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New to spanners TJ Build


UKTJ
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As I have mentioned on some of my posts, until about 3 months ago I have never picked up a spanner (or any other tool) and used it on any of my cars.  But having owned my silver '02 TJ for many years I finally decided it was time to take it off road and to make a few modifications to it.  I am not one for taking pictures, but this is how she sat at the time the plan was made...

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Having spent a lot of time reading on the internet I came up with a plan for a moderate upgrade build that should improve both looks and performance, but not break the bank.

 

New soft top

Suspension lift of 2 - 2.5"

Body lift of 1"

Motor mounts raised 1"

Winch plate and winch

New 33" tyres

 

The idea was that at that level of suspension lift, with the motor mounts raised an inch I had a fighting chance of avoiding drive train vibrations which would mean I could avoid having to either drop the transmission skid / mount or spent more on an SYE and DC rear driveshaft.

 

I thought a suspension lift would be jumping in at the deep end, so decided to do the body lift first.  I was ordering a replacement skin soft top from Quadratec, so for very little extra shipping cost I also ordered a Mountain Off Road Enterprises (MORE) 1" body lift.  This sems a good quality kit coming with aluminium, rather than plastic, pucks to raise the body, the new 'snubbers' for the front grill, a bracket to raise the steering shaft and all new fixings.  The install was reasonably straight forward and my brand new socket set got some use.  The were only two tricky parts.  First, getting the new 'snubbers' in place for the grill.  I was not able to pull the rubber inserts fully up in to the wholes, but I found they were high enough such that when I dropped the jack the weight of the car pushed them fully home.  The second issue was the two rear most pucks that need to be fitted from underneath (not the two right at the back by the bumper).  I had seen some very good advice online to never put fingers between the body and the frame in case everything came crashing down.  But this was impossible for these two pucks, as there is no choice but to reach up under the frame to get them in place for bolting (well if there is a way I caould not think of it).  But I got everything done without incident.  The other useful advice was to lossen off a few things ahead of installing the lift.  One item was the bezel around the fuel filler.  I have read in some cases that the body lift can over extend the fuel filler hose, but either I was lucky, or the fact it was a 1" rather than the popular Savvy 1.25" lift often fitted by US TJ owners helped.  Whichever it was, I was simply able to retighted the screws without having to do anything further on the fuel filler hose.  The second thing I loosened was the bracket for the transfer case linkage assembly that is attached to the body in the passenger footwell.  Here I was not so lucky, but more of that later.  The thing I did not loosen that I think I should have was the gear shift, the result was a broken upper shifter boot bezel - but that is not the end of the world as a replacement is around $10 plus shipping, duty & VAT.

 

Body lift puck in place...

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As I knew I would be installing raised motor mounts it made sense to do this at the same time as the body lift.  If you install a body lift on its own you need to adjust the fan shroud, as the fan (attached to the engine) does not move, but the fan shroud riases with the body.  I have to say, as a novice to working on cars this was a lot more scary than the body lift.  The prospect of removing the existing mounts with the engine held up on a jack was a bit scary.  With the jack in place I took out the OEM mounts, whch proved pretty painless.  If your TJ has air conditioning it is apparently more of an issue on the passenger side and you will likely have to remove the whole bracket and mount assembly.  I then jacked up the engine.  One thing I had not accounted for was that as the jack raised the engine that weight was no longer resting on the front suspension, so the front of the car also lifted.  This meant I had to jack the engine up a lot more than an inch and at one point I was worried my jack would get to its full height before I had the space to put the new mounts in, but luckily that was not the case.  One of the nuts on the drivers side mount was an absolute pig to get on as it was being fouled by another bolt - I never worked out why this was only an issue on the new mount and not the case on the mount that came out.  This was the problem...

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The goo news was this was not a problem at all, but rather an opportunity to learn and to buy more tools 😂  In thissinstance I learned of the existence of something called a crowsfoot.  Armed with my new tool and a lot of perseverance I finally got the nut tight and my raised engine mounts were in.

 

To be continued...

 

 

 

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In the same order as the new soft top, body lift and new engine mounts came a winch plate from Tomken Machine.  I first got to work removing the large plastic bumper extensions fitted to export TJs, another trim piece covering the front anti-sway bar and bolted on the winch plate.  Now, until I actually get a winch fitted I fear the winch plate is not strictly legal, but I do think it makes the TJ look a lot more purposeful...

