Looking to improve the handling and stability of my 2003 KJ.

Discussion in 'Lift Kit Discussion' started by gespo04, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. gespo04

    gespo04 New Member

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    Hi there. I'm the new owner of a 2003 Liberty. 3.7L, 5 speed, no ABS. The little truck feels rather floaty. I was not looking to lift the car more than an inch or so because I will not be doing much hardcore off roading in it (it will be mainly a tow dinghy, winter vehicle, and taken to camp sites). So, I would like some firmer shocks and wider wheels (16x8) so that the thing will be a good performer in the snow. Now, I would like maybe 1 inch of lift or so just to be able to clear a slightly larger tire.

    OME kits claim 1.5" of lift but I've heard that it's closer to 2.5", but there are multiple choices for spring rates so I assume one of them will actually only lift it by the amount they claim.

    I read somewhere around here that a 16x8 wheel should have 4.5 inches of back spacing to clear everything. With those wheels and a slight lift, what size tire would be ideal? 245/75/16?
     
  2. sota

    sota Full Access Member

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    see sig for my setup.
    I can say that the handling is downright impressive for this big of a beast, and the stability at speed is also impressive.
     
  3. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    OK start over
    you have some bad info for sure , not sure where you got it but here ya go.
    If you only want to do an inch or so of lift, forget the 8 inch wide wheels
    Plus while talking about wheels, 8 inch wide with 5 inches of backspacing work best
    then if lifted ( more than an inch 7 inch wide with 4 inches of backspacing
    If you only want an inch of lift go with OME 925 front springs and 947 rear with either OME or bilstien shocks
    will give you an inch or little better of lift plus better ride and handling
    925s have a 350 lb spring rate where as the stock KJ springs have 310.
    350 or so is what they should of had from the factory

    with an 8 inch wide wheel you should have about an 8 inch wide tread pattern, NOT section width , tread width, but if only going 1 inch or so of lift 245-75-16s are too big anyways for you ( need 2.5 inches at least and then of course close to regearing )

    I am running 16X8 Moabs with 5 inches of backspacing on one of mine, 2.5 inches of JBA adjustable coilovers , 4.10 gearing etc with 265-70-16s ( considered a 31 inch tall tire) same height as a 245-75-16. where as 245-75s have a 7 inch tread width the 265-70s have 8 inch and over in " most " brands
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  4. gespo04

    gespo04 New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply! Good info. Now I'm debating on whether I should do the 1.5 inch or go up to 2.5. I'll have to ponder on that for a bit!
     
  5. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Go for the 2.5 inch using 927/948 springs etc
    then you can run an 8 inch wide wheel with 5 inches of backspacing, 265-70-16s work perfect
    You can get by without regearing but will lose some power and gas mileage
    Like mentioned I have 4.10 for gearing, does great, good mileage, can hook a trailer on and go no problems etc

    Of course I am running the jeepinbyal adjustable coilovers , but have ran the 927/948 combo before for almost 100,000 miles on the 04 . The 03 has only had the JBA coilover on it

    Have installed over 50-52 of that combo on KJs over the years
     
  6. JasonJ

    JasonJ Full Access Member

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    Second this, also consider that the 2.5" lift will settle about 1/4" or so after the first few hundred miles.. so you may end up closer to 2" overall.

    Also to say that excellent snow performance has more to do with your tire selection (and driving skill) than the shocks and springs and height of the vehicle. Especially considering that plenty of sedans do great in snow (within reason- not talking about pushing through 2ft of MN blizzard here), and the KJ already has 2-3" more ground clearance than those sedans.
     
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