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Hey Y'all! First want to say I appreciate the club. So much knowledge and lots of help! :bowdown:
 
Secondly, I apologize if you feel there isn't a need of a new thread on this. I've spent hours researching and have gotten good info but still feel I need some missing pieces.
 
Here's what I got:
'89 Pioneer just past 30,000 miles (yeah, crazy. It was a well kept farm truck. Not driven much off the acreage)
2.5L 4 banger
AX5
dana 30/35 (4.10/4.11)
 
Here's what I need help on:
"Tonto" is my DD and will continue to be, but I'd like to beef him up a little for a some moderate wheelin'. What would you do?? 
Goals would be 31's on a good preforming lift for the daily and when I want to have some fun. And I'm hoping to do that without having to change a lot from stock. I'm not building anything huge. And I actually like the 4 cylinder  :thumbsup:
 
 
Again, I know this topic is talked about often but I didn't find any that met my criteria.
 
NOTE: I'm a "do it right the first time" kind of guy. I just want a solid(and safe) set up and would like* to hang in the $1500 range to start with. Plan to do the work myself.
 

Thanks y'all!

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2" budget lift consisting of 1.75 or 2" pucks up front and lift shackles in the rear

WJ lower control arms

31 inch tires

alignment

rocker guards 

extraction points front and rear

 

done.  :thumbsup:

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Thanks for the reply and the input! 

 

And I realize I didn't add to the OP that my front is a bit squashy. Still original. So needs new springs an shocks. Probably some work on the rear as well. Does that change your recommendation? Additions?

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Front Aussie locker. In my LJ on bone stock 29's, an Aussie locker completely changed everything. Simply amazing what just a front locker can do for you and for only $300 or so. Easy to do at home. No special tools needed.

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I am with Ohm, keep it stock.  But replace the shocks first and see how works.  Hard to see 30K miles springs being worn out. And if you just have to buy new springs - I would love to have a set of 30K 4 cylinder springs to put on my diesel 86 Comanche.

 

JJ

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spring are springs.  if it isn't sagging badly, I'd say they are fine and it's the shocks you're feeling.  a 2" lift can use stock shocks so i didn't add them to the list.  but if you need them, get some good ones.  :thumbsup:

 

 at 3" you start to need more and more of the other parts to accommodate the change in geometry (longer arms, sway bar links, brake lines etc).  a 2" lift keeps your stock handling characteristics (and the addition of the WJ arms can even improve it  :yes: ).  you don't need a giant lift to go offroading.  but you will want to protect your sheetmetal because accidents happen that a taller lift just won't prevent (I'm at 5" and 33s and smashed my rockers on a simple hillclimb because I didn't have the rocker guards yet :( ).  You will need an extraction point front and rear (proper tow hooks and a hitch work well).  armor and hooks are far more important to me than a lift.

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Mine is similar. 87 base Comanche, 2.5l, AX5, 30/35 and 4.10s. 66k. Also my DD. Sat in a field for nearly 20 years.

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'Preciate the input guys. I've considered keeping it stock. Still considering. Its a hard choice.

 

On those parts you mentioned, Pete, preference to any particular brand? 

 

I had made a note about getting WJ lower arms after reading the forums. New or try and score some at a pull apart?

 

I also remember reading up on the lockers but I think it was for the rear. Any benefit to one instead of the other?

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'Preciate the input guys. I've considered keeping it stock. Still considering. Its a hard choice.

 

On those parts you mentioned, Pete, preference to any particular brand?

 

I had made a note about getting WJ lower arms after reading the forums. New or try and score some at a pull apart?

 

I also remember reading up on the lockers but I think it was for the rear. Any benefit to one instead of the other?

I would go new on the WJ arms. Coming from someone who has done the upper and lower arm mod and changed the bushings in a junkyard set... just buy new. After buying new bushings it costs about the same and believe me you DO NOT want to have to change the bushings. It sucked.

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In the rear, you will notice it quite a bit. It will he invisible in the front when in 2wd other than a little noise going around turns.

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Keep that classic as is. Stay on the cement. Don't do anything except maintenance items.

