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Camping Cherokee Budget Build

Old 03-15-2016, 11:55 PM
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Default Camping Cherokee Budget Build

I've had my '93 Cherokee Country for a few months now, so I decided to start a build thread to share updates as I progress. I do a lot of hiking and camping, so this rig will really be aimed at tackling the rough backroads, snow, and mud holes often found on the way to remote trailheads. To start out the thread, here is a picture of the Jeep in the as purchased condition on the inaugural camping trip a week after I bought it.


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Old 03-16-2016, 02:17 PM
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Look forward to the progress!
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Old 03-16-2016, 04:42 PM
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Cant wait to see the outcome. Plan on lifting it??
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Old 03-16-2016, 05:59 PM
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First, I went through fixed a few issues. The radiator was leaking, all the coolant hoses were degrading, the blower only worked on high and squealed like crazy, the oil pressure indicator was reading high, the stereo receiver was missing, the distributor cap and rotor were corroded, the spark plugs were in rough shape, you could see threads in the fan belt, the liftgate struts were shot, and all the fluids needed changing. A few online parts orders and a couple of busy weekends later, and I got all that taken care of.

I have lots of ideas for what I would like to do, but here is what I am thinking so far:

- Junkyard lift using ZJ V8 coils with poly spacers up front and XJ/XJ bastard leaf pack in the rear. I'm aiming for about 2.5" of lift.
- Trimmed fenders and larger tires. I'm currently leaning towards 33x10.5 BFGs.
- ZJ rear disc brake conversion.
- Stripped out carpet and bedlined floor with removable drain plugs
- Roof rack with LED light bar and spare tire mount
- Custom transfer case direct shift lever
- Possibly a cowl snorkel
- High flow muffler
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Old 03-16-2016, 06:29 PM
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Sounds perfect. I want to do the brake conversion but unfortunately i have no experience with brakes so that'll have to wait. I'm rollin on 33's trimmed and cut with a 5 inch RC lift. I'm not too satisfied with the quality of RC but it'll do lol. I will definitely be checking your thread to see the progress. subbed!
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:28 PM
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Subscribed. Can't wait to see the progress!
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:05 PM
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I removed the front fender flares and trimmed the fenders down to mini sheet metal flares. I like the look better than removing the flare completely, and it helps give the fender a little more strength. I don't have a close up pic with the full flare on, but my original post should give you a pretty good idea of what it looked like before.








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Old 03-22-2016, 01:26 PM
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I also removed the rear fender flares and did the cut-n-fold so that I would end up with the same style mini flare in the rear. I'll be masking and painting the lip with bedliner whenever I get a free afternoon and it isn't raining outside...














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Old 03-22-2016, 03:18 PM
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Great work on the fender trimming! Much nicer than a lot of the hack-jobs I've seen.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jay_sco View Post
Great work on the fender trimming! Much nicer than a lot of the hack-jobs I've seen.
Thanks! I used my 4 1/2" angle grinder with a cutoff wheel for most of it, and then cleaned up the edges with a flapper wheel. The hardest part was making myself go slow and not cutting too quickly.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:57 PM
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Last Friday I took a trip to the local pick-n-pull, and I picked up a pair of front springs out of a late 90's 5.2 liter V8 Limited Jeep ZJ without the upcountry suspension package. I'm guessing it was about a 1996 or so. I knew they wouldn't give me as much lift as the springs out of a 5.9 liter V8, but I decided to give them a go anyway. I just got them installed on my 1993 Cherokee Country, and I ended up getting right about 1 1/8" of lift (1.125" for those of you who dislike fractions) with everything else remaining stock. I am currently running 235/75R-15 tires. Yes, I know that swapping out springs for just 1" of lift seems like a lot of work, but I wanted to know exactly how much lift I would get. I plan on installing spacers in the front to match the rear after I build/install an XJ/XJ bastard leaf pack with the target being 2.5" of lift. My wife and I took it for a drive post install, and the ride quality was not noticeably rougher. I did notice less body lean, and the front end felt more composed going through corners. Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out! On to the pics!

5.2 liter V8 Limited ZJ spring on the left and the stock I6 XJ spring on the right:



Midway through the install process with the new spring:



Wheel well close up BEFORE LIFT:



Wheel well close up AFTER LIFT:



Side profile of Jeep AFTER LIFT:


Last edited by jeepnhike; 04-22-2016 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Removed giant useless before/after wheel measurement pics - Lift height is listed in the text
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:19 PM
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I'm lovin this! I have an 89 Cherokee and am going to be doing a camping build also as I don't expect to do the super hard core off road in and what to keep my build low key.
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Old 05-04-2016, 03:29 PM
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Thanks! Glad to hear of someone else doing a camping budget build as well.

I've been pretty busy on the Jeep lately. Since my last post, I installed long add-a-leafs, Hella 500 driving lights, did the rear quarter panel cut and fold, and trimmed the rear bumper. I'll get some pics up later this week hopefully.
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Old 05-04-2016, 05:06 PM
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Definitely man! And that's awesome! Where did you put the front license plate after the air dam removal?
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:09 PM
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Here is a side shot after I installed the rear add-a-leaf. I've been driving it around for a few weeks now and been on a couple of camping/wheeling adventures, so the leafs have definitely had time to settle. Overall, I am pleased with the ride quality, and they feel much more composed than just the stock springs when fully loaded with camping gear. It sags down to just about level when loaded with a weekend's worth of gear.

For the install, I disassembled the leaf pack, flapper wheeled each of the leafs, oiled them, put the long add-a-leaf under the main spring, and put it all back together. For the amount of work that it was, I was kicking myself for not spending the extra $$ to get a full pack, but hindsight is 20-20.

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