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Alberta, the flame red XJ

Old 10-15-2017, 07:36 AM
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Engine: 4.0 6 cyl
Default Alberta, The Flame Red Overland XJ

Hi everyone,

First, I want to thank all of you. I have been looking for an XJ for a couple months now and all the information on this forum has been incredible and helped me to know what to look for, what I really wanted, and to help plan this build in my head before I actually even owned an XJ (again).

My first real car was an 86 Cherokee, 5 speed, that I drove for about 5 years through high school and college. Big Blue was a beast but I never did any off roading back then because he was my daily driver, I didn't have much money, and the only guys I knew who went off roading seemed to just be finding ways to break their rigs each weekend so they could take the bus to school, and spend their afternoons fixing them. I didn't have a desire to do that, so I stayed on the road. Until a couple years ago when I learned there are people that enjoy going off road but with the goal of getting home without breaking their rigs. So I started taking my JKU on more and more challenging forest roads and trails in Vermont.

I have been wanting to build a more off road focused rig that could also double as my daily driver (since my JKU has hit 200k miles it is now mostly a commuter car for my girlfriend and a trip vehicle for weekends) I thought about what I wanted and just kept coming back to the XJ for their style, capability, affordability, and availability of aftermarket parts, etc.

So now that we have gotten the background info out of the way, here is where we stand today. After a good while searching for an XJ, I found Alberta at a used car lot about 3 hours away in New Jersey. She is a 2000 Cherokee with 155k miles, auto transmission, 231 transfer case, 3.55 gears with Chrysler on the back, flame red, all stock, and running and driving well. No rust on the rockers, floors or doors, just a little surface rust here and there.



I'm guessing the PO read about bedlining the headliner, but didn't realize they were supposed to remove the fabric and foam BEFORE bedlining it. It seems they just sprayed the bedliner straight on the fabric, visors, light and speaker housings instead. There were also some other typical issues like the window control, stereo and speakers not working, dent in the front bumper corner, tailgate struts worn out, and the tires were worn really badly. My plan is to handle all this stuff first, get it driving well and all the little things that will drive me crazy taken care of first, then focus on actually building it the way I want it.

So here we go...

Last edited by draposo; 10-15-2017 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:59 AM
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As I mentioned, the first thing I wanted to do was take care of a bunch of little things.

I replaced the struts and bumpers on the tailgate, replaced the headliner, speakers, stereo head unit, drivers window control and picked up a set of wheels and tires off craigslist that will get me through the next few months until I can get the lift and bigger tires.

The PO sprayed the headliner with bedliner, you can see the difference in color around the speaker and light locations.



So I got some headliner fabric off Amazon, scraped it clean, sprayed it down with glue and freshened it up. Next thing I need to do is pick up some JY ceiling lights and visors to replace these. Day 1 of updates also included mounting the CL wheels and tires, new speakers, drivers window control and Pioneer bluetooth stereo.

The rims are from a YJ and the previous owner sprayed them with some matte black rustoleum. I like the rims, but three are missing the center caps and they could use some black lugs. I'm going to think about whether or not to get new rims or just clean these up and use them with the new tires when I get them and the lift.



I think the headliner came out really well, despite being my first time doing anything like this. The only issue I had was the corners creasing behind the rear speakers.





Next up are more of the important things...
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:17 AM
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Welcome! and you make a good point about these... Lots of aftermarket parts are indeed available!
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:19 AM
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So my plan moving forward is to go through Alberta with a fine tooth comb and set a maintenance schedule by doing everything that needs to be done. Oil and fluid changes, brakes, filters, etc. and then the plan for the actual build.

1. 2" OME suspension.
I don't want to go too aggressive with the lift as I am not planning on big tires or rock crawling and also don't want to have to worry about a SYE at this time. I would rather spend the money on the shorter OME lift that I know will have a great ride, reliability, and better fits my plans than a less expensive but more aggressive lift. I also need to replace many of the worn bushings on the front end so will do these at the same time.

