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1996 XJ Clean DD Build

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1996 XJ Clean DD Build

Old 02-17-2019, 03:23 PM
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Year: 1996
Model: Cherokee (XJ)
Engine: 4.0
Default 1996 XJ Clean DD Build

So I've decided to start a build thread on my 1996 Jeep Cherokee Utility Sport base model 2wd with 139k miles. As a fair warning I got the Jeep in August of 2017, that being said this thread will probably be kinda scattered until I get it up to date. I got the Jeep for free from a family friend who had problems with it (fuel pump), and let it sit for about 2 years. I got it just before I turned 15, I've always liked the xjs so when I started thinking about getting a car, more so a project car, I asked my family friend if he'd be willing to sell the xj. So I test drove it and he said I could have it because he was done with it I've enjoyed learning about these Jeeps and I start an automotive technology class in August. Anyways now that the introduction is done I'll try to upload any pictures I have of me in the middle of projects.

What I've done:
New IAC
New spark plugs, wires, distributor cap, and rotor
New CPS
New catalytic converter
New muffler
New speed sensor
New O2 sensors
New upper and lower coolant hoses
New PS lines and reservoir (PITA)
I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, I'll remember later

Build plan: I plan on cleaning everything up (rust and anything the two previous owners may have done "sloppy") Right now the goal is to get it to factory status while upgrading anything I can. Long term goal (hopefully next summer) is to get a parts 4wd jeep ($450-$600 near me) and swap everything over and at the same time do a 3-inch lift, I'm thinking Zone Offroad, but there's a lot of time for that to change. I try not to cheap out too much and if there's something I can replace to make my life easier later I usually will do it. Another thing is I really don't like hearing "it's a 20+ year old jeep it doesn't need to be perfect" while I understand that, I would still like to get it to a very clean, reliable state.

Last edited by Spencer_P; 02-19-2019 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 02-17-2019, 03:27 PM
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I've also got a lot of parts ready to install just haven't had a whole lot of free time.

Parts:
Valve cover gasket
Thermostat + housing and gasket
Water pump
PCV valve(s)
Window seals
Liftgate weatherstripping


Once I get these parts installed, I'll allow myself to start ordering stuff to rebuild the front suspension.

Last edited by Spencer_P; 02-18-2019 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 02-17-2019, 03:51 PM
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First picture I ever took of the Jeep after getting it home

Fixing the stuck good latch

Trans cooler line came loose

Heavy oxidation on the hood
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:01 PM
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Passenger floor was soaked so I impulsively pulled of carpet to get a look at rust. Think I got pretty lucky, a couple holes but nothing massive (yes, I know some are drain plug holes) Iíve got someone whoís gonna weld up the rust holes. Iíve also got some chassis saver to put down once itís welded












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Old 02-17-2019, 04:12 PM
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Threw some primer and paint on some crappy bondo

Jeep was vandalized a while back
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:16 PM
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This is how the previous owner had the radio wired in , hard wired to the battery (through the glove box and fender) only one speaker wired up. Alligator clips to turn it on . Got that fixed up

Finally got some new tires (Goodyear Wrangler SR-A)

Replacing CPS

Last edited by Spencer_P; 02-17-2019 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:26 PM
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After lots and lots of sanding, ready for paint. Before you judge too much, keep in mind Iím 16 and by no means a professional auto body specialist
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:36 PM
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Yes, I did rattle can. No, I wouldnít do it again. No, itís not perfect, but after some wet sanding and polish itíll be better than it was. And honestly I had a lot of fun doing this whole project just me in the garage with some music, I was up until about 8 am the night I painted and it was weeks of sanding before that. So this is just temporary, Iíd really like to get an good enough air compressor and paint it with a spray gun, navy blue from the xjs, I canít recall the paint code, PJC maybe?
As far as dust and things in the paint, wetting the floor and having drop clothes on all the walls and ceiling really helped, I also had two box fans (one blowing in and one blowing out) on the garage doors with air filters on them.








Far from good, but good from far.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:47 PM
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Jeep broke down back in September on the way to get floors welded. Symptoms of bad CPS. Got it pulled to a friends house and trouble shot all day. Would run for about 10 minutes then shut off and not start for 30-90 minutes. Made it about 10 minutes from his house then broke down, pushed it to the shoulder and started after an hour and a half, parked in a parking lot and got it the next day
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:54 PM
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Replacing the catalytic converter (main culprit) and CPS (better safe than sorry) This was the first time wrenching on the Jeep in a while, felt good. Replacing the CPS was really pretty easy, people made it sound much harder
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:59 PM
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Saw this beat up Cherokee a little while back and if you look closely itís got a wagoner front clip, I thought this was odd cause it was an older guy driving, but cool nonetheless


​​​​​​
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:03 PM
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Some pictures I took after washing it before paint, looks pretty good when itís wet

Unfortunately this most of the pictures I have, but now that I have this thread Iíll start taking pictures during projects. Iíll also try to get some pictures with the new tires mounted
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:40 PM
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Hey! You're off to a great start. I think the XJ is a great platform for anyone interested in learning since there is a lot of information out there, and due to how widespread the 4.0 is, the parts are very accessible and low cost relative to other vehicles.

