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99 WJ Laredo

Old 04-06-2019, 07:44 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Erie PA
Posts: 5
Year: 1999
Model: Grand Cherokee (WJ)
Engine: 4.0 i6
Default 99 WJ Laredo

SO I just picked up my first jeep last week. I have some experience in building engines (euro and jap) but not much in the way of utility builds. I'm super pumped to have a nice sturdy 2nd vehicle that I use for some nice adventuring on the weekends!

The good:
4.0 i6 42re trans with selec-trac
187K miles
no check engine lights
really clean interior


The not-so good:
slight wobble even at lower speeds
tire burning smell while driving
no leaking coolant but burnt coolant smell
good bit of under-body rust
3 different sized tires....
Mostly shot suspension
Exhaust broken at the exit of muffler

The preventative plans:
First thing's first. I have to get some preventative stuff out of the way. I want to flush the fluids. The trans fluid is nice and bright pink but an oil change wouldn't hurt. I've never had a 4wd before so I'm assuming the front and rear diff's fluid can be changed and likely should as well as maybe the x-fer case.
I have to change the serpentine belt. It's got a good bit of wear and it's starting to split.
I also want to do the basics, the plugs, wires, cabin and air filter, check AC and charge if need be.

Plans I'd like advice on:
The breaks are a bit shaky. The pads are relatively new but there is a pretty bad rust ring around it. The question here is, how important is the performance of the brakes off road? Of course I'm replacing the rotor but is this a good time to upgrade the rotor / caliper? So I need an upgrade? Is there any real benefit for "higher than stock performance" for off-road braking?

All of the suspension components are mostly shot. I'll be replacing all the ball joints. as for some of the components, the control arms, track bars, steering linkages...all of these need replaced. pretty much everything is shot. I'm curious what needs an upgrade to get to a moderate 4" lift. That's the highest I plan to go. Before I replace the parts with OEM, which components should I go ahead and replace to prepare for the lift and future proof it. And will the parts that work with a 4" lift also work at stock ride height until I decide on how I'm lifting? Or even better, do these components as OEM work with the 4" lift well enough that I can replace them further down the line ex post facto?

I'll be trimming the wheel wells and going with the bushwacker flares. They look great and gives me a nice bit of space for a larger tire without having to go super large on the lift. Best I can tell with the BW trim, I can run 31x10's pretty easy on stock suspension until I decide on the best route to lift. Is this accurate? I also want to go ahead and get 15x8 wheels. I found a couple sets of steels I really like at 3.75 backspace which should be enough to clear the brakes from what I've read here.

As for the lift I was to be about 4" seems to be the common lift around here and people don't seem to have many issues with clearance off-road @ 4" I'm not going to ask for advice here...I'm pretty sure the search feature will give me EVERYTHING I need to know lol. But I do have a random thought on Budget boosts. Are these strictly for aesthetics? I can't imagine the performance of blocking your suspension is any type of improvement. BUT does the addition of larger wheels from a 2"BB outweigh a suspension upgrade? I guess I could use some advice on that

Of course i want to do a gas tank tuck...I hate the WJ placement. Seems bad.

Not sure about power upgrades for the 4.0 honestly it seems like nearly 200HP And a nice torque-y i6 is more than enough to trail with. I don't see the benefit of sacrificing the 4.0's reliability if it's not necessary.

Roof rack, light bar, possibly a steel bumper with a better entrance angle...not sure yet, they kinda look derpy. winch, air compressor, etc etc...all the other common obvious upgrades and toys.

This is the plan so far. I'd love some advice and guidance!! I'll be buying my first round of parts this weekend and I'll be updating as things go on! I want to keep this pretty active! I think this is going to be a lot of fun....also...I'm into this jeep for 700 bucks!!!!
Attached Thumbnails 99 WJ Laredo-20190406_194331.jpg   99 WJ Laredo-20190403_135540.jpg   99 WJ Laredo-20190403_135419.jpg   99 WJ Laredo-20190403_135434-1-.jpg   99 WJ Laredo-20190403_135504.jpg  

99 WJ Laredo-20190403_135457.jpg  
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:42 PM
  #2  
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chico, CA
Posts: 4,412
Year: 1986
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.3L with headers and full 3" exhaust system
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As far as brakes go, WJs have pretty good brakes. In fact I put a full set on my XJ and love them. A lot of how brakes work is involved in what kind of pads you use. Soft pads seem to stop quick, but they wear fast and fade on long high speed stops. Hard pads need a little warm up to really start grabbing. The best alternative I have found is ceramic pads. However they do make the rotors wear. But other than that, best of both worlds. Not sure on caliper upgrades, but I would be interested in finding out about that
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:51 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Erie PA
Posts: 5
Year: 1999
Model: Grand Cherokee (WJ)
Engine: 4.0 i6
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Okay I have a question for anyone able to help. I've been bouncing back and fourth between M/T and A/T. I prefer to keep the noise down as I'll have to do a good bit of traveling between trails on the road plus I part time DD the jeep. It has 3 different tire sizes as bought...(kms) on the old stock cherokee wheels. The 15x8 (3.75" back space) wheels I want will take a month to ship due to back order. I hate to get tires for the 16"...I can't really wait for shipping...I don't know about used. So here is the question:

Is is an okay idea to have both? If I just go ahead and sink the money into some good ol' new tires for the 16" I can get normal grocery getters and keep them on until I know I'm gonna go trailing. Then when my new tires come in get M/T for those and just swap em out for trips? I mean...I used to do that for tires on the STi when I didn't want to burn through my sticky soft tires.

I need to start diagnosing some of the suspension issues and the first step is getting the right shoes on. Then I can go from there. I don't want to buy a bunch of stuff I'm just going to replace once I start lifting, I also don't want to throw 2500 dollars on the lift right out of the gate either. It's a fine edge lol

This an okay plan? Am I over thinking it? Is the M/T noise even that bad? Should I just get some 25 dollars used tires to get me through the month?! HALP
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:18 AM
  #4  
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Year: 1986
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Engine: 4.3L with headers and full 3" exhaust system
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Sure, I did that for years. Michelin street tires for daily and long distance and Swampers for fun
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:05 PM
  #5  
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Erie PA
Posts: 5
Year: 1999
Model: Grand Cherokee (WJ)
Engine: 4.0 i6
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Got some parts in today! Rear A-arm, Ball joint, Lower control arms, 3" springs, and struts, and rear sway bar. That ate the budget for last week lol. I'm going to get the adjustable front control arms, ball joints, and the track bar, and steering arms tomorrow when I get paid. I'm hoping all of this is in by Friday so I can just do it all in one go. I need to pick up a wire wheel and start knocking off rust while I'm under there and prep her for some type of undercoat...not really sure what yet. I order some 15x8 black steels from amazon, 49.00 each. Cheap but they looks good and they're steel...can't be too bad. Once I get the small lift on and the suspension replaced, I'll see if the wobbles and clunks are sorted. If so I'll Go ahead and make a tire investment. Until then I have to do the annoying maintenance stuff. I tried to find a good balance between repair and upgrade. I know if I go higher than 3.5" I have to look at long arms etc and I didn't want to make that investment out of the box. So If my tires don't fit I'll just look into trimming and get the bushwhacker (or a Chinese knock off...it really doesn't matter for a fender cut cover-up) But honestly 31" should be pretty close to fine until I go higher...if I go higher.
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