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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2006 LJ Rubi that I have used off road for many years. We also have a 2017 JKU Rubi the wife uses as a grocery getter. We are thinking of getting a more economical car for the wife, handing down/selling the LJ to my son to replace his '74 K5 Blazer, and doing a mild build on the JKU so we can hit some trails.



FYI, we are getting older and doing those "bang the snot out of it" trails is not what we do. We do a lot of moderate trails and intend to finally do Moab and the Rubicon sometime in the near future. So I don't need a real hard core rock machine, just a very trusty trail rig.



This Jeep gets towed behind our motorhome quite a bit. So weight needs to stay down.



I am thinking the following:


1. Winch, already have an aluminum bumper.
2. 2"-2.5" lift. Not sure which lift yet. I'd go with the Metalcloak 2.5 kit if money was no issue.
3. High clearance plastic or aluminum fenders. I prefer the aluminum. Poison Spyder, Metalcloak has some nice ones.

4. 35" or 37" tires, I like the KM3 tires but pledge allegiance to no company.

5. Depending on tire size I intend to re-gear to 4.88 or 5.13.

6. Better axle shafts, not sure which.

7. Aluminum belly armor. The RockHard stuff looks nice.

8. Probably get rid of the huge muffler and go with a high clearance system like Pypes, Flowmaster, Magna flow sells.

9. Possibly a better sport cage like the RockHard stuff.



Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated.

I want it to be lightweight, quality, serviceable, and remain towable 4 down.



Thanks, Bob
 

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I know some people who really like the TeraFlex 2.5" lift. It seems like good quality for cheaper than the MC stuff. I would upgrade the steering components before I did skid plates or a cage, especially if you're going to 37s. If you go plastic on the fenders, just trim the stock ones and you can gain the same clearance for free. Personally I would go aluminum, I have the MC Overland aluminum fenders and they can take some abuse. You might want to look at upgrading the brakes as well.
 

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Looks like a great list, 37 inch tires.. I would hate to change one of those on the trail LOL. Having flashbacks of the last time I changed out a tractor tire, that's a lot of weight on the old spine :p
I don't think I would want to toss a 37 incher on a tire carrier at this stage of the game. Maybe 10 years ago hahaha Especially if you are doing all your own 5 tire rotations like I do.
 

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High clearance flares should be the first step. It doesn't make sense to add a bunch of bump stop and limit up travel. If you don't have fender laws the cheapest is to cut your stock fenders. I had BushWackers then upgraded to Poison Spyder aluminum standard width. I went with them because of the look I wanted. The rears have a curve to the to unlike others that have a flat top. I spent a lot of money just for aesthetics.


I have 2.5 lift and put some air bumps in the front. But with a small lift I think a set of Sumo bumps would have been better. Metal Cloak sells these and they really help with the hard bottom out bang.


You have 4.10 gears, do you think you will need to regear? If so 4.88's wouldn't get you much.


I haven't done my exhaust yet. If I could actually find one that doesn't sound like a Honda. Let us know how that works out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I know some people who really like the TeraFlex 2.5" lift. It seems like good quality for cheaper than the MC stuff. I would upgrade the steering components before I did skid plates or a cage, especially if you're going to 37s. If you go plastic on the fenders, just trim the stock ones and you can gain the same clearance for free. Personally I would go aluminum, I have the MC Overland aluminum fenders and they can take some abuse. You might want to look at upgrading the brakes as well.

I think my brother has the Tera Flex on his 2 door.

I've yet to see a good looking fender trim job. In aluminum the MC stuff seems great. I like the hardline aluminum. I end up driving through a lot of cattle country and have lots of cow poo slinging going on at times. Being a ex-cattleman myself I don't really mind, but if the doors and top are off I can smell funny or like money depending on where you are from!

Any suggestions on steering components?





Looks like a great list, 37 inch tires.. I would hate to change one of those on the trail LOL. Having flashbacks of the last time I changed out a tractor tire, that's a lot of weight on the old spine :p
I don't think I would want to toss a 37 incher on a tire carrier at this stage of the game. Maybe 10 years ago hahaha Especially if you are doing all your own 5 tire rotations like I do.

Agreed! My brother has 37" KM3's on Hutchenson bead locks and tows it all over. No issues.

For what I intend to do 35" is probably great. Heck, I never got past 33" tires on my LJ and it got me where I wanted to go just fine.


High clearance flares should be the first step. It doesn't make sense to add a bunch of bump stop and limit up travel. If you don't have fender laws the cheapest is to cut your stock fenders. I had BushWackers then upgraded to Poison Spyder aluminum standard width. I went with them because of the look I wanted. The rears have a curve to the to unlike others that have a flat top. I spent a lot of money just for aesthetics.