2. New wheels (maybe keep the YJ rims?) and 31-32" tires.

3. New rear bumper and tire carrier
I really like the JCR bumper but don't know if I want to spend that much. I will be keeping my eye on the forums and CL and see about getting something used to save some money.

4. Front bumper and winch
Again, I will be keeping my eye on the forums and CL and see about getting something used for the bumper to save some money.

5. Skid plates and rocker guards

6. Interior storage system.
I tend to use my rigs for camping and on most solo trips will just sleep inside so I like to have a system for storing stuff in back that I can then use as a sleeping platform. I built a similar system for my JKU and will probably just do a shorter version of that for Alberta.
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Bugout4x4 View Post
Welcome! and you make a good point about these... Lots of aftermarket parts are indeed available!
Thanks, they really are one of the best and most reasonable options out there.

Low cost to purchase, awesome 4.0 engines that last forever and are easy to work on, lots of aftermarket parts, large interior space and four doors while being relatively small vehicles. Then there is the classic look and style, which I think will be just as iconic as the early WO Jeeps, FSJ and Wagoneers in the future.
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Old 10-17-2017, 03:25 PM
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Picked up some bits and pieces from the JY yesterday.

Overhead console and wiring harness (was just looking for a light, but was pretty happy with this)
Cargo area courtesy light (since the PO bedlined them along with the headliner)
New visors (again since the PO bedlined them)
Oh **** handles (again since the PO got bedliner on them, Sensing a theme here?)
A few random pieces of interior trim (can you guess why?)
Two center caps for the rims I picked up.

All for $50. Awesome

The donor Jeep also had a fuel tank skid, but I couldn't really check it out because it was sitting on its axles. The JY is going to lift it up and take it off for me, let's see how much they want for it...

I read through a bunch of forum threads about installing and wiring the OHC, and will post some pictures and a rundown on that process. There will be some cutting of the headliner, removing the dash, and splicing some wires so we will see how it goes...
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:57 PM
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So I'm dealing with my first maintenance issue. I have had a few random rough starts/misfiring. They seems to occur on hard driving days where I'm putting in some good miles, and then let the car sit for a while before starting it again. It will be unresponsive to the skinny pedal, and eventually the RPMs will go up and it will start running fine. Then it will be fine. The CEL came on at one point, then went off after a few days of nothing happening. Thankfully with the help of all of you fine folks on the forum, I believe this is an issue with the fuel injector overheating and getting vapor lock. So I have ordered some cleaned up 784 injectors and the DEI insulation kit for the fuel rail and injectors and will be handling this as soon as the parts come in.

Sorry, no fun photos to add to the mix at this point.
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Old 11-25-2017, 07:53 AM
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Alright, the thread has been quiet for a while as I have been pretty busy with work and have been waiting/saving up for all the black Friday sales. Black Friday has come and I went a little crazy.

Ordered the OME 2" lift with medium duty springs up front and heavy in the back, steering stabilizer and Nitrogen 2.2 sport shocks. OK4WD had the whole kit for $604 shipped, it was a really nice discount. They also had a nice sale on Husky liners so I picked up a pair for the front.

Went a little crazy at JCR, but got everything I have been wanting in one shot. I really love their design, build quality, and their sales team was incredibly helpful.

Vanguard front winch bumper with tie-in kit and steering spacer.
Vanguard rear bumper with tie-in kit and rear quarter armor.
Tire carrier with rotopax mounts and license plate relocation
Classic sliders

I got everything unfinished and plan to paint them myself. I have seen a lot of people rolling Monstaliner or other bedliner and have thought about that, but was also thinking of just using a matte black rattle can. Any thoughts?

I'm not sure what bolts and bushings the kit comes with, it just says hardware, but once I get it in I will look to see what is there and what is missing. Any suggestions for extra parts I may need to get for the lift install or replace while I have everything taken apart?

I plan to do a pretty hefty build weekend with a few buddies of mine the first weekend in January and try to install all this stuff in one go. If anyone is interested in joining, let me know.
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