 

I agree. The Comanche is a very capable off-roader in stock form. Although you can run 31x10.50s on factory rims with no lift at all, IMHO 30x9.50s with no lift make a better all-around package. Your post said "moderate" wheeling. What the word "moderate" means is probably different for everyone who reads it, but to me that doesn't suggest anything that should require a lift.

 

This is especially true if you will be using the same truck as a daily driver.

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-the front lift pucks will be simple chunks of polyurethane, so any brand will do.  

 

-for the shackles the popular thing is 2" drop shackles for late 90s Chevy trucks (same width and bolt size as MJs).  because of the design of the chevy suspension, longer-than-stock shackles will drop the truck, but for us they raise it up.  can be had at any local auto parts store.  rubber bushings are preferred.

 

-front tow hooks will need the brackets that go behind them for strength.  will look like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/84-01-Jeep-cherokee-tow-hook-pair-black-86-92-Comanche-MJ-Heavy-Duty-brackets-/201842556060?fits=Make%3AJeep%7CModel%3ACherokee&hash=item2efec0fc9c:g:qpgAAOSwCU1YvZJt&vxp=mtr

 

I am also a fan of 30" tires since you have a 4banger and it's a daily driver.  the bigger the tire the harder your engine will work.  since factory jeep rims are plentiful you could even keep your current tires as-is and get an offroad set of muds for the weekend. :D

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I agree with most of what has been said. Mine too is a 2.5 AX5 4:10 combo, but for a more modern look, Ive added a set of JK takeoff wheels and tires with hub centric adapters. They are right at 32" and at the outermost border of how big youd want to go without re gearing. With a 2" puck and shackles, youd be just about perfect. I have no real lift and have minor rubbing during some turns. A little lift like that would make it good. I agree with the WJ control arms as well. Theres a writeup somewhere on doing the uppers as well as the lowers. A little craigslist shopping could snag you some JK takeoff shocks as well. I have them front and rear of my truck. It only took minor mods to make them work, and I like the ride. Other mods can be done a little at a time, Like a ZJ steering box ( fewer turns lock to lock), or ZJ V8 front sway bar (thicker than stock) and ZJ tie rod (solid, instead of hollow). All bolt on mods and in budget if bought used. Good luck and keep us updated.

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-the front lift pucks will be simple chunks of polyurethane, so any brand will do.  

 

-for the shackles the popular thing is 2" drop shackles for late 90s Chevy trucks (same width and bolt size as MJs).  because of the design of the chevy suspension, longer-than-stock shackles will drop the truck, but for us they raise it up.  can be had at any local auto parts store.  rubber bushings are preferred.

 

-front tow hooks will need the brackets that go behind them for strength.  will look like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/84-01-Jeep-cherokee-tow-hook-pair-black-86-92-Comanche-MJ-Heavy-Duty-brackets-/201842556060?fits=Make%3AJeep%7CModel%3ACherokee&hash=item2efec0fc9c:g:qpgAAOSwCU1YvZJt&vxp=mtr

 

I am also a fan of 30" tires since you have a 4banger and it's a daily driver.  the bigger the tire the harder your engine will work.  since factory jeep rims are plentiful you could even keep your current tires as-is and get an offroad set of muds for the weekend. :D

 

 

I agree with most of what has been said. Mine too is a 2.5 AX5 4:10 combo, but for a more modern look, Ive added a set of JK takeoff wheels and tires with hub centric adapters. They are right at 32" and at the outermost border of how big youd want to go without re gearing. With a 2" puck and shackles, youd be just about perfect. I have no real lift and have minor rubbing during some turns. A little lift like that would make it good. I agree with the WJ control arms as well. Theres a writeup somewhere on doing the uppers as well as the lowers. A little craigslist shopping could snag you some JK takeoff shocks as well. I have them front and rear of my truck. It only took minor mods to make them work, and I like the ride. Other mods can be done a little at a time, Like a ZJ steering box ( fewer turns lock to lock), or ZJ V8 front sway bar (thicker than stock) and ZJ tie rod (solid, instead of hollow). All bolt on mods and in budget if bought used. Good luck and keep us updated.

 

 

Alright so here's what I'm looking at...

