Stage 1 Summer 2000
The purpose of stage one of the build up was to add lift to the Jeep. I did some research on lift kits but I was on a strict budget. I opted for the 4" basic Skyjacker kit; it claimed to provide enough lift to run 35-inch tires and came with all necessary parts. Install of the kit is very straightforward; you basically take off the stock part and replace it with the provided lift part. The hardest part is drilling the hole for the sway-bar links. I also purchased the option dual steering stabilizer to help damper the effects of 35s on the steering system. After the lift was on I decided to add a 1" body lift to compliment the Skyjacker lift. This provided enough room to run 35s.
For tires I wanted an aggressive tread but they also had to be road worthy. I was leaning hard toward BFG Mud Terrains but at the last moment decided on the then new Mickey Thompson Baja claw Radials. Previously I had heard many great things about the bias claws. The only negatives were that they ran small and they did not have a long tread lift. I took a chance on the radials that they would run truer to size and that they would last longer. They did run very close to 35", brand new they were 34.5". As for tread lift, only time will tell but I expect well over 20,000 miles out of them. I had them mounted on 15x10 AR-73s. I now wish I would have gotten 15x8 for tire retention reasons but I have yet to loose a bead with the current wheels.
With the addition of bigger tires I had to have a way to transport my spare. Originally I put the 35" tire on the rear tailgate but it took less then 2 days to bend the door. I researched a ton of available tire mounts and was set on the Currie bumper mounted unit. At over $700 after shipping it was just too much. Luckily I found the Canyon City rack at 4 wheel parts. The cost of the unit was within my budget, it was strong enough for a 35" spare and it could carry 2 jerry cans.
During Stage 1 I also added a Uniden 510XL CB and Firestick Antenna for trail communication, Olympic Reverse-a-bars for rocker protection that could also be used as a step for easier entry after the lift, and 5 KC 100 Watt Daylighters mounted on a CARR Rotabar above the front windshield.
Stage 1 Cost
4" Skyjacker Lift Kit w/ Dual Steering Stabilizers 900
1" Performance Accessories Body Lift 80
35x12.50 Claw Radials mounted on 15X10 AR-73 w/ Spare 1400
Canyon City Tire Rack w/ 2 Jerry Cans 450
Uniden 510XL CB and 4' Firestick 150
CARR Rotabar w/ 5 6" KC Daylighters 350
Stereo Upgrades 800
Stage 1 Total Cost 4130