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I'm 16 and My First Car is an XJ!

Old 09-26-2010, 01:28 AM
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Engine: 4.0L, CAI, Edelbrock Breather, Optima Yellowtop
Default I'm 16 and My First Car is an XJ!

I've been wanting a Cherokee of my own ever since I was a little kid when my dad had his two XJs during the 90s...

I have had a '92 Cherokee Laredo since forever but it really isn't mine, which explains why it is still stock LOL. I first learned how to work on Cherokees by fixing this one. It's garage kept in the winter and has only seen snow a couple times. It just rolled over 109,000 which isn't too bad in my book!

Here's some Specs on her
Year: 1992
Make: Jeep
Model: Cherokee-XJ
Trim: Laredo
Options: 4 door, "Selec-Trac" 4x4, 4.0L "high output", Jensen "Accusound" premium sound package, Tow Package, Power Windows and Locks, Jeep Alloy Wheels
Engine Displacement: 242ci (4.0L)
Drivetrain: AW4
Transfer Case: NP231
Front Axle: Dana 30
Rear Axle: Dana 35

Here's a Picture of the '92!




It's been in my family since it was bought new in 1992. The Oil is changed every 3,000, There's not a dot of rust on the body or frame (now, that is), and the paint is in amazing condition! I love this Jeep; the Laredo XJ's are getting more and more rare as the years pass so I'm glad to say I have a stock one!


Now on to the reason you clicked on my thread in the first place...

So one night I was searching craigslist and stumbled across a 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport for $3700 O.B.O. I went ahead and clicked on the link and it said "66K, SOUTHERN JEEP, needs new tires, a new tail light, a new cat, and a new serpentine belt". I bought her one week after I saw it on craigslist. Sure, she looked better in the craigslist pictures than in real life but it's nothing I couldn't fix myself!

Here's the picture from the Craigslist ad:



So when I saw it in real life, I noticed the XJ did have some front end damage. The bumper was bent up and the grille got a little scarred from the bumper lights hitting it... Again nothing I couldn't fix.

The paint wasn't in good shape at all, it was white in some areas and primer in others. The white was chipping which exposed primer on the passenger side door and fender. It may have looked nasty, but after i went around the jeep with a magnet and a flashlight, I noticed that there was not a spot of bondo or rust on her, so that was a major selling point next to the mileage... The Jeep ran great when i started it at the guy's house so we decided to talk it over and after a day and a lot of thinking, I said I'd buy it for $3,000!

I bought my car on September 11th, 2010. Immidiately, I started to order some parts for it. I bought my new front bumper, new right tail light, and all my car audio stuff. After all the ordering, I took the front bumper off, lucky enough to find no real damage was done!

The XJ right after I closed the deal and bought it...

No, I was not the one who put the "EX" badging on it haha

Took the Grille/Bezels off to find that everything remained intact.

Painted the Grille and Bezels (the black parts were oversprayed so now it's all white). Also, the front bumper is off, The mounts are bent.



After running a carfax on it I noticed the State of Missouri was the owner from 1996-2009. It couldn't have been a fleet or service vehicle noticing the mileage, so I'm guessing they used it for government official transportation. Then in 2009 a guy owned it for a year and sold it to the guy who sold it to me (he owned it for a month and a half). That would have raised some red flags for me, but I've been working on it every day and driving it and it has nothing mechannically wrong with it. Everything works as it should.


Now, I hated the graphic on it. It just looked like . Imagine a giant stripe made out of michigan lisence plate running the length of your Jeep! Yeah the thing was reflective too! I took it off and accidentially peeled some paint down to the primer.
SO to make the Jeep look presentable and able to park in a rich area's high school's parking lot, I bought a few cans of white automotive enamel to do some touching up. It will be professionally done in a month *hopefully.

All masked up so I can eliminate the possibility of overspray due to "feathering in". I primed the areas where I peeled paint off so it would look more uniform once the paint was laid down.


The passenger side after 2 coats of paint


I don't have any good "finished product" pictures yet but I plan to post some more later.


After a week, a JCwhitney box arrived at my doorstep, My bumper had arrived! To the left is the bent up original bumper and to the right is $45 blown on a brand new replacement bumper.


I firmly believe in the saying "you get what you pay for" because it was a cheap bumper, and the mounting holes weren't matching up not to mention it had an inch of overhang. So I had to stay home on a satuday night and do some modifying to the bumper to make it fit...



After some blood, sweat and tears,and a couple hours of hitting things with a hammer, tons of cussing and two third degree burns (yeah,I wasn't lying when I said "blood sweat and tears" ok maybe not the tears part but the first two are true...) My Jeep fnally had a bumper correctly mounted! My KC's look cockeyed due to only being on there finger tight and yeah, there was an inch of overhang. NOTHING A SAWZALL CAN'T FIX!


I put the end caps on later, but hey at least the hard part was over!




Let's move on to the Interior!

Here's the Mileage, Just about to roll over 67k, Yeah I hate this "gauge" cluster. I want something like what my 92 has instead.


New Kenwood 5 1/4's!!!




