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Making my perfect bugout vehicle

Old 07-20-2014, 05:08 PM
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Default Making my perfect bugout vehicle - 1999 Cherokee XJ

Okay, I've loved the cherokee for years and finally got a chance to pick up a 1999 Cherokee Limited in great shape. I want to upgrade this baby, but first I'm going to work on making it totally drive able. Fix every thing that doesn't work
, even the AC.

Here are pics of the stock unit sitting out at my shop just waiting to get going.

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Let the adventure begin!

Last edited by ruralgold; 07-25-2014 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:11 PM
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BTW, this is my first post on here. Hopefully many more to come. I certainly have enjoyed the wealth of information on here.
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:19 PM
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Default Basic maintenance

I need to get the safety inspection done so checking the brakes was on the list. We checked the front disc and rear drum brakes, should pass. Afterwards went spinning around the pasture just for fun. Here's some pics.

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Last edited by ruralgold; 07-25-2014 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ruralgold View Post
BTW, this is my first post on here. Hopefully many more to come. I certainly have enjoyed the wealth of information on here.
Welcome to the forum. I am looking forward to seeing how your bug out vehicle turns out.

I am kind of building mine with that in the back of my mind. Expedition/bug out type vehicle. Off road capable enough to get the heck out of dodge if needed!
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:49 PM
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Welcome to CF >>>
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:41 AM
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Took it to get safety inspection and the guy said I needed new ball joints(upper & lower). Said the brake pads were marginal but passed. I did some research on the forums and Youtube and decided to do the ball joint replacement myself. Waiting on parts and tools to do the job, so yesterday went and set the XJ up on jack stands and pulled the wheels to get some prep done. Removed the calipers and brake pads, got the caliper pistons compressed, and my son(great helper) pulled the left front rotor out. The back side was all grooved up, really badly. Wait a minute, how did he do that? Turns out, the rotors are held in by the axle nut, but the left front was apparently put on top of the axle nut, not behind it! Shoot, no wonder it has those large deep grooves top and bottom, it's probably had enough play to start its own band.

Anyway, decided to order new rotors to go with the new brake pads and the new ball joints. Then saw that the 99 Cherokee had a production change mid year where they switched from composite brake calipers to cast iron calipers. Which one do I have? Did some research(again on the forums), found the actual measurements for each one, measured mine and figured out I had the cast iron one. Now to make sure I get the right one when ordering online. Tricky, since none of the places I looked made any distinction for the 1999 model year. Found out that the cast iron rotor was used mid-year 1999 forward, so just ordered the ones for a 2000(hehe) to make sure I was getting the correct dimensions. Checked the specs on the one that came up, and sure enough it was the right height, which was the difference in the two calipers.

So to make a long story short(too late), I'm getting a totally new front brake system(mostly) along with the new ball joints. Hey, it's all good, since I want this guy to be bulletproof in the end.

No pics today, but sometime during the ball joint replacement I'll try and get some to show how it's going.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Marks2000XJ View Post
Welcome to the forum. I am looking forward to seeing how your bug out vehicle turns out.

I am kind of building mine with that in the back of my mind. Expedition/bug out type vehicle. Off road capable enough to get the heck out of dodge if needed!
I'm hoping to have it mostly road worthy, but off-road capable enough to have a little fun with and eventually ready to take anywhere I might need/want to go.

Good luck with yours.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by crabmushrooms5 View Post
Welcome to CF >>>
Thanks, it's already been a great source of info and inspiration.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:53 PM
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Great to see another build in the same vein!

I know what you mean about fixing the AC, mine works but the compressor (or something around it) leaks coolant so fast it wont stay charged.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:26 AM
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RegularGuy, do you also have a similar build? Post a link on here if you do so I can find it.

Status update:
I know it takes a little time to do the ball joint replacement(both sides, uppers & lowers) so I started pulling stuff off before I get the parts and tools. That way when I do get everything I'll be that much further along. Soooo, the last 2 days I got out there(I don't have a garage, so I'm working on the driveway, wheww, it's hot!). Got everything on jack stands, pulled the wheels and removed the calipers. Pulled the old brake pads off and pulled one rotor off. Couldn't get the other rotor to come off, no matter what I tried.

