'm NOT cutting corners on quality AT ALL. The kit was used, but all good parts. So . . . I now want to know EXACTLY what the coils will bring the ride up to. I found somewhere that the length of an uncompressed, front, stock spring is 15". The ones from my kit are 18.5" I'm thinking the kit is designed to give a 3.5" lift, so I'm hoping that by dropping the T-case 1" as well as the rear A-arm and replacing all sway arm links I can get it back to where it needs to be for our highway driving.

Now what about tire sizes? Any recommendations? Also I will address control arms when the next savings builds up...

Anyone know of a place online or in the Denver/Colorado Springs areas that have used components for jeeps?
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