Your Jeep Tech Questions Answered
Clearance Clarence, Part Deux
I have a ’06 TJ X with the I-6 and six-speed. I bought a 2-inch Rusty’s Off Road coil spacer lift and a 1-inch body lift to clear some 32x11.50R15s. This set-up works well except when I get in the rocks and the belly pan knocks on every pebble. Do you know of a higher-clearance pan for a mostly-stock Jeep? All of the ones I’ve found require a suspension lift. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Your suspension and tire size sounds almost exactly the same as what I did with my ’97 TJ in “Clearance Clarence” (Mar. ’13). I also got sick of the stock belly pan hanging on rocks. To solve these problems and keep my TJ light, I went to a T&T Customs high-clearance aluminum Belly Pan. We also tossed in a set of Brown Dog Offroad 1-inch motor mount lifts, and a slip-yoke eliminator to the NP231J. We did not need a 1-inch body lift to clear the now-higher-sitting T-case, but your ’06 TJ may need the one you’ve already got. We added the slip-yoke eliminator, but may not have to have done this although it is a great upgrade that makes your Jeep that much more reliable and vibration free. The motor mount lift is a must. Would we do this again? You bet! It’s an awesome setup and so far we have been mercilessly beating on the aluminum skid. It’s still holding tough despite the beatings, but our oil pan is starting to look pretty darn scary. Hmm, T&T Customs also makes an aluminum oil pan skidplate.
XJ Suspension Lift Addition
I have an ’01 Jeep Cherokee Sport. Like many low-budget Jeepers, I want to buy the Rough Country 41⁄2-inch lift kit. I really want more lift than the 41⁄2-inch, but don’t quite want the 61⁄2-inch. Those are the only two options Rough Country sells. I would like to go with about 51⁄2 inches of lift. I think Rubicon Express sells a 51⁄2-inch system for $1,500 plus. My question is, which could be a really stupid question, can I put the Rough Country lift on my Jeep and as I am putting it on add a 1-inch coil spacer up front and a 1-inch lift shackle in the rear? My buddy has the shackles from his old budget lift. That will put me at my desired height. So any comments, advice, or info would be appreciated.
The short answer is yes, you can stack a spacer on a 41⁄2-inch XJ front coil and get a bit more lift, but in the long run a more expensive suspension will probably end up costing you less in cash spent, time, and peace of mind. Also, while some 41⁄2-inch suspensions come with full rear leaf packs, some less expensive kits use add-a-leaves and lift shackles. That throws a wrench in your plans, as the rear will probably sit lower than the front unless you use full 41⁄2-inch rear lift springs, since you can’t add two sets of lift shackles to the rear. In my experience, if you are gonna lift an XJ more than about 4 to 41⁄2 inches, you will probably need to look into a set of control arm drop brackets or a front long-arm conversion. Otherwise the control arms are at such a steep angle that they’d almost rather go backwards than up when you hit a bump. That’s bad; it results in a harsh ride and quickly wears out front suspension components. Also, with this amount of lift, you are gonna need shocks, brake lines, adjustable control arms, an adjustable track bar, lowered bump stops, sway bar extensions…hmm, I’m probably forgetting something else you’ll need.
Looking at Rough Country’s website, you should probably opt for the $830 kit and not the $460 41⁄2-inch kit based on all the stuff that comes with that kit. I’d then at least add the control arm drop kit for another $200. You are also gonna need a slip-yoke eliminator (I needed one on a Cherokee with 31⁄2-inches of lift) and a new double-cardan rear driveshaft. The fact is, it ain’t gonna be cheap to get 51⁄2 inches under a Cherokee. I also wonder why you chose that height. I built an ’01 XJ with about 4 to 41⁄2 inches of lift up front and 31⁄2 inches of lift, and with proper bumpstop extensions and fender trimming I was able to fit 35-inch tires. You could easily and much more affordably lift an XJ 31⁄2 inches with quality parts, trim the fenders, and run 33s all day long. Want bigger tires and that’s why you need all that lift? Well, probably your axles are not gonna hold up to 37s or even 35s without a ton of cash tossed at them. Another option is to build slowly, wheel your XJ, and have fun with it as you approach your long term Jeep goals.
Drag That YJ
I have been enjoying your magazine for some time now and have owned Jeeps for over 40 years, my first being a ’66 CJ-5 with the 225 V-6. I recently put together my first hot rod Jeep, and this is where I need your help. I put a 360 four-barrel Dodge V-8 in my ’87 YJ. It also has a TF727 tranny and is now a 2WD. Don’t worry, I own two other 4WD Jeeps, too. I can’t find headers for it. I am on a budget, so custom headers are out of the question. Do you know a part number that will work in my application? Shorty headers will be OK if there are no long-tube headers available at a low price. The second part of this is I want to replace the front axle with a 2WD dummy axle. Will one out of a DJ or XJ work? Because of the power level, I would like to stay with disk brakes. I am open to any suggestions, and thanks for your help.
Sounds like a fun project, and it’s perfect for a Jeep. Enzo Ferrari said Jeeps were the only true American sports car…OK, I am paraphrasing, but they are uniquely American, and why not drag race one? If I were you, I would spend some time playing around on Summit Racing’s web site. The company has a pretty darn good search engine that would help you narrow down what shorty and or long tube headers that might fit the Dodge mill in your YJ. I did a quick search and Summit came up with about 80 sets of headers that will bolt onto a Dodge 360. I’ll bet at least one would work for you, and they may be cheap. They would probably also be one of the most likely sources for dimensional info on any long tube headers they sell. If they don’t list the specifications, you can try looking at the manufacturers’ websites, or maybe even contacting them directly. If all else fails with the long tubes, I am sure some shorty headers would work for you as you mention. Editor Hazel had good luck with some of Summit’s in-house long-tube headers on his old Ramcharger (PN SUM-G9042). You will have to plug the air injection holes in the heads if so equipped, but otherwise they fit great. His didn’t leak and stayed tight to the engine and exhaust collectors.
As for the beam front axle, you have a couple of options. If you want to keep the 5-on-41⁄2-inch wheel bolt pattern of the YJ, a 2WD XJ axle is gonna be the best, and may have the same brakes as what is on your YJ’s Dana 30. If you want the more old school 5-on-51⁄2-bolt pattern, you should look for a beam axle from a late-model postal Jeep, which should have disc brakes. Hopefully, you won’t need to widen it. Good luck, and send us pictures of the thing on the drag strip…or at least laying down some S-shaped black marks!