I decided to sit back and think about it, something that often works to the good. I looked at the 1st rotor, and was immediately impressed(in a negative sense) by the large grooves on the back side, top and bottom. What the heck?

Decided it was too hot to think anymore, so went inside and called it a day. So ended day 1(Tuesday).

I'm sitting in the cool, thinking about what was going on, and a light bulb came on. Why did that 1st rotor come off so easily? I thought I had to remove the axle nut to get the rotor off! Double checked, and sure enough you do. But that rotor just came off! I realized the driver side rotor was on top of the axle nut, not being held in place by it! No wonder it had those 2 big grooves on the back. Good thing I decided to replace the rotors.

Day 2(Wednesday). I get done with work and head to the jeep. It's hot, but it's summer in Virginia. Also, my axle nut socket for the impact wrench came in, 36mm, sweet! Took a second or two and the axle nut came off. Nice!

Still couldn't get the passenger side rotor to come off the hub. Darn it! After a while, I moved over to the driver side, got the axle nut off, pulled the hub and axle, very nice! I also got my tie rod - ball joint separator tool, you know the thing that looks like a giant fork? I told my son that was his new salad fork. What a look! Anyway, I used to push apart the tie rods, worked perfectly.

Removed the nuts from the upper and lower ball joints. I had ordered a ball joint removal tool, but it hasn't come in yet(neither have the ball joints), so I didn't try and remove them yet. That was ok, by this time I was already hot enough to fry an egg on my forehead.

Went back to the passenger side to figure out why the rotor wasn't coming off the hub. Still couldn't get it to wiggle, so decided to unbolt the hub from the back and pull the rotor, hub and axle out together. That worked! I then placed the rotor and hub back side up since I wasn't going to reuse the rotor, started banging on it with a hammer. It took a couple of whacks(or three or four) but finally got it to come off. I'm wondering if putting a little grease in there wouldn't be a good idea. I'm nervous about grease around the brakes, but this isn't on the friction part so I'm thinking it should be ok, right? Anyway, got that off, put all the parts back underneath the jeep so I can find them again, and called it a day.

Oh yeah, I had compressed the caliper pistons and replaced the brake pads. I checked them for clearance on the old rotors and they were fine with plenty of room to spare. So when I get the ball joints replaced and the new rotors on I just have to bolt the calipers in place.

Today(Thursday) rotors and ball joints are coming, but I don't think the ball joint tool set will be here so probably won't work on that.

However, my Roxolid front and rear bumpers are coming today, so if I get ambitious I may go figure out how to remove the stock bumpers so I can replace them with the Roxolids.

Whew! Who said that fixing up a Jeep was easy?
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:40 PM
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Can you guys see the pics I'm posting? I'm not seeing them. I'm using photobucket and typing in the direct link to the .jpg, but that doesn't look like it's working.
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:27 PM
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Pics aren't showing up as posted, and when trying to open them in a different tab, photobucket claims a page error.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:22 AM
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Figured out how to get the pics to load, so a couple of previous posts have been edited with the correct links.

Rotors and ball joints came in today, but I'm still waiting on the ball joint tool to finish that up.

Roxolid bumpers came in. Whew! The Cherokee will fall apart and those bumpers will still be standing there. They are "rock solid". Tried to get the rear stock bumper off, but the rear leaf springs are making getting the bumper mount off a little tricky. Tried for a while, then decided to give it up and go camping. No, not in the Jeep, in my RV. I'll get back to the Jeep after the weekend.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:18 PM
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Im excited to see what kinds of interior mods you have in mind.

If my dome lights worked (they did until the mechanic fixed my headlight switch.... along with my power locks that done work now) then i think i would put red filters over them. I might also remove the door open buzzer.
Here in Ohio they frown on lots of ways of transporting a firearm in a vehicle or else id have a fancy rifle mount behind the driver seat.
Cops get to have all the fun, eh?
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:10 AM
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I haven't thought too much about interior mods, except fir the cargo area. I like the idea of the rifle mount, but I'm wondering about the legality of that too I have been thinking about compartments for weapons though, preferably something discreet.

It feels strange having it sitting out on the jack stands, hopefully I'll get the ball joint tool in tomorrow and get it back rolling.
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