My New Tail light Arrived at my Doorstep and I replaced it in 5 minutes thanks to changing bulbs all the time in the 92 and getting some practice on it. To the left is the tail lamp that was a potential ticket and the one on the right is the brand new replacement.





That's all I've done body wise so far.... Here's some shots of the Engine!

Took this one right before I wired the KC's and my Strobes.

Nice and clean right?





Here's some Misc. pictures of my Jeep:


Right before I noticed that there was no way the bumper was going to fit without drilling some holes and cutting an inch off.


Put all those stickers on about 10 minutes after buying the Jeep haha










Here's Some Specs on my daily driver!
Year: 1996
Make: Jeep
Model: Cherokee
Trim: Sport
Options: A/C, "Selec-Trac" 4x4, 4.0L "High Output", 4 Door, Full Size Spare, Class III Tow Package
Engine: AMC 242 4.0L "High Output"
Drivetrain: AW4
Transfer Case: NP231
Lift: Doing a 3 inch BB soon
Tires: Brand New BF Goodrich T/A's
Random Goodies/Accessories: Alpine Head Unit, Kenwood Door and hatch speakers, Boss Audio Tweeters, 2 Rockford Fosgate P1 12's bridged, MTX 2 Channel Amp, Red LED Footwell Lighting, White LED Grille Lights, KC Hilites 26 Series (bumper), Mopar/Jeep Roof Basket Powder Coat-Black, KC Hilites 57 Series (roof basket), Costco All Season rubber floor mats LOL, Pacer Alloy Rims (previous owner), Pilot Strobes (in front turn indicator).


I'm 16 and It's my first ride so progress might be slow depending on the income I recieve from my job for the next couple of months (My Job is seasonal due to working outdoors). I am enrolled in a vocational training school (Oakland Schools Technical Campus) for Automotive Tech, So I am working on it in the shop which will speed some things up, who knows really! Maybe I can get things done a little faster! Thanks For Checking out my XJ's Build Thread! I hope you enjoyed viewing!

Last edited by 1996XJSport; 09-26-2010 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:09 AM
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Good looking jeep man!
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MiNi View Post
Good looking jeep man!
Thanks! It's coming along a lot better than I thought it would! I've only had 2 weeks with it and already I've gotten plenty done. I can't wait for when I put the bastard pack on!
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:19 AM
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Yeah. I'd throw the 97+ style header panel and front 2 fenders on it. It'd look 100x better then it does.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:36 AM
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Nice work so far keep it up!
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:36 PM
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looks good man, i remember how good it felt to get my cherokee as my first car, it all takes patience lol, took me three years to finally get my 4.5 inch lift
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:51 PM
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[QUOTE=1996XJSport;679821]I've been wanting a Cherokee of my own ever since I was a little kid....

Sooo..For like a couple of years now Just teasing. Congrats. 16! Wow. When I was 16 I was still riding my bike places. Good luck and always count your blessings and appreciate what a fortunate young man you are.
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:00 PM
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[QUOTE=Programbo;681656]
Originally Posted by 1996XJSport View Post
I've been wanting a Cherokee of my own ever since I was a little kid....

Sooo..For like a couple of years now Just teasing. Congrats. 16! Wow. When I was 16 I was still riding my bike places. Good luck and always count your blessings and appreciate what a fortunate young man you are.
im only 18 and i got mine when i was 16 too, i was so grateful it felt amazing to be able to go anywhere, plus the fact that it was a jeep made it even cooler

btw i still ride my bike haha
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:18 PM
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Good for you lad. That's a nice car you got there.

You'll be the master of that vehicle especially when you're taking up Automotive Technology as you will not need any help from other mechanics by the time you get the degree. I say good for you. Maybe one day, I could even ask you for advice. Kudos to your Dad too for keeping her in perfect form. Looking forward for your mods in the future.

Last edited by Chapman; 09-30-2010 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:18 AM
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So you gonna keep this thing stock or what? I wanna see some big boy meats on this thing!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:07 AM
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nice! im in the same boat as you. check out my build thread!
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:32 PM
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Nice start!!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MiNi View Post
Yeah. I'd throw the 97+ style header panel and front 2 fenders on it. It'd look 100x better then it does.
I would but I want to throw a laredo chrome grille + bezels on the front with clear corners. I like the look of my 92 and I want to try and make a replica of a laredo using some junkyard parts lol
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Chapman View Post
Good for you lad. That's a nice car you got there.
Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BamaXJ View Post
So you gonna keep this thing stock or what? I wanna see some big boy meats on this thing!
I'm keeping my 92 stock, and my 96 will be getting a home made lift that i'll be building in auto shop. I plan on doing a 3 inch; probably nothing larger than that. My mom doesn't want me to lift it like crazy because she thinks it's dangerous. Also I park the XJ in the garage so I still want it to clear the top of the door when i pull it in haha I'll be running my stock BF Goodrich T/A's because they're brand new with like 10 miles on them. I'd sell them if it was possible to do it without taking a loss... When these tires wear out when im in college or something, i'll throw the 31s on
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