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1998 Red XJ Build

Old 06-07-2010, 09:24 PM
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Default 1998 Red XJ Build

Ok, so here is the backstory on my build, if you don't care, just skip down a few lines....
Ok, so after a long time playing with Jeeps, I am finally doing a build thread. I have a 1979 CJ5 that I bought really beat up for $1100 back in 2001. As you know, one think lead to another and I ended up doing a complete frame up build on it. I think it started out as I was cleaning the engine to paint it. I ended up tearing the engine down (Chevy 350 in it when I bought it) and rebuilding it, replacing the stock 3 speed with a Chevy truck 4 speed with granny gear, and rebuilding the D20 and twin sticking it. It got 5.5 inches of lift and I ran out of time when I was rewiring it. I got the engine running before I left Georgia to move out to Kansas to Fort Riley. I had no where to put it or work on it out here so I left in my father-in-laws barn. So after a short time here in Kansas, I had to have another Jeep. This time I wanted something that could be my daily driver and could play with and wrench on. I finally sold my car and found a decent little 1998 Red Jeep Cherokee, 4.0l, auto, 4 door, with about 130k on it in December 2008. I immediatly made plans for it but had to wait for the money.

This is what it looked like after I replaced the worn out tires I bought with it.





Last summer, prior to my 2nd deployment, I went ahead and purchased the 3.5" RE Superflex with several additions with the intention of installing it after I got home this summer. Well here I am!! I have spent alot of money on tools (since most of the ones I had originally were either my dad's or at least at his house back in Georgia), and the lift parts.

I really haven't done much with the Jeep so far except for replace the tires with 235/75R15 Peerless All Terrains and basic tune up items and a new catlytic converter. No changes to stock except for an attempt to upgrade my battery cables like Jeepers and Creepers Cables (not a fail, but not a great success either--they work) and I took off the fender flares to paint them and tore up the mounting brackets so those aren't back on yet (I haven't figured out what I am going to do about those yet). Here is a list of what I am installing:

from 4x4groupbuy.com:
Rubicon Express 3.5" Superflex with full spring packs (RE6030)
RE Adjustable Track Bar (RE1600)
RE steering stabilizer (RXT2000)
*free uprade to 4 RE monotube shocks

from 4wd.com
Russell Braided Stainless Steel extended Brake lines for 4" lift (RUS6959400
25mm sway bar bushing set (KJ05006RE)
JKS Front and rear bar pin eliminators (JKS 9603 and 9604)
Skyjacker 1" TC lowering kit (TCL31)

I think that is all I have purchased. While I was deployed someone hit my XJ while my wife was driving it and scuffed up the passenger side. The body shop said that they would need to replace 2 tires, 2 wheels (with refurbished ones), new rear bumper end cap and new paint on most of the side. They did some other work, but this is what I told them not to do. So I got a check for $1125 for new tires and wheels once the lift is on. I am looking at ProComp 7069 alloys and maybe ProComp Xtreme All-Terrains (haven't decided on size).

Any way....this is what it looks like tonight....



If you see anything I didn't think about or have any suggestions, feel free to tell me about it. Otherwise stay tuned and I will update as I work.

Last edited by athenscj5; 06-09-2010 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:39 PM
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Default *Update 1*

I started the install of my lift on Thursday after noon.
Everything came out with out any issues, and I didn't even have to break things just to get them out (that is a first for me!!)
On Friday I started installing the new suspension and the first issue I had was the bolt in the JKS bar pin eliminator broke in half. The opening on the bottom of the shock mount was a little wide and caused the nylon bolt to twist and break the bolt. A flat washer fixed that problem. The only other real problem I had was the lower sway bar bracket bolt removal. I was expecting it to be a headache but had no idea it would be that bad. I used my cutoff wheel and grinding wheel to get rid of the majority of the bolt, but the splines had completely joined the bracket and the bolt. So my only option after lots of work with my BFH was to drill it out or just drill a new whole. Two 1/2" cobalt Industrial strength drill bits later, I had them both ready for the discos.



Any way this is how it looked tonight after I finished tightening everything....


I also had a little help....


Tomorrow I will start with the rear. Hopefully all the PB and WD-40 I have used over the last couple of weeks will pay off.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:28 PM
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Nice rig, I look forward to seeing this come along!I started a build thread on my 97 red xj too
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:40 PM
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Thanks Skunkape, I will check your thread out.



Well I was hoping to get the rear done today, but no such luck. I did however get the rear out and the rear extended brake line installed.

