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Le Robot de Roche Verte

Old 10-20-2016, 08:23 PM
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I have been meaning to start a build thread since I picked up this 1999 Sport, but this or that has gotten in the way up until now.

I sold an FJ Cruiser in January (2016) with the intent to buy a sedan with decent gas mileage, and a Cherokee to build and wheel. My goal was to build a "capable" rock crawler, able to drive the two to four hours most of the places I've wheeled at (Uwharrie, NC; Gulches, SC; Windrock, TN), wheel hard, and make it back home. My "rough" budget is $12,500 including the price of the vehicle. At this point, I'm not far over budget .

This is the truck I picked up Memorial Day Weekend. I wasn't concerned with color or paint, only rust free if I could find it. It has 104,XXX miles on a 4.0 liter, Auto, NP231, High Pinion Dana 30 and Chrysler 8.25. She made the 3 hour drive home from VA without issue.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:40 PM
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First things first. I changed the oil, checked all other fluids (t-case, diff's, trans), brakes (80% front, 60% rear +/-), AC refrigerant, etc. It appeared to have been really well taken care of.

I did need a valve cover gasket, which was leaking down onto the steering stabilizer, making it look like that was leaking, but after a trip to the car wash with some engine degreaser and a new valve cover gasket / PVC Valve grommet, it was clear where the oil on the steering stabilizer was really coming from.

Then I replaced the broken console lid latch. I also put in Husky Floor Liners. To be honest, they were not a custom a fit as they same ones were in my FJ, but they keep the sand, dirt and mud around here in the floor liner. Then I added the neoprene seat covers. The driver's seat had the typical rips along the outer edge, so the seat cover covered them right up.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:45 PM
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Then the obligatory roof rack, because they look so good on a Cherokee! This is all in the first two weeks of having her.
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:30 AM
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On to a front bumper. I went with the ARES Evolution due to it's clean lines. Free shipping didn't hurt .

For most of this, I don't have any installation pictures because so far very little I've done has been without a detailed thread on here or other XJ site, or a video on youtube. This bumper install had a couple good videos on youtube that laid it out pretty well.

There was one bracket that I had to contact ARES about because it was not shown on either video or their website. ARES sent a pic right away that showed the brackets in red. The bracket in question is the one on the left in the picture. The pic didn't really help until I got the stock bumper off, then it all became clear.

I did have to relocate the vacuum ball, which fit perfectly tucked up behind the passenger side, up against a brace already there.

Unfortunately, with the bumper all mounted up, my Smittybuilt XRC 9.5winch wont mount up without pushing up against the grill, just enough to keep me from mounting it. I am going to have to decide what to do about that.


I'll include some pictures of how much it hits when I get to addressing that later in this.
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:51 AM
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At the same time I started with the front bumper, I started with the most challenging mod for me. Part of my plan for the Cherokee was to do as much of the work myself as possible. So far everything has been bolt off, bolt on. The Napier Flat Fender Flares however, require some cutting. If you've never taken a jigsaw or angle grinder with cutoff wheel to sheet metal on a $3000 purchase, it takes a little inner strength to make that first cut!

I followed Bleepin' Jeep's video on these. I have to had watched it more than 25 times before getting after them. I did the front first, which you can see in the bumper pics above.

The front turned out pretty good, although I did hit the Fastenal for some shorter sheet metal screws for the driver's side. The included screws ended up less than 1/8" from the washer bottle inside the fender, and with the plan for this truck to wheel it pretty hard, I was worried that the fender might get pushed in a tad on the trail and the screws would puncture the washer bottle.

The rear also turned out ok, although I discovered I am NOT a natural talent when it comes to cutting and folding the fender. I have seen some amazing jobs on here, where people did the cut and fold and that's all, and the fender looks amazing. I am glad my work is covered by the Napier Flares!

At this time I also removed all the trim along the doors. I prefer the cleaner look of no trim. Ultimately I plan to remove most of the emblems as well. You can see a little remaining glue/tape in the pic above.

I purchased a Smart Eraser Pad for pinstripe removal based off a thread on here to remove the gluetape. It worked ok, but wore down like a pencil eraser and after a point got drastically less effective. Still easier than messing with GooGone or lighter fluid and trying to keep from smearing gluey stuff all over the place.
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:12 PM
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On to the headliner. Again, lots of online resources on how to do it. I took the majority of recommendations and used 3M Hi-Strength 90 spray glue and did it by myself.


If I do it again, I will definitely enlist the help of a second. You need to start spreading from the center out, and doing it by yourself requires you to set the material down, which sticks to the outside edges of the tub. This leaves you working from the outside edges in, not the most efficient way.


Also, no one can see it, but I have no idea how to get it perfect around the speaker bar? The picture doesn't really show how wrinkly it is around the speaker "humps."
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