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Future XJ Build Plans


NAXJA Forum User
Hey everyone! I'm currently in the market for a 1998-2001 XJ 4WD. I was going to buy a newer suv/truck but ultimately
decided against it so I have a decent budget for parts. I would like to keep the build right at/under $10,000,
which seems possible. This is the kind of build I'm going for:

A new front bumper with possibly a winch, roof rack, rocksliders/sidesteps, 4.5" Lift, 33in tires w/ 15-16" wheels, rear bumper w/
slide out tire, and big brake kit.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there but I've put together a list. Let me know what you think! Feel free to humble me lol.

(Not interested in RC lift)

A few questions:

• Will I need to change axles?

• 4.56 or 4.88 gears?

• OME or RE lift?

• What else should I consider or look out for?

• Best wheel/tire specs for 15/16" with Falken Wildpeak A/T3W?

• I prefer the look of 4.5" lift but won't really take advantage of it off-roading. Will I regret planning for 3.5"?

• Will not really be off-roading. Not a daily but mainly road driving and occasional trail runs.

List of parts I will be getting:

Lifts: RE 4.5 Kit W/ Leafs (Long arm)

Upper and lower control arms
Super-Flex spherical control arm ball joints
Complete leaf spring rear lift

Rubicon Express Track Bar Adjustable Front TJ/LJ/XJ/MJ/ZJ 3.5 Inch -4.5 - RE1600

Front shocks: Bilstein 5100

Rear Shocks: Billstein 5100

Truck-lite Headlights

OR Fab Front Bumper

Rear Bumper (Tire Carrier Ready)

Adventure Carrier | Rear Bumper Swing-out (Actual Tire Carrier)

Rock Sliders/Side steps

Front Diff cover: Unsure
Rear Diff Cover: Unsure

Fender Flares: Would rather keep stock

Adjustable control Arm drop kit

XJ Adventure Roof Rack

Brake Kit: Unsure

SS Lines
Front (Extended or relocated): Unsure

Rear: Unsure

Rotors: Unsure

Pads: Unsure

Falken Wildpeak A/T3W

Track Bar

Track Bar Drop Bracket

Advance Adapters SYE Kit & SOLID U-JOINT 1310 CV Driveshaft Package

^ Pair with 4 shims for the rear axle from Iron Rock Off Road
Im not sure 10 grand gets you much unless you can get a rig for 500 or 1000

4.56 gears Detroit or grizzly lockers. Wj over the knuckle steering. Shackle relocation boxes 6" long shackles crown HD leafs tuned to whatever you do on the front. Full lift leaf springs ride like hell. Srb and 6" shackle also helps pinion angle.

Bumpers,winch sliders,frame stiffners steering brace shocks tuned by accutune, filthy motor sports or downsouth motors.

Cheep steel wheels and 33-35" tires if theres still money in the 10k budget

Not sure about all the other stuff on your wants list

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I'd also look at IRO (Iron Rock) for lift kits. I think they use RC for rear springs, except in their 3.5 lift kit. I'd also look at their Long Arm kit. I think $300 more. That's about the cost of a set of control arms. I'd also look at DPG Offroad for what he packages for OME kits.
I have done WJ Big Brakes, and also the cross over steering. I used Rough Stuff's GM 1-ton kit. I'd also look at Stinky Fab and Ironman. Also, both of them Have Long arms and Trackbar brace kits. RE does have a trackbar brace too.
Also, I'd look at steering box brace. Even the cheap ones. I do have Ironman's, and Boostwerks (not installed), and also Bad Dad Fabs as an option on his hidden winch bumper. I get some looks and comments on that one. I also have a IRO rear bumper. Needs welding though.
I would agree with Evan03, I think cost will start to pile up. Might also take it in stages. Bilstiens are nice. I have them on a 4.5 lift. A bit stiff though.
I wrote some other stuff. It didn't get saved.

The main point is a decent XJ to build on (check EBay prices) would be about $5,000. Maybe you get lucky and find something cheaper. Around me in the past two years, I don't see then with a For Sale sign in people's yards. Some of that is they get listed on FB, other is they go fast.
It seems you are set on a Long Arm setup. I see about a $400 difference between a LA and SA setup. Referencing IRO kits. Also, you would not need the drop bracket. I'd look at:
IRO, Stinky Fab and Cav Fab. I did buy Ironman front and rear. About $2,200 for each.