So the first think to do was remove the shocks. I was really worried the upper shock bolts were all going to break and it would take me hours to figure out how to fix it. I have been spraying them for a while and was hoping for the best. I put my airhammer on it and started pounding away. The first bolt snapped about half way (insert explitives here). So I moved on to the next one hoping for better results. Snapped. Explitives, but i did refrain from throwing my air hammer. rolled out from under the Jeep to gain my composure and tried a 3/8 socket and extension and got nothing. So I said screw it and decided to just break them all and fix them. Then I realized that I was going the wrong way with the airhammer. The second two backed right out with no problem. So, note to self...righty tighty; lefty loosey!!!

No other problems except the front pass spring hanger bolt and the metal bushing seized together and wouldn't back out of the hole. So I got to go buy this...



So finally got it out and the installation of the rear will start tomorrow.

This is it tonight...
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:56 PM
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that lift will look real nice...once i get my ride running and painted im lookinginto some kind of lift...and as for the fender flare brackets: i think most people have trouble with the bolts breaking. what i did: drill them out and buy a bolt, nut and washer for each one you broke...worked for me!
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:21 PM
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Thanks, I will look into that. I didn't really spend much time trying to get them back on last spring when I took them off so I might try that. The only thing I did was try JB Weld to replace the bolts, and that didn't work. Besides I kind of like them and I have seen some guys that trimmed them that turned out really nice. We shall see!


On a different note, but I want opinions.....
Several items I have installed so far have stated that the only tools required are basic hand tools and a list of other items. Since when does a set of basic hand tools include a 22mm wrench? On top of that 155 lb/ft of torque? Really!! And why do the designers at Jeep feel the need to include both metric and standard sizes in their design? I mean come on!!
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:31 AM
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there are some new fender flares out that are pretty sweet looking.

http://bushwacker.com/fender.asp?mak...&search=Search

good luck with the build
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:18 PM
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My lift has been done for a couple of weeks but I never got around to updating this thread. I got everything back together in the rear without too much problem. A little superglue, RTV and patience got my upper shock bolts replaced. And a little force got it all lined up for the springs. I replaced the rear ds u-joints and lowered the TC to get rid of the driveline vibs and noises. Replaced the nutstrips and I am in the process of rear attching the rear bumper in a way that makes it easier to get on and off. So this is what is looks like right now...


I have ordered this wheel in 15x8...
ProComp 7069 Flat Black 3.75 BS

And this tire in 31x10.50r15
PrComp Xtreme A/T

I also have the Bushwacker Fender flares coming as well.

So I netted 4.5" in the front and 5.5" in the back. I have .75" coil spacers to help level out the front. Still some drive line vibs and noises but I ordered some 2.5* shims to help that. The angles were about 3* off so 2.5* was as close as I could get. Also got new 4" bumpstops for the rear on the way. I am about to order a 63mm bored TB from strokedjeep.com. Then a regearing planned in the next couple of weeks to 4.10's. After all that an upgrade in the steering from a Grand Cherokee. I will continue to update pictures as things change.

Last edited by athenscj5; 06-28-2010 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:21 PM
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Here's a good side by side comparison...

Last edited by athenscj5; 06-27-2010 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:25 PM
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The wheels and tires are gonna make it look bad a- s -s, good choice!

Last edited by Skunkape; 06-27-2010 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:32 AM
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Yeah, I loved those wheels the first time I saw them. I can't remember where I saw them first but I don't think I have seen them on any other XJ yet. They are new for 2010 so I guess I will be the guinea pig. I think they will look pretty nice.
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:08 AM
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looks great man! so did you do an sye or a tcase drop?
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:38 AM
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Yeah, I did a 1" TC drop for now and the 2.5* shims t get rid of the driveline vibs and noises. I will be doing the SYE later. Not sure which way I want to go though, Hack 'n tap or crack open the TC and replace to shaft. I was ok with doing the TC drop because that 1" of clearance I loose isn't going to make any major difference to me anytime soon. I am not that serious of a wheeler yet.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:17 PM
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Default WHEELS and TIRES!!!

Look who showed up at my house today!!!


I was supposed to be at work, but there wasn't much going on so I couldn't resist putting them on. It only took about half an hour. This is one leaning on an old one...


Then here is a look at it completed...



Here is a picture of them from the front to show how much they stick out. Remember they are 31x10.50r15 with 3.75 BS...





NICE!!!! It even drove better than the old wheels. It felt smoother. I didn't even feel like I lost much power either. I will keep an eye out on that and the fuel mileage. So far...very inpressed and happy with my choice.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:30 PM
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Nice work on your jeep...........Love the wheel choice, are those rims steel or aluminum ?

BTW What service you in ?
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