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Jeep Wrangler: How a $500 lift kit turns into +$1500 project

Back in May my wife and I talked about buying a YJ (1987-1995 Wrangler) as a our weekend toy and project vehicle. Requirements were it had to be a 4.0L and had to be a 5 speed. We were lucky enough to find a 1994 with only 63,000 miles on it and for $5,000. Being this is a 23 year old Michigan jeep, the amount of corrosion build up on the underside was way beyond what I was prepared for. BUT, it ran great, drove great, didn’t leak fluids, which for me was the important part and everything after that is cosmetic.

As purchased

Illustration for article titled Jeep Wrangler: How a $500 lift kit turns into +$1500 project em/em
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Illustration for article titled Jeep Wrangler: How a $500 lift kit turns into +$1500 project em/em

First thing right off the bat was lift kit. Went with a Rough Country 2.5" which came with new leaf springs and shocks for just over $500. The most important lesson I learned when doing this lift kit is ANY nut or bolt that you plan to remove on the underside of a 23 year old Michigan Jeep, plan on replacing it. My cutoff wheel put in a lot of hours removing the original hardware.

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Illustration for article titled Jeep Wrangler: How a $500 lift kit turns into +$1500 project em/em

The more we went through the more we had to replace. Was able to sell the hard top and upper doors for $700, plus the original wheels and tires for $200, which helped a lot. Depending on how it handles the larger tires, an axle swap may be in order with a 4.10 gear ratio, which I’ve found locally for only $250.

And the end result? Yeah I’m damn happy.

Illustration for article titled Jeep Wrangler: How a $500 lift kit turns into +$1500 project em/em
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Illustration for article titled Jeep Wrangler: How a $500 lift kit turns into +$1500 project em/em

Also for those that don’t like seeing JK wheels on a YJ:

Illustration for article titled Jeep Wrangler: How a $500 lift kit turns into +$1500 project em/em

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