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00 XJ 8.5" locked on 35's the evolution

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00 XJ 8.5" locked on 35's the evolution

Old 10-17-2012, 12:00 AM
  #1  
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Location: Austin Tx.
Posts: 31
Year: 2000
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default 00 XJ 8.5" locked on 35's the evolution

Well i have been leaching knowledge off this board for about 6 months (the day i bought my XJ in stock form). And want to thank everyone that has ever taken the time to post their problem and resolution so that others can learn. While I took almost 0 build pics I promise to offer any knowledge I have come across in my short 6 months playing the XJ game.
since then I am close to having what i think i want. not that any jeep is ever complete.



so i started off with a 2000 XJ sport 4dr 4.0 auto. 160K miles, transmission and xfer case were in the cargo area in about 7 moving boxes. i paid $500 for it with a clean title and 3 months left on the stickers.

trailered it home and started with the obvious. sourced a junk yard 2001 xj and got the trans, xfer and drive shafts and some other goodies that fit in my pocket. slammed it all in and i now have a running XJ.

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drove it around town some and got it high centered on a gravel pile my disappointment got the best of me. before i knew it i was slashing fenders and tearing off bumper caps and trim with wreckless abandon.

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soon to follow was the removal of the rear sway bar and some 31" tires.
as yoou guessed they rubbed, so i found a 2.5" old man emu lift kit on craigslist for $100.

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the craigslisting continued, i found a dana30 HP axle with alloy axles, 4:56 gears and a detriot true track locker for $400. And a dana30 arb diff cover for $50 new in the box with a lube locker gasket, no hardware which was odd but $15 later at fastenall stainless allen screws were making the ride home as well.
Saved up for a bit and got some G2 gears and setup kit and a Spartan locker for the 8.25 out back.
Got the front axle installed and the rear axle built and installed in one weekend at home. New brake shoes/pads, calipers/wheel cylinders, drums/rotors were installed all around. As you might imagine 31” tires on 4:56 gears was quite torquy… and fun. Did you know you can wheel for an amazingly long time on three tires when you have lockers? True story.

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this setup was tested extensively at our local off road park (hidden falls adventure park) a 3000+ acre adventure park that is mostly rocks, like neverland ranch without all the child molestation. but yep you guessed it. i tried to follow another XJ that was built and could not play follow the leader. I was struck with big tire envy! i also noticed that in 100* weather this thing ran way hot. hood vent install was set into motion. scored these off a trans am, not sure the year, it was fugly and red but they were free.

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after countless hours of reading reviews both good and negative (although no one that owned the kit i chose complained)i jumped on the Iron rock offroad wagon. before i ordered i called them up to see if the support was all its cracked up to be. and it was 3 rings i had someone on the phone that talked to me for 30 min prior to my $2500 purchase.
6.5” critical path long arm kit with billstein shocks
JKS disco’s
2.5” high flow cat back exhaust and a new high flow cat. And new 02 sensors
Hack and tap sye and a new shaft.
And some random misc small stuff.
This sat for a few days while I hunted craigslist for wheels and tires. I found a pair of 33x12.5x15 swampers in great shape and a pair of BFG m/t’s on black steel wheels for $300.
First was the rear lift. Pretty easy.
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Next day was the front. Not as easy but it was still fun.
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This rig was a bunch of fun, I could go anywhere I could shove my front bumper. Which by this time was getting pretty mangled.
After a month or two i had destroyed 3 of the 4 original tires die to rock rash or sidewall damage (sharp rocks on the trails here guys) and running a bastard set of 33’s on the street was not much fun, I was buying used and they were hell to balance or pulled all over the place.
Found a set of 35” Mickey Thompson wheels and tires on craigslist for $400.
They rode nice and I now had a set of highway tires and a set of trail tires. This is the way to go.
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After a few thousand miles and a month of craigslisting I scored 5 MTR 35’s new with stickers still on them for $600. So fresh meat for the grinder, sold the old tires 20% tread for $200.
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After a while I wanted bumpers as my factory ones were destroyed.
I got smittybuilt XRC front bumper with bull bar From 4WP and a pair of KC slimlights 130W long beam to go with it.
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A week later I ordered the rear bumper, and the damn sales guy talked me into adopting a Ridged Industries dual row 10” Led combo lightbar
Yes they are expensive, yes they are worth it, yes so much so it makes me want to smash the KC’s into the ground.
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And then I saw it in all its glory…. A rood rack that utilized the drip rails! The possibilities were endless so I bought a roof rack…. Well kinda. I bought a bunch of pipe and it was time to learn how the big boys do it. 1.25 HREW and some JRC tabs is all it would take ($100ish).
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And whalla! Roof rack. The shop down the road does powder coating and traded me coating for the rack for labor to replace the bearings on his trailer… win!
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One weekend on the trail while the rack was being powder coated a fellow XJer took a driver side nose dive into a deep water hole. You guessed it. Water ingestion and a thrown rod.. Begin the saga of the chineese fleabay snorkel. It was a pain in the *** to install. I wouldn’t do it again for anything. I would have gone with the wiper cowl rig. Not because it was hard to install or that it snags every F*^%&ng tree on the trail. But because every slack jawed hillbilly at every gas station asks “is that an exhaust snorkel?” “where do you take yer jeep swimming?” I have since started telling everyone “I don’t know its my moms jeep”.

