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Average Joe XJ build

Old 09-12-2015, 09:24 PM
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Default Average Joe XJ build

Greetings Cherokeeforum, I've decided it is time for a build thread. I have gotten to the point where I've done enough to actually start a build thread, and would like to share my experiences so far.
I'm just your average guy, not a mechanic, not a fabricator, I don't own some ornate mechanics dream garage with the highest quality tools and equipment. I'm a normal dude that has taken a liking to fixing and building my jeep and have learned and self-taught myself along the way.
I'm 22 years old, I live in Connecticut and this is my 3rd year owning my XJ. This will begin as a timeline from when I bought the Jeep, to present and will hopefully continue on from there.

#1 This is where it all began. Stock 1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic, black on black with tan cloth interior. Factory 5 point jeep wheels with 30x9.5x15 general grabber at2s. 4.0 I6 AW4 automatic 147,000 miles. Bought it exactly as it sits.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2013-07-15-19.10.33.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-07-22-16.49.41-1.jpg  
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:29 PM
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#2 First thing I noticed was some shuttering and shaking at full lock, so after doing some research, I discovered U-joints to be a common culprit so I changed those.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2013-07-29-14.06.21.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-07-29-14.06.36.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-08-16-10.37.59.jpg  
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:33 PM
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#3 Turns out, the shaking I had been experiencing was the fact that the tires were too wide and came in contact with the lower control arm upon full lock. My solution was to buy a crappy set of stock wheels (40 bucks). Painted them sexy black, popped the center caps back on and threw on some tires I had lying around. I kept the grabbers, I just ran the smaller wheels and tires for a while as a backup.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2013-08-16-10.39.06.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-08-21-08.42.42.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-08-21-08.42.52.jpg  
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:37 PM
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#4 My muffler was pretty rusted out so I put a glasspack on. I had it in the garage and best of all it was FREE! Random side pic after wheels and muffler. Don't give me crap about going DOWN a tire size!
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2013-09-12-11.49.41.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-09-07-15.21.04.jpg  
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:45 PM
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#5 Brakes were a little shotty so I decided that would be my next important move. Ended up doing pads, rotors, lines, drums, shoes, wheel cylinders and a little paint too. Go big or go home right?
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2013-10-02-12.07.54.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-10-02-12.08.56.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-10-04-13.48.39.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-10-04-15.00.37.jpg  
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:52 PM
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#6 Another common problem is heating so I did the water pump and hoses along with it. Also installed an aFe CAI (painted myself), stock airbox would have been fine but I wanted to free up some space, and make my cherokee one of a kind! New plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor as well.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2013-10-19-12.27.10.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-10-24-13.07.18.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-11-05-14.08.57.jpg  
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:56 PM
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#7 Winter came so it was time for the Grabbers to get put back on. Really good overall tire for the price IMO. Also got some fogs mounted for those snowy nights, as well as a cherokee decal for the fender and windshield.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2014-01-23-12.22.02.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-10-28-12.59.55.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2013-12-25-12.22.49.jpg  
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:05 PM
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#8 Now for the fun stuff. Lift kits, mud, big tires and empty wallets. After much research (and even more saving) I decided to go with BDS. Their stuff is expensive, and doesn't really fit into my "average guy" theme here but heres the logic behind it. 1. I have a local dealer that gets me good rates on BDS products (including Zone) 2. No B.S. lifetime warranty MEANING you break something, you call, you get a new part. No questions asked. 3. You don't need the warranty because everything is bulletproof. So yes. I paid twice the price of a rough country kit but financially, doing it right the first time is the smarter option.
I stumbled across a set of 33's for 80 bucks with decent tread, and bought myself 200 dollars worth of Cragar wheels. 1400 for the lift (with dealer discount) 80 bucks for tires, 200 for wheels. Total: 1680.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-screenshot_2015-09-12-23-19-54.png   Average Joe XJ build-20140221_142140.jpg  

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Old 09-13-2015, 10:09 PM
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I wanted to see if I could fit 33s stock. I couldn't. My cat is weird.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-20140221_142653.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-20140326_101942.jpg  
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:17 PM
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Doing the lift in the rear was a pain in the butt. Every leaf spring and shackle bolt took way too much time to get out, lots of rust and broken stuff. On the plus side I didn't break a SINGLE rear shock bolt. Not many XJ guys can say that! The P.O. installed blocks in the rear *sadface* which apparently made the rear leaf spring shear in two I had no idea. Good thing I got full leaf packs! LESSON: Don't use blocks.
I honestly thought about leaving only the rear lifted...it'd be unique in its own way.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-20140317_122700.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-20140318_151351.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-20140319_101619.jpg  
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:27 PM
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The front went much more smoothly, considering. I didn't have impact tools at this time so things were just slightly more challenging in general. Out with the old, in with the new. I deleted the rear swaybar because racecar.
Lift included, full leaf packs and drop shackles, new shocks and springs, adjustable upper and lower control arms, adjustable trackbar and swaybar quick disconnects, extended lines, extended bumpstops and pinion shims.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-20140317_140044.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-20140317_103052.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-20140320_142054.jpg  
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:35 PM
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and YAHTZEE! lifted jeep. And yes, before anyone loses their pants I did do a sye and double cardan rear shaft. Ended up using a front driveshaft from an identical model year XJ and it fit perfect.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-img_6953.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-img_6896.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-img_6880.jpg  
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:40 PM
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MOAR PICS! MOAR PICS! For anyone who is curious those tires are the old style pro comp M/T. They were okay, noisy on the road, hard to make an accurate review since I got them with under 40% tread.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-img_6874.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-img_6898.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-img_6945.jpg  
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:58 PM
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#9 Once the modifying began I was hooked, I wanted ALL THE THINGS. My next move was bumpers. I looked around and found a Detours Tailbone (http://detoursusa.com/tailbone.php) on the CF.com classifieds. It was localish so I took the ferry ride there and bought it for around 350 bucks. Never used.
The system keeps the stock "look" but you add heavy duty reinforcement under the stock bumper that ties into the unibody providing D-ring support as well as the ability to lug around a spare.

Then I painted it yellow because I love bananas. Kidding, it was the only paint I had.
For those of you wondering, no, thats not the finished look.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2014-06-14-07.11.37.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2014-06-16-19.19.53.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2014-06-16-19.19.44.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2014-06-17-13.51.20.jpg  
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:02 PM
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This is what the finished product came to be, I liked the look at the time.
Attached Thumbnails Average Joe XJ build-2014-07-29-20.12.03.jpg   Average Joe XJ build-2014-07-29-20.11.41.jpg  
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