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Neighbor kid's KJ + 32" tires

snout

Rebels Til We Die
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Placer County
My neighbor's kid has a '02 KJ that's stock.
I have a set of '07+ 5*5 Wrangler Sport 17" wheels with brand new 255/75-r17 tires that I told him he could have.
I know the KJ at a minimum will need spacers to adapt the 5*4.5 to 5*5. I'm trying to figure out what we can do on a Lite Beer budget to get these tires to fit. He drives this thing to school / work and occasionally on a dirt road to go hunting / shooting, nothing crazy. I'm hoping there's just a basic spacer lift / chinesium adapter setup he can do on the cheap + do some light trimming / bending. He does not need a weeks-long project where he has downtime on his daily driver.

I tried reading some of the other forums and it hurts my head trying to get through all the bullshit. I'm hoping someone here has just done it and can spare me the bullshit about wheel spacers, puck lifts and how they will steal my first-born child, etc. Anyhow, happy Sunday.

:beer:
 

TrikeKid

Junk Hoarder
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Get them on the rig and see where they hit? If I could fit 31's on a VW Bug I'm sure you can swing a 32 on a KJ with a little hammer action.
 

Pablo

Red Skull Member
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AZ somewhere
I have put 32's on a KJ, but only pizza cutters (235/85/16). You will encounter the following obstacles:

Front:

The pinch weld will get in the way in the front wheel wells, cut the plastic inner fender around the pinch weld in a rectangle to reveal the pinch weld and then beat the weld over flat towards the inside of the vehicle with a big fookin hammer. You can cover the seam with some rattle can black to hold off rust. If your fancy you could take the scraps from the inner fender you cut out and plastic weld them back over flat.

Next the front wheels will rub on the inside of the front bumper cover. The cover is plastic fantastic and you can just cut it off until it stops rubbing with something like a Dremel. You may have to loose the stock fog light mount locations. The more you cut down there the better the clearance anyway.

To get 32 tires to clear with only these modifications requires 3.5 inches of lift. If you want to cut more metal, you may not need that much.

Another obstacle with lifting the front is that the upper control arm angles will get fooked and make alignment suck and increase bump steer and produce flaky tracking when you lift over 2-2.5 inches. You can replace the upper control arms with ones designed to fix this, but that is over $400. The only place that has them is an outfit called jeepin by al.

As for spacer lifts, most use the Daystar spacers, but I think that only gets you 2 or 2.5 inches of lift in the front.

The rear:

Unless you cut the wheel wells / sheet metal, move the axle or add lots of bump stops/limit straps, you will need close to 4 inches of rear lift to get the 32's to fit. This puts strain on the rear wishbone triangle control arm thing-a-ma-jiggy. It still works, but you will go through ball joints on the top of the triangle every six months or less. If you want to bust out your welder, you could drop the mount for the wishbone down 1.5 inches and life will be much better.

If on a budget I would look for some junk yard or cast off coils from another vehicle that fit close enough and then lift the rear with that and some longer rancho's or other cheaper shocks. You will need to extend the factory bump stops to keep the coils from falling off and most use a hockey puck or two.

I don't recall having to do anything with brake lines for the early years, but the e-brake cable may be a bit stressed.
 

u2slow

Hermit
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3695
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334
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BC
Start cutting. The flare/fender openings are small.

I have about 3" lift on the woman's KJ and it fits 30" tires with minimal rubbing. Aftermarket upper arms. Using 1.5" adapters for the JK wheels.

KK strut forks, diesel coils, or 2" locknuts help in the front. Can also cut a 3/8" plate to fit the upper end of the strut.

3rdgen 4runner coils work in the back... but extra height in the rear wrecks the upper arm bushings quickly.
 

snout

Rebels Til We Die
CAL4
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Member Number
740
Messages
90
Loc
Placer County
Thanks. I think he got his hands on a set of 1.5" spacers + a 2.5" lift that's basically a set of pucks / strut spacers. I have a set of 3rd gen coils I'll toss his way, as well. I dont think he minds cutting a little, so we'll see. I'm trying not to spoon feed - he's gotta learn hehe. Plus I've got plenty of my own shit to do. I need a 3rd Jeep project like I need a second ass.
 

ridenby

Well-known member
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Kentucky
My 02 . A couple inchs of lift. Lot of hammer. Remove front bumper, fender flares. The worst was the adjusting bolts on front arms being rusted and total bastards. No idea who the fellow in pic is. this is 09 or so.
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