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'88 MJ: 3" Level-out or 6"+ SOA?


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I just got a new-to-me '88 MJ and am debating on what route to take it. It's got a 4.0L, AW4, 4WD, w/ Dana 44 rear (with Trac-Lok) and the "offroad package" that includes a slight lift and skid-plates. After doing some measurements, the rear is about 20" from fender flare to hub center and 8" from axle to frame (which equates to around a 2-3" lift) and the front suspension is about 18" flare-to-hub for around .5 to 1" lift. The truck has no rust, but sat for a very long time in the CA heat and sun, so almost all plastic and rubber parts are totally shot. I've been focusing on fixing a bunch of electrical issues and getting it roadworthy, but the front suspension is totally shot. Almost all of the bushings are near completely gone, the steering is super floaty, and it has terrible death wobble above 25 MPH. The tires are also dry rotted and not safe IMO.

 

I'm debating on whether to go with a rear SOA lift and ~6" front coils with the goal of running 32-33" tires and 4.56 gears, or to keep it mild and just level the front with 3" coils and run some 31's with stock gearing, etc. I'm going to need a new track-bar, drag-link, control arm bushings, so I'm planning on just upgrading all of those, so the cost would be negligible between the 3 or 6" lift options, but I would need to decide between the extended track-bar bracket, drop pitman arm, control arm lengths, etc. depending on what height I go with. I'm thinking if I go SOA, I can save a bit of money by buying JK Rubicon take-off wheels/tires and just getting the 4.5-to-5" adapters, which would set me back around $600 total based on current prices. If I go with 31's, I would get new tires and probably new 15x8" wheels, which would run over $1000.

 

I guess I'm asking what you guys would recommend. Keep it mild or spend slightly more money to get to 6" lift w/ 33's.

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6 minutes ago, Chargum85 said:

I just got a new-to-me '88 MJ and am debating on what route to take it. It's got a 4.0L, AW4, 4WD, w/ Dana 44 rear (with Trac-Lok) and the "offroad package" that includes a slight lift and skid-plates. After doing some measurements, the rear is about 20" from fender flare to hub center and 8" from axle to frame (which equates to around a 2-3" lift) and the front suspension is about 18" flare-to-hub for around .5 to 1" lift.

 

 

You are confusing the XJ and the MJ. The front ride height measurements are the same, the rear are not. For a 4WD MJ, the rear ride height measured from the top of the axle to the frame rail at the bump stop is supposed to be 9.2" plus or minus 1/2-inch. This means your rear suspension has sagged about an inch, it's not lifted three inches. If it were mine, I would do a simple add-a-leaf to restore the factory ride height, install 30x9.50 tires, and drive it.

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2 hours ago, Eagle said:

 

You are confusing the XJ and the MJ. The front ride height measurements are the same, the rear are not. For a 4WD MJ, the rear ride height measured from the top of the axle to the frame rail at the bump stop is supposed to be 9.2" plus or minus 1/2-inch. This means your rear suspension has sagged about an inch, it's not lifted three inches. If it were mine, I would do a simple add-a-leaf to restore the factory ride height, install 30x9.50 tires, and drive it.

 

Thanks, but I measured from the top of the rear axle to the bottom of the frame as outlined here and got 8".  Wouldn't that be around 2" lift?

 

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31 minutes ago, Chargum85 said:

 

Thanks, but I measured from the top of the rear axle to the bottom of the frame as outlined here and got 8".  Wouldn't that be around 2" lift?

 

2" for an XJ but -1" for a MJ. The stock measurements you found were for an XJ. Stock rear height for an MJ is about 9"

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1 hour ago, Chargum85 said:

 

Thanks, but I measured from the top of the rear axle to the bottom of the frame as outlined here and got 8".  Wouldn't that be around 2" lift?

 

 

You got 8, the specified dimension is 9.2. That's 1.2inches lower than stock. How are you figuring that's 2 inches of lift?

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Coils won't balance anything out. You are 1/2" higher than stock in the front, and 1.2" lower than stock in the rear. You need a 1.5" AAL in the rear to balance it out. That's just about what the Rancho AAL will give you. Last I checked, the Rancho AAL kit sold for around $75.

 

If you go spring over in the rear, you're going to gain around 5.5" to 6", so you;ll need 5" coils to balance it out.

 

Since you can run 31" tires on an MJ with zero lift -- why go through the hassle and expense of lifting it?

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