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92 2 door XJ budget daily/weekend wheeler build

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92 2 door XJ budget daily/weekend wheeler build

Old 09-14-2016, 12:01 PM
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Cool "Project Meep" 92 2 door XJ budget daily/weekend wheeler build

"Project Meep". Accidentally typed Meep instead of Jeep one time, my buddy calls it that, and it stuck haha.

Well, currently recovering from wisdom teeth surgery, so decided to make a "build" thread! Bought the Jeep when I was 17 as my first vehicle, 2 years later I'm still loving it. I really didn't know anything about them at the time, and little did I know what a good deal, on an awesome vehicle I was getting!

Stock Jeep specs
So the Jeep is a 1992 Jeep Cherokee XJ Sport. It's a 2 door, 4.0L, 5 speed manual AX-15, with NP231 TC. Color code is PS7, known as Dark Silver Metallic for those wondering.
Manual doors, cloth interior. Started out as bone stock when I got it. Only had 141k KMs on it when I got it as well, and very clean.


Here it was after the first clean and polish. Changed all the fluids, and it ran great. Had some rust on the bottom of the passenger side door, so ended up cleaning that up, and spraying on some rocker guard, as you will see below. Wheel cylinders were both seized as well, so replaced those.


Start of modifications/Build
At this time it was still uninsured, I was a broke highschool kid haha. But at this point I was already dreaming of the lifts and setup I wanted, and started my learning process. Wanted a 4.5" Rough Country lift on 33x12.5R15 tires, on steel wheels. But I quickly learned you have to have more money than I had to do that
I started looking into the specs and build of my Jeep, as I was quickly addicted to Jeepin'. Learned that I have 3.07 gears, open diffs front and rear, with a HP D30 front, and D35 rear, due to the manual trans, and any bigger than 31s just isn't great on those gears. So that put a damper on my original plans.
It didn't take long for me to have to replace the first thing. Got a flat after driving on a logging road, and after inspecting the tires I realized how cracked and old they are. So the search was on for a cheap set of tires. I came across a set of Dunlop tires on Ford Exploder wheels for $100. Good tread, so I went and picked those up. Had to bore out the center a bit for the wheels to fit, but after that it was all fine and dandy.
Here they are, with tinted turn signals and tail lights, because it was about all I could afford to do at the time!



I also picked up some round LED lights on Amazon for $40, well worth it. At this point I was saving what I could for a lift and tires, but I was absolutely enjoying exploring in this thing stock. Decent set of tires does wonders. It was a ton of fun in stock form.







I kept browsing the local Jeep part pages, and I found a XJ being parted out. Had 3" Rustys offroad coils, and shocks which I later found were from a JK Rubicon. Picked those up for $60, and then the search for a good deal on leaf springs was next. Found a shop that could get Pro-Comp 53111 3.5" lift leafs for around $350 I believe, and got some Rancho shocks for a 3" lift. Rubicon Express RE1600 adjustable trackbar as well. Don't have any pictures of the install, but here it is after.



As you can see the rear is quite a lot higher than the front. Was sitting at about 4.5", had slight driveshaft vibes, so did new u-joints and about a half inch TC drop. That solved it.
I next picked up some used 31s. Maxxis Bravo 770 I believe, only paid $125 for a set of 4 with a spare. Had %70+ tread left. Real good deal. Painted the wheels black as well.




Removed my front swaybar, went and tested the flex out. Not too bad for a cheap setup! The rear swaybar I already removed while doing the lift. And yes, that is a white diff cover and steering linkage...I liked it haha


So here it was with the new 31s. Looked and felt way better. Soon after, my steering box was shot. Was going to do a Durango upgrade, but when with one from a 2002 S10 4x4, pulled from a junkyard and was damn near brand new. Likely a recently rebuilt one, paint was still mint. Decided on this one after reading it is a better swap, and is it ever. Still going strong, and feels beefier for sure.

Not long after, my next upgrade was wheels and tires again. Originally just planned on getting wheels, but a deal for 3 BFGoodrich MTs, 31x10.5R15 popped up on Craigslist. $60 for a set of 3 with very good tread. Snagged those, and searched until I found one on Craigslist for $60, in the same shape, and then a more beat up spare for $40. But I had a set of 5 good tires for real cheap. Next I picked up a set 5 Trailmaster TM5 15x8 steel wheels w/ 3.75" backspacing. Paid $53 a piece. I sold my other wheel tire setup for $400, and only had $125 into that setup. Did pretty well on that. Was stoked on these new tires.





New wheel tire setup.



Did some flare trimming, cut off the chin trim piece, and a bit off the back of the flare.