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On the bonnet are some plastic end caps I also bought for the front and rear bumpers.  The front fitted fine, but not the rear.  It seems that the ends of the export TJs are shaped in the same way as the fronts, whereas on US TJs they are just cut straight.  So if you want rear end caps I think you need to buy more of the front ones.

 

Yet another item in that initial order were two A pillar light mounts, RT Offroad when I ordered them (though they now seem to be listed as being from Crown, which owns the RT brand).  They were a bit of a pain to put on as the supplied hardware was not actually long enough for one location.  The fit was also not great and I would not really recommend these.  But they are on, though still waiting for me to order the lights to go on them.  At the same time I decided the side steps were not adding any protection for the Jeep, but were adding a fair bit of weight.  So the next step was to remove them.  The steps themselves are made of aluminium I think and don't weight a lot given the size, but the brackets that held them on are steel and they really are chunky and heavy.  In total each of the steps and its brackets weighed in at 21lbs.  By removing these I basically got to add the winch plate (c.20lbs) for a net weight reduction.  Light brackets on and step removal just completed on the passenger side...

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This left two items that were in my initial order but had not been fitted.  First, a Rugged Ridge Spartacus heavy duty tyre carrier which I am not rushing to fit this until the 33" tyres get closer.  Second, some JKS quicker front disconnects, these will work on a stock suspension height (and anything up to a 4" lift), but I do not need if I will have extra work if I fit them now before the suspension lift, so I'm holding off on those as well for now.

 

To be continued...

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Well done on the winch plate and bumper mods. Legally you should be fine with the winch plate as the frontal protection regulations is for 2009+ vehicles. You just need to notify your insurer that you have fitted it yourself. 'Bull bars' are illegal to sell in the UK now, but I don't know about fitment. What defines a bull bar is anybody's guess. I don't need to push any bulls with my Jeep, but I do have a functional end-over bar that has stopped my Jeep falling on it's roof during an unexpected nose stand more than once.

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Having spent time looking at the Jeep I could not help but focus on the steering box, it just sits there under the bumper looking all vulnerable and ready to get smashed by something (you can see it to the left of the number plate in the first picture in my second post in this thread).  This is a part that is generally RHD or LHD specific as the steering box changes sides with the steering wheel.  It appears this is one RHD part my preferred supplier, Quadratec, can't help with.  There is one steering box skid that looks to me as if it would fit both RHD and LHD TJs, it is also made of aluminium which is a bonus, but unfortunately the maker is Savvy and so far I have found their shipping costs so high it is not worth considering buying from them.  However, whilst Quadratec do not stock it Teraflex do make a RHD steering box skid and Jeepy sells them in the UK, so that is what I bought.


The skid only comes with LHD installation instructions, but the skid design is not just a mirror image, so they are basically useless; Jeepey could offer no advice other than to say when they fitted them they had to fabricate up a bracket so they offered to let me return it at their cost.  However, having looked at how the Savvy one is fitted I managed to work out how it was meant to be fitted without fabricating a bracket.  Rather than having a tab or bracket that allows fixing with the lower steering box bolt as the LHD one does, you need to put a bolt up through the drain hole in the frame. I followed some guidance for the Savvy skid I found online and pushed a wire up from the drain hole and through the small gap at the top of that section of frame. I then threaded a flange nut onto the wire and dropped it into the frame, the nut runs down the wire and lands over the hole. You can then remove the wire and insert a flat head screwdriver in from the top and jam it on the nut. Then apply anti seize to the bolt and insert it from the bottom, through the skid and the spacer included in the kit and tighten, once the nut is pulled down into the frame the serations hold it enough to allow full tightening.  One other point to note is that Teraflex provide no hardware for this fixing point other than the spacer.  There is second mounting point onto the lower bumper bolt, which is easy to attach. The third fixing point requires a hole to be drilled in the cross member. I have drilled this hole but I am unable to get the self tapping bolt supplier by Teraflex to work. Once I have some M8 bolts and flange washers I thank I will use those instead of trying with the included bolt any more.

