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1998 Cherokee XJ Mild Build

Old 08-01-2015, 10:21 PM
  #1  
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Location: Santa Rosa, CA
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Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default 1998 Cherokee XJ Mild Build

Well... since I fixed the overheating issue by replacing the Crank Position Sensor several months ago and (apparently when the CPS ages or gets too hot too many times it starts to loose effectiveness and it can be a real head scratcher) the XJ is doing GREAT now with no issues whatsoever back to it's old self that I new over two years ago... I decided to take it from completely stock to a little more than stock.

For a little background... about 2011 the trusty 1996 Thunderbird I bought at a police auction many years ago started having more and more issues and I wanted to go back to an SUV. I really like the 4x4 Explorer I had in the 90's but didn't want to have to change any more Explorer transmissions (mid-90's Explorers suck!) and I've had Wranglers before so I started thinking Jeep Cherokee.

I started watching Craiglist (back in 2011 or so (and in Memphis, TN (I'm now in California))) and after looking at thrashed and abused Cherokees for 3 months (in my budjet of $2500) about 8pm one night it finally popped up for sale... a factory stock 1998 base model 6cyl 4x4 110k mile original owner with complete paperwork since new. The dude bought this Cherokee in college, kept all paperwork for any work he ever had done, had purchased a new car in the meantime around 2008 and had not driven his Cherokee (except to run it around the neighborhood monthly or so) for the last several years.

I emailed him and drove down to his are just in case he answered. Well he did and I look at it at 9pm that same day in the dark. The reverse lights didn't work so I talked him down to $2500 and he agreed so I gave him $500 down. Before I paid in full and picked it up he had taken it to a mechanic and the reverse light issue turned out to be a switch on the transmission that he paid $250 to fix for me.

Right after I got it a brake caliper froze due to sitting so I replace it. And then the freeze plugs started leaking due to his lack of attention on the antifreeze. so I had them replaced along with new head gasket and water pump since I was afraid the rusted freeze plugs might be a sign of other issues coming.

Anyway... since those repairs the jeep has been great... in July 2013 it even pulled a fully loaded 12ft' Uhaul trailer from Memphis, TN to Sacramento, CA. when I moved cross country. It had only 1 issue on that long drive with the heavy trailer.... leaving Needles, CA on I-40 there is a really long fairly steep incline and it overheated on the way up that incline. Water was literally boiling out of the overflow tank and everything (I believe that sever overheating moment was the beginning of my CPS issue). But after it cooled off for about 50 minutes it started right up and I attribute that to the work done when the freeze plugs rusted after I bought it. The rest of the trip to Sacramento had no issues but I was being more careful after that.

SO jump forward a couple years to two months ago... I replaced the original steel wheels & stock tires with Grizzly wheels (that I had been watching for) and worn 31x10.5's that I found on Craigslist for $200.




This was taken right after I got it, even before it had any roof rack



I took this after the Yakima bars were added but while it still had the steel original wheels.




This is a pic after the Grizzly's were installed. They originally came on some 90's Wranglers and they have the same backspacing as the steel wheels.

Since then I've been looking for a little inexpensive lift. I just ordered (today) the Rocky Road 3" budget lift and an adjustable tracking arm. I have to do this in pieces due to limited finances but I know I have to get a few more pieces so it's probably gonna be about 2 months before I actually get to doing the work so quick disconnects, shocks, and other stuff still need to be ordered but now I've committed

Last edited by mitchellsk; 09-29-2015 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:53 AM
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Year: 1998
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So here's pics of my 4' Firefly cb antenna install.

This is the bracket, I see a lot of people install them over the taillight but I wanted an antenna with a lower, cleaner install and there's lot of room under the taillight:





And this came with the bracket but I couldn't use it in this shape so I bent it with pliers





Until it looked like this.




And the antenna also came with this little plastic retainer that I put here:




So this is what it looked like with the plastic retainer and the wire I bent and stuck under the taillight mounting bolt.




