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My 1st Jeep - TJ 97


TjSimon97
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Hello,

 

So after my first taste of off-roading with Dannyhawk in his Renegade Trailhawk 18 months ago at Slindon 4x4 and many many inspirational Youtube videos later, I can say that I am hooked enough to finally invest in my very own Jeep!!

 

I am delighted to say that I have just picked up a beautiful Black 1997 TJ / Manuel / 4L with spice interior - which I am already in love with!

 

My plan is to do quite a few mods to it like the usual lift kit, put chunky wheels and tyres, bumpers, roof rack etc however I am no mechanic by any stretch so asking for help on here to guide me along my journey to building my dream Jeep. 

 

Looking forward to speaking to all of you beautiful people soon.

 

Thanks,

TjSimon97

FAC501BE-93C0-4250-870E-13FC899D19A8.JPG

4436DB09-D179-44D9-8EDA-9FE4E55A6834.JPG

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Hi there TjSimon97 and welcome.

 

The Jeep looks great...especially with that spice interior.

As my modding mainly consists of adding stone chips, mud and scratches (oh and copious amounts of bacon and black pudding in the back) can offer no technical guidance whatsover! But that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to seeing what you create.

 

Enjoy your new adventure!

 

TH

 

BTW, may need to upgrade that hosepipe for when you start depositing huge dollops of countryside on that loverly paving of yours 🙂

 

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Hi and welcome to the club and that is one lovely TJ you have.

As Trailhawk has already said, you must invest in a jet wash but please do not upset your neighbours by leaving mud on the pavement, 😂.


When it comes to how you want to modify your TJ, the first thing to do is set yourself a budget as to how much my want to spend on modifications.

Then double it...........

 

And then double it again...........

Seriously, you need to decide what you want to do with your TJ. You have a great looking Jeep and you can probably get away with running 31" tyres without having to worry about modifying break pipes, steering and gearing. (TJ members please correct me if I am wrong)

To protect your paintwork, you can get magnetic body panel covers which may offer you some protection from scratches but please do post any questions that you may have on here and we will try and advise you as best we can.

First thing that you need to decide is what do you want from your TJ? 
Are you looking for an off road beast which will limit your on road performance or do you want a fun truck that you can use off road but also nice to drive on road and looks great? 

Once again, welcome to the club.

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She looks in really nice condition.  A Sahara, so painted flares which is nice - I think they may also be an inch wider than the unpainted ones mine has, which gives more options whilst still maintaining legal tyre coverage.  I have never worked on cars before, but I have enjoyed the small amount of work I have done so far.

 

Any thoughs yet on what sort of lift you will be going for?

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3 minutes ago, JimC said:

...

When it comes to how you want to modify your TJ, the first thing to do is set yourself a budget as to how much my want to spend on modifications.

Then double it...........

 

And then double it again...........

Just Empty Every Pocket 🤣

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Wow! thanks all for the warm welcome firstly.

 

I am itching to make some mods ASAP. I have been looking around and general consensus being 33" too big for current gearing which could cost thousands to adjust for the sake of 2 inches (insert that's what she said joke) won't make a a huge amount of difference vs cost of worsened ride quality, fuel economy etc against off road gain. I would like to have this as a bit of an on road beast too so there is a fine line there somewhere.

 

So thinking 31" tyres max and lift by 2.5" - has anyone have experience on  that combo? also what kind of offset or wheel spacers would be best, i like the wide stance however unsure if there are rules laws that say you much not exceed wheel arch width .

 

Also anyone on here live in the Sussex area and have been to Slindon / other JOC events? if so looking forward to meeting all of you!  

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2 hours ago, TjSimon97 said:

Wow! thanks all for the warm welcome firstly.

 

I am itching to make some mods ASAP. I have been looking around and general consensus being 33" too big for current gearing which could cost thousands to adjust for the sake of 2 inches (insert that's what she said joke) won't make a a huge amount of difference vs cost of worsened ride quality, fuel economy etc against off road gain. I would like to have this as a bit of an on road beast too so there is a fine line there somewhere.

 

So thinking 31" tyres max and lift by 2.5" - has anyone have experience on  that combo? also what kind of offset or wheel spacers would be best, i like the wide stance however unsure if there are rules laws that say you much not exceed wheel arch width .

