Question: I am building up my first off-road rig. i am 17 and have an '87 Jeep Cherokee with a 4.0L Fi, five-speed manual, an NP231, a Dana 30 front, and a Dana 35 rear. i was planning on getting a Rough Country 6.5-inch X-Series lift and 33-inch tires, but i wanted to get some more advice from experienced wheelers. Will my axles hold up with 33-inch tires during moderate wheeling? Should I forget about that lift and save for some Dana 60s or big axles and then later go for a custom lift? i don't have a lot of money but am willing to take a lifetime to build this rig properly and safely, because it will be my daily vehicle.
If I did get that lift could i install it with the help of my friends? if i paid someone to do it (4x4 shop) i wouldn't learn anything, but i want to be safe and be able to drive it and not worry about my tire falling off. What would you recommend? Will my 4.0 push my Jeep with 33s, bumpers, and a full exocage? i love fixing stuff, especially engines and vehicles. i know anybody can do this stuff if they take their time and get advice and know-how from experienced people. But safety is key and i don't want to bust up trails because my rig was built wrong.
Answer: Your '87 Cherokee is exceptional off road and has tons of accessories available, and you should have no problem installing the Rough Country suspension. Take your time and follow the instructions. your axles will be fine with 33-inch tires for moderate use so don't sweat it. it is easy to wait and wait until you have money for big axles, but you might as well build the truck with what you have and just start wheeling. When you break you will learn what needs to be upgraded. The 4.0L will handle the addition of bumpers and an exo, but remember by adding extra weight you are adding stress onto the lightweight axles.
I'm encouraged that you are looking for advice and so we want to give you this month's Nuts i'm Confused letter award. This month i have an ECTED for your Jeep project. ECTED stands for Electronically Controlled Traction Enhancing Differential. it provides the user with a selectable limited slip or locker mode. When selected "off," the ECTED functions as a performance limited-slip differential for on- and off-road excitement. When selected "on," the ECTED becomes a locker or spool, which is ideal for the nastiest off-road terrain.
Auburn Gear (260.925.3200, www. auburngear.com) has the following units available: aMC 20, Dana model 30, 35, 44, and 50 for front axles, Ford 8.8, GM 8.5 10-bolt, and GM 87/8 12-bolt. Thus you could get the locker for your current Dana 35, or learn to wheel with an open diff and get a Dana 44 or Ford 8.8 model for a future rear axle upgrade.
Question: I am not an engineer of any sort, but I have recently been working on two new tire designs that I feel would benefit the current pneumatic tire industry. One concept is geared for passenger vehicles of all shapes and sizes and would, in theory, grant greater traction, stability, longer tread life, and twice the safety of current conventional tires. The second idea is a wheel system designed for heavy industrial and military applications as it would provide the strength and durability of solid rubber tires while retaining the comfortable ride of pneumatic tires. Not to mention this wheel would be literally bulletproof. I have produced technical illustrations of these two tire concepts and have copyrighted my work (via a "common law copyright"). Unfortunately I have tried numerous times to contact virtually every tire manufacturer in the U.S., but none of them seem to have the desire to reply back to me. Any ideas on what I should do next to bring my inventions to life?
Answer: In these days of lawsuits galore and patent infringement, there are some thin-ice situations when discussing product ideas. Open discussions are one thing but when it gets to intellectual property, that's a whole new situation. A company has to be very careful about looking at designs outside the company as they don't want to open any doors that would allow for someone outside the company to allege that they "stole" intellectual property. Many engineers don't even want to see anything of this nature unless it has gone through the proper filters. Oftentimes corporations have a lot of active projects. There is a chance that something they are working on could be similar to what an outsider proposed, which can lead to litigation. There is no doubt that companies like Michelin, Goodyear, Firestone, and Toyo pay a lot of people a salary to generate ideas and concepts. You may be having trouble trying to sell your idea because the company is already working on lots of other ideas that have been reviewed. I would recommend your getting a patent lawyer to discuss your idea with first. From there you can shop it around to the head office and the technical center or research center or similar businesses if they exist.