When I initially spoke to Jeepey about the fitting problem they actualy removed the skid from their webite.  But I then emailed them how it is meant to be fitted without the need for a separately fabricated bracket and I have just looked and I see it is now relisted.

 

The skid in place...

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I mentioned in my opening post that I did not get lucky when I loosened the transfer case bracket in the passenger footwell.  Basically one of the bolts just span in the nutsert insert in the bracket under the car, in trying to resolve it I ended up pulling the bracket off but leaving the bolt and nutsert still attached.  I could not see an easy way to reolve this and for some time my Jeep was a two wheel drive only vehicle.  I had read online that the transfer case shift mechanism was prone to binding after a body lift given some of the meachanism is attached to the body and therefore raised, whereas other parts of it are fitted to the transmission.  I concluded putting in lots of effort to get the bracket back on would be a waste of time if I then ended up with issues with the shift anyway.  So instead I decided to order a Novak Conversions cable transfer case shifter.  Fitting this was this weekends project as I thought having four wheel drive would be handy for Aldermaston next weekend!

 

The instructions included are excellent, but if anyone is installing one of these then the video from Bleepin Jeep on the topic on YouTube is about as helpful as a YouTube video can be and I thoroughly recommend watching it.  To be honest I had it on my phone while I was fitting the kit and would refer to it pretty frequently.

 

The first thing is to remove the transmission mount / skid, the instructions say you can fit the kit without doing so but I can't see how.  The hardest part for me was removing the old linkage rods.  I drilled out the bolt stuck in the hole in the passenger footwell and removed almost everything else.  But one of the brackets is attached to two of the studs that attach the transfer case to the transmission, the lower one is quite accessible, but the upper one is a complete nightmare to get at.  After a few hours of effort I gave it one more spray with penetrating oil and threw in the towel.  This morning I was even thinking I might end up trying to cut the bracket off which would give much easier access to the offending stud and allow me to remove the remainder of the bracket. But it seems that last squirt of penetrating oil did the trick and with one last almighty effort I gor the nut on the stud loose.  It still took another twenty minutes to get the nut off as I kept having to swap the way I got the spanner onto the nut as I could only move it about a 12th of a turn at a time.  Installation was easier than removing the old mechanism.  The bracket that attaches to the underside of the passenger footwell was not a perfect fit, but the rubber nuterts seem to act as spacers when tightened, so that was fine and the new bracket allows much easier access to tighten the nut on the upper stud between transmission and transfer case.  Hard to get a very good picture of the installed cable shift, but I tried...

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I took it out for a quicj test after fitting and everything seems to shift very smoothly.

 

To be continued...

 

 

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I had a RHD steering skid and an engine skid plate from Skid Row on my TJ, simple bolt-on install.

 

Are you planning on installing a body lift? I've never had any problems with the stock TJ or XJ transfer case shifters with the OEM body mounts. The OEM shifter is a bit clunky in design but it works. The stock JK shifter is awful in comparison. I think I had three fitted under warranty.

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1 hour ago, V said:

I had a RHD steering skid and an engine skid plate from Skid Row on my TJ, simple bolt-on install.

 

Are you planning on installing a body lift? I've never had any problems with the stock TJ or XJ transfer case shifters with the OEM body mounts. The OEM shifter is a bit clunky in design but it works. The stock JK shifter is awful in comparison. I think I had three fitted under warranty.

Fitted body lift, covered in first post.

 

As far as I can see Skid Row only ship to US or Canada, maybe would do elsewhere on request.  I have never asked Skid Row, but when I have approached some other small US companies about it they never even bothered to reply.

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Just to complete where I am as of today.

 

When I added the winch plate I needed to remove the 'loop' fitted to the front bumper, which I presume is a recovery point, as it was too wide to sit next to the winch plate.  Instead I have added two rather chunky looking hooks I bought from eBay.  With the added depth of the winch plate and hooks I needed to get some longer bolts.  Fortunately we have a small shop near us where you can take in any bolt, they identify the thread and invariably have them in a variety of lengths.  With the seemingly random mi of metric and other thread types on the TJ that is really handy.  The hooks sit just back of the 'bumperettes, which I think means they are OK...