I was going to be starting College soon, doing my first welding ticket. I was to commute 45 minutes each way on the old Island highway, so I decided it was time for swaybar quick disconnects. Driving around with no swaybar was getting real old. So I purchased some Rough Country 3.5" swaybar quick disconnects. Were a bit long for the 3" lift, so they did some "self clearance" as I liked to call it haha. They just hit the wheel well and dented in the impact point. Well worth it though, road manners were much nicer.

I wasn't bumpstopped at all, so my tires were rubbing my flares when I was wheeling. Pulled them off front+rear, and used a self sealing foam pipe insulator to cover the holes. Looked good, but wasn't very strong.




Bit of a flex, this is the day, and I think what made my windshield pop out of the frame. I believe it was the original windshield and sealant, and just had weakened a lot, and the unibody flex popped er out. Noticed when I smashed through a puddle and water was flying in and pooled on my dashboard...so that was fun.



Front wheel stuffed right against the fender.



I pulled off all the foam from the self sealing pipe insulation, and just decided to run it without that. I polished the Jeep, and man did it turn out nice. Also had my windshield replaced due to the popping out, and having chips and marks all over it. Got a tint brow put on the top as well, which I love. Real effective at keeping the sun out of my eyes.
You can see that the spray on rocker guard was looking quite gross. Faded, peeling away. Didn't look good.






Not long after it was dirty again, but that's fine by me haha




Went out for a fun trail run, leads to a nice lake to stop and have a fire at.

Next I got a Ultimate Enthusiasts 20" lightbar, 12k lumens. Insanely bright, and some cubes to go with it from UE lighting as well.
Lifted the front more, with 1.75" coil spacers, new Pro-Comp shocks as the Rubicon ones were most definitely too short. Rough Country fixed lower control arms as well. Isn't the ideal setup for that much lift, but it works! Caster is off, that is for sure. Bumpstopped using 3 hockey pucks per side, drilled and bolted through the spring perch. Works great! Got longer brakelines as well, replaced the factory ones with Chevy C1500 braklines. Can't recall exact length, but they are much longer, and longer than the YJ upgrade lots seem to do. Took it out for it's maiden voyage with the new stuff, flexed pretty good.




First day out with the front lifted more, and new lights.



The snow was a bit much haha, old snow that was super icy and thick. Rut sucked me off the road. My buddy bringing the shovel to help get my stuck *** out!



Flexed better, that is for sure!

And for your viewing pleasure, here's a night shot of the lightbar! Photo taken by Geordie Allen at Mark ii Media.




20" UE lighting lightbar putting in work! Amazing shot by Geordie Allen at Mark ii Media

The next thing I did was put on my factory flares again, keep the 5-0 off my back. Had 5"+ tire poke in the front haha. Legally none allowed here.





These rear shocks just don't cut it anymore, 3" lift shocks on a 4"+ lift. Not a whole lot for downtravel, this is full droop, lifted the rear tire.

Upgraded the headlights after the switch shorted out and blew out both my sealed beam upgrades, lucky it didn't light on fire! So I went to the Autopal H4 upgrade, with Silverstar Sylvania ZXE bulbs, and a Putco headlight harness. Damn is it bright! The pattern is a bit funky, but lots of light put out.

I redid the rocker guard along the rockers/lower body line, with some real bedliner. Used the EZ Liner kit. Sanded off the old stuff and prepped. I've put on a roofbasket I picked up on Craigslist as well. Fully aluminum, really light. I was going to make one, but this came up cheap and is close to what I wanted! Welded on some tube to bolt right to the factory roof rack rails, mounted my "murder spork" shovel on there, and spare tire up there. Still need to weld on a tire mount with ready rod and some aluminum flat bar, as my ratchet straps snapped so it's just staying in the trunk until then. Then bolt in expanded steel as a floor, and bedline it all, but here it is.




I picked up Jeep Cherokee Wagoneer model solid red tail lights as well. Love the solid color with trim, and got rid of the tint on the tail lights too.


Wagoneer tail lights

Got pulled over for uncovered lightbar and pods too (no they weren't turned on, just legally supposed to be covered). So that's why the lightbar is covered. Pod covers I run most of the time but sometimes keep em off.


Most recent look. All cleaned up, painted diff color close to color match, and has a bluetooth front driveshaft lol

Put in a Thrush Welded muffler as well. Just on with clamps currently but leaks, so welding it on is still necessary which I will get to eventually. Sounds much much better though! Not obnoxious, but loud enough, with a nice tone.


NOW. Since y'all are caught up on what's been done, and what it looks like. Here are the things I have going on for it right now!

