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The 'MR E30' XJ Build Thread

Old 09-06-2014, 09:16 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Flagstaff
Posts: 23
Year: 1996
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 HO
Default The 'MR E30' XJ Build Thread

Evening Ladies and Gents,

I have decided to bite the bullet and chronologically detail my XJ's progress. I have another build thread on another forum for my 1991 E30 332is that I have had a good time updating and using for a variety of purposes, so I figured one for my XJ would be worth the time.

Here is the basic information.

2000 XJ

I bought it on July 9th, 2014. It came with a 4.5" lift, 32" Mud Claws, a variety of upgraded suspension/steering upgrades, a few small issues, and 100% functionality of all its components.

This marks my 4th XJ since 2012. This one is by far the nicest and most complete. I have been in the game for a while, and I am familiar with the head casting issue of the 2000 XJ's. At the time of this post, everything works as it should.

My build isn't going to be anything outrageous. My main goal for this XJ is to have a capable, reliable winter vehicle. I have a myriad of friends who wheel as well, so being able to recover the occasional stuck friend is also on my list of wants. I definitely will wheel this thing to its limits in the mud, but I become far more cautious when rocks and whatnot become involved.

This XJ wont be the cleanest, or most perfect, but I will do my best to upgrade things correctly the first time.

Alright, lets get started. But first....

....shameless plug for my true passion. My highly modified 1991 332is. I am hoping to bring the same level of passion to my new XJ.

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Alright, enough of that.

Here is what the XJ looked like when I bought it.

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The front end was the only thing out of whack. PO said he bumped into a tree or something when he was wheeling back in the day. Simply threw a new front end together. Early model bumper piece, no surrounds, chrome grills and a poorly color matched front fascia. This had to be fixed ASAP.

But first, lets get it muddy. As hell.

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I live in the mountains, and for a majority of the year there is wet, muddy ground to be found somewhere nearby.

I did a little research on my super dim sealed beam headlights, and decided to go with the Putco harness/H4 upgrade. At the same time I went ahead and blacked out the front end, since the poor color matching and the chrome were driving me nuts.

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A few days prior to this tear down, a pretty massive piece showed up in the mail, but its related counterpart wont get here until next week.

Smittybilt XRC.

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Install was more or a pain in the behind than I would have liked. Seems like the PO's tree incident did a little more than just crack the front fascia. Passenger side frame rail had some minor warp-age.

Its all installed, but the gaps on the drivers side are larger than on the passenger side, so I need to try and align it better, even though the bumper has almost no play in it. I will get a finished picture after the winch is installed.

That brings us to tonight! Winter here in Flagstaff is quickly approaching, so the racecar and crotch rocket will soon be bedded down and stored elsewhere, and the XJ will assume full DD duties.

Side note: I already lost two of the stock fender flares in the mud, so if anyone has any recommendations about oversized aftermarket flares that go well with the Smittybilt bumper above, I would love to hear about them.

Until next time!

- Mike

Last edited by MR E30; 09-06-2014 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:08 AM
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stang65's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: oregon
Posts: 1,592
Year: 1993
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 ho 99 intake ps pump 1" tb spacer 62mm bored tb eletric fans and more

Looking good so far. my wifes daily driver is a 91 318is and when the engine final stops is getting the full swap done to it. but its actually a car from canada so its got some little things different. its got differnt wheels on it but mostly the same as is

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Old 09-15-2014, 01:11 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Flagstaff
Posts: 23
Year: 1996
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 HO

September 13th, 2014

I was able to get the front end back together, along with the bumper and winch.

I picked up the Quadratec 9500i as well as the various accessories that make the winch usable.

This last weekend I was able to head down to Sedona AZ and have a little fun at Broken Arrow Trail. It is home of the section of rock termed 'The Devil's Staircase". Youtube it for some thrills if you want.

I had heard a lot of people talk about Schnebly Hill Road, so a couple buddies and I took that route home. Super rocky and slow trail, but nothing that stopped the trip.

Here are a couple of pictures of the XJ at Broken Arrow.

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A new radio is the next thing on my list, and perhaps a decent cleaning as well!
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Old 09-19-2014, 03:42 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North Riding of Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 1,158
Year: 1997
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0

Funny how XJs and E30s seem to attract the same sort of people
I still miss my 325i Touring and can't quite keep my eyes off the ads when one pops up!

Like your jeep though, and I'm jealous of your local trails too.
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