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Finally, having fitted the A pillar light brackets I found the OEM aerial would bang against the bracket on the driver's side.  In my second Quadratec shipment I included a 9" replacement aerial from Rugged Ridge.  Simply unscrew the original and screw in the new one.  Reception is definately poorer than with the OEM aerial, so I am a bit on the fence with this for the moment...

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It's also hard to miss how the RT Offroad A pillar bracket hardware is already rusting, that needs some attention.

 

In addition to the spare carrier and disconnects I still have from the first Quadratec order I also still have some parts to deal with from the second order.  I purchased the Crown heavy duty steering upgrade kit, but have yet to fit it.  I also decided to get some shock absorbers from the US, as I was reading a lot of good things about them on some of the US Jeep sites.  In addition I have also bought both a front and rear adjustable track bar from Nolathane and Whiteline respectively (though they are part of the same group of companies).  I now think basically all I need to do now to be ready for the suspension lift is to order the springs, but I keep going back and forth on which of the OME offerings to get.

 

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I missed the body lift part when I read your post. It's an unusual choice to fit before a suspension lift. They are more often fitted by owners that have already invested in a small suspension lift like the Old Man Emu 2" kit who later want to run bigger tyres and need an additional boost to achieve it. If you haven't bought your suspension kit yet, and your aim is to build a capable off-roader, you should consider going back to OEM style body mounts and doing the lift as only suspension and tyres. Please bear in mind that I am 100% biased against body lifts so don't be offended. I'm not fussed if anyone else has them or not. As long as you are happy with a body lift, that's all that matters. I would rather make this point before you spend money on suspension in case you end up disappointed with the end result.

 

I had the same lamp brackets. With round lamps fitted, the lamp casing provided a natural resting place for the stock whip antenna. I had the same paint problem on them too. I bought an additional OEM fog lamp switch to use in one of the blanked off switch positions. Only used the lamps off road. They were particularly good for night time wading with the headlamps off (hot glass lenses can crack when dunked in cold water). My TJ was the same colour and the hood reflected a lot of light with the windscreen frame lamps on but you get used to it.

 

Powder coating is mostly a cheap con. It is just as useless at preventing corrosion as dipping the parts in chocolate. The finish looks lovely when new but it only needs one small perforation to allow moisture to penetrate for it to start secretly corroding under the finish. It often breaks down on unradiused edges first where it will tend to flake off. The failure of adhesion gets worse over time but it's never fails 100% to make it easier to strip for refinishing. Powder coating can be done properly, but the preparation steps involved would then make it as costly a process as stove enamelling so you wont find any automotive parts powder coated properly like that unless you make them yourself.

 

The wet spray paint finish on my '93 XJs bodywork has lasted almost 30 years intact. None of the powder coated after-market parts fitted on it had a finish that stayed intact for a couple of years.

 

The tow hooks you have are fairly common. You have the short shank version, but you can get a long shank that will place the hook further forward if you find attaching some ropes are a bit of a squeeze. The short shanks can be redeployed on the underside of the rear chassis rails but you may find adding a spring steel keeper advantageous for holding a rope in place on an inverted hook until the rope is under tension. There are also a square base style that are left and right handed. The mounting bolts are offset to the hook so they can cause a twisting load on the hook but they will give you a bit more rope clearance without sticking out forward. Some of the long shank versions have three bolt holes which gives you some adjustment on position.

 

Hoping not to bore you with more questions, but are your steering and trackbars all RHD parts? The aftermarket LHD parts don't usually work on RHD vehicles. The stock RHD TJ parts can be made to work acceptably for lifts up to 3". The best investment you can make on a TJ for steering is to do the WJ/WG knuckle and brake conversion first. This will give you separate drag link and tie bar and can also be converted to over the knuckle if you do a matching trackbar and track bar brackets (fabrication required). You can get by on the original brake calipers for up to 33" tyres but WJ calipers perform wonderfully with 35" tyres.

 

Looking forward to reading more of your build so keep it coming.

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6 hours ago, V said:

Please bear in mind that I am 100% biased against body lifts

 

Me too. Do it in suspension or not at all, in my opinion.

