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ExpeditionXJís Build: OCD, a 99 XJ, and a decent budget

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ExpeditionXJís Build: OCD, a 99 XJ, and a decent budget

Old 01-01-2016, 06:53 PM
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Default ExpeditionXJís Build: OCD, a 99 XJ, and a decent budget

I come from a performance car background, and have been building fast cars since before I could drive.

In February 2015, after 7 years, I ended things with Lucy. She was a 2006 Subaru WRX STI with 600hp. I had meticulously built her over the years with lots of blood, sweat, and money. She was a temperamental, high maintenance *****, but I loved her.

We started drifting apart the last couple of years we were together. It’s my fault… I had taken things too far. She was built for the track, and because of it was very high strung. My friends (all of them) refused to ride in Lucy because of this. They’d complain about the stiffness of her suspension, roughness of her clutch, and squeal of her track pads…. And they were right, using Lucy as a daily driver was insane, and I had been doing so for years.

So I bought a daily driver thinking it would save our relationship. It did for a little bit but then drove us further apart. I drove her less and less, choosing my POS 94 Cherokee instead. This made her very jealous, her exhaust alone cost more than that Jeep. Our Sunday dates to autocross became less frequent. I got bored with the few dates we did have, and wanted more… I want to race on real tracks, not giant parking lots (autocross). I also want a real race car with more power, something that will scare the **** out of me. However, building a race car and Road Racing is far beyond what my current income allows, and will be for a while.

Lucy was thrilled when a Corolla hit the driver side of my 94 Cherokee at 50 mph, killing the jeep instantly and almost taking me with it. She got her wish, I drove her daily again. I even spent 3 days detailing her, then drove to a beautiful area so I could take her picture. It was a great weekend, and one that she surely thought meant we'd be together forever. About a month later I drove her to a Starbucks, and left on foot with a ton of cash. Bye Lucy! Those photos I took of you for AutoTrader were great!





While I’m waiting for my income to magically explode so I can go race cars, I decided to see what this Jeep thing is all about.




.

Last edited by ExpeditionXJ; 01-01-2016 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:54 PM
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Build plan:

NEED TO UPDATE

Last edited by ExpeditionXJ; 10-25-2017 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:55 PM
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Some photos of the interior work I did last year.

The prep work for the bed liner took about 120 hours... The jeep was so sandy that I pulled out fist sized sand rocks that had formed in the doors! Removing the tar sound deadening was the biggest time consumer. My OCD wouldn't let me just leave it in place. That would be too sloppy. In the cargo area I tried the old dry ice and a hammer trick... and ended up with a dinged up floor. That took some time to fix.

Prep work:



Al's Heat & Noise Reducer coating:



Jeep Spice Monstaliner:








Last edited by ExpeditionXJ; 01-02-2016 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:56 PM
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I ordered a Chrysler 8.25 from a junk yard for $370 shipped with 4.10 gears! Now that I plan on 4.56 gears and 33" tires I could have saved money by getting one with 3.55 gears... Oh well.

I didn't take any before pictures but the axle needed some love. I

The following was done:
-Axle housing was stripped down to bare metal
-Primed the axle housing
-Painted the axle housing with Rustoleum Hammered Black
-Cleaned out the inside of the axle housing
-Replaced wheel bearings and seals
-ZJ disc brake conversion

The Rustoleum Hammered paint that comes in a brush / roll on form is by far the thickest, toughest paint I've ever dealt with. It's very easy to touch up which makes it perfect for an axle and my OCD. The spray can version isn't near as durable.

It turned out pretty nice.











Last edited by ExpeditionXJ; 01-03-2016 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:51 PM
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Nice! I too came from the other side. Sold my evo to start an overland rig with my XJ. Welcome!

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Old 01-01-2016, 07:54 PM
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I too just sold my sti and got a jeep. Nice hawkeye and evo 8^
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by OmgNoWai View Post
Nice! I too came from the other side. Sold my evo to start an overland rig with my XJ. Welcome!
Thanks! An overland build is my goal as well!