Plans in Progress
I picked up a set of axles for it. Just factory XJ axles. But they are from a 97+, auto. So 3.55 gears. Front is a HP D30. Needs axle shafts/seals and u-joints, all new brakes, and hub assembly. Already painted it and cleaned it up. Will be upgrading the tie rod to a Rough Country HD tie rod as well. Auto locker in the future too. Not sure when exactly.
The rear is a 29-spline Chrysler 8.25, with a LSD and 3.55s of course. Stoked on the LSD. It needs pinion seal, brake shoes, wheel cylinders, and getting a Dodge Dakota brake softline (6" longer), and 2x YJ passenger side ebrake cables to replace my stretched factory ones. U-bolts too of course, and replacing the rotted away non existent bump stops while I'm at it. Going to run new hardlines on it as well. May Going to be cleaning it and painting it black as well. Diff covers on both will be black with white bolts. Pretty stoked on this upgrade.
Will be moving to a 33x12.5R15 tire as well. Next, to make room for those, I will be making metal flat flares! Front first, rear likely as well. I know the design I'd like. This shape of flare, without the sheet metal on the whole fender. Just bolt on. They would also cover about 5-6" of tire, as the Rustys offroad ones don't cover much tire. But the general squared off shape is what I'm going for. The rear will get the same style design. Was considering just cutting the rear and putting mud flaps as I do like that look too, but I think it's a good idea just to make front and rear matching flares. Bedlined or painted black as well.


Front bumper is on the list as well. Going to use unibody tie in brackets with shackle mounts that I already have. Was going to just bolt those on, but decided to make a bumper off them. They are custom made and designed off a companies tie in brackets for a winch bumper. Anywho, going to use C-channel and notch it using an oxy-acetylene cutting torch setup, and bend/angle it to be similar to this. Then MIG weld it. Will also have a stinger, possibly headlight hoops like you'd see on some of Dirtbound Offroads bumpers. It will wrap around the sides to go under the fender as well.
Down the road when I can afford a winch, I will just weld on a winch plate essentially. Gusset it and make sure it can withstand the winch of course.



Similar style to bumper build plans

I'd like to do something for a rear bumper as well, but that'll wait for now. Going to get Skyjacker M95 rear shocks as well, 24" extended length, proper for the lift I have. Front will wait until I figure out what I want to do for setting it up better.

INTERIOR
For the interior there isn't much going on. B&M polished T-handle shifter (love it). Painted the dash trim white, did some snowy camo wraps on the TC shifter, trans shifter, and the e-brake, then Browning camo floor mats because my old ones were almost moldy...interior is quite clean though! Seat upgrade is in order though. The drivers seat is awfully saggy, leans to the side and it's annoying. Since it's a 2 door, the seats have to fold forwards. Looking at using newer TJ seats, and if they don't bolt in then make a bracket, drill new holes, whatever I need to do.
Gauge lights are red LEDs, really nice for night driving. Reverse lights (super happy I did this upgrade, can see much better reversing at night), dome light, glove box light, and license plate light are all very bright LED replacement bulbs as well.
Pillar gauge pods is also something I'd like, with probably oil+water temps. Get to that eventually haha. Have a 5lb fire extinguisher mounted behind the drivers seat onto the rear seat bottom support, just in the footwell area of the back seat. Can still fold down the back seats with no clearance issues, it's easy to access, and doesn't get in the way too much for people sitting back there!

For now, I think that's it! I will keep the thread updated with my progress on the plans, and new plans I have, parts I get, etc. Follow along to see where it goes! Thanks for the read, any comments, input, or suggestions you have, feel free to let me know!

Last edited by BC.Bryan92xj; 06-05-2017 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:07 PM
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I dig it! Looks good.
I am going to keep up on this thread for ideas on my XJ.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Shanye-West View Post
I dig it! Looks good.
I am going to keep up on this thread for ideas on my XJ.
Thanks man! Hopefully I'll be able to be adding lots of updates in the next little while, lots of things to do. Trying to get quite a few of these things done before winter hits haha
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BC.Bryan92xj View Post
Thanks man! Hopefully I'll be able to be adding lots of updates in the next little while, lots of things to do. Trying to get quite a few of these things done before winter hits haha


Same here! I look forward to updates!
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:35 AM
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Nice! I will have to go back thru and read up on your build just had time to brows the pics. From what I see you've got a great start.


Looks like it's time to add some recovery points to the front. If I had the chance to do it over I would opt. for a receiver hitch in the front and a winch in a tray. and wire the front and back with quick connects. I find my winch blocks air flow through and had to hard wire the e-fan to a switch so it would stay cool on long highway drives where steep grades made my rigs temps climb over 210-215 rather quickly with out that it would over heat.
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:56 AM
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That thing is beautiful. I love the two doors. So jealous that it is a 5 speed!!!
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by JandDGreens View Post
Nice! I will have to go back thru and read up on your build just had time to brows the pics. From what I see you've got a great start.