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The roof rack is installed, and another pair of KC was added to balance out the rack. This time 100W floods.
Powdercoated the aluminum wheels black. Can you really drive a jeep without black wheels? Trail tires on the rack is top heavy, hell on mileage but ohh so nice on your highway rubber, on the way to the trails.

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The dreaded overheating started. Loosing coolant, I read about the garbage heads on these year models so I got a new Clearwater Cylinder head (I ported it a little before install) . This is beefed up in the places the 0331 heads fail and has new valves and all. New h20 pump and 3 row radiator. Also added a B&m trans cooler and a digital trans temp gauge just in front of the shift lever.
Mangled my steering on the rocks, got Iron rock off roads OTK steering, LOVE IT! Pure beef!
Also added rustys steering box brace, and a new steering stabilizer. Yellow top optima and was needing some tunes. No name in dash dvd head unit, MMatts amp 10” sub and polk component speakers all around. Now it jams Punk and metal everywhere I wander.



I fish a lot… I mean a whole lot. Beach camping while fishing for sharks to be exact. Where do you put 10 days worth of crap for 4 people and a 12’ Zodiac boat, 8hp outboard and 6 coolers? Simple you build a matching trailer for your jeep! 33” BFG M/T’s, 5X4.5 axle and a 4’X7’ box made of 5/8 teflon board and aluminum. It pulls great and will follow me anywhere I want to go provided I don’t need to backup. Then it gets squirrely off road. I drug this bad boy 60 miles each way down the beach camped like a king and caught fish.

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Broke the drivers seat 5 hrs. from home jumping sand dunes (not smart) damn rum.
Ratchet straps from one b pillar to the other got me back home. Removed the seat skin and foam. Plasma cut out some reinforcement brackets and welded it all up… better than new if I do say so.

This brings me to today, I installed 2” front coil spacers, and rough country shackle relocation boxes. Install for both was a breeze and the rear boxes made it ride so much better. I no longer slow for speed bumps. Don’t wait on this purchase, save your kidneys/teeth. And the rear flexes out considerably better.

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I promise I will start taking actual build pictures from here out.
In the works:
Home made sliders
Winch install
Backup LED’s
HO alternator and 1/0 mains
Rear quarter panel armor.
Xfer case clock
Flat belly skid
Frame stiffeners
CB install
Axle gussets front and rear
Rear diff guard
XRC replacement seats.
If im not completely broke by then possibly and exo cage.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:32 AM
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6 months and all that was completed. I am definitaly jealous I've had me jeep for 2 years and it doesn't look half that good. Thats a sweet jeep.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:58 AM
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thanks man. i really love these XJ's.
i have had 6 different broncos and a couple blazers. and i will never go back.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:48 AM
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How do you like that led strip??
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:03 PM
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Great build so far. I'll be watching this tread
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:07 PM
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Way to represent Roy's! Haha. I REALLY like your jeep and might have to steal a lot of insperation from you. That is the best looking back bumper I've seen. How'd the wranglers do on the sand?
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Gatchmo5710 View Post
How do you like that led strip??
i cant say enough about the LED bar. going to sell the KC's and buy two more one of these days when i cure my rear vibrations... right now its looking like next cash is going to an extra short SYE kit from JB conversions and a custom shaft.

tried everyhting i know to do to keep the vibes down between 55-72. but its bad and worried its gonna come apart.
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Chumbucket View Post
Way to represent Roy's! Haha. I REALLY like your jeep and might have to steal a lot of insperation from you. That is the best looking back bumper I've seen. How'd the wranglers do on the sand?
If my money doesn't go to the Jeep it goes to Roy's.
Its also one of the cheapest back bumpers you will find at just $399. it comes with a built in receiver. so i need to give the one i had away.

The MTR's do fine in the sand. i ran two days at full pressure (27psiF 22psiR) and never bogged.

after that aired down to 10lbs all around and it rode like a caddi.
we were at PINS south of corpus and it is un maintained beach. this was also my first trip with no flats.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by joshgabel View Post
If my money doesn't go to the Jeep it goes to Roy's.
Its also one of the cheapest back bumpers you will find at just $399. it comes with a built in receiver. so i need to give the one i had away.

The MTR's do fine in the sand. i ran two days at full pressure (27psiF 22psiR) and never bogged.

after that aired down to 10lbs all around and it rode like a caddi.
we were at PINS south of corpus and it is un maintained beach. this was also my first trip with no flats.
Cool man thanks for the info, I'll def check out that bumper. And if you ever see me down on PINS stop and holler!
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:48 PM
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Nice jeep I might have the twin after this next weekend
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:11 PM
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Really nice XJ! I want mine like that! Where'd you get the Back Bumper and the Roof Rack??
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:39 AM
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we gona se you at ride of march? I'm headin up there for it
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:54 AM
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Awesome work. Very nice XJ!

I'm interested in your work / prices you got for that C8.25 setup. Oh, and that IRO steering kit. Did you brace your steering box at all?
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:56 AM
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Dude, good lookin rig. Cant wait to see more, Subscribed.
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