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The Bulldog Project

Old 08-27-2017, 11:08 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 35
Model: Cherokee
Default The Bulldog Project

After swapping my head out last week, I figure it's time to start a build thread/keep track of everything I'm putting into my 2001 XJ Limited.

This is the Bulldog Project. I'm a UGa grad and have been trying to get back to the south since I left. This build is going to take a tone of patience and tenacity, hence Bulldog. Also, I'm going to keep the color scheme to red and black with silver accents. Go dawgs

3 years ago, I purchased my cherry red 2001 XJ limited with 84K on the odometer. It had been a fleet vehicle (who uses that as a fleet vehicle is beyond me, but ok) and then sat idle for a number of years until I found it. I'm in the northeast, but thankfully the rust situation is not bad at all. Axles, driveshafts and the entire exhaust system will need to come out along with brake lines, but it doesn't have any major rust spots on the undercarriage or the body.

At this point, it's pretty much still stock. It's my DD and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The end goal is to build a capable overland style rig that's reliable and safe enough to load my wife, and eventually children, into for camping and mild off-roading. This build is going to go in short spurts. I'm committed to putting a good bit of money into it to ensure that I've got high quality parts and am willing to take my time in acquiring said parts. I know some will give me grief for going that route that I am, but I'm ok with it.

This is really here for me to keep everything in one place. Hopefully others can get some enjoyment/ideas out of this and I can get some advice along the way.

Current drivetrain:
LPDana30 front axle
Chrysler8.25 rear axle
NP231J transfer case
4.0I6 242 AMC

Work completed so far:
Truck Lite LED headlights
JCR Heavy Duty Taillight housing w/ LEDs
Clear marker lamp housings upfront and on the sides
Grill and bezels Plastidipped Black
Front and rear badges dipped black
New Ignition Cylinder
All Aluminum Radiator
Water pump and Thermostat/housing replaced
Fan Clutch replaced - Fan sprayed silver
MAS and TPS sensors replaced
Blinker Fuse Replaced
Head replaced - crappy 0331 casting replaced with HD casting from Clearwater
Front calipers replaced
Undercarriage rust coating started
Oil pressure sensor replaced
Coil rail replaced

Currently in the shop for:
Front brake line replacement - both sides
Fuel Rail replacement
Pulling bolts broken during head install - 2 AC compressor bracket, 1 TB

The Plan:
MetalCloak Duroflex 3.5" Lift
16" Wheels - really liking the Moab style in black at the moment
32" A/T Tires
HPD30 to replace the LP30 (already have this in the shed and working on tear down)
SYE v Complete TCase swap TBD
Diff covers TBD
Hi-Lift Jack TBD
Big Brake Kit up front - not a welder so the WJ knuckle swap scares me a bit
Disc brake conversion in the rear
Quick Discos
Steering Upgrade TBD
Custom Driveshafts - TBD Tom Woods or local shop
30 gallon gas tank
4 hole injectors (purchased, just waiting for funds for new fuel pump to install)
Banks Torque Tube exhaust
Cat replacement
Remaining exhaust system upgrade TBD
THOR cowl intake
Brown Dog motor mounts
High output alternator
High flow water pump
Starter upgrade TBD
Putco headlight harness
Battery cable upgrade TBD
Battery upgrade TBD
Onboard air TBD - most likely in engine bay
Second battery
Winch TBD - thinking 9000#should be enough
Front and rear bumpers TBD - leaning smittybuit or JCR currently
Sliders TBD - again leaning JCR at the moment
50" light bar
Other lighting TBD

This is where my head is on this at the moment. I'll work on getting some pictures up of how it sits now and post whatever I have on the work that's been done. Will definitely post a big set of what not to do when replacing a head over the next few days.

Last edited by orvnoob; 09-02-2018 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Adding Photos
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:43 AM
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 35
Model: Cherokee

And a year later, life has slowed down enough for me to post updates. I'm a bum, I know. Anyway, on we go.

One of the first things I did was plastidip the grill cover, headlight bezels and emblems black. This was meant as a temporary fix. I plan on replacing the grill cover/bezels with a black set and swapping the emblems for a set from a new Cherokee. You can also see the new headlights.

I got a bit ahead of myself and installed JCRs rear steel taillights with LEDs. These will tie in with the bumper plan later.

It ran fine for a bit until overheating on a road trip to Boston. Not cool at all. You can see the corrosion on the stock radiator. Swapped it out for a 3 row aluminum bit. Which now also needs to be pressure tested and likely replaced. Dropped in a new water pump while I was at it.

A few weeks later, I started having issues with my ignition cylinder, so that had to go. This was actually less a pain that I thought it would be. Less scary as well.

Noticed she was still running just a shade warm. Swapped out the e-fan and my busted fan clutch. It's like they didn't replace anything in 16 years... Painted the fan a nice silver, which now needs repainting due to the radiator problem.

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