Jeep Builds Make your own jeep build thread here, discuss and view jeeps here. All Jeep models are welcome here.

'01 XJ Project Busted Knuckles

Old 05-30-2016, 09:03 AM
  #1  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default '01 XJ Project Busted Knuckles

Hey all. This is my first XJ and my first build thread. I've had other jeeps, but for the last year or so, I've really had the XJ bug. I kept my eyes peeled every time I passed a used car dealership, and I had saved searches on all of the big websites. Low and behold, this '01 Sienna Pearl Sport showed up right under my nose at a dealership here in the little town of 2600 that I live in.


I ordered a Trailmaster 3" lift kit with full leaf packs, Rough Country lower control arms, a Skyjacker trackbar reloacating bracket, a Daystar transfer case drop kit, ProComp 252 wheels and Westlake SL 369 31x10.50 tires.
While I was waiting for the big brown truck to get here, I went to work on the cosmetics.

First, I removed the trim:



Then I blacked out the bumpers, grille and headlight bezels with Duplicolor Bedliner spray:







I masked off the stock flares, rockers and doors from the cut-line down and did the same bedliner spray treatment. I highly recommend the Duplicolor Bedliner spray. It goes on easily, dries really hard, and looks great.





Now for the fun part... How hard can it be?


Everything that could fight me, did. I'm sure it doesn't hurt to soak things for a week with PB Blaster (I did), but I quickly came to realize that it was going to take a grinder, a number of cutting wheels, a sawzall and a propane torch not to mention a 1/2 inch breaker bar and a chunk of pipe if I was going to have any chance of getting this thing done.

The first bolt I touched to remove the track bar from the axle twisted the head off in the socket. That kind of set the tone for the rest of the lift project. I ended up cutting the bolt off between the track bar and the bracket with a cutting wheel. I also had to cut both leaf springs off. The rear bolt in the shackle was was trapped by the receiver hitch, and the front bolt was seized to the inner bushing and would not come out. Getting it apart was miserable, but it went back together great. I'm really happy with the Liftmaster kit. I haven't measured, but the rear leaves have to be close to 4 inches of lift. Maybe it will settle... we'll see.

Anyhow, after the better part of two weekends and a little each night in between, I had the first real glimpse of what I'd been seeing in my head for 3 weeks.

Here are the first rays of sunshine striking my newly lifted XJ:




Once I had it up in the air, I realized that I had a developed a driveline vibration that irritated me to no end. I called the guys at Trailmaster, and they said that the Daystar 1-1/4 TC drop kit I ordered (which I hadn't installed yet) was probably too much, and to start with 3/4".

I used the Big A** Nut spacer method, and started at 3/4". It was better, but not there yet. I was fearful that I was going to have to go the SYE route, which I dreaded for many reasons, money not being the least of which.

I stepped up to a 1" Nut spacer, snugged her down and went out for another test run. Thankfully, it solved the problem! No more vibration, and no more grinding when I backed off the throttle at speed. I was starting to see the finish line.

The last thing I've added (so far) is a Surco 4550 safari rack. I came up with a slick way of using the existing roof rails and some 5/16 U-bolts to mount it up. A quick trip through the car wash and a coat of wax and here's how she looks now:






A shoutout goes to the members of this forum, YouTube (bleepin' jeep) and everybody who posted their experiences with their XJ... Like how to deal with broken rear shock bolts, what to do when the front leaf spring bolt is fused to the bushing and won't come out, and how to address the bumps, rubs and vibrations that come along with lifting your Jeep. It ALL happened to me, and ALL of those little tricks were priceless.

Last edited by Bmoflaz; 06-10-2016 at 11:19 AM. Reason: in progress
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-08-2016, 01:52 PM
  #2  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

Would a better next step be lockers or a SYE... or something else?
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-08-2016, 02:55 PM
  #3  
Junior Member
 
yoyeeper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Maryland/West Virginia
Posts: 50
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default

Hey I'm interested to see where you go with this build. I started about 2 years ago with a clean '01 same color as yours. I don't have lockers but from everything I heard and from all the times I have gotten stuck where I wouldn't have if I had them I would definitely suggest putting one or both in early on. And then armor! Rock sliders to keep that thing pretty!
yoyeeper is offline  
Old 06-08-2016, 03:02 PM
  #4  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

I would agree. I think lockers would do the most good. The only reason I worry is that everybody says that the TC Drop is only a band-aid. I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-08-2016, 03:09 PM
  #5  
Junior Member
 
yoyeeper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Maryland/West Virginia
Posts: 50
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default

I've been driving with a 4.5" lift and 1" drop for about a year and a half and tbh I think an SYE is just personal preference. If you don't mind the slight vibration (I don't even notice my driveline vibration over all the other noises and ****) I don't think there is really much harm in not running an SYE. Especially if you are running 33s or smaller.
yoyeeper is offline  
Old 06-09-2016, 12:27 AM
  #6  
Seasoned Member
 
BigSquirrly89's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: NJ
Posts: 443
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default

clean rig man love that color. whats the specs on your lift and tire size?
BigSquirrly89 is offline  
Old 06-09-2016, 07:54 AM
  #7  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

Thanks. It's a 3" Trailmaster lift with full leaf packs, Rough Country lower control arms, and a Skyjacker track-bar relocating bracket. The tires are Westlake SL369 31 x 10.50.

