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K_Dubs Daily Driving eXpedition Jeep

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K_Dubs Daily Driving eXpedition Jeep

Old 01-31-2018, 05:21 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 2.5L
Default K_Dubs Daily Driving eXpedition Jeep

Hey there Cherokee fans,

I've had my '95 XJ since late September and it's time I start a thread here. I've been lurking and searching, learning what I can as a Jeep n00b, since I first brought it home. This car's purpose is two fold; driving 50mi/day in Los Angeles as a commuter, and taking trips near and far to photograph my car in front of scenic vistas. So far, I've had a lot of the former and not nearly enough of the latter. This thread will be a place where I can post my photos, ask some questions, and document my progress on this car.

Perhaps some backstory will help to get you all up to speed. My first car was a '73 IH Scout that my Dad had built when I was a kid growing up in the mountains of Colorado. I had the off-road bug right out of the gate. I traded the Scout for my first Subaru before I even graduated high school, but my taste for going off the beaten path continued. Over the years I've been through a lot of cars, mostly Subarus, and my trips have gotten progressively more difficult. I bought a Nissan Juke new in 2014, and it has been an incredible expedition vehicle. I've driven it off-road at its limits all over the West including Moab, Durango, Eastern Oregon and all over California. I've been very happy with that car. I've outgrown that little lifted hatch, however, and starting about a year ago I started shopping for a used Land Cruiser. I test drove a few last summer, but never committed, and then fate ended the search for me. My best friend got a job in Philly and he had to get rid of his XJ that he'd had for about four years. This was not exactly what I had in mind (2 doors, 4 cylinders, bad highway manners, etc.), but you just can't argue with fate. I took it off his hands at a very reasonable price.

My first time commuting in it I had a nasty case of Death Wobble on Mulholland Dr that night. I asked my buddy about it and he just laughed and said, "yeah, she'll do that sometimes." This was not acceptable to me, so I parked it and started doing research. All the modifications were done prior to my friend's purchase, and he's not much of a car guy, so it's been interesting learning what's been done to it. It's lifted about 3-3.5in (Rancho shocks with what I think are Rough Country springs and AAL). It still had the stock track bar, but there was a relocation bracket on the axle mount that lowered the mount and moved it about an inch inboard. I tore all that out and installed a Rusty's adjustable track bar on the factory brackets. No more death wobble, but it still shimmies after impacts and bump steer is still there. At least it's not trying to kill me any more. The years of neglected death wobble did a nasty job on my sway bar end links which were bound up and bent and horrible angles. I just zip tied the sway bar up out of the way, but I have new Rusty's disconnects that I need to install once I find a torch to remove the old mounts on the axle side. The steering gear also leaks pretty bad (I suspect from repeated wobble instances). Those are the most pressing issues.

I also took the Thule basket with Rotopax mounts and a light bar off of the Juke and swapped them onto the Jeep. It's a funny fit, so I've bought a 20" extension but they've changed the design of the basket and the extension won't line up. This has been frustrating, but mostly cosmetic so I've been slow to resolve it. I'm waiting to hear back from my rack store today to see if they've found an earlier designed extension that will fit my existing hardware.

The light bar prompted me to look into the wiring that had been done by the prior owners. The best thing I can say is that there is a fuse near the battery. Everything else about the aftermarket wiring is frightening; butt connectors every 10 inches or so with different gauge wires everywhere, full amperage going through the firewall to the switches and back. Luckily all the wires that I need to replace are for a pusher fan and the aux lighting with two toggles on the dash, so it isn't a major job but it still gives me shivers whenever I pop the hood. I haven't run the fan and lights at the same time because I doubt it can handle that. On that note, I've also attached a fire extinguisher to the driver's rear seatbelt bracket with a bungie cord which turned out very well. It's out of the way, but still within arms reach from my seat.

Future plans, once the functional issues are resolved, include new or recovered seats. Better headlights are a must. An improved stereo head unit (bluetooth please). Fixing the climate controls and factory A/C which hasn't worked in years. The suspension could use a going over, but I have a lot to learn still. My first trip out showed me that my bump stops were not stopping anything, and I'm thinking my castor angle is part of the problem with high speed driving so I'm thinking of just doing the LCAs and seeing how that goes. I've been daily driving it all year so far, and I'm getting more comfortable behind the wheel. I'm hoping to sell off the Juke soon, which will free up some parts money and put urgency on getting the Jeep properly dialed in.

Also, I'm having a heck of a time with the photo uploader. I've always hosted on Google (starting with Picasa back in the day), but whenever I paste the URL here it starts a counting up to about 15% and hits me with "Upload Error: Invalid url." These are shared photos that've worked for me to hotlink elsewhere, so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong for this site. Hopefully I can get that worked out so I can share some pictures with you all. In the meantime, I've downloaded one to my work computer so I can upload it back to you. It just ain't a K_Dub thread if it doesn't have pictures.

Let me know what you think of my car, my plans, my photos, or anything else that springs to mind.

K_Dub is offline  
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