Looks like it's time to add some recovery points to the front. If I had the chance to do it over I would opt. for a receiver hitch in the front and a winch in a tray. and wire the front and back with quick connects. I find my winch blocks air flow through and had to hard wire the e-fan to a switch so it would stay cool on long highway drives where steep grades made my rigs temps climb over 210-215 rather quickly with out that it would over heat.
Thanks for checking it out! I do have some front recovery brackets that I was going to bolt on. But I decided I'm just going to make a bumper using them since that is where the bracket design came from. I definitely need some recovery points on the front soon though haha.
As for the winch blocking airflow, that did cross my mind. So I'm not positive that is what I'll do. Although my issue seems to be getting it up to running temperature on the road haha. In winter it had a hard time warming up, have a 195 thermostat in it now I believe. Offroad it runs right at ideal running temp, the aux fan will turn on when I'm stopped after just crawling something sometimes.
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MAC9902 View Post
That thing is beautiful. I love the two doors. So jealous that it is a 5 speed!!!
Thank you! I love the 2 doors a lot too, 5 speed is definitely fun for a dd, and more control offroad. Just hate the 3.07s that came with it
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Old 09-16-2016, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by BC.Bryan92xj View Post
Thank you! I love the 2 doors a lot too, 5 speed is definitely fun for a dd, and more control offroad. Just hate the 3.07s that came with it
That is easy to fix, Just get a set of axles from a XJ with a automatic tranny and swap them in. especially if you have a Danna 35 (swap in a 8.25) in the rear like mine came with. I have 31"s currently and 3.55 gears returned it to the way it ran on regular tires. I'll be swapping in axles I purchased (Danna 44 w/4.56 gears ARB lockers and the same for the Danna 30) hopefully I'll get to it this winter but I do have a lot of work to do to my trailer.
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Old 09-16-2016, 05:27 AM
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Ugh! Just looked at your profile and you state that's what your looking to do.
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by JandDGreens View Post
Ugh! Just looked at your profile and you state that's what your looking to do.
Yup haha already have the axles! Out of a 98 XJ, rear is a LSD 29 spline 8.25, which is what I was looking for, and 3.55s. Front is just a HP D30. Rear doesn't need much to get going. The front needs axle shafts/seals+ujoints, hubs, brakes, steering I'll figure out haha. But I'm planning to have them in before winter hits, having the LSD for the ****ty snow/ice driving will be nice!
Plus I'll be getting 33s when I find a nice deal and/or trade my 31s. I think I'll go to 33s at least, they'd help for the wheeling. 31s just are a bit too small and like to drop down in between rocks, where a 33x12.5 wouldn't have. Went out for a run with the local Jeep club, and boy my poor XJ got abused. Open diffs and 31s didn't cut it.

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Old 09-16-2016, 03:11 PM
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Right on man, following along on here now.
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Old 09-16-2016, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by StUone7 View Post
Right on man, following along on here now.
Right on! I'll hopefully be updating it fairly often. Lots of plans for it this fall/winter.
You consider making a build thread for your XJ? Not sure if you plan on doing much of a build yet but even just posting any upgrades and your trail riding is cool to see.
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Old 09-16-2016, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BC.Bryan92xj View Post
Right on! I'll hopefully be updating it fairly often. Lots of plans for it this fall/winter.
You consider making a build thread for your XJ? Not sure if you plan on doing much of a build yet but even just posting any upgrades and your trail riding is cool to see.
Yea hurry up and heal and get to updating it :P haha

Yea I'd like to do a build thread, I just don't know when I'll be able to really do anything to it cause money is real tight, be stock for a while. Probably do some DIY discos and call it good for now. Between biking, Jeep, and photography its hard to balance the money output haha. I'll definitely have many pictures to post when I do get around to posting something though.
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Old 09-16-2016, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by StUone7 View Post
Yea hurry up and heal and get to updating it :P haha

Yea I'd like to do a build thread, I just don't know when I'll be able to really do anything to it cause money is real tight, be stock for a while. Probably do some DIY discos and call it good for now. Between biking, Jeep, and photography its hard to balance the money output haha. I'll definitely have many pictures to post when I do get around to posting something though.
I wish this healed quicker haha. It's been a lot worse than anyone expected unfortunately, so just been stuck inside! Next week assuming this is all fine and dandy, I'll start posting updates. Will clean the rear axle and get the parts I need.

But that's fair enough! My bike has been sitting without use for most of the year. Just don't have the time it seems, just been put on the backburner for now which is too bad. Love riding still.
But yeah you should definitely remove the rear swaybar and make quick discos for the front! You'll be glad you did.
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