 

To be clear, I fully support anyone's desire to do whatever they want to their own Jeep, but that said, I think a 2.5" lift and 31s will give you a greater breadth of capability, perverse as that may sound. 33s are going to be a struggle with stock gearing.

 

11 hours ago, UKTJ said:

when I have approached some other small US companies about it they never even bothered to reply

 

Approaching direct is often a disappointing experience, but there's usually a forward-thinking retailer who spots a good product and has good experience of shipping internationally. Just a case of finding them...

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Well  I usually agree with the excellent Jeep knowledge that V has.  In the case of body lifts I'm not so sure that I agree with this view re body lifts.. It depends on what you want I feel.

My YJ had a body lift when I bought it. The car had been in a barn for many years where someone planned to go off road only but the conversion was barely started when it stopped and was never finished. I have no experience of being with or without a body lift other than this.

A friend has had many wrangler CJs YJs and TJs which he has modded in various ways. He asked me what I wanted, when I told him I was going to buy an older  Wrangler. I said, at my age, I have to have a reasonably comfortable ride if I am to drive long distances to events. I want good but not extreme off road ability. His reply was immediate. He said you must road test both YJ and TJ before you decide but in my opinion the best road comfort is with a well set up YJ!  People will laugh at this, he said, but they are wrong. I now agree. First my road tests confirmed that YJs can be very hard with the wrong setup but equally I have not yet been in a TJ that does not roll from side to side,relatively speaking, on the road!  He then went on to add keep the spring lift low and go for a body lift to get better tyres and you will have what you want!  Based upon my experience so far he was spot on for me, plus I'm saving an increasingly rare car  which is appreciating in value and could easily be back to stock if wanted.

So I bought a YJ with a dreadful ride. It resembled riding a solid tyre bicycle on a cobble stone road!  It already had a body lift . I fitted OME springs, bushes, shocks , HD shackles  along with rebuilding the steering,brakes etc. No one has said it has an uncomfortable ride on the road and arthritic me is happy even driving to Kielder! Its a rare car now and its off road ability manages all that is thrown at it at our events .

Just a different view from a happy Jeeper! 😀

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Because YJs and CJs are leaf sprung, there is a lot to be gained by keeping the spring arch relatively flat. A leaf spring that has a lot of curvature will not ride as smooth as a leaf spring with a lesser arch. CJs and YJs are also designed for a Spring Under Axle (SUA) configuration. This type of mount is more forgiving under engine torque as it is less likely to destroy the OEM spring curvature. Heavily arched leaf springs often ride hard and loose their curvature over time. SUA configurations require enormous curvature to achieve bigger lift heights, if not, they will use longer shackles that make the Jeep feel loose and wobbly. It is true, a small body lift on a YJ or CJ can be a very effective tool to tune the body and chassis for bigger tyres but it will only ride like stock in a straight line and it will still have the same entry, exit and break over angles as stock.

 

TJ, JK and JL Wranglers are all coil suspension with suspension arms, they behave differently to leaf sprung suspensions. The geometry of suspension arm pivot points dictates how well the Jeep handles both on and off road. The original geometry is designed to perform at the stock ride height, with anti-squat (on acceleration) anti-dive (on braking) and the roll centre being important criteria for the designers. The original handling is often compromised in some way when fitting a suspension lift kit that uses the factory suspension mounts. Some performance characteristics are enhanced, some are reduced. Increased articulation and suspension travel often comes at the price of more roll induced by suspension compression.

 

In both suspension implementations Centre of Gravity (CofG) pays a big part in how the Jeep handles. The suspension on a solid axle Jeep will have a roll centre above the axle. Both axle roll centres are unlikely to be at identical heights but a straight line that connects them is the roll axis for which the body pivots on. Without changing any suspension components, a body lift shifts the CofG higher up and further away from the roll axis which subsequently increases body roll. On side slopes, or uneven ground that puts the driver in a seat clenching moment, a Jeep with a CofG too high above the roll axis is more likely to roll over than one with a CofG closer to the roll axis.

