Buddies XJ & Issues


Jeep Fanatic
My friend purchased a 1999 XJ for his step son who is 17. This rig has 157,000 miles on it and seems to have had a leveling kit put on the front. It needs new ball joints and the driver side door needs new pins.

This is a kids main ride back and forth to school. The rear springs are sagging and shaped more like an S than a C.

There are 31" mud terrains on this with Mickey Thompson classics on it.

This was purchased from an auction and he has $2,600 into it at this point.

So without knowing anything about the vehicle, once we replace the ball joints, he is looking at other suspension items to try to tighten this back up. Looking around, he can get a lift kit from Rough Country that will include new control arms and rear springs. This would replace the sagging rear springs and fix any worn out front suspension items. The kit says it will be good for 32" tires. He will stick with the 31's that are on it. The bad part is he will need a new drive-shaft and slip yoke eliminator. Almost as much as the lift kit.

I do not have pictures of this, but he would have less than $4,000 in this when done and most things would be in decent shape and the drive-train is pretty simple to work on.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?


Jeep Fanatic
Well he ordered the kit.... We are also doing ball joints at the same time and going to try out a new Astro ball joint press kit we have.

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I'm working on a 1998 Xj Sport and just completed the engine rebuild and front end. With yours having 157,000 miles on the engine and front end I would ensure all the ball joints and u-joints are replaced including the axle u-joints. Make sure your upper and lower control bushing are in good shape. What you are trying to accomplish at this point is to prevent the death wobble the this type of 5 point suspension is famous for. Also, if your rear main engine seal is leaking it's easy to just drop your front suspension and replace your rear seal. This will ease in the replacement of the upper control arm bushings. There are several youtube videos that will walk you through the process. Now for the Slip Yoke Eliminator (SYE). I run with 31 inch tires and have not had a problem with the driveline angle. If you think you are having a problem, try a transfer case drop kit first. You can build your own, or buy on at your local 4X4 shop. Word of caution, make sure your motor and transmission mounts are in good shape before you start and type of work on the XJ. SYE is the proper way to solve a problem if you have problem, but may not be the best value for your driving type.

Good luck and have fun.
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Supporting Vendor
My personal XJ has 3.5" RE Springs (coil/full leaf pack) , Bilstein 5100's Tera Adjustable uppers and lowers with 33" KO2's With some Sliders and front bumper form Rigidco (Closed doors last year) and JCR gastank skid with Spartans front and rear for a budget build it's point and shoot ! I did have to extend bumpstops and added napier flares so the fenders have been trimmed it'll stuff a 33 and use up all 10" of travel up front .
Well I reckon it is too late to say that RC is complete crap. If you want to stay on a budget I would go BDS. If you want to do it right go OME or Metalcloak. Expensive, yes, but you get what you pay for.