The final upgrade on this last round we did was to install heavier ball joints. When we purchased the Jeep it was still running the stock ball joints. That's not necessarily a bad thing but since someone had put larger tires on and did hardly any mechanical upgrades to handle the extra rotational mass and weight we decided an upgrade was in order.
Why New Ball Joints
Looking at the stock ball joints really won't tell you much. They might be good but who knows. There was no play in the wheel due to the ball joints. We also didn't know how hard the previous owner had driven the Jeep or what terrain it was used on. The decision to replace them came where financially it was the time to do it. This was because when the regearing was taking place the axle shafts would be removed leaving the ball joints completely open for replacement. This was the perfect time to take care of a ball joint upgrade. The reason we went with Teraflex heavy duty ball joints is for our future plans of running 35" tires. The new ball joints will be able to handle the extra weight of the heavier tires.
What Are Our Future Plans
All of these upgrades are being performed for a reason. We want the Jeep to be mechanically sound when we go off roading. Monster rock crawling is not an interest to us but being able to run some moderate trails is. The end result is I want to have new heavier than stock components to handle more than we are going to use them for. Basically over building is our goal. A lot of this round of upgrades was to properly handle 35" tires. Larger tires means more stress on components.
What Upgrades Will Be Next
The next round of upgrades will consist of an adjustable rear track bar, drive shafts, and possibly control arms. We installed a winch a couple weeks ago to help with self recovery on the trail. This came in handy on our last outing where we high centered both axles and had to winch ourselves out. This will pretty much make the Jeep ready for the 35's.