Top 3 Things To Do To Your Jeep Wrangler First! – Stage 1!
So you just bought your new jeep and you want to start modifying it. Lets be honest – this is one of the most customizable vehicles on the road today. There are hundreds of different bumpers, lifts, wheels, tires, winches, lights and more to add to your Jeep. A lot of people come to us and don’t really know where to start so we put together a guide on what we think are the 3 best stages for your jeep.
Stage 1 – Lift / Wheels / Tires
Stage 1 consists of what almost everyone wants to do their jeep – lift it. Well if you lift it you can’t leave the tiny tires on it, so those have to be upgraded too and if you put a wider tire on – it won’t fit the factory wheel so here’s just a little info on parts and how to choose. We will write more articles on each specifically in the future.
This is the whole basis of your Jeep and we can’t stress enough to really put a lot of thought into this. We like to focus on the on-road quality of the ride vs the offroad functionality because you spend the majority of your time where? On. Road. There are many good manufactures but there are also some not-so-good ones. We typically recommend Rock Krawler, Evo, Synergy, Teraflex as premium brands but for the budget minded lifts we will suggest either doing Rubicon Express or doing a Budget Boost.
For the 2 doors, we recommend 2.5-3″ for most applications. For the 4 doors we recommend 3.5″. These suggestions keep the jeep proportional. Most of the times, these will fit 35″ tires with factory fenders. If you want to run 37+” tires, we would use these same lifts, but change your fenders. The idea is to build a Jeep that has a low center of gravity. This will help your confidence when off-road (specially if you’re new) by not giving you the heebeegeebees in bad situations.
Lots of these jeeps out there still in stock form and ready for modification. The problem with lifting the TJ is that the rear driveshaft is so short that the angles in the joints tend to bind up and cause a vibration if a SYE – (Slip Yoke Eliminator) is not added. This is applicable from about 2.5-3″ and higher lifts. If your jeep is a Rubicon, it came from the factory with an SYE. An alternative that works for some that are borderline is to put a transfer case drop in. This lowers the transmission and tcase 1″ creating less angle. Another downer with the TJs are the front and rear lower control arms. They’re very short so when its lifted, they’re put at steep angles. The problem with this goes back to ride quality so if you’re wanting to do a lift at or over 3.5″, our suggestion will be to long arm it and put an SYE in it – this will provide for a nice riding and wheeling Jeep.
As aesthetic as they are – they’re very functional. We can get pretty much any wheel you want and see out there so just give us a shout at the shop for pricing. We’re very familiar with all wheels as well as off-road specific wheels like beadlock wheels. We can mount/dismount your beadlocks when other places can’t. Things to keep in mind when choosing wheels is the size, back space and offset.
Why Don’t I Want 20″ Wheels?
This could almost be a post on itself but here’s why. If you want to run 35″ tires, no matter what wheel size you run – they’re still 35″ tires. A lot of people think the tire gets bigger when you get bigger wheels but that’s not the case, 35″ is a 35″ is a 35″. What you’re actually doing when you run a bigger wheel – 20″ vs 17″ is shortening the sidewall. The shorter the side wall, the less rubber is there and the less ride quality you will have. There’s technically nothing wrong with a 20″ wheel as long as you know what to expect and unless its 37″ or bigger, it’s going to be pretty harsh. Most jeeps that run 35″ (the most common off-road tire put on jeeps) runs a 17″ or 18″ wheel. These provide for good off-road and on road handling and don’t effect the ride that much.
There are 3 types of tires that we’re usually recommending – all terrains, mud terrains and now a hybrid of the 2. These are all based on your use of the vehicle. If you want a nice looking jeep that doesn’t see any off-road – we would suggest an all terrain. If you want it to have a more aggressive look, the hybrid (Toyo RT or Nitto Ridge Grappler) would make excellent options. If you do a significant amount of wheeling or are in muddy situations, mud terrains are the answer. Each type of tire has pros and cons though here they are: (these are very generic and may differ between tire mfgs)
All Terrains: (Toyo AT2 / Nitto Terra Grappler / BFG KO2)
Pros: Great on-road handling and quiet, good mileage, price
Cons: Least amount of off-road traction, not as aggressive looking
Hybrid: (Toyo RT / Nitto Ridge Grappler)
Pros: Good on-road handling, semi quiet, good mileage, good off-road too, price
Cons: semi quiet, semi aggresive tread pattern (this could be a good thing too)
Mud Terrains (Toyo MT/ Nitto Trail Grapplers & Mud Grapplers / BFG KM2)
Pros: Excellent Offroad handling, Aggressive tread pattern, On-road handling not the greatest
Cons: Loud, Mileage not as good (but not horrible), expensive
Putting It All Together
This should give you the basics of what you need for stage 1 – Lift Wheels and Tires and to keep the many options in mind. There is no right way or wrong way to build a jeep as long as you have some guidance. Have more questions? Call the shop 214-222-1323 and we can answer anything that’s on your mind.