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Thread: Just got my first TJ!

  1. #1
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    Default Just got my first TJ!

    Hello All,


    I think I just way over paid for my first (and probably last) TJ. The reason I paid 10k for my TJ is due to the brand new frame under it, 120K on the dash and 4.0 automatic. I have a few questions, I had and AMC jeep before which had leaf springs and I didn't keep it very long as it was my primary driver and I was down right scared to do high way speed in it. I expected the TJ to be allot different in the on road department but the steering seems to be all over the place and it seems noisy from the transfer-case. i think the front end needs some routine maintenance, but it did just pass inspection.

    The jeep is over all great fun on back roads and at low speed, this jeep will be a weekend/summer trail cruiser. I have a set of 32x9.5 bias super swampers to go on but i am waiting until i sort out the mechanical stuff as i want to hear the motor over the tires for a while. so far it seems to be one thing after another.

    The day after i brought it home it would not start with out having to give it some gas. I think it needs a new battery so...UPGRADE #1 ($240) gel cell battery. I was told TPS will lose its memory when the battery gets low/dies. after starting and slowly removing my foot from the go pedal she will stay running.

    the second thing to go wrong is a coolant leak from the radiator so UPGRADE #2 ($160) aluminum radiator. does anyone have a recommendation for a good radiator? i looked on amazon today and it seems like what they have to offer does not last. the one with the best reviews is the primecooling 3 row tri-core. has one one personally used this one?

    The sahara as i understand comes with a 2 inch lift and i have no intentions at this point of changing the lift. I cannot afford the driveline changes needed to go higher then 2 inches right now. Also i'm thinking more lift does not gain much if you have open diffs. the first things i have bought for the new rig is a 4 ton come along and a 60" hi-lift jack.

    I am thinking UPGRADE #3 ($260) will be a Spartan auto locker for the front so i can get 3WD!

    After that i'm thinking:
    UPGRADE #4 ($80) sway bar disconnects, i have only seen disconnects for the front so far. Is is not typical to disconnect the rear?
    UPGRADE #5 ($185) rock sliders


    So before june/july i am hoping to have all this done. Also my goal is to keep it under $1000 in upgrades this year. All the parts i have mentioned will cost approx $925.
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  2. #2
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    Congratulations on the purchase sounds like you should enjoy the build
    Scott / Team Jeep crawl

    1997 Jeep TJ ,4 inch rough county x- series lift ,tom woods drive shafts with SYE ,BFG KM 2 33s ,smittybilt bumpers,rock-rails ,winch,skid plates ,stinkys off road full roll cage , ARB snorkel along/ with a few outer moderate add ons ,with a bunch of gear / tools for some moderate class six adventures ...with a Bantam Trailer, for those overland adventures.

    Member of : Tread Lightly

    Leave no trace / carry out more then you carry in

  3. #3
    Rubicon's Avatar
    Rubicon is offline Ex-Coordinator & Ex-Mod Certified Trail Leader
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heg View Post
    Hello All,
    I think I just way over paid for my first (and probably last) TJ. The reason I paid 10k for my TJ is due to the brand new frame under it, 120K on the dash and 4.0 automatic. I have a few questions, I had and AMC jeep before which had leaf springs and I didn't keep it very long as it was my primary driver and I was down right scared to do high way speed in it. I expected the TJ to be allot different in the on road department but the steering seems to be all over the place and it seems noisy from the transfer-case. i think the front end needs some routine maintenance, but it did just pass inspection.
    The jeep is over all great fun on back roads and at low speed, this jeep will be a weekend/summer trail cruiser. I have a set of 32x9.5 bias super swampers to go on but i am waiting until i sort out the mechanical stuff as i want to hear the motor over the tires for a while. so far it seems to be one thing after another.
    The day after i brought it home it would not start with out having to give it some gas. I think it needs a new battery so...UPGRADE #1 ($240) gel cell battery. I was told TPS will lose its memory when the battery gets low/dies. after starting and slowly removing my foot from the go pedal she will stay running.
    the second thing to go wrong is a coolant leak from the radiator so UPGRADE #2 ($160) aluminum radiator. does anyone have a recommendation for a good radiator? i looked on amazon today and it seems like what they have to offer does not last. the one with the best reviews is the primecooling 3 row tri-core. has one one personally used this one?
    The sahara as i understand comes with a 2 inch lift and i have no intentions at this point of changing the lift. I cannot afford the driveline changes needed to go higher then 2 inches right now. Also i'm thinking more lift does not gain much if you have open diffs. the first things i have bought for the new rig is a 4 ton come along and a 60" hi-lift jack.
    I am thinking UPGRADE #3 ($260) will be a Spartan auto locker for the front so i can get 3WD!
    After that i'm thinking:
    UPGRADE #4 ($80) sway bar disconnects, i have only seen disconnects for the front so far. Is is not typical to disconnect the rear?
    UPGRADE #5 ($185) rock sliders
    So before june/july i am hoping to have all this done. Also my goal is to keep it under $1000 in upgrades this year. All the parts i have mentioned will cost approx $925.
    Hello and welcome!