 

The factory set geometry of a TJ chassis allows for a reasonable amount of modifications before handling suffers, a lot of small lift kits like the OME improve handling quality over the stock setup but they are not designed to be used in conjunction with body lifts. A lift kit that uses longer coil springs will shift both the CofG and roll centres higher, but the distance between them will not move as much as using a body lift. Longer coil springs will force the Lower Control Arms (LCAs) to ride the road at a steeper angle causing a harsher ride over bumps. There is a limit to how far a short-arm lift kit will ride smoothly before additional compromises like control arm drop brackets are required. A better way for bigger tyres is to dispense with the factory geometry which is why a long arm kit is purpose designed for the lift height and tyre size.

 

Over the years I have seen a lot of modified YJ's. The most capable off-roaders of those on bigger tyres (33"+) that have remained leaf sprung have gone to Spring Over Axle (SOA) with flatter leaf springs. They are just as flexy as a good coil spring setup. SOA is the standard setup for an XJ rear suspension.

 

Just, in case I have lost anyone along the way. The easiest way to imagine the difference between how a body lift and a spring lift behaves is to think in extremes. Imagine two lifted Wranglers (ignore all mechanical complexities), one with a 12" body lift, the other with a 12" suspension lift. The centre of gravity of both Jeeps will be higher than stock. The spring lift Jeep having slightly higher CofG than the body lifted Jeep that has it's chassis closer to the ground. The roll axis will be lower on the body lifted Jeep with a greater distance between it and the CofG. Which Jeep would you rather drive on country B roads? Which would you prefer to drive offroad?

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Thanks V, very interesting. I very much agree re your points about CoG and appreciate your knowledge of building for off road.  You've convinced me that when I've finished my regear I will go to larger tyres than the 31s I have at the mo and forget mods such as SOA. I had thought about this when looking at the mods I am making to the Chrysler 8.25 which is from an XJ (SOA). In my case I keep the hardtop on most of the time for better weather proofing (comfort) for an old git and slightly improved security. This  raises my CoG even more and I have already had a 'few moments'. I will probably go to 33s because it seems difficult to find decent MTs at 35" which are 'only' 10.50 wide. I prefer narrower tyres because I believe that a smaller footprint offers better traction in many situations particularly for a little chap like the YJ.

The CoG  points also bring us into the subject of weight transfer which is so important for traction/grip especially when considering getting the power down on the road surface at speed. Obviously this is essential when you are competing/mechanicing  in motor sport as  I have . Its especially so in loose surface disciplines such as Auto grass/ rallying etc or in the wet (karts too) where one can have all the power in the world but if the wheels just spin you get nowhere! I have mentioned this because I love your simple explanation using extremes. It is something that has worked for me too, for many things. Understanding how a wheelbarrow works relates directly to these issues for example!

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I think you should keep an open mind on SOA. Sadly there are not many SOA YJ's around in the UK but if you can get a ride in one, do so. I'm sure you will be impressed. If I had a YJ that's the way I would go for 33" tyres and above. SOA gives you so much extra tuning capability on spring flatness/curvature, number of leafs in the spring pack, monoleafs or military wrapped duoleafs. You can tune the front to rear bias with different spring rates and flexibility by adding or subtracting leafs. I've seen a few full width XJs and MJs in the USA that have gone SOA front leaf, replacing the front coils. The extra mass of a 35" tyre will lower the height of the overall CofG even if it is unsprung weight. Steel bumpers and skid plates add mass to the sprung weight at the right height and will help counteract a hard top. I'm guessing a hard top probably adds 50Kg compared to a softop. A winch+bumper at chassis height around 70Kg+ depending on rope.

 

BFG no longer make the 33x9.50R15 MT which was a great tyre for a mud Jeep in GB. I ran them for a while on my blue XJ before switching to 33x12.50R15. Would I go back to 33x9.50? No way! I like the extra rubber of the 12.50 on the street. The difference in how the Jeep feels on wet roads with 12.50 MTs is noticeably safer than the 'pizza cutters'. The 12.50 does lower your ground pressure and that's not always a good thing for traction in mud, but it's a small compromise off road that I am happy to live with. Next year will be my 20th year on 12.50 width tyres. I'm used to them now and I'm happy to use tyre pressures on the day to tune my level of grip. Running narrow wheels gives me a little more adjustment sensitivity for tuning the tyre footprint.