Yes, flares and tires first to set the suspension.



You have 4.10 gears, do you think you will need to regear? If so 4.88's wouldn't get you much.

Me thinks going with 37" tires 5.13 would work great. But I'll try the tires first then re gear if need be. But like I said above, probably 35".

The tires I run now are KO2's in the 10:50X34 size. They are actually a tad less than 33" tall.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

These high clearance jobs are all similar. Muffler up front, tail pipe exits on the drivers side.
 

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I have a hodgepodge of steering, MC draglink, Teraflex trackbar, Fusion 4x4 tie rod. I did them piece by piece while tracking down the source of my deathwobble. It might be easier/cheaper to get a package deal. Currie and Rock Krawler have solid stuff. Lately I've been seeing a lot about Steer Smarts Yeti products but I have no personal experience. Some of the tie rods require specific backspacing on your wheels. My AEV wheels wouldn't work with a lot of them.


One thought that just occurred to me, if you're going to replace the drive shafts you'll need some adjustable control arms to change the pinion angle. The stock rzeppa joint requires a much different angle than a double cardan which most aftermarket shafts are.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
One thought that just occurred to me, if you're going to replace the drive shafts you'll need some adjustable control arms to change the pinion angle. The stock rzeppa joint requires a much different angle than a double cardan which most aftermarket shafts are.

Did not know this. How do you fix the caster etc if you rotate the front axle a bunch?
 

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Any decent lift kit comes with cam washers that you fit into your axle housing for caster correction. If it doesn't you can add them later. If you want control arms then you need to decide on your lift first then you can get a package deal.


2 or 2.5 lifts don't need drive shafts in a 4 door. I have installed 3.5 lifts without and the drive shafts seem to have a long life cycle.


I am hesitant to change steering on a JK. the flex the factory linkage gives adsorbs some of the shock load. If the shock is too great into the box they are known for breaking steering box sector shafts.
 
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At the TDS Desert Safari last winter BFG had cutaway samples of their K02, KM2 and KM3 tires. The KM3's were much thicker and heavier. If you end up with 35 or 37 inch tires consider how hard it is to change them when they are that heavy. One of our group lost a sidewall on a 35 inch Cooper STT Pro and it was all three of us old guys could do to lift the flat back on his bumper spare carrier.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
I am hesitant to change steering on a JK. the flex the factory linkage gives adsorbs some of the shock load. If the shock is too great into the box they are known for breaking steering box sector shafts.
Yes, me thinks that too. The JK stock steering is much beefier than the stock LJ steering.

At the TDS Desert Safari last winter BFG had cutaway samples of their K02, KM2 and KM3 tires. The KM3's were much thicker and heavier. If you end up with 35 or 37 inch tires consider how hard it is to change them when they are that heavy. One of our group lost a sidewall on a 35 inch Cooper STT Pro and it was all three of us old guys could do to lift the flat back on his bumper spare carrier.
Hey MR Brawley!

I'll check weights. I have the same tires as you right now. Wheelbarrow tires seem to be pretty heavy now at 67 years old!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
BFG tire weight. All 17" wheel


KO2



34/10:50 - 55.1 lbs
35/12:50 - 66.5 lbs
37/12:50 - 71.3 lbs


KM2


305/70 - 64.7 lbs

35/12:50 - 67.1 lbs
37/12:50 - 74 lbs


KM3


33/12:50 - 67.6 lbs
35/12:50 - 77.4 lbs
37/12:50 - 77.4



Could be the tire site I went to is incorrect as the 35" KM3 is the same as the 37"
 

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We recently built a 2018 JK on 37s for my wife, here's a partial list of components and why.

  • Teraflex Alpine CT3 lift- IMO 3" is perfect for 37s. I wanted a control arm that was maintenance free
  • Cooper STT Pro- wanted a lighter 37 and something that wasn't E rated. Would have preferred C but hers are D
  • Steersmarts draglink, tie rod & trackbar. Figured we'd replace them right away rather than wait for the stockers to fail.
  • Teraflex big rotor kit front/rear. 37s need more brake
  • Poison spyder fenders- went with steel only because we got a great deal on them :)
  • Adam's drive shafts front/rear- You will need at least a front, plus you can skip the spacer if you add one.
Since hers was a Sport we also swapped axles
  • Teraflex Tera44 front with 4.88 and ARB lockers
  • Teraflex CRD 60 rear, also with ARB and 4.88.
4 door I would have done 5.13, but we're happy with 4.88 on the 2 door.