    #1, I would spend less there, unless you plan on getting a winch, but then you should also get an upgraded alternator, if that is the case.

    #2, don't waste your money on a less efficient 3-core that is not needed with a stock engine...besides it will not cool well for your vehicles needs as well as a single core that it came with.

    Sahara is not lifted from the factory, sorry :(

    And more lift is only good to clear bigger tires, if you don't want to make clearance other ways, but then there are many drawbacks :\

    I too run a 4t hand winch and a farm jack, so smart choices there :)

    #3, I would never lock the front before the rear and it is not nearly as important as your #4 on a TJ, because with more articulation comes added traction with stability. Spartan lockers are good though.

    #4 rears only give an inch more articulation, which is not worth it, plus it gives you some stability when the front is disconnected. This is my first mod with TJ Wranglers, since it is free, easy to do, and makes the most difference off road.

    #5, sliders would be close to last on my list of suggestions for protection. First would be gas tank skid plate(most likely to hit). Second, automatic transmission pan skid plate. Third, engine oil pan skid plate. Dead last would be bumpers, as we are a Tread Lightly! organization that does not mow down trees, thus we appreciate if you please don't as well ;)

    I hope all this helps and wish you the best of luck with it.
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not ;)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
    Hello and welcome!

    #1, I would spend less there, unless you plan on getting a winch, but then you should also get an upgraded alternator, if that is the case.

    #2, don't waste your money on a less efficient 3-core that is not needed with a stock engine...besides it will not cool well for your vehicles needs as well as a single core that it came with.

    Sahara is not lifted from the factory, sorry :(

    And more lift is only good to clear bigger tires, if you don't want to make clearance other ways, but then there are many drawbacks :\

    I too run a 4t hand winch and a farm jack, so smart choices there :)

    #3, I would never lock the front before the rear and it is not nearly as important as your #4 on a TJ, because with more articulation comes added traction with stability. Spartan lockers are good though.

    #4 rears only give an inch more articulation, which is not worth it, plus it gives you some stability when the front is disconnected. This is my first mod with TJ Wranglers, since it is free, easy to do, and makes the most difference off road.

    #5, sliders would be close to last on my list of suggestions for protection. First would be gas tank skid plate(most likely to hit). Second, automatic transmission pan skid plate. Third, engine oil pan skid plate. Dead last would be bumpers, as we are a Tread Lightly! organization that does not mow down trees, thus we appreciate if you please don't as well ;)

    I hope all this helps and wish you the best of luck with it.
    All good advice. I will say I did more than fine with a winch and stock battery without upgrading the alternator. Most won't use it nearly long enough to matter. He has gel battery, so evem better than stock.-nm, thought he did, but not yet.
    And I think he meant it came with 2" lift when he bought it, at least it sure looks lifted in that pic.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    Last edited by bob; 04-13-2018 at 03:52 PM.
    Gone now :( -2000 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, 2" BB, 4.88's, TT F&R, 33x10.5 km2's, xrc8 winch, uniden pro xl520 cb, 4' wilson
    Gone now too :( -2008 Rubicon, uniden pro xl520 cb, 5' wilson Silver Load, JCR engine skid, JCR evap skid
    Present-2012 JK Sahara-KO2's plus neat stock stuff

