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2000 "The Jeep" Daily Driver New England Build

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2000 "The Jeep" Daily Driver New England Build

Old 01-03-2016, 09:13 PM
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W91's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 32
Year: 2000
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default 2000 "The Jeep" Daily Driver New England Build

Back Story:
Well I cant come up with a name that is both witty and not already in use. Simply put my jeep has and is refured to everyone as "The Jeep". Family friends and co workers so that's what ill call it. Anyway all names aside, down to the story. The Jeep was bought back in late 2013. I was the one who originally found it for my friend who was looking for a 4 wheel drive vehicle. At the time she needed it because hers was in the shop and it looked like it wasn't going to end good ( almost 4 months) So I was driving a 97 5 speed 4 door xj. Loved it and I encouraged her to get in on the jeep life. Well we found it. a 2000 XJ 149,000+- miles, auto, 2 inch budget boost lift, Fire stone M/T tires, sport package, not in bad shape. She loved it for a while but the she didn't want to keep it. So I took it off her hands and parked my 97. I drove it everywhere, love it.
I had no real mechanical experience when it came to cars. I could do a oil change, grease joints, do brake jobs, basically the common stuff. My backround is that of a welder. Been doing it since high school, and have always loved to build stuff. I wasn't to found of working on cars or trucks because frankly they confused me, beyond the stuff I knew which was limited. Well that was about to change.
In late 2014 I got into a accident

Unfortunately I don't have the original picture and had to take that off my Instagram account. You get the idea. Hood was good but header panel was done. Bumper done. My two aftermarket lights, and so on and so forth. Well that weekend I ran around for the parts to get it back up and running Monday. It was all cosmetic and nothing mechanical was damaged, just my ego and a few parts. Well after that little cluster, the jeep ran great for the rest of the winter.
Fast forward to early spring time of 2015. I was on my way to the local garden center when I heard a noise coming from the rear end. It was a grinding noise almost like bad breaks. Well I wasn't far from my house so I turned around and called my buddy up. We figured it was a wheel bearing. To much play in the rear axle, heard it when we spun the tire while we had it up on jackstands. Well after allot of reading and asking a few questions I deiced to do it myself. Though I was really afraid to mess something up specially since I had never pulled a axle out, never even opened a diff cover. The 3 hr job, ( for me it shouldn't have taken me three hours but I was going snail slow in fear I was gonna forget something or do it wrong) is what finally kicked the jeep into the;
Build Phase:
How? I usually get asked this question allot when I tell people this story. It started into a build because when I got finished with the wheel bearing I deiced it was time to do the drums brakes. Which further boosted my thought process that if I just sat down and reasearched as much as I could, I might be able to make my jeep the way I really wanted it to look. With being able to say that I did all the work to it. Not just buy the parts and bring it to the shop but really say I did my searching, installed quality parts and installed them myself.
It is now roughly the start of summer and I just finished my wheel bearing and the drums, photo dump:


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So after all this I felt like if I can do this stuff let me research, the biggest question of all... how do I lift my jeep. I went on about a two week binge of reading everything I could about how to accomplish this and what to use. This is what I came up with
The Parts List:
Serious off road long arms
Serious off road utk steering
Rubicon Track bar
Rubicon Brace bar
Rubicon Track bar mount (I believe that's the name)
Rubicon 3.5 leaf packs
Rubicon 3.5 coils
Rubicon shocks
Rubicon Sway bar disconnects
New summit racing brand pads and rotors
Sway bar bushing
Timkin bearing and seals
Drums with hardware, summit racing

These are the parts I currently have under there now. Id like to also take a moment and put in this thread that Serious Offroad, aka Frank, was a tremendous help during this build. He got me my stuff fast and kept in constant communication with me. I made it a point to order as much as I could afford from him.

Now this was not one huge order. I started the jeep begging of summer and didn't finish until late September of last year. This took me quite a while to do, longer than im sure some of you who read this. I did all this in my driveway, in the rain, in the sun, drunk, sober, mad, happy, whatever the mood or case I was on my back wrenching away. Some times I had nothing to do because I was waiting or doing other things. I am really happy I took this on because ive learned so much and am way more familiar with my vehicle. Plus I love the look.
Anyway heres another huge picture dump:

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I painted the covers gray while they were off.

here was when I was having a issue installing spring

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Rear done! (added this out of order sorry)

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It was at this point the 3.5 inch kit wasn't going to cut it for me. I was ordering long arms shortly after this. The thing was I kept the budget boost that was on this jeep from p.o. If I had left the 3.5 arms on it wouldn't have been the correct way to do it. (granted the correct(er) way to do it would have been to get a true 5.5inch kit. Down the road I will do this. I should have pre planned that better. )


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Serious off road steering came in

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I took the following photos trying to figure out why stuff wasn't sitting right. Frank told me that when I disconnected the transmission cross mount everything moved. After that it was a lot of banging, pulling, swearing, drinking, drilling, drinking, drinking, drin....bolting, torqueing and finally I got long arms in.

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This was when I realized I needed to move my axle further forward that was a really fun night

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I had to really play around with the arms to get the coil as straight as possible

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This was towards the end.

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Finally got all four tires on. at this point I was 3 days away before I took her for the test laps.

Phase Two:

Now the one thing I really haven't talked about is what the goal of this build was, whats it geared to, the underlining goal. The purpose of my jeep is complete, utter, overkill for what I want it to do. Most of this stuff is complete over kill for a daily driver. However my reason is very simple for why I am doing what I am doing. I want my jeep to be able to get through whatever situation I put in front of it. Through the mud hole? Ok. Through a bad storm to get a generator to my family? Ok. Beer? Ok. I figure if I shove as many quality parts, spend the money once, and do as much as I can myself; I will have a very reliable, capitable, overkilling beer run, food run, emergency run Jeep that ill be happy with. That being said, heres phase two plan.

Fix the rot lower rear panels
"" rocker panels
"" transmission tunnel

Replace shocks with appropriate ones
"" U joints in front axle
"" Ball joints

Install Air lockers front and rear
"" Heavy duty axle shafts
"" New ratio ring and pinion front and rear
"" hack tap sye
"" proper axle shims
"" bigger tires

Build Front and rear bumper
"" Rocker protection
"" Rear quarter panel protection
"" Better storage for tools

Heres what I am currently working on. I pulled her into the shop and did one lower side repair. I didn't finish it yet but I plan to this week.

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So that's the current state of my jeep. And I never added this anywhere but I built that roof rack, mounts and all. I don't like the mounts I made so ill be re doing those this winter. I am ALWAYS looking for feed back, input, and criticism. I am learning all this as I go, but I am not perfect. My goal this week is to finish the remaining rust repair on the lower panels.

Thank you for reading!

ps. I apologize for any spelling, grammar, timeline mistakes I might have made. I only proof read this once and I am sure I forgot something. thank you
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