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!
A Shocking Question… Oh My!
I have a ’71 CJ-5, and I need to put shocks on it, but due to an axle swap and a shackle reversal by one mechanic who did awesome work on everything except shock mounts, and the previous mechanic who felt the need to torch off all the original hardware, I need to start from scratch. So where can I find some kind of direction here, as to where in general did the original shocks mount up, and since there was a shackle reversal, and the axle is now sitting about 3 inches forward of stock, do I need to go with a different configuration than stock?
To complicate things even more, I have been running a set of Skyjacker 2-inch springs, but I’m switching over to a set of four stock leaf packs, sourced from a pair of ‘70s Jeep Grand Wagoneers. As a result of the suspension switch, I’ll be tossing the 13⁄4-inch-wide springs, and moving to 21⁄2-inch wide springs. This will probably change the shock mount locations at the axle, too (I think, but I don’t know).
Also, if you have time for one more question, I was wondering if you knew or cared to venture a guess what the difference will be approximately between the 2-inch lift springs and the stock Wagoneer spring packs. I’ve heard estimates from everywhere between lower by six inches (which I don’t even think is possible) and four inches of lift over stock. So if someone were to have an entirely stock, pristine, and unmolested ’71 CJ-5, and they were to switch over to the stock leaf springs, from the front end of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer what would your guess be for the change in height of the CJ-5?
Wow, count me shocked. It sounds to me like you would be way better off not even worrying about where the stock shocks on this thing were even if you don’t go messing with the Waggy springs you mention…which may or may not be a good route for you to take. I’ll get back to that in a minute. First, please have a look at how I set up my shocks on Project Ground-Up, which also has a shackle reversal and 21⁄2-inch wide springs. You should focus on “Ground-Up: Part 2,” (April ’12) and “Ground Up: Part 5,” (Aug ’12). Those cover setting up shocks on a not stock CJ-5. Also, I am not totally clear if you currently have a spring-over conversion with the narrow lift springs, or if you want a spring-over with the Wagoneer springs.
As far as the Wagoneer springs, let me warn you a little bit first. If you have front springs from a ’74-’91 Wagoneer, these springs are gonna be really long on a CJ-5 and the center pins of these leaf springs are offset. That means that your axles won’t be centered on the leaf springs. They will either be pushed back or pushed forward on the springs, depending on which direction you run the spring (with the long end forward or backwards). This is gonna change your wheelbase, which could be good—or might not work at all. If you have four front springs from two ’62-’73 Waggys, you might be good to go, but I’d shy away from running both the front and rear in a spring-over configuration unless you want to engineer a stout rear anti-axle wrap bar. If I were you, I would go with a spring-over in the front on two of your ’62-’73 Waggy springs (if that’s what you’ve got) or stock YJ rear leaf springs and a 21⁄2 to 3, maybe 31⁄2-inch rear YJ leaf springs sprung-under the rear axle. Set up the springs and shocks as I did for Ground-up, and you should be good. This will give your CJ-5 plenty of flex and no problems with axlewrap. This should give you clearance for 33s, maybe 35s or more with proper fender trimming.
Praise for “Instant Jeep Guru”
I am a new subscriber to Jp, and I read your article, “Instant Old Jeep Guru,” (May ’13). I found it a great article and very informative. It’s good to know there is somewhere I can go to get educated about Jeeps. I recently bought what I believe is an old CJ-5. I say this because it has a replacement fiberglass body with no data plates, so no VIN/Serial number. My problem is I don’t know exactly what year or model it is. I can tell you that it does have what appears to be an original drivetrain. It has an F-head 134ci Hurricane engine, a T-90 transmission, a Spicer 18 transfer case, a Dana 25 front axle, and Dana 44 in the rear.
Any tips you have to help me identify my Jeep would be greatly appreciated.
Yep, that’s an early CJ-5…now exactly what year it is without a VIN or any data plates may always be a mystery, but heck, the model year is just a tool to help with getting parts for your CJ-5. Based on the speedometer and gauge cluster in your pictures (and assuming its original to the Jeep), I’d say pick a year between 1958 and 1969 and let’s run with it. The snorkel cut-out in your hood and footman loops on the hood make the hood look like it is from a ’65 or earlier, but that could be a replacement hood from another CJ-5 or an M38A1. By the way, your Jeep’s VIN may be visible as a number stamped into the top of the frame under the battery box. Good luck!
A Flaw in “Instant Jeep Guru”
I have a correction for your article “Instant Old Jeep Guru,” (May ’13). When you talked about the difference between the short and long CJ-5s, the wheelbase is three inches longer, but the front sheetmetal was lengthened five inches. That’s why the front tire doesn’t quite fit the wheel opening correctly on older CJs.
Oops, yep, I screwed up and fell into a trap that many find themselves stuck in. Most people, myself included, assume the front clip was lengthened by the same amount as the frame. Well, to err is human…and I am barely that.
Grand Transfer Case
I recently brought home an ’85 Grand Wagoneer with a 360ci with a NP229 T-case. After reading “Transfer Station,” (Jan. ’12), I was wondering what T-case I should upgrade to that would be the least painful to swap in. I was planning a moderate boost in horsepower and suspension lift and maybe 33- or 35-inch tires down the road.
An NP208 out of a ’80-’87 FSJ should swap in place of the NP229 and will not have the problematic viscous coupler that the NP229 has. You will also need a rear driveshaft from a Waggy that originally had a NP208 or you will have to have your driveshaft lengthened or a custom one built. According to our sources, your NP229s shifter will work with the NP208, but the shift positions will be different. If you plan on wheeling your Waggy hard on 35s, even the NP208 may not hold up. If that’s the case, it’s time to look into swapping in an Atlas II from Advance Adapters.
Got a tech question you’re just itching to get answered? Send it on in to Jp magazine, Your Jeep, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail it to email@example.com.