What I wanted was a super clean appearance so how do I find locate the hold in the plastic trim just right? I decided a plumb bob would be perfect but I don't have one... I though I could make due with a fishing sinker centered over the bracket would work.





So I rigged it on a guitar stand:




And moved the stand until the sinker was centered above the mounting hole:




So I put the trim back on, marked the center, and drilled the hole with a step drill from Harbor Freight.




And then after I put the trim on I was able to assemble it all. It's pretty easy to get a wrench in with the lift gate up and a socket & extension is also pretty easy to get on underneath to tight it down.









So this is my finished install for the antenna:







And here it is all together with the lift gate up and the cable is trapped at two points... one with the wire attached at the taillight mounting screw and one under the taillight with the plastic bracket... so it won't be blowing around in wind or catching on anything.




And now I have the rear inside trim off and am fishing it through with a kit I got from Harbor Freight for a couple bucks (well worth it the price!). This kit has 1ft pieces of flexible fiberglass rod that you can put together to fish electrical line through passages. It comes with a hook and a small super flexible end piece but I just needed the hook to do this.










But don't try to pull the wire through with it sliding through the hook because it's hard on the wire and it will get stuck.... give it enough slack to make it all the way to the destination and it's pretty easy. But if you back the hook up the wire will probably come off and you can't get it hooked again.




Which is what happened to me so I added a little rubber band insurance and it worked great:




And since it comes in 1' sections you just add and remove as necessary. This is up in the driver floorboard with the two front screws removed instead of having to remove all the trim along the driver side.




It took me about 45 minutes to fish through because I was being careful and hadn't done it before but could probably be done in under 30 minutes easy.




And then up to the dashboard where you can route it wherever you want to and you can just push it under the edges of the trim where needed so it's completely concealed and clean.




And so this is the kit I used. I think it cost about $4 from Harbor Freight (on sale). The rods about about 12" and pretty flexible... the small transparent rod is an end-piece and super flexible but I only used the hook end.




http://www.ebay.com/itm/111436561758?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT... it cost a little more but it has the flat cable mount that saves space at the bracket and the radio connector that you solder on later so it's easier to fish through tight spaces.



Last edited by mitchellsk; 10-16-2015 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Add a link to the product I used
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Old 09-28-2015, 06:22 AM
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Nice job on the antennae install. That's the first time I've seen a wire running kit like that. It's now on my list!


I made a couple of simple tools for running wire through difficult spots (fire walls for example). I drilled a hole through an old screwdriver handle then press fit a piece of brake line through it. Basically poke the end of the tool through a firewall grommet and the push the wire through. Works great.


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Old 09-28-2015, 07:41 AM
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Great job on the antenna install, looks great. I've also never seen the wire running kit. I've always used a clothes hanger that I bent straight.
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Old 10-30-2015, 02:45 PM
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Thanks... I have the CB ready to go in, just have to find a good spot.

I also just swapped out the dummy cluster for one with all the gauges, and I have a 3 inch lift waiting to go on it.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:03 PM
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Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
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Ran to PnP today... snagged a ZJ solid tie rod assembly, a '95 XJ overhead console with wiring, and 2 rear sway bar links from a 1995 F150 for my upcoming 3" budget lift:




For comparison, here's a stock XJ sway bar link on top, a '95 F150 rear sway bar link in the middle which is real close to 3" longer, and a mid '80s F150 rear sway bar link on the bottom which is about 1.5" longer than the '95 F150 sway bar link. The bends don't give exactly the same offset but they're real close:



(I'll be finishing up the CB install soon too)

Last edited by mitchellsk; 11-09-2015 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:03 PM
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Got started on the 3" lift by installing the blocks... i'll do more another day, the shackle bolts are pretty stubborn





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Old 02-29-2016, 03:40 PM
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Drove 600 miles over to Death Valley.










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Old 02-29-2016, 11:24 PM
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great shots
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