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I know body lifts are not liked by all, but as I mentioned in my initial post there are compromises I am making for reasons of budget.  My plan is to use OME springs which should net around 2" to 2.5" of lift.  With the motor mount lifts and a little luck I believe the chances are I will get away without needing to either drop the tansmission skid / mount (which always seems an odd thing to do having lifted a vehicle, or spend another large amount of money on an SYE and DC driveshaft.  If I go beyond that level of suspension lift the chances of having to do one of those two things to address vibrations from driveshaft alignment issues increases significantly, based on what I have read.  Also, much beyond the 2." suspension lift range I would imagine that I am likely to be needing to look at replacement control arms.  So the combined suspension and body lift is a compromise to get to a point where 33" tyres are likely to be workable but at an acceptable cost.  If money was no object I would be going with a 4" suspension lift for sure, with double adjustable control arms, SYE and DC driveshaft - but sadly money is a factor.

 

I do recognise that if I go up to 33" tyres then with 3.07 gearing I may well find myself needing to regear.  I am hoping I can live with it for a while until I have the funds for regearing and some form of locker at the same time.  As and when I do regear I will probably go as far as I reasonably can, so maybe 4.88.  Then is I do ever decide to invest more and that allows me to go to 35" tyres I will not need a second regear.

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On my TJ's first lift, a 2" SkyJacker on 32" tyres (265/75R16) the TrueTracs and 4.11 gears got lost while in the care of the courier. Replacements were shipped but we had to drive the Jeep for a couple of weeks on 3.07 gears before they arrived. Fifth gear was unusable, 4th struggled on gentle inclines but it was still driveable. Fuel consumption was awful.

 

With the 1" body lift that you have installed so far, I am sure you will enjoy your Jeep far more by going through an additional stage before moving up to 33" tyres. 235/75R16 tyres will work best with what you have now. Fit some JKS Quicker Disconnects up front and you are ready to go. There is nothing wrong with 30" tyres, new or second hand. They give you the chance to actually use your Jeep off-road and save up to do a big tyre mod properly. Don't forget that off roading wears out parts. You will have to budget for replacing wheel bearings, ball joints, TREs and u-joints.

 

My first XJ went through five stages to get to where it is now. I bought used tyres and economy parts for three of them. I also sold most of my replaced parts to other Jeepers following the same path. I wasn't born with the knowledge of how to build a good off road Jeep. I learned it by making my own mistakes and learning from the mistakes of others that were happy to share the info.

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I am beginning to think that I may need a new battery for my TJ.  Having looked at one of the threads on the forum it seems Odyssey batteries get universally good reviews, so I will likely go that route.  However, I am wondering if while I am at it I should replace and upgrade the battery related cables.  Of course, in the US there are a number of companies that supply ready made kits of cables, but these can only be shipped to the UK at a pretty high cost.  It therefore looks best to either buy ready made specified cables or buy myself a heavy duty crimper and buy the parts to make them up myself.  I'm am hoping that some others have been through this type of process and can give me the benefit of their experience with a few questions I have...

 

1. Which cable to use - the US kits seem to come in 1ga, 2 ga or 4ga for the main battery cables with other cables in the sets usually in 4ga and 6ga (I see that these align to the European approach of mm2 as 1 ga = 50mms, 2 ga = 35mm2 and 4 ga = 25mm2).  I plan to add a winch in the near future and will also ultimately hopefully have additional ights and onboard air, so thoughts on what size cables I should use would be appreciated.
 

2. Fuse links - the US kits include a cable running from the battery to the alternator.  This is specified with a 'fuse link' made of a shore length of cable typically 2 gauges less than the main cable and heavily insulated, it does what it says on the tin and acts as a fuse with the additional insulation preventing a fie in the event the fuse link 'blows'.  I am not seeing this as something that seems common in the UK, is it available and if not is the alternative to add a fuse block between the battery and alternator, if so what size fuse?

 

3. Suppliers - has anyone had cables made up by a UK supplier?  Can you share any good or bad experience?
 

Thanks in advance for any input you can provide.

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I make my own battery cables now, but I have used local Commercial Truck Factors (an all-makes truck parts store) to make battery and winch cables to order.

 

Check your alternator health properly before buying a replacement battery of any brand. A failing alternator can kill a battery, a failing battery can kill an alternator.

