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Is it possible to modify a stock XJ well enough to make it a shredder of normal-medium trails and mud holes? I don't want to lift my XJ but I would like new tires. Is this possible?
 

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What the heck is a 'normal-medium' trail? Like a gravel road?

No lift, and 'lower buck'... Trim the fenders. Get some 32s, of a decent sort. Get some cheap steel rims, say 15x7 with 3.5" BS. Bumpstop appropriately. Replace stock LCAs with WJ ones if the tires get into the stock ones at full lock. Add swaybar discos for front (or delete), delete rear. Add a locker to each axle, a aussie or other lunchbox would be fine. Get tcase, oil pan/trans, and gas tank skids. Get some decent diff covers. Throw the V8 ZJ tie-rod on. Add some tow-points.

Should wheel very well. I could see reliability issues if you have a D35 rear.
 

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skid plate everything
cut some to fit 31's maybe 32 with bumpstops
get powertrax lockers
get some jy zj v8 tierods from the jy
wj or zj lca's for tire clearance from the jy
and allot of spares from the jy
hope i helped
 

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skid plate everything
cut some to fit 31's maybe 32 with bumpstops
get powertrax lockers
get some jy zj v8 tierods from the jy
wj or zj lca's for tire clearance from the jy
and allot of spares from the jy
hope i helped
 

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A lift doesn't give you more ground clearance between the ground and the diff. This is the most likely place you will hang up.

When you lift the vehicle it is to give more clearance for larger tires. Larger tires increase the ground/diff clearance.

So if you are looking to build a go anywhere beast, you probably won't unless you put larger tires on your XJ.

Of course your definition of go anywhere may be different. If you have recovery points, and a winch, then (given enough time) you can go anywhere.

Just my thoughts, but I've been wrong before...
 

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skid plate everything
cut some to fit 31's maybe 32 with bumpstops
get powertrax lockers
get some jy zj v8 tierods from the jy
wj or zj lca's for tire clearance from the jy
and allot of spares from the jy
hope i helped
ZJ LCAs are the same as XJ LCAs. It's only the WJ LCAs that have a bend for clearance.

edit: to address the OP's question, you're going to be limited by the tire size you can run. If you don't want to do a lift, then I'm guessing you're probably also not going to be into doing any fender trimming, nor are you probably going to want to be spending very much money. I'm not meaning to be rude or anything, it's just that when you open by stating you don't want to do a lift, then that probably means there's not a lot that you do want to do.

When it comes to building a capable rig, it comes down to a few things really -- traction, ground clearance, and recovery.

Traction: best thing you can do is install a good set of mud-terrain tires and a set of lockers. This will do more for the capability of your rig than any other modifications. Front/rear lockers and a good set of tires can go a long way towards overcoming a lack of suspension travel and/or smaller tires. "Lunch box" lockers, like the LockRight, can be had relatively cheap and are easy to install (or uninstall). In fact I've known guys that would swap in a set of lunchbox lockers before a trip, then swap the regular spiders gears back in when they get home.

Ground clearance. There's two sides to this, one is ground clearance under the axles, which you can only get with larger tires, and the other is ground clearance under the body, which you can gain in multiple ways. Short of cutting a hole in your floor and raising the gas tank up, there's really nothing you can do to gain clearance back there, but there is a way to gain clearance under the middle of the rig -- the TREKS high-clearance belly pan. You gain over an inch of clearance over the stock crossmember, and you get a nice transfer case skid plate in the process. For guys looking to maximize ground clearance while keeping things low, I'd highly recommend this part. Another way to gain some ground clearance without a lift is to raise up the rear shock mounts on the axle. At stock height, or even mildly lifted, you'll have to inboard the upper shock mounts to maintain shock travel though. You can do this using the JKS Crossover shock mount, or custom fab something yourself if you're able to. It's possible to raise the LCA mounts on the front axle, but that's a bit more of an involved process since you're altering the suspension geometry. Rocker guards are a bit of body armor I highly recommend for anyone, but most eat about 2" of clearance directly under the rocker panels. There are a few places that offer formed panels that mount directly to the rocker, but I've never felt the ones available for XJs were all that worthwhile (plus the XJ rocker panels aren't all that sturdy to begin with). The thing to do here to maximize clearance is a heavy-duty rocker replacement -- basically you cut out the factory sheet metal rocker panel and weld in some rectangular steel tubing to replace it.

Recovery. This is the most important thing and the first thing anyone should address when building a rig for off-road use. Yeah, tires and lockers may get you further down a trail, but chances are you'll eventually get stuck sometime, and lockers are only going to assure that you get stuck worse than you would have otherwise, haha. So, it's imperative to have good front and rear recovery points to aid in getting you unstuck. This can range from simple front and rear tow hooks (at a minimum), to a full on front winch bumper (and winch) and a heavy-duty rear bumper, just depends on your budget and what you want.

There are also other things that can help you out, like installing a heavy-duty front diff cover with a ramped bottom, like the one from Riddler, and installing some LCA skid plates. Not only are you adding protection against damage but you're also making it harder to get hung up on those parts off-road.
 
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