Originally Posted by rjp4419 View Post
I too just sold my sti and got a jeep. Nice hawkeye and evo 8^
Thanks man! I miss her, but its nice not being limited to pavement... or smooth pavement in my STI's case.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:03 PM
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Very true. Modding a jeep is soo much cheaper too
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rjp4419 View Post
Very true. Modding a jeep is soo much cheaper too
To an extent yes. But a lot of money is spent in different areas like regearing, lockers, armor, bumpers and so on.

It depends on how far deep down the rabbit hole you want to go. There's a lot more you can do to an XJ than modern, built from the factory with the track in mind STI / EVO. XJ's weren't designed for rock crawling, but the STI and Evo were deigned to race. This inherently leads to more extensive modifications being on the table to get an XJ to do something the designers never dreamed of. Full on multi-link front and rear suspension builds (jeepspeed), upgraded transfer cases, axle swaps, steering knuckle conversions. You can spend $20k in parts on an XJ easily without touching the engine.

What was the biggest adjustment for me was the domino effect. Unlike with my STI where I could plan out and build up the drive-train and suspension independently with the Jeep they're all linked. And its not just a $300 dyno tune or $150 alignment if you want to change something.

Your lift height, tire size, and gearing are all tied together. That's why I researched and hoarded parts for over a year. I didn't want to be like:

"Oh **** I just regeared to 4.10 so I could run 31's but now I want 33's. **** there goes $1500 wasted on the gearing alone"

OR

"I'd really like lockers now but could have had them installed at no extra cost during the regear I just did"

OR

"The 3.5" lift I did for 31's can't clear 33's, I need to go to 5".... well **** these short arms i just spent money on are horrible at 5" I should have gone long arm"

LOL

Last edited by ExpeditionXJ; 01-01-2016 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:54 PM
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Since you plan on investing that much money into the why dont you go with the ford 8.8 which is a stronger axle and you also upgrade to disc brakes while doing so. I am sure you can sell the 8.25 and use the money to hit a junk yard and pull one from an exploer that what i did for my 2001 jeep cherokee. I am about to do the same thing with my new project which is a 1988 jeep comanche! been wanting one for along time.
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisquested View Post
Since you plan on investing that much money into the why dont you go with the ford 8.8 which is a stronger axle and you also upgrade to disc brakes while doing so. I am sure you can sell the 8.25 and use the money to hit a junk yard and pull one from an exploer that what i did for my 2001 jeep cherokee. I am about to do the same thing with my new project which is a 1988 jeep comanche! been wanting one for along time.
The 8.8 gives up about an inch of clearance compared to an 8.25. I If I were planning on running 35's definitely. But with 33's the 8.25 I just finished building will be perfect.

I love Comanches! They're so cool. I'd say the only other Jeep that's cooler than a Comanche is a Scrambler, and I'm pretty sure Scramblers are made up like the Jackalope.




I have a D35 with 94,000 miles on it that yours if you want to drive to Dallas so I can check out your Comanche.
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Old 01-02-2016, 06:26 AM
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Subscribed. Looking forward to reading this build. You can definitely tell you've done your research.
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:28 PM
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Great ideas...

I'm finishing a very similar build now after 1.5 years of working on it.

Looking forward to reading of your progress
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:34 PM
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Looks like a fun build. Love the idea of making your xj as capable as a jk. Your idea on budget is the same flawed logic I have haha. I had a 500whp evo years ago.can only imagine what went into your sti to safely make 600.
I'm jealous of your ocd. I'm the same but I don't have the time/ place to work on my xj. Plus my 964 takes up what little time ($$$$ too) that I have. Currently building a 6 speed for that, which will cost more than my xj and everything I've done to it so far combined.
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:41 PM
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Very interesting start. Looking forward to seeing more.
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