 

I have had both Optima and Odyssey batteries on a number of Jeeps and my first choice if money was no object would be Odyssey. I would still buy an Optima if an Odyssey was not available. However, my current preference is for a cheaper mass market replacement battery like a Numax, Varta etc as a main battery with a smaller 12v Odyssey on a split charge system as an emergency jump start battery. The small Odyssey battery only needs to be sized to cope with two or three engine starts using jumpstart cables - it will only ever be used for jump starting an engine with a discharged main battery.

 

An alternator fault that wipes out an Odyssey main battery is not a nice experience for your wallet, which is why I now buy £50 'consumable' standard batteries as they seem to work well enough for engine starting and winching. Most have higher Ah than Optima and you can find some affordable batteries with very good CCA ratings. Having a fully charged jump start battery is priceless when you find you have been winching too much and your engine wont turnover fast enough to restart after stalling.

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Most standard 4.0L Jeep starter motors are rated at around 1.4KW.

The starter will draw 90 Amps normally and needs 160 CCA as a minimum for cold weather.

 

Someday I will buy an Odyssey PC680 as a jumpstart battery but I have been using a used lead acid type 063 from my son's old 1.0 Corsa 'temporarily' for the last four years. This battery is a lot smaller than the main battery and easily stowed. It has no problem jump starting my 4.0L Jeeps or just about anything else I have used it on. I have often thought about mounting it permanently but my engine bay doesn't have the space. The PC680 will fit comfortably in my winch bumper mounted on it's side.

 

Modern lithium-ion batteries are a lot smaller and these may actually be a better solution now for jumpstarting. I haven't tried one yet.

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Hi, what some excellent info in these postings.

Sorry I have been quiet lately, its all to do with health!

Batteries. I'm with Vince on this one although I have no winch experience. I have found over 50 yrs that most battery failures are due to old age or lack of maintenance. Providing you buy a good quality make such as Varta, Exide etc  you will have no problem. I also buy the biggest most amp hour I can get that fits in the box with a nice long warranty. I have lost count of the number of failures I have fixed for folk whose unit failed just after the 1 yr warranty expired! I hate such problems so when I buy a car I replace the battery if old. I did this for both my Jeeps. My GC has been on top of a mountain in Wales for a week in snow and started immediately. The YJ has not been started since Aldermarston and is under cover but not heated. I had to disconnect the battery to do some welding yesterday. She started instantly. That's what I like!   For very good service I have used Grove Batteries/ Cheltenham for many years.

I fit new terminals,  connections,cables etc if they look dodgy as well and don't forget your earths  too.

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13 hours ago, V said:

but I have been using a used lead acid type 063 from my son's old 1.0 Corsa 'temporarily' for the last four years. 

😂” there’s nothing as permanently as a temporary job” ………….one of my favourite sayings. ( credit for which goes to Colin Cowley many years ago in AWDC days.) 

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Hi V and all.

I've thought and looked carefully with regard to your views about 10.50/12.50 etc It all seems a reasonable argument to me and with your vast off road experience who am I to differ. I have found there is a much wider tyre choice too in 12.5. I notice you mention 'narrow wheels'  on Oct 11th. Would you be referring to stock rims? I don't especially want to change my wheels. The alloys I have were an option on the YJ and also available on the XJ I believe. I will probably go to 33s and maybe 35s. 33s look ideal for me  with 4.1. Do you know whether 35s will fit with a 2" body lift and 2/2 1/2 " OME leafs?

I wish I'd read your views about  SOA before I chopped  off the perches etc and added new ones  to convert my Chrysler axle!  LOL. 

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I have run those lattice alloys with 33x9.50R15 (no longer available) but the XJ/YJ lattice is a 15x7 wheel with 5.25" backspacing. The backspacing will need correcting with spacers to get it down to 4" or 3.75" if you still want to be able to turn corners with the larger tyres fitted. The 7" width may be better with a 10.50 but I have seen XJs in the USA running 12.50 on 7" oem rims. 8" is fine with 12.50 but most modern tyre manufacturers recommend 9.5"-11" which is suboptimal for an offroader and often ignored. For off road use your tyres should be around 4" wider than the wheel rim to avoid sidewall damage and to allow for running lower pressures off tarmac.

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