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  5. #5
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    @heg
    What year? I had a 2000 Sahara. Makes a lot of difference what you will see, at least imo. Before 2000 had coil and wire, 2000 up had coil packs. Also in 2000, I believe, they started using wider flares on the Sahara, an inch wider. And superior material. Can't say for sure that was when, but pretty sure. Helps when you put non stock backspacing wheels on.
    2003 I believe they finally put some proper drainage in the frame rails, as well as lowered the seat position.
    Having a new frame makes that well worth the price. Those frames are garbage. Mine would barely cast a shadow by the time I had to get rid of it. It was awesome though, you will love it. I will admit, I've had 2 cjs, a tj and now a jk, and I still miss my first cj.
    Oh, first mod for use offroad? Get those steps off. They will come off sooner or later, best you do it rather than a rock, tree, stray branch.
    Gas tank skid as Shawn said is key. Stamped ateel is no protection, and it can jam up into the body when you crush it. Take my word for that one.
    The other skids he mentioned as well, and I can say in 10 years of wheeling I never got enough damage to think sliders were worth it. They are good, and do help, I just never crushed that area of my Jeep once the steps were gone.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    Gone now :( -2000 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, 2" BB, 4.88's, TT F&R, 33x10.5 km2's, xrc8 winch, uniden pro xl520 cb, 4' wilson
    Gone now too :( -2008 Rubicon, uniden pro xl520 cb, 5' wilson Silver Load, JCR engine skid, JCR evap skid
    Present-2012 JK Sahara-KO2's plus neat stock stuff

    Buy a Gazetteer

  6. #6
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    Ooooh, also, fun tip on the TJ, maybe help get your system in line.

    Adaptive memory reset
    Disconnect battery cables.
    Ground disconnected positive cable for 30 seconds
    Get in Jeep, turn key to "on"
    Turn headlights on
    Turn headlights off
    Turn key off
    Reconnect battery.

    You can google "jeep tj adaptive memory flash" for more information. It may help your stumble.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    Gone now :( -2000 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, 2" BB, 4.88's, TT F&R, 33x10.5 km2's, xrc8 winch, uniden pro xl520 cb, 4' wilson
    Gone now too :( -2008 Rubicon, uniden pro xl520 cb, 5' wilson Silver Load, JCR engine skid, JCR evap skid
    Present-2012 JK Sahara-KO2's plus neat stock stuff

    Buy a Gazetteer

  7. #7
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    Lol, one more. Check your rear end. A lot, not all but a lot, of Sahara'd came with the d44. I was a lucky one that got the d35, but I never had issues with it. Tou may alrwady have and that's why you decided front for spartan instead of rear, but if not, or if you only did it because someone told you its a d35, make sure. Easiest way, d35 has a rubber bung plug, d44 has a 3/8" hex drive plug.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    Gone now :( -2000 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, 2" BB, 4.88's, TT F&R, 33x10.5 km2's, xrc8 winch, uniden pro xl520 cb, 4' wilson
    Gone now too :( -2008 Rubicon, uniden pro xl520 cb, 5' wilson Silver Load, JCR engine skid, JCR evap skid
    Present-2012 JK Sahara-KO2's plus neat stock stuff

    Buy a Gazetteer

  8. #8
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    It is a 2002, lift must have been installed before the PO, he was the one who indicated there was an OEM lift on it.

    Good tips on the skid plates rather then sliders, another post emphasized importance of sliders. I'm glad folks with experience replied.

    I was thinking front locker because front wheel drive is better in snow then rear wheel. i figured the engine weight would help get more traction up front and pulling rather then pushing would be preferential when it came to climbing obstacles. this is not relevant? it turns out the rear is D35 i just checked and...bummer...rubber plug.

    Rubicon indicated it was free to do sway bar disconnects. is this meaning just pulling off the front sway bar altogether? i found the kit for the front disconnects for $80 but if i can go with out and not create a dangerous on road situation i am all for that.


    Glad I asked on these things. new order of importance will be:

    OEM radiator and battery $200

    #1 front sway bar removal (?)
    #2 gas tank skid plate 3/16 Warn $290
    #2.5 transmission pan skid plate 3/16 teraflex $155
    #2.75 oil pan skid plate 3/16 teraflex $130
    #3 rear auto locker $260
    #4 front auto locker $260
    ________
    total price $1295

    amazon (which probably got it wrong) says Spartan Locker for Dana 30 differential with 27 spline axles

    is this^ wrong for my jeep?

