Dylan's TJ Build


New member
I have a 1997 TJ with a 2.5L 5 speed manual.
I have got a ton of ideas of what to do with my jeep. This definitely won't be an overnight build... It'll probably be spaced out over about 2 years. In all honesty, this thread is as much for everyone else's entertainment as it is for me being able to keep track of a checklist of sorts. Everything I will list will contribute to me building my dream jeep... However, in all honesty I'm sure some things will be removed, added, or modified from this list.
So, here it goes!
-Repainting the exterior
-33" tires
-Regearing to 4.88 with the new tires.
-New Steel Rims
-Possible new front bumper
-4 inch lift
-Rhinoline the interior
-Finish installing my 5.25" front speakers
-Mirror relocation brackets
-Windshield mounted long range driving lights
-Tube doors
-Electric fan to free up some horsepower
-Possibly some new seats (mine are pretty torn up.)
-Upgrade the headlights
-Hi-Lift Jack
I'll be putting up lots of pictures as I go, however the updates will probably be far spaced! Wish me luck!
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Current pictures of the jeep.


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Looking for opinions on lift kit...

Skyjacker 4" Economy Lift Kit with Hydro Shocks for 97-02 Jeep® Wrangler TJ - Quadratec Does this seem like a good lift kit?
Skyjacker Standard 4" Lift Kit for 03-06 Jeep® Wrangler TJ - Quadratec What is the difference between these two kits other than the economy being unable to disconnect the sway bar?
Skyjacker 2.5" System Lift Kit for 97-06 Jeep® Wrangler TJ & Unlimited - Quadratec Or should I go with this with a 2 inch body lift? Money is definitely a concern, I'm in high school making minimum wage. Any other recommendations for lift kits?

STAY AWAY from body lifts over 1.5". In the event of an accident there is an exponential possibility of shearing the bolts or bending them. It may take a while but find what you want and save for it.
Dylan, My recommendation to you would be to sit and take some time to figure out exactly what you want your Jeep to do, daily driver, off road, rocks, mud. Depending on what you decide, then start looking at lifts, tires, etc. to meet your goals. IMHO, If my Jeep was not already lifted when we got it I personally would not use a body lift. It may still go away at some time. My son and I are trying to figure out exactly what we want to use the Jeep for, after that decision is made we will start our tear down and then rebuild the way we want it. The only known part for the build will be our 302 from our first 4X4 build. Will probably stroke it this time, 347ci and 500+H.P.

I have the 3" zone offroad products lift on my 05 tj. the lift is great thus far. I recommend when lifting be sure to replace your stock control arms. right after you lift it if your bushing are stock they are more than likely worn and will be squirely after the lift is installed. It is recommended anything 3" and over on a suspension lift you need to get new controll arms anyways and more than likely a sye kit.

I went with the 3" zone lift because of the price. I soon after found that all of my bushing front and rear were shot so i replaced them with bds adjustable control arms with polyurethane bushings. And I also have vibration issues no matter how i adjusted my pinion angle so now i forked out another large chunk of money for a sye and cv shaft.

Moral of the story if your gonna lift be prepared to fork out some money for the unexpected. Every jeep is different and some are easy and some not so easy. Mine not so easy. haha . Well good luck to ya and I hope this helped.

So with that kit would I need new control arms? What about a SYE? Basically, what would I need to make that kit a hundred percent?
The kit I mentioned is only a 2.5" spring, so no you would not need new control arms. You'll need to adjust your caster (I believe that your model year already has the proper bolts).

Your front end will need to be alligned. Also the control arms should be fine but there is no guarantee on your bushings in the control arms that will be hit or miss. Your kit I believe will come with a transfer case drop wich in my opinion sucks. Every jeep is different keep that in mind.
So summer's coming closer, and I'm starting to get more hours, as you all know more hours=more money for the jeep! I'll slowly continue my upgrades. Lately I've been noticing more and more just how inadequate my backup lights are. I'm thinking of adding some cheap fog lights to the rear bumper. Also, purchasing some rocker switches to clean up the dash a bit. Mirror movers are also on my list, so i can take the doors off. And possibly some rhino-liner for the inside.