 

Also anyone on here live in the Sussex area and have been to Slindon / other JOC events? if so looking forward to meeting all of you!  

With 2.5” you will easily accommodate 31” tyres.

 

How wide are you thinking?  I believe most TJ stock wheels have about 5.5” of backspace, which means anything more than about 10.5” is likely to cause some rubbing at lock.  There is a tree do of adding a washer or two to slightly reduce lock, but if you are looking at 12.5” wide tyres then you will definitely need different wheels with around 3.75” backspace or spacers.  However, legally there’s need to be covered by your wheel arches, so if you reduce backspace and go with wide tyres technically you will need to do something about flares.  However, as mentioned, I seem to recall the painted Sahara flares are an inch wider, so you may have more coverage then my TJ would.

 

hope that helps.

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Why don’t you google images of TJs with different size tyres to see what looks best,I think 31” may look to small but as you say the bigger you go the more you have to think about.

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2 hours ago, Tony said:

Why don’t you google images of TJs with different size tyres to see what looks best,I think 31” may look to small but as you say the bigger you go the more you have to think about.

This is a very high quality TJ from a US TJ specific forum I frequent.  It is on a 2" suspension lift and 1.25" body lift running 31" tyres.  Looks pretty good to me...

1451208485_TJon31s.thumb.jpg.83e192cac18cd0ce2a61f60c246f4f63.jpg

392359587_TJon31s2.thumb.jpg.7875342624b1cc977b89877605c2923b.jpg

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Hi,  another super looking Jeep in the club!  Same colour as the YJ too!    I love all Jeeps but many of the older models are getting rarer and rarer so  its especially good when they are being preserved and used

Tim C, is right!  I'm on 31x 10.5s with the YJ and I've had them on other Jeeps too. They are a gr8 size especially if you want to keep to a reasonable budget. you will be surprised too how capable your TJ will be, so equipped. In my view keeping to narrower widths means better traction even if they don't look quite as trendy!

Sounds like you are new to a bit of 'spannering'.  Not to worry, there's plenty of us on here who will help when you need it!

My couple of starter tips. Get a reasonable workshop manual like a Haynes, Chilton  or similar. They are not the best or the most comprehensive. However what's not in them won't worry you for now and they do explain things in plain english. You may have to buy a used one, I don't know I haven't looked lately.  Second if you haven't already, buy some reasonable basic tools. They don't have to be the top brands, just avoid cheap rubbish. Its amazing what you can find in car boots etc. top kit at a fraction of the price!   If you don't know what sizes,types etc etc just ask.

 

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10 minutes ago, digger said:

Hi,  another super looking Jeep in the club!  Same colour as the YJ too!    I love all Jeeps but many of the older models are getting rarer and rarer so  its especially good when they are being preserved and used

Tim C, is right!  I'm on 31x 10.5s with the YJ and I've had them on other Jeeps too. They are a gr8 size especially if you want to keep to a reasonable budget. you will be surprised too how capable your TJ will be, so equipped. In my view keeping to narrower widths means better traction even if they don't look quite as trendy!

Sounds like you are new to a bit of 'spannering'.  Not to worry, there's plenty of us on here who will help when you need it!

My couple of starter tips. Get a reasonable workshop manual like a Haynes, Chilton  or similar. They are not the best or the most comprehensive. However what's not in them won't worry you for now and they do explain things in plain english. You may have to buy a used one, I don't know I haven't looked lately.  Second if you haven't already, buy some reasonable basic tools. They don't have to be the top brands, just avoid cheap rubbish. Its amazing what you can find in car boots etc. top kit at a fraction of the price!   If you don't know what sizes,types etc etc just ask.

 

I had a Haynes manual on my Xmas list last year.  Wish I hadn't bothered, it is IMHO next to useless.  It covers TJ, JK and JL which makes it very muddled at times and I have been unable to get what I consider basic info from it.  I have found YouTube a much better resource if I am honest, the TJ is very well covered by American content makers and one of the guys who actually has a YJ has made a lot of videos that are to my mind very helpful for the TJ as well.

 

As for tools I have found the Halfords advanced range to be very good quality without bank breaking prices, plus many of them have a lifetime guarantee.

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6 hours ago, UKTJ said:

With 2.5” you will easily accommodate 31” tyres.