Gearing, as suggested 4.54 would be a bit higher or is it lower than stock RPM. So, it would be a bit peppier than stock. About 2,400 at 70 mph. Should be good for mild off roading and not that much louder than stock. A bit on a MPG decrease.
Axles: This would depend on what year you buy. Also, I don't know what you didn't include '97s. 2000-01 have Low Pinion D30's for the front. If I'm sinking money into it, I'd want a High Pinion. I will admit both of my XJ's have low pinions. One a 4.5 lift and the other a 2" lift. Also, you'd probably end up with a 8-1/4 rear end. I'd probably regear it and a HP D30. Add KJ disc to the rear at a latter date. I'd on Ford 8.8 for the rear on both of mine. A bit more $$, and I chose them as they had the gear ratio and disc I wanted at the time, and Limited slip. You might check prices as to regearing etc. I would guess $600 each axles. probably on the low side.
Bumpers: I would note your rear JCR is $750 unpainted and no swing arm tire carrier. Both are options. $$. I might look at Hardcore or Logan's in PA. For the front, I might look at Bad Dad Fabs hidden winch bumper. I have one on mine. It was $950 sipped. I add the gear box sector shaft for $35 or so. Ironman and Boostwerks have sector shaft steering setups, but I think about $350. That's no bumper. I'd add at least a cheap $90 gear box brace to your list.
I did a hack-n-Tap on my 4.5 lift from IRO. I'd compare prices of that to a Full SYE. If I'm not doing heavy offroad stuff, then I think a HnT would be OK.
If you are planning brake upgrades, then the WJ Big Break swap or Check out Anco brakes. I have done two WJ Big brakes with the cross over steering. I like the cross over steering. I'd say $700 to $1200 for the WJ Big Breaks and $400 or so for the GM 1-ton steering. I used Ruffstuff's kit for the cross over steering. I'd check Stink Fab and Ironman 4X4.
Also, with cross over steering, you need an OTK track bar. I like and have Stinky Fabs on my 2" lift. I also added his track bar brace. A few other things I added to my 2" was Stinky Fab's front spring bracket stiffeners and K-Suspensions Dirty 30 kit.
I might go with Deotechtech shocks to save money. About $200 vs $400 for Bilstein 5100.
The rig and all the items you want will be well more than $10K.

- Diff gears (+ obligatory axle rebuild kits) + install will set you back $2.5K all by itself.

- Not possible to run 33" tires on factory fenders, well unless the XJ is lifted to the sky or the front axle has been relocated forward (not trivial to do). At 3.5"-4.5" lift, the front tires will rub the rear of the front fenders when turning (and rip the fenders off). From what I've seen, 32" is doable by doing a little sheet metal cutting to allow pulling the rear of the front fender further rearward. If you do not want to touch the fenders at all, 31" tires are a safe bet. Or if you want to run 33" tires, then plan on removing the fenders and cutting some sheet metal away. Optionally, install aftermarket fenders which are at least $500.

- Not sure why RC is off your list. I would take RC over RE any day. RC isn't perfect, but I find most of their stuff to be well thought out and reasonably well executed, especially for the price. Also, OME doesn't make a long arm kit.

- A lot of items on your list are unnecessary for your intended usage. It sounds like you are looking more for something cool looking rather than a serious offroad rig. If you want to keep the price to no more than $10K, do a 3-3.5" lift on 31" tires. Then you can get by with stock diff gears, and an SYE or tranny mount spacers will be unnecessary. Keep the stock rear bumper, and use some of the money you saved to install a torsen diff in the front or rear. Stock brakes will be fine on 31" tires. If you really only plan on light trail work, you could also consider staying on the stock front bumper. If you are thoughtful in your selection of items, it will still look cool and be within your $10K budget.

- Keep in mind that most (all?) XJs for sale have baggage that probably needs to be fixed.
I routinely read the used XJ ads, and they almost all start of with, "great condition" or "runs great", and then near the bottom of the advert, there is a list of things that are broken or don't work, often with at least one item that's not trivial. And then there is the stuff the seller won't tell you about. It would be good to set aside at least $1K to deal with baggage. If you do all your own work, then maybe less.
Like none of the turn Signals work and the headlights shut off going down the rd.

If been fighting eletrical on mone since I got. Pretty much givin up fixing lights and stuff that doesnt matter.

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Like none of the turn Signals work and the headlights shut off going down the rd.

If been fighting eletrical on mone since I got. Pretty much givin up fixing lights and stuff that doesnt matter.

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk


That is where my XJ was when I started. P.O. installed a pair of auxiliary lights to cope with the problem of the headlights shutting of at random. It was like owning a Brit car.
Had a Volvo 122 that had random headlight failure (RHF).
My "wife to be" screaming as we were heading down PCH at 10 PM heading for The Whisky :eeks1:
I still miss that car...
I feel I have to pile on too...

With full bumpers, re-gearing, brake kit, and a very good lift, I also don't see you coming in under $10k unless the XJ is free to you. My lite build is already at $6k with $3k in the Jeep and only suspension work - no gearing, haven't done the bumpers or rack, etc. And $3k was a steal for my '00.

That said, if you go OME, Dirk at DPG is your guy. Don't bother talking with anyone else for OME.

Agree, count on trimming for 33".

If you don't go OME, then my research supports RE as the next best option for 3-5" lifts.
As for 33", I'd have to check what I have on my 4.5" lift.

'• Best wheel/tire specs for 15/16" with Falken Wildpeak A/T3W?'

I do have Falken Wild Peaks on mine. They are much taller than a 31" tire. I am on a R17 rim though. They are about 10". I did not trim any.

Also, on my 2" lift with 31's, I am on 2000 stock R16 rims. I like them for the looks, also needed them for the WJ 12" rotors. I did try a stock 15" steel rims. It did work for me. I think others had luck with stock steel rims.

Edit: 265-70-R17 Wild Peaks on the 4.5 lift.
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