Your list of initial maintenance and repairs looks quite good. I've been there!
If it had been sitting for that long, I hope you changed the fluids (oil, gas, coolant - be sure to flush the heater core too, diff fluids, etc) and filters (oil, air, fuel). I'm assuming you did this and just didn't think it was important to add to your post

Originally Posted by Spencer_P View Post
..Another thing is I really don't like hearing "it's a 20+ year old jeep it doesn't need to be perfect" while I understand that, I would still like to get it to a very clean, reliable state.
I agree with this thought. I think you have a good perspective. For how simple and low cost most of the repairs are on an XJ, you have every right to want a clean, reliable vehicle. Even if it cost a lot or took you loads of time, that's your prerogative. Make this vehicle meet your expectations!

Originally Posted by Spencer_P View Post
I grimaced when I saw how you did this repair. The bondo could use a lot more care, and the masking isn't necessary (removing the tailight would have been muuuch easier and better). However I see you did a much better job when you rattle canned the rest of the Jeep. So I'm glad you eventually did a better job on this!

Originally Posted by Spencer_P View Post
Yes, I did rattle can. No, I wouldn’t do it again. No, it’s not perfect, but after some wet sanding and polish it’ll be better than it was. And honestly I had a lot of fun doing this whole project just me in the garage with some music, I was up until about 8 am the night I painted and it was weeks of sanding before that. So this is just temporary, I’d really like to get an good enough air compressor and paint it with a spray gun, navy blue from the xjs, I can’t recall the paint code, PJC maybe?
As far as dust and things in the paint, wetting the floor and having drop clothes on all the walls and ceiling really helped, I also had two box fans (one blowing in and one blowing out) on the garage doors with air filters on them.


Stepping back a bit - I think you did a great job.


Rattle can isn't the end of the world. Not every paint job needs to be a pro quality job. Rattle can has it's place, and it's much easier to repair a scratch if you get one.
You did a pretty thorough job. you masked and removed parts as necessary. Your sanding looks quite good. The coverage (from your photos) looks consistent.
It's an improvement from before, so that's a plus!
GREAT job with setting up the garage. That was a very good idea and I am sure it made a HUGE difference


Go ahead and redo it later - it's a learning experience! But don't feel ashamed of the rattle can job. It's excellent.

Full disclosure - I rattle canned my XJ and every time I get picky about it, I look at the "before" photo and realize that it's 1000% better than it was.

Overall, do you have a plan of things you are going to fix, or are you still in the stage of reacting to issues as they come up?
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by moonsandals View Post
Hey! You're off to a great start. I think the XJ is a great platform for anyone interested in learning since there is a lot of information out there, and due to how widespread the 4.0 is, the parts are very accessible and low cost relative to other vehicles.

Your list of initial maintenance and repairs looks quite good. I've been there!
If it had been sitting for that long, I hope you changed the fluids (oil, gas, coolant - be sure to flush the heater core too, diff fluids, etc) and filters (oil, air, fuel). I'm assuming you did this and just didn't think it was important to add to your post



I agree with this thought. I think you have a good perspective. For how simple and low cost most of the repairs are on an XJ, you have every right to want a clean, reliable vehicle. Even if it cost a lot or took you loads of time, that's your prerogative. Make this vehicle meet your expectations!



I grimaced when I saw how you did this repair. The bondo could use a lot more care, and the masking isn't necessary (removing the tailight would have been muuuch easier and better). However I see you did a much better job when you rattle canned the rest of the Jeep. So I'm glad you eventually did a better job on this!



Stepping back a bit - I think you did a great job.


Rattle can isn't the end of the world. Not every paint job needs to be a pro quality job. Rattle can has it's place, and it's much easier to repair a scratch if you get one.
You did a pretty thorough job. you masked and removed parts as necessary. Your sanding looks quite good. The coverage (from your photos) looks consistent.
It's an improvement from before, so that's a plus!
GREAT job with setting up the garage. That was a very good idea and I am sure it made a HUGE difference


Go ahead and redo it later - it's a learning experience! But don't feel ashamed of the rattle can job. It's excellent.

Full disclosure - I rattle canned my XJ and every time I get picky about it, I look at the "before" photo and realize that it's 1000% better than it was.

Overall, do you have a plan of things you are going to fix, or are you still in the stage of reacting to issues as they come up?
Fluids have been changed, as well as filters. Still need to change out diff fluid.
As for repairs, mainly cleaning up rust, but also have some slow leaks like rear main seal, possibly oil pan gasket, and a transmission line. Also, I don't have reverse lights so I probably need to clean the NSS. Other than those I'm trying to just put miles on the jeep and see what breaks (obviously being cautious of fluid levels due to leaks)

Last edited by Spencer_P; 02-17-2019 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:07 AM
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Also, I have new window seals (all four glass run seals, all four outer window seals, and rear quarter seals) and liftgate weatherstrip, I'd like to replace all weatherstripping eventually but it gets pricey
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