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1998 Cherokee Classic - Queens, NY Build

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1998 Cherokee Classic - Queens, NY Build

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Old 07-13-2018, 07:28 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Long Island City, NY
Posts: 1
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee (XJ)
Engine: 4.0
Default 1998 Cherokee Classic - Queens, NY Build

Hey all, I'm making this thread as a way to keep track of my (slow but steady) progress on my newest Cherokee, a 98 Cherokee Classic that I bought as a project to work on in my free time. I'm not sure how I want to format all of this, and I'm known for getting wordy when I don't need to.

Background on me: Moved from Southwest Missouri to Manhattan two years ago, stayed in the city for a year, then moved to Long Island City in Queens. After moving to Queens, I realized that I had a slightly better chance at street parking, and missed having a project vehicle like I've always had in the past. So even though I don't have a garage or driveway to work in, I decided to get a project Jeep that could easily double as something to get me around both in and out of the city.
I've been through quite a few different vehicles in my 29 years of life, including a Ram pickup and a 98 ZJ Limited, which I still have at my parents house in St Louis.

Background on this Jeep: Purchased on May 1, 2018 in Deer Park, NY.
1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic 4 door
Stone White
4.0I6 AW4 NP231
152k miles
Came with "no death wobble" - 1.5 hour drive home determined that was a lie. (wasn't concerned about that though for the price I paid)

Parts that came already on or with the Jeep:
Rough Country 3" lift
Iron Rock Offroad adjustable track bar
Cragar Soft 8s with 31x10.5x15 tires (2 were Cooper Discoverer ATR, 2 were offbrand, all 4 were starting to rot some)
New(ish) pads and rotors up front, new shoes in back
Spare Jeep steel wheel with 100% bald, flat, and rotten spare that didn't match the size of the factory spare OR the 31s
Aftermarket stereo head unit and Alpine Type R 12" sub with amp that reminded me of my "audiophile" high school days
Aftermarket Prestige alarm system with remote start

Beginning my project work:
After the ~40 mile drive home, I celebrated with my fiancee by going to LongHorn Steakhouse (we fancy) and then promptly parked it in the first 24/7 street parking spot I could find. Because of a different Jeep deal that fell through a few weeks before I bought this one, I already had in my possession new ball joints for both sides, and a V8 ZJ tie rod. Because the track bar was nearly new, I decided to keep these parts and install them all on this Jeep.
I did the passenger side parked on one side of the street, and the driver side and tie rod parked on the other side of the street. The passenger side took about 6 hours, and the driver side took about 1.5. Having the right tools and not having to make multiple 20+ minute walks to the parts store makes a lot of difference.

New ball joints and tie rod made a huge difference for the wobble I was experiencing, but didn't fix it completely. After more inspection, I found the tie rod end of the track bar was shot, as were all of the control arm bushings. I opted to upgrade the track bar to the IRO double shear upgrade kit (GREAT kit!) and ordered a whole new set of bushings while I was at it. I got the track bar installed, and found out I needed to replace (and did replace) the main brake line from the master cylinder to the T on the rear axle, but needed to stop the work at that point to make a long trip to Pittsburgh for a wedding. The Jeep made it there okay, but I ended up with a nail in a tire, so I bought some BFG AT KO2s, but the next day, one of those went flat. Got that repaired because the shop missed a leaking valve stem originally, and made the trip back with only some overheating issues. The temp gauge would go from reading just right to spiking to 2 lines below the top of redline, then go back to normal. And it would move fast. So I assumed sensor failure.

Well, when we got home, I inspected everything and found out that the overflow tank was clogged up and not working. I knew I wanted to flush everything because it was dirty, but didn't know it was that bad. So now I'm worried that it wasn't just a sensor failure, and I may have cooked the head gasket (which is the second head gasket on the Jeep already). My tester should be here Monday, and I'll know more then. But between that trip to Pittsburgh and now, after I replaced the overflow tank, emptied the system and fillled with flush and distilled water, and took out the thermostat, we took another day trip to the Hamptons, and I didn't experience any of the overheating / needle spiking anymore. But I know better than to assume that means everything is fine. I'll wait and see what the test says. I do as much work to the Jeep myself as I can, but I don't know if I want to replace the head gasket just being parallel parked on the side of a road.

I'll add more details and will reformat once I'm home from work, may add a few more pictures too. I'll try to keep this thread updated as I do things, and decide on things that I want to do. If anyone has any questions or is local to the area or anything like that, say hey and ask away!



One of the pics from the craigslist ad. If anyone around can recommend a place to get the rockers repaired in a quality way, or has the means to do it themselves and wants to help a fellow Jeeper out, I primarily pay in dad jokes and booze. And will pay for any parts and anything like that. Just let me know! Would really like to get them done before winter.




Doing the first side of ball joints. That orange dead blow was the cause of most frustration. A 3lb sledge helped make short work of the second side.
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