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The MidNight Grappler

Old 05-11-2017, 01:29 PM
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Engine: 4.5L Stroker
Default The Night Grappler

Picked up a 2000 Jeep Cherokee Classic from a buddy for $500. It's a 4.0 Aw4, Np242, L.P.30, with 8.25 rear. Motor has a knock in it.

Current Lift and tires (Not for long)
It has a Rough Country 3" lift will Add-a-leaf that has a 1." spacer added up front and 2" shackles added to the rear with a set of 32" tires.
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-fb_img_1493587348344.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-fb_img_1493584717995.jpg  

Last edited by MoparNJeep; 07-19-2017 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 01:44 PM
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Plans are to build this jeep into Expedition Style rig

Build Plan
Front Lift
4.5 Rubicon Express coils (Metal Cloak 5.5 TJ coils Later)
Synergy 3 link long arms
Bilstien Shocks 14" travel
Rear Lift
OLD Man Emu CSO33RB rear leads
2" terraflex shackles
No lift shackle relocation brackets
Bilstien shocks 10" travel
Drivetrain & Steering
4.5L Stroker motor (Already built & running) from my Red jeep
Clocked Np231 t-case 15 for flat belly skid
Hp dana 30 with Spartan locker from my 99 xj
Wj Knuckel swap with Right hand drive Wj knuckle for high steer.
Other Parts
Front Spartan locker and Hp30 swap
52" LED light bar.
Dirtbound off-road front bumper modified for 12.5K winch
Rear quarter armor.
Overhead console
4 camera System with 7" Screen
2003 WJ Laredo cloth seats (best factory jeep seats)
T-case lever out of a liberty (Add to the more modern look)
Wheels & Tires
Newer style 17" rubicon rims.
Cooper ST Maxx in a 285/75/17 (34x10.5 actual measurement mounted under jeep)

I'll add more later. I have 90% of these parts already

Last edited by MoparNJeep; 09-02-2017 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:29 PM
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It's kinda cool. This jeep has a bunch of dealer installed pieces. Like the window vent shades. Mud flaps. Front bug deflector, rear spoiler, and the running boards.

Most likely I won't be keeping any of that stuff but still pretty neat
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:33 PM
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The first part of my plan when I picked up the jeep was to remove most of the exterior stuff.

Like the flares, door trim door handles, badges, tail lights, turn signals, grill and headlights.

I'll be doing this so I can Cut and buff the paint.
I'll be starting with 1000grit then 1500grit then 2000grit.
After wet sanding I'll use a compound then move on to a polish

Last edited by MoparNJeep; 07-12-2017 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:09 PM
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Damn you got a great deal. She looks pretty solid for 500. Have fun with your build.
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Esechuy View Post
Damn you got a great deal. She looks pretty solid for 500. Have fun with your build.
Defiantly good deal, excited about this build.
Yeah I got the family discount from my buddy. It's super clean inside and out.

Biggest problem I'm gonna have is figuring out what I have to swap to run the distributor motor. My stroker motor has an aftermarket cam and will not run with the coil on plug computer. Hopefully it will be just a ecu and wiring harness swap from my red 1999 that is supplying most of the parts for this build.

Last edited by MoparNJeep; 07-12-2017 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:55 PM
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Finally picked up the Grappler. Man this thing drives so nice. Steering is tight, the brakes work perfect, and even a smooth ride. It was pretty dirty, moss in the seams and a really dusty interior.

I started by De-badging it, then I removed the side trim, and pin stripe. After that I gave the passenger side and rear side a bath. It was too hot to finish but here are a few pics of my progress.
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170520_155900.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170520_155913.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170520_155928.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170520_160045.jpg  

Last edited by MoparNJeep; 05-21-2017 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:57 PM
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One before picture
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170520_135956.jpg  
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:32 PM
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Got started today by removing the door panels. Followed by removing the door handles, mirror and trim around the door windows in preparation for wet sand and buffing.

I washed passenger side, then proceeded with some gray scotch bright to fix the areas where there was adhesive for the side trim and badging. The gray scotch bright is equivalent to 800 grit.

I then moved to a 1500 grit wet sand paper. I work the surface pretty good in large circular motion with this grit but avoided staying on the hard edges of the body lines. This way I don't sand through to the base coat
Or even the primer.

I finish off the sanding with a 2000 grit. I do a large flattened out x pattern sweeping diagonally up then diagonally down. I spend about half the time with this grit as I did with the 1500 grit.

Next step is a compound buffing with a wool pad. Not much shine at this point. The compound removes up to 1000grit sand paper scratches.

Final step is a finishing compound.

I only had enough time today to buff the rear quarter which as you can see has a large dent. (Not a problem as I will be putting on some ORF quarter panel armor on over that)

Sorry for terrible cell phone pics/angles. Last pic is what the drivers side looks like after removing the side trim, badges, and pin stipe with my 3m adhesive remover wheel.
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170604_131544.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170604_153730.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170604_153748.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170604_153913.jpg  
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:35 PM
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Ill post more pictures tomorrow of the whole passenger side completed. It will show a better idea of the finished project. But in the two pics you can see how clean the reflection is.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:45 PM
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Also started on a my custom grill I've wanted to do for awhile to class up and modernize the XJ.

I removed the grill followed by removing the center fins that are recessed in the 7 slot grill. After removing all the fins the next step will be to flush up the spots where I cut the fins off. Dremel will be the tool of choice for that.

After I get the inside of the open areas all cleaned up i will be mounting up a insert that will mount behind all that giving the grill a deeper setback.

(Hint the insert going in the open areas will be very similar to the newer grand cherokees).

Excited to see how this turns out.
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170604_153820.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170604_180117.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170604_180130_001.jpg  
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:57 PM
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My girlfriend got me a really sweet camera system for the jeep. She also got me some heated seat inserts which will be going in later as well.

Anyways on the camera system it's pretty sweet, you can have it come on when you go in reverse or have two cameras on screen or even all four going on screen. You can mount it on a base or flush mounted to dash. I have two areas picked out, one is mounted near windshield up by the overhead console and the other would be on passenger side where the airbag panel is. I like the airbag panel which obviously I'd remove before installing. So will see there. Her is a picture and link.

Amazon Amazon
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170521_214112.jpg  
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:06 PM
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This is the 2 areas I'm thinking. The first one near the windshield/center console would require me to build a small housing for it and would be replacing the review all together.

On the dash I would cut into the pad and flush mount the screen. I really like the look of this but it is a little out of my line of sight. I wanted to cut this area out and flush mount my cb radio so I've got to weigh my options here. I really want things to look top notch, not like an after thought
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170604_190430.jpg   The MidNight Grappler-20170604_190415.jpg  

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Old 06-04-2017, 09:28 PM
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This is the bumper I'm building for the Grappler. It's currently on my Red Jeep which will be donating a lot of parts to this build

It's a DIY Dirtbound offroad kit I got on sale for $88 shipped to my door from DB. I've cut and flipped the center area to add a winch to the non winch bumper.

I'm not a fan of the winch bumpers out there. Most hang out way too far and I just don't like the look. This design is tucked up real tight.

I will be adding more plate for where the winch mounts as well as additional gussets to the back side. I'm gonna add some recessed fog lights then full body work and paint bumper body color.
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170429_164334.jpg  

Last edited by MoparNJeep; 08-09-2017 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:53 AM
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Got some more compounding and buffing done. Should have the whole passenger side done today. Such a clean crisp reflection after the final polish
Attached Thumbnails The MidNight Grappler-20170613_184510.jpg  
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