 

Steering towards 30's. 'preciate the input. I'm liking more the idea of keeping it minimal. Any make that seems to be favored for on and off road?

 

WJ CA's: I'm eying them Core4x4's. maybe overdoing it? (again, I'd like to shoot for better/best. And I like Made in USA)

Also had a friend mention Ironman4x4?.?.

With the CA's, it give the option of poly w/zirks or rubber w/o?

Just front lower's?

 

Shackles: Was also looking at Core4x4's. They're adjustable which would help in leveling, yeah?

 

Shocks: What do y'all suggest? And would you just get stock shocks with pucks or something different to add/accommodate the ~2" lift? And I'm considering replacing rear shocks as well. Does that change anything?

 

Rocker guards.. didn't see many options?

 

 

much obliged! 

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Nothing wrong with a set of stock Mopar parts.  Use the stock Mopar WJ CA instead of spending extra $$ for a fancy name.  Don just sold a take off pair of rear JK shocks for $50 delivered.  Hard to beat that for fresh shocks.

 

Generally, I like the KISS principle.  Keep it Simple Stupid.  Unfortunately, when it comes to my own crap - I tend to over think things and make something that should be simple into a project.  Lesson = Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.  You are talking about a Daily Driver. That is the first use of your truck and where you will spend most of your time.  Don't forget the Jeep Factory built a pretty good daily driver that was quite capable of going off the road, right from the factory.  And they had a much bigger budget to make that happen than any of us here do.

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yeah, I meant the plain-jane factory WJ control arms. :thumbsup:  (and technically you won't need them with 30s, but they are a good upgrade in strength and ride quality over the factory MJ design)

 

rarely are shackles made for MJs.  usually they are made for XJs and XJs have shorter factory shackles so their lift variety won't lift MJs as much.  eye-to-eye measurements are needed to ensure you get the boost you want.

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My 2-cents.

 

What kind of wheeling? Sandy or rocky/mud? Wider (floaty) tires for sand. Narrow, tall (digger) tires for trails. Counter to popular belief, wide/big tires may look awesome, but are pointless on trails with stumps, rocks, mud, etc. I had 31's on my previous DD truck. I would not do that again. On-road manners suffer and the extra rubber means extra road noise that was drowning out my Judas Priest! :rock on:

 

An extra set of off-road tires, while a PITA, is a good idea.

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Sorry for the radio silence. Been a bit busy. 'Preciate the help y'all. I'm planning to make some purchases this week and get some work going on the truck. Some maintenance things to take care of in addition to some mods...

Making a start with WJ uca swap, cleaning up the undercarriage (maybe paint) and getting some 30's put on. Haven't decided on the tire. BFG AT's? or some Cooper ATs maybe?

 

 

Some maintenance I'm gonna tackle is swapping some gaskets. One thing I'm unsure about: Are all the jeep 2.5l oil pans the same? at least for mj and xj's? Seems like some part sites say they are some don't.?.? Want to be sure before I get one and learn mid swap..

and same question with the oil pan gasket? hoping for just a one piece but got the same mixed signals with compatibility?

 

 

Nothing wrong with a set of stock Mopar parts.  Use the stock Mopar WJ CA instead of spending extra $$ for a fancy name.  Don just sold a take off pair of rear JK shocks for $50 delivered.  Hard to beat that for fresh shocks.

 

Generally, I like the KISS principle.  Keep it Simple Stupid.  Unfortunately, when it comes to my own crap - I tend to over think things and make something that should be simple into a project.  Lesson = Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.  You are talking about a Daily Driver. That is the first use of your truck and where you will spend most of your time.  Don't forget the Jeep Factory built a pretty good daily driver that was quite capable of going off the road, right from the factory.  And they had a much bigger budget to make that happen than any of us here do.

 

Good word, John. Perfection can be an enemy of mine...

Are the JK shocks a simple bolt on? height changes?

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JK shocks are not bolt on, but only take a little modification to make them work. like pressing out the metal sleeve on the rears, or installing a lower bar pin on the front in place of the metal sleeve. No big deal. Some say the red Rubicon ones are too stiff. I have the black ones on mine and like them. Ride is good considering its an old truck.

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