  9. #9
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    Just drive it first. Enjoy it. As soon as you start with lockers itís all $$ from there.
    It's all gone.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heg View Post
    I was thinking front locker because front wheel drive is better in snow then rear wheel
    NO!! HE** NO! A lunch box locker in the front makes for miserable snow driving. They are locked by default and open when torque bias becomes too high. This translates to under steer when you really don't want it. Frankly; a TJ needs very little help in snow, the best thing you can do is get good snow tires.


    i figured the engine weight would help get more traction up front and pulling rather then pushing would be preferential when it came to climbing obstacles. this is not relevant?
    I doubt that makes any difference, the most bang for the buck I found was a Detroit TrueTrac limited slip in the rear.

    iturns out the rear is D35 i just checked and...bummer...rubber plug.
    Don't give up on the D35, I've been running a 30 year old D35 with a TrueTrac for a few years with no problem.

    Rubicon indicated it was free to do sway bar disconnects. is this meaning just pulling off the front sway bar altogether? i found the kit for the front disconnects for $80 but if i can go with out and not create a dangerous on road situation i am all for that.
    I'm guessing he meant you can just remove the sway bar links temporarily, while wheeling. You still need your sway bar for pavement, not safe otherwise

    Glad I asked on these things. new order of importance will be:

    OEM radiator and battery $200

    #1 front sway bar removal (?)
    Wouldn't do that!
    #2 gas tank skid plate 3/16 Warn $290
    #2.5 transmission pan skid plate 3/16 teraflex $155
    #2.75 oil pan skid plate 3/16 teraflex $130
    Thumbs up there.
    #3 rear auto locker $260
    #4 front auto locker $260
    I'd recommend a LSD like a TrueTrac in the rear unless you're going to end up with selectable lockers.
    Mary Anne: 1988 YJ, 258, Weber 32/36 DGEV, AX15/231, 4.11 HP-D30 & non c-clip D35 w/Truetrac, 33" KO2's, BDS 2" lift, a bunch of skid plates, Warn 9.5ti

    Member: The Ancient and Honorable Society of the Leaf Spring

    KC1EIJ
    WQZJ411

  11. #11
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    Thanks for tip on truetrac @ $450 that's not bad

  12. #12
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    I loved them on mine.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    Gone now :( -2000 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, 2" BB, 4.88's, TT F&R, 33x10.5 km2's, xrc8 winch, uniden pro xl520 cb, 4' wilson
    Gone now too :( -2008 Rubicon, uniden pro xl520 cb, 5' wilson Silver Load, JCR engine skid, JCR evap skid
    Present-2012 JK Sahara-KO2's plus neat stock stuff

    Buy a Gazetteer

  13. #13
    Rubicon's Avatar
    Rubicon is offline Ex-Coordinator & Ex-Mod Certified Trail Leader
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heg View Post
    ...I was thinking front locker because front wheel drive is better in snow then rear wheel. i figured the engine weight would help get more traction up front and pulling rather then pushing would be preferential when it came to climbing obstacles. this is not relevant? it turns out the rear is D35 i just checked and...bummer...rubber plug.

    Rubicon indicated it was free to do sway bar disconnects. is this meaning just pulling off the front sway bar altogether? i found the kit for the front disconnects for $80 but if i can go with out and not create a dangerous on road situation i am all for that....

    amazon (which probably got it wrong) says Spartan Locker for Dana 30 differential with 27 spline axles

    is this^ wrong for my jeep?
    Front wheel drives do usually move forward better in the snow than RWD, but like Glenn wrote, a locked front wheel drive will not be fun in those conditions.
    I ran a locked D35 for a couple of years and never broke a shaft. It is all in how you wheel it ;)
    I call the free discos "slow disconnects"(simply unbolting the axle end of the links and tying the sway bar up) but you can buy store bought kits too if you want. Again, I will not recommend the sway bars being removed, especially on a lifted and short wheelbase vehicle that is soon to have non-selectable lockers.
    27-spine Dana 30 is what your Jeep TJ Wrangler came with from the factory.



    Quote Originally Posted by BlueberryHill View Post
    NO!! HE** NO! A lunch box locker in the front makes for miserable snow driving. They are locked by default and open when torque bias becomes too high. This translates to under steer when you really don't want it. Frankly; a TJ needs very little help in snow, the best thing you can do is get good snow tires...
    Don't give up on the D35, I've been running a 30 year old D35 with a TrueTrac for a few years with no problem.
    I'm guessing he meant you can just remove the sway bar links temporarily, while wheeling. You still need your sway bar for pavement, not safe otherwise
    Wouldn't do that!
    Thumbs up there.
    I'd recommend a LSD like a TrueTrac in the rear unless you're going to end up with selectable lockers.
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not ;)

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