My '14 Rubi we built as we went and as things broke. This one we did it all up front. The price tag was hard to swallow but it's been nice not worrying about things breaking :)


Good luck on yours!!


 

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This is a fun video, shows a 37 inch tire. At the 6 minute mark he weighs it and its 142 pounds. It DOES NOT show him getting it back on the tailgate LOL. I am thinking it was not an easy feat :p
Its not a BFG, but it's good just to watch.
If you always run with people it would not be a problem, for me I always wheel alone. I am sure I could do it, however it would suck to be injured a long long long ways from anything. I suppose you could flip the winch line over and winch it up hahaha.
 

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On the weight of the wheel and tire topic.

I welded on a piece of tube to the spare tire mount. I lift the tire and wheel onto the tube, then align the lugs. Makes for an easier initial placement.

On how to build a Rubi for 37s. I did that on my 11 by just ripping the guts out of the stock flares.
On the 17, I just run 1” synergy springs and front control arm relocation brackets. Yes I added different control arms, but they are not needed.
I did eventually run different fenders on the 11, and do on the 17. Nemisys flares for reference, but more for looks vs functionality.

My take on belly armor, beat up what you have to determine what you need.

Sport cage, I have the EVO chrome molly bolt in stuff. We all neglect to do cage work imho.

Steering and trackbars. I like the adjustability of the synergy stuff. I have the fusion4x4 steering and synergy trackbars. Don’t forget hydro assist.

Axle shafts, I’d wait to see what you are getting into. Or do them as part of the regear while you are at it.

My overall take is build a sport with 60s, after doing all the stuff to a Rubi to be almost as good axle and brake wise.


Congrats on your son getting an LJ
 

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I also have an LJ on 255/85R16 and I have a friend who used to have a JKUR (traded it for JLUR) that I go wheeling with. We've covered most of the easy to moderate trails in CO (Yankee Boy, Imogene, Engineer, etc) and drove the Jeeps 1000+/- miles from ND to get there. So our Jeeps are built for both Overlanding and trail riding duties. I've done lots of comparisons between the 2 Jeeps during our trips and his JK was setup exactly the way I would set one up again if I was to get a JK. I love my LJ, but I think his JK outperformed my LJ in everything except rock crawling and tight maneuvers.

The build;

He had 35" tires. I would recommend the same. In part because, as mentioned above, that is already a big and heavy tire to change out. Secondly, as I understand it, the JK axles are not that strong. Anything over 35" tires runs the risk of bending axle tubes. Look into this more if you really want 37s. I don't think its worth the risk. If you like your 255/85s, check out the 285/75R17. That is nice looking tall and skinny tire. I've seen them on a few JKs and they look really nice. But they are smaller than a 35"

For a lift I would run the AEV 2.5". My friends JK was the best handling Jeep that I had ever been in. Arguably better than the stock JLUR. He ran the AEV 2.5" with 1" spacers on top of them because he wanted a little extra height after he had everything installed. For him the 3.5" might have been better, but a 35" tire fits with the 2.5" lift.

He also used the AEV geometry correction brackets. Using the correction brackets not only set your geometry at the correct angle to correct anti-squat and other geometry changes, but it also corrects pinion angles. My friend did have to replace the front driveshaft with a Tom Wood shaft because at full droop the factory shaft would rub the oil pan. The Tom Wood is a narrower shaft and had more clearance room. I expect that issue was unique to his Jeep.

In short, I would just do my shopping over at AEV. I know a lot of guys think they are over priced, but as a whole package, they really got it right with the JK. So much so in fact, that if you look at a new JL next to a JK with AEV lift. You will see that Jeep copied every engineering design from AEV for the new JL.
 

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If your planing on playing on rocks..and a daily driver get 60's and 5.38's.
Tires IMO Nitto Trail Grapplers.
min 3.5" 3 link front-rear.
 

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We just got back from our annual Lone Pine trip. We ran the Big Pine to Bishop via Coyote Flats trail that includes a section of USFS triple diamond rated. With the 2.5 Metal Cloak lift and some CAREFUL spotting we made it through unscathed. Might have drug something once. I still have the KO2 34X10.50--17's, but I will go a little bigger next time. A true 35 inch tire should be all I will need for the type of trails we run. We drove up and back, about 1400 miles with no highway problems. (That is after chasing a death wobble problem for 6 months--finally cured) We also did Goler Wash, Mengel Pass and a few other more moderate trails. Going to 37's would entail upgrading brakes, axles, gears etc.
 
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