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First XJ build

Old 04-21-2016, 12:48 PM
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Default First XJ build

Hello everyone,

My names Kevin, and about a month ago, I purchased a 2000 Green XJ sport with 71,000 miles on it. So far it has caused a lot of stress, chasing down sounds, leaks, etc. Although, its stress I'm familiar since my last dd was a TJ, and before that I had a YJ. That's jeep I guess, and I somehow can't stop buying them. I really tried to get away this time lol. I looked at yotas, fords, and a few others but nothing felt right haha.


Other than the typical quirks that came with the XJ, the thing is awesome. I can't say that I don't miss my TJ, but I definitely don't miss a lack of rear seating space, and literally "tetris-ing" all my camping gear to somehow fit in the back. And even more surprising, on the highway the XJ is getting great MPGs. A full tank got me around 350 highway miles, had to refill the TJ every 240 miles. Major plus there.

At any rate, now that I have a lower mileage Jeep, I feel the need and worth to finally build a rig with the goal of running the rubicon by next summer. Having a girlfriend and lack of savings may make this a slow build, hopefully she doesn't realize I'm spending all my money hah.

Last week I pulled the trigger on a Zone 4.5" lift kit with aals. The aals will be replaced with full 3" BDS leaf packs as soon as the funds come in (aiming for june). I also ordered a rough country adjustable trackbar, brake lines and rubicon express steering stabilizer. Luckily enough, I was given a set of five wheels and tires off my friends 2012 JKUR.

Future plans -
Hopefully by the end of this month, if I can sell some old parts like my wheels and tires, I'll be adding Ajs Slickrock front bumper. Still can't decide on what rear bumper/tire carrier to get. I want something that keeps the tire close to the tailgate. Suggestions?

SYE and driveshaft by the end of the summer
33" tires and regear
rocksliders - probably needed sooner than later
Frame stiffeners?
Gas tank and trans/undercarriage skids
Any other necessities or parts that I should look into?

<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsu96bvq7k.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsu96bvq7k.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpsu96bvq7k.jpeg"/></a>
<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsvrpevm6g.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsvrpevm6g.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpsvrpevm6g.jpeg"/></a>

Going to attempt to install the lift on Saturday. First time doing one, hopefully everything goes as planned. I'll post pics along the way.
Just wanted to throw in I'm no mechanic, no fabricator and definitely no talent when it comes to automotive anything. I may even be underestimating the
difficulty of installing the lift. But This forum more proves if I can manage to do this stuff anyone can haha

Last edited by notamechanic; 04-21-2016 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 04-21-2016, 02:31 PM
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Nice looking Cherokee. The plans you have for lifting sounds like you are well on your way to a great all around ride both on the road and on the trails. The Cherokees can be just as capable as a Wrangler. Just know your ride and don't push it past its limits.
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:49 PM
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Ive heard good things about zone. For those jk wheels you are going to need adapters. As far as necessities, look into doing a complete cooling system flush/maintenance. this may entail replacing the thermostat, water pump and clutch fan
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:18 PM
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Looks good. Just need more pics though. LOL.


I have not experience but will the high pinion front axle cause issues with a 4.5" lift concerning the front drive shaft length.
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by guesswho View Post
Looks good. Just need more pics though. LOL.


I have not experience but will the high pinion front axle cause issues with a 4.5" lift concerning the front drive shaft length.
I had and still have some concerns about that. Although, I have read in other forums that I shouldn't need any front drive shaft modifications for a 4.5" lift.
Hopefully that ends up being the case.
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Old 04-21-2016, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by guesswho View Post
Looks good. Just need more pics though. LOL.

I have not experience but will the high pinion front axle cause issues with a 4.5" lift concerning the front drive shaft length.
He most likely has a low pinion front axle unless it got swapped out or something weird from the factory. 2000+ had low pinion 99- had high pinion.
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by kyle96xj View Post
He most likely has a low pinion front axle unless it got swapped out or something weird from the factory. 2000+ had low pinion 99- had high pinion.
I do have the high-pinion front axle.
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:28 PM
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Sorry. My first post was incorrect. I meant low pinion, sorry for the confusion.

Glad to hear you have the high pinion. Much stronger set up.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by guesswho View Post
Sorry. My first post was incorrect. I meant low pinion, sorry for the confusion.

Glad to hear you have the high pinion. Much stronger set up.
SO sorry, I meant I do have the low pinion. You were correct! I was in the moment of leaving work during my last reply hah.

More pictures coming tomorrow!
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:46 AM
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HP would definitely be the better option. Your LP 30 might give you alot of vibes, busted u-joints, and general grief, depending on how you plan to wheel it.
you may want to consider a swap from an older XJ. 93 to 99 should be fairly common, and not too spendy. And you should have no trouble finding a matching gear set to your rear diff.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:53 AM
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clean jeep. looking forward to build
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Old 04-22-2016, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott'sXJ View Post
HP would definitely be the better option. Your LP 30 might give you alot of vibes, busted u-joints, and general grief, depending on how you plan to wheel it.
you may want to consider a swap from an older XJ. 93 to 99 should be fairly common, and not too spendy. And you should have no trouble finding a matching gear set to your rear diff.
I'll for sure be looking into that swap in the future. I just read an article on 4wd mag about axle strength and LP dana 30 was among the weaker axles. I plan on running 33's maybe 35s one day and will no doubt need to beef up the axles. When I go to regear later this year, I'll be looking for a front d44 or HP30 to build up and swap in the same time as the new gears.



Today has been the hardest day of work to get through. My Zone lift has been delivered and I can't wait to get home and check it out. Hopefully going to have time to get the brake lines in tonight and disconnect the steering and LCAs.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:30 AM
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Morning everyone,

it's about 8:30am here in southern california and I'm getting a later start than I intended. I managed about 4 hours of sleep last night and feel like s*&t too say the least.

Here are the parts for the day

<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpszcq5askw.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpszcq5askw.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpszcq5askw.jpeg"/></a>

eBay hub centric wheel spacers
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261993957638?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsinoltazl.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsinoltazl.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpsinoltazl.jpeg"/></a>

Rough Country extended front & rear brake lines
<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zps3bgb59wh.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zps3bgb59wh.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zps3bgb59wh.jpeg"/></a>

Rough Country adjustable trackbar
<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsovn18zc1.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsovn18zc1.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpsovn18zc1.jpeg"/></a>

Rubicon Express Steering Stabilizer
<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsrkwnlvmz.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsrkwnlvmz.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpsrkwnlvmz.jpeg"/></a>

Zone 4.5" lift kit with add a leafs
<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsq7easmme.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsq7easmme.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpsq7easmme.jpeg"/></a>
<a href="http://s288.photobucket.com/user/kcavallo1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsutjtqnfa.jpeg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll161/kcavallo1/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsutjtqnfa.jpeg" border="0" alt=" photo image_zpsutjtqnfa.jpeg"/></a>


I'm a little nervous, I've never taken on a job this big. I've put spacers on my TJ and replaced shocks but never this much work in one day. Hopefully everything goes as planned. I'll update along the way!
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:22 PM
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How did it go? Leaf bolt removal was definitely the worse part of my lift.
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:05 AM
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I have the same lift but with the full springs. I got nitro shocks from zone so but either way i have found that after a year on the road my lift rides more smooth when under a load. It will be a little more bouncy than your stock setup.

If you havent lifted the front yet or are stuck, get some half ton ratchet straps at lowes to pull the axle forward to get the lower control arms in. They also will serve for future tie downs! PB blaster is your friend and make sure you use the right tool for the job...it easier that way for a reason haha
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