 

How wide are you thinking?  I believe most TJ stock wheels have about 5.5” of backspace, which means anything more than about 10.5” is likely to cause some rubbing at lock.  There is a tree do of adding a washer or two to slightly reduce lock, but if you are looking at 12.5” wide tyres then you will definitely need different wheels with around 3.75” backspace or spacers.  However, legally there’s need to be covered by your wheel arches, so if you reduce backspace and go with wide tyres technically you will need to do something about flares.  However, as mentioned, I seem to recall the painted Sahara flares are an inch wider, so you may have more coverage then my TJ would.

 

hope that helps.

i'll measure mine if you measure yours? flares I mean 

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14 hours ago, UKTJ said:

This is a very high quality TJ from a US TJ specific forum I frequent.  It is on a 2" suspension lift and 1.25" body lift running 31" tyres.  Looks pretty good to me...

1451208485_TJon31s.thumb.jpg.83e192cac18cd0ce2a61f60c246f4f63.jpg

392359587_TJon31s2.thumb.jpg.7875342624b1cc977b89877605c2923b.jpg

I stand corrected 31” looks good on this TJ

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12 hours ago, TjSimon97 said:

i'll measure mine if you measure yours? flares I mean 

Across the horizontal top surface it is 4", there is about another inch if I include the section that slopes downwards.  That is just the plastic flare and excludes the actual metal wing.

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26 minutes ago, Tony said:

I stand corrected 31” looks good on this TJ

Sorry if that came across as point scoring, not intended to be that.  It was just that having followed that build online I knew there was a very nice example I could provide pictures of.  That TJ has been the subject of a very high spec refurb and upgrade.  A lot of the parts that deteriorate over time have been replaced, plus a lot of upgrades including: double adjustable control arms; a tummy tuck; aluminium fuel tank skid; SYE and new drive shafts; aluminium bumpers; rockers; etc., etc.

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Hi UKTJ,

I'm sad to read your comments re 'Haynes'.  I have their manuals for many cars going back many decades. The last one I bought was for my last XJ, a diesel about 15 yrs ago.  I noted that it did not contain the very info I wanted such as gearbox overhaul.  It contained considerably less info than the 4.0l XJ one I had bought in the early 90s.  I'm sad because I guess from your comments that the trend of discouraging DIY appears to have continued. I think the very point that your 'new' one claims to cover a number of different models is a clue!

However. At the time , for the diesel, I did obtain a pretty comprehensive book from somewhere in the uk on the net. I can't remember exactly but I think it was 'Jeep world' or similar. For the Yj I have a Chilton manual (old, used) which is ok but not comprehensive but I would think a good start. I also have a borrowed works manual for the Yj (3-4" thick) which is excellent but even that has its shortcomings.  It's  difficult to get one of these.

Re flares. All my cars with 31 x 10.50 (XJ,YJ,KJ) have run without flares just a small lift! probably ok on a TJ too!

Hope this is more helpful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I run 31s with a 2" lift, needed to drop the gearbox mount and 1" wheel spacers.  Seems to me any more lift and you are into slip yoke eliminators custom drive shafts and extended arms, bigger tyres change gearing and lose on road performance.  If you want to keep it all round usable seems best to keep it simple.

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5 hours ago, UKTJ said:

Across the horizontal top surface it is 4", there is about another inch if I include the section that slopes downwards.  That is just the plastic flare and excludes the actual metal wing.

unnamed.thumb.jpg.147a0459feadc8dd14f12442593aec2d.jpg

@UKTJ - Sounds like mine are the same as yours 4" on top then another inch with the curve of the arch - if I go for 3.75 backspace wheels, the tyre will go beyond flares for me. looking at some other flares that go out 6" may work i think but would be a purchase at risk. 

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i find that it is better to have your tires sticking out an inch or so past the flares, that way if you slide into a steep gully, the side of the tires protect the flares, and the side biters on the tires will work better, i have been driving my JK on the road for 14 years, without any problems from the police, and it is never mentioned at MOT test. 

AEV wheels MT baja Claws A.jpg

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52 minutes ago, frosty said:

incidentally, my TJ is the same, if not more pronounced.  

IMG-20210513-WA0011.jpg

IMG-20210513-WA0013.jpg

What fenders / flares are you running on the TJ?

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