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Cheep buggy to beat on trails

Old 02-24-2010, 01:24 PM
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Default Cheep buggy to beat on trails

Hi , I am new here. I have been wheeling for years mostly in my full size Bronco, have had Toyota's and Sammy.
I can buy an almost complete 1990 Jeep Cherokee,with automatic, 4.0 engine , minus fenders and starter. The deal is that an out of state (Texan) owner left it at a local shop and it got new injectors, rear seal, and some other work. Owner never returned to pay, shop got lean, & mechanics title but cannot get registration due to Texas law. I can buy this Jeep for $500.00 delivered, with good tires. I want to build a fun rock/trail buggy for off road use in New Mexico only. I understand that the XJ has uni-body construction and I want to know if it is worth the trouble and cost to construct a simple tube frame or is it easier to simply drop all the gear into a frame I already have. I have a 1986 full sized Bronco, a 1989 Ford f150 Supercab, and a nice 1986 Suzuki Samurai, all with titles. I am a good fabricator, used to weld for a living and might be able to borrow a tubing bender. I am not trying to build a competition rock crawler, just a cheep fun buggy and use my brand new 33"x12.5 buckshot mudder tires. I would like to hit the trails with around 40 hours work and $1000.00 including buying the Jeep. I can do a lincoln lock for now and get Detroit lockers later. If this is not possable, just how much could I cut off the Jeep and expect it to hold together with just a simple roll cage or poor boy exo- skeleton. I want it to
be light, cheep and rugged. Did I mention I am a cheapskate and tend to abuse my rigs?? Thanks, Michael
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:04 PM
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the unibody is well i hate to say it but its ****ty. if you abuse it to much and rock crawl then it can bend and doors and hatch wont close/open. but it is a great base to work off of. its strong and easy to stiffen! the 4.0 is damn near bullet proof! the 4 doors have a little bit more rigidy then the 2 doors. to go have fun its practically free to take the doors off! roll cages arent that expensive! and you can put a coil spacer and use grand cherokee coils in the front and bastard pack the rear to fit the 33's.

the weak part of the cherokees is the wimpy dana 35 in the rear. if you could find one with a 44 or a chrysler 8.25 you'll be golden!
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:49 AM
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Sounds like good honest advice. I am a ignorant redneck Ford guy so tell me how to "bastard pack" the rear axle of an XJ. I guess I can always swap in a bigger rear axle, maybe even a Ford 9" if I can match the gear ratio with the front. I don't even know what ratio the Jeep has now.
Thanks for the advice, my friends all wheel FSJ's big Chevy's and Toyota's so I am getting my edufreakincation here.
Michael

Last edited by NMCowboy; 02-25-2010 at 12:50 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:35 AM
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glad 2 see another Ford guy!
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:42 AM
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If you fit the 4.0L in the samurai i'll show you a pic of a buick 215 V8 my father is fitting in the sidekick...
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:35 PM
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Where you from NM?
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:12 AM
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I'm in southeastern NM , Eddy county, Carlsbad .
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by NMCowboy View Post
I'm in southeastern NM , Eddy county, Carlsbad .
Roswell here bud! Let me know if I can help you in any way...
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:49 AM
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Thanks for the offer. I run with bunch of good frinds here (at least when my junk is running). We used to be a real club with a name and dues and all that but club politics got in the way of fun so we just plan our runs at the yahoo group I started years ago. If you are interested in doing some runs I will send you and invitation to the group and you can keep up with where and when we run. We have some trails you can do in a stock 4x4 and some that will challenge almost any rig and driver.We always have some guys at Chili Chalange every year. Let me know if you are interested.
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Old 02-27-2010, 01:55 AM
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Sounds good...First off, do you know what rear-end you got? I'm pretty sure it's a D35. It has an oval shaped pumpkin. If any different, let me know. Bastard packs are pretty easy if you have a good donor. I'd recommend an s-10. See what you come up with and post when you do.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:14 PM
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what i would do:

rusty's 3" HD coils
S10 Bastard pack
ford 8.8 w/ factory 4.10s
4cyl XJ D30 w/ factory 4.10s
fender trim
tranny cooler
V8 ZJ tie-rod

makes ur rig fairly cheap and durable
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