The track-bar relocator was only $30, and I think it is a necessity if you are not going to use an adjustable track-bar. I don't care for the idea of drilling a new hole out towards the edge of the existing bracket. The relocator was a piece of cake to install and is a proper solution. Everything is centered up perfectly.

Last edited by Bmoflaz; 06-09-2016 at 08:13 AM.
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-09-2016, 08:01 AM
  #8  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

Here's how I resolved mounting the Surco rack to the existing rails. It's a couple of 5/16 U-Bolts up through the existing holes that secure the bracket to the cross bars. All I had to do was drill some slotted holes in the cross-bars. For the finishing touch I put some vacuum caps over the tips of the U-bolts. It looks cool, and it will keep anything that may happen to come in contact with the bolts from getting scratched.




Last edited by Bmoflaz; 06-09-2016 at 08:10 AM.
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-09-2016, 08:06 AM
  #9  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

Here's a quick shot of the homebrewed TC Drop. I took some big-*** 1-inch lock nuts I found at the Case-IH dealer, and made a bushing out of a chunk of heater hose that had the same diameter as the inside of the nut. It worked perfectly to keep the nut centered on the bolt and prevent things from walking around while I was torquing them down. I originally thought it would be temporary until I could get something "real". It worked out so well though, I'm gonna run it.
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-10-2016, 08:41 AM
  #10  
Member
 
TX RamRod's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 193
Year: 1999
Model: Cherokee(XJ)
Engine: 4.0
Default

The build looks great. After seeing the coating you put on your bumpers and flares I bought some Duplicolor Bed Armor and did my bumper caps. Turned out great! Keep up the good work.
TX RamRod is offline  
Old 06-10-2016, 10:52 AM
  #11  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

Thanks. I love the stuff... if I'm not careful, I'll end up doing the whole thing in it. I had a Ram 1500 I did a similar treatment on a few years ago. I ran into a post and gouged it up pretty good. I just masked it off and shot it again. It looked even better!
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-10-2016, 02:46 PM
  #12  
CF Veteran
 
TFitzPat87's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 1,414
Year: 1997
Model: Cherokee
Engine: I6 4.0L
Default

Get an SYE. For one you'll have a better driveshaft. 2, you don't realize how many minor vibes you have until you have an SYE installed. Mine wasn't too bad with the TC drop, but after installing a SYE, it is like butter now. Never thought it would drive so smooth. Besides the money, if the install is whats intimidating, don't let it be. I had never done a project like it before, and I was able to make it happen with the TC still under the jeep and me laying on the ground. It's way easier than it seems.

Other than that, your rig looks great! Like what your doing!

Edit: The TC drop will cause your motor mounts to wear out faster. Plus it hangs down, and without question will get hung up on rocks, logs, and anything else.

Last edited by TFitzPat87; 06-10-2016 at 02:49 PM.
TFitzPat87 is offline  
Old 06-10-2016, 05:16 PM
  #13  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

As much as I don't want to hear it, I know you are right. The longer I run the TC drop, the more I hear the odd little buzz and clunk here or there that I know are related to that setup. I will admit, I am a little wary of tackling the install. It is uncharted territory for me. I'm glad to hear yours went well.

Hopefully someday soon I'll be adding pix of that project!
Bmoflaz is offline  
Old 06-10-2016, 05:36 PM
  #14  
CF Veteran
 
TFitzPat87's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 1,414
Year: 1997
Model: Cherokee
Engine: I6 4.0L
Default

Originally Posted by Bmoflaz View Post
As much as I don't want to hear it, I know you are right. The longer I run the TC drop, the more I hear the odd little buzz and clunk here or there that I know are related to that setup. I will admit, I am a little wary of tackling the install. It is uncharted territory for me. I'm glad to hear yours went well.

Hopefully someday soon I'll be adding pix of that project!
Yep! Mine cured a BUNCH of odd clunks, growls, buzzes.

I watched this video...
like 20 times and read plenty of write-ups leading up to my install. The more you watch it, the more it all makes since, and really isn't that difficult. If you can install a lift you can install an SYE. Good set of lock ring pliers and your good.

I hadn't ever dug into anything like it before either. I just took my time and it wasn't bad. Took about 7 hours all together (smoke breaks included). Once you do it yourself, you'll be so much happier you didn't pay someone.

I'm not pro, but I've learned a lot wrenching on my jeep the last year. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
TFitzPat87 is offline  
Old 06-10-2016, 05:52 PM
  #15  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Henry IL
Posts: 21
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default

She sees more on-road than off-road, so smooth is good! I'll let the checkbook cool and watch some YouTube for a while... By then I'll be ready to lock horns with it!
Bmoflaz is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: '01 XJ Project Busted Knuckles


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: