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OEM Plus

Old 11-23-2011, 09:16 AM
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In 2006 I decided I needed a winter vehicle, mainly to be used for winter daily driving, and going snowboarding. I drove a bunch of vehicles, Mitsubishi Montero, Isuzu Trooper, Toyota 4Runner SR5, and also a Jeep Cherokee. Before you ask about the Jimmy and Explorer, a good friend owned the GMC, and I'd had the Ford, so they were ruled out because I wanted something different. I narrowed it down to 2 SUV's, and set out to find a cheap 10 year old Toyota. I looked for months. I was no where near the 8-10 thousand they were getting, and did not want to settle on condition. I decided then that a good condition XJ was better for me than the cheapest SR5 I could find. Having owned a 5 speed YJ wrangler, I set out to find a 5 speed Jeep Cherokee, a month later, a woman I worked with posted a for sale bulletin, listing a 1996 4.0L HO with just under 100k, with 3 pedals and crank windows for $3000. I bought it 3 days after Christmas, on 12/28/2006.



1996 Jeep Cherokee SE
4.0L, 5 speed, np231, 3.07 gears, manual locks & windows.



Mine came without a roof rack, so one of the first things I did was build gutter mounted roof rack brackets.





In it's early days, it had this shifter. After a couple years, and with the porcelain starting to crack I got tired of babying it though, and carved a cedar ****.



It served me very well stock, here's some shots from my honeymoon at Stowe VT.




Last edited by deucestudios; 11-23-2011 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:20 AM
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That's how it stayed for a while, and that brings us to 4 years ago. Shortly after I got mine, my brother picked up a Cherokee too, we picked a bunch of stuff from the Quadratec catalog for his, because he had more disposable income than I did at the time. I put the lift kit on for him, and within 2 weeks this happened:

R.I.P Lil Mule you were loved. (by the guy that owned you before my brother)



I was more than happy to relieve him of the brand new tires, and a few other usable pieces of the lift. He swore they had bad juju, I was happy to pay the discounted juju price. We tore a bunch of other parts off, and sent it to the scrap yard. I bought a shock, a tire, and a new leaf pack, and had "stage 1" of my Cherokee build under way.

Stock center caps on cragar V5 wheels. They didn't stay, I shouldn't have tried to use adhesive.





At this point it had 2" of lift, and 31" all terrains.
It worked great for this:



Problem was, I started to graduate from illegal power line trails, to regular trips to actual legal trails. The more trail riding I did, the less my budget boost worked, and the more cut up my tires and fenders got.





Me realized my inadiquacies quickly at '07 or '08 NAC fest.


Last edited by deucestudios; 11-23-2011 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:36 AM
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So to give my Mall Terrains a little room to breathe, I took care of some issues. I changed out the stock springs & spacers for 3" rough country coils. I added a leaf to my replacement spring pack and shackle combo. I did the longer front brake lines, I got JKS quick disconnects for the sway bar. I probably did some other things I'm forgetting right now, but I made the advance to 3" of lift.

Here's the add a leaf, before switching out the coils:



Here's what replaced the Guiness tap:



Morale higher now, the beatings continued.









Doin work on Trail 23 at Rausch:





It worked well for greens and blues, and I was really happy with that setup for a few years.


Last edited by deucestudios; 11-23-2011 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:40 AM
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OEM Plus? Well I got the idea in my VW days, there's a big following there of guys that only use OEM parts but turn out some seriously modified cars. My XJ follows a similiar mantra I guess. I try to keep it clean looking, it is my winter daily driver, and PA has some pretty strict bumper height, tire poke, type laws.

Following that, heres my take on the OEM tow points, that should have been...

DIY steps would be, make your shape out of 1/4" plate, drill holes to match the frame rail, install class 10.9 hardware (M10 / 1.50 pitch / 30mm long), cut bumper to match.
Unbolt stock mounting brackets, mount to plates, mount bumper to Jeep.
Similiar to my roof rack brackets, I won't be making any more of these, so kindly, don't ask.
Also, many thanks to Chris for cutting these plates, however many years ago that was...

Here's the final product:



Problem was it wants to scrape the paint off every time I put it on, so I had to keep touching it up. Really... I just suck at spray paint.



The plate ties into 3 bumper holes, I matched the metric pitch of the torx bolts, so the one threads right in, the other two front bolts, have blue steel nuts (also class 10.9). You can see the PS box hardware in this pic, sorry for the horn in the way. The plate I had, wasn't big enough to land on that last bolt, so I trimmed it up a bit, and just kept the washer on that one.



The plate is 1/4", there's tabs welded onto the hoop, just so it holds a normal size D ring nicer.
They're not structural, and they're with a flux core wire feed, no gas. I'm a hack, whatever.





Here's the bracket test fitting



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Old 11-23-2011, 09:49 AM
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replaced this thingy:



pimped my ride:



welded this cause it made loud noises:



filled in some cancer:



used up a lot of these:



the ones on my car are kinda bigger:



scored one of these, but then sold it cause I'm too lazy to open a tire carrier then open the hatch every time...



wasn't thrilled about this:





painted this pink because my wife said I wouldn't:



did a lot of this:


Last edited by deucestudios; 11-23-2011 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:57 AM
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At that point I had 40k on the all terrains, and maybe a couple of those miles weren't asphalt, so it was time for new rubber. I somehow ended up with 3 cheap mud terrains, off of a new wrangler rubicon. So I set out looking for steel that would fit them on my hubs, and come to find out, Dodge Magnum was the answer.

Wait.

That didn't happen yet. This did. Super cheap 33" mud terrains on Ford Explorer wheels.
This lasted about 2 weeks, I still had 3.07s, not nearly enough clearance for 33s, and the heavy steel/chrome/rattle can exploder wheels were like boat anchors. I had to change it up.





Oh hey^ riddler diff cover happened somewhere along the way.

So nows a good time for intermission, and a quick aside about other jeeps in the family.

My old YJ, probably 10 years back now?...
A friend of mine commented "I need to spend a week in this picture right about now" and I totally agree. Enjoy your young & dumb while it lasts...



My dad owned this for 2 years.
"lil blackie":



Well, it was time for that to go, so he got this:
"lil whitey":



...and within 2 months, ordered the 3" full rough country kit, and commissioned me as "lead *****" on the install.



Why other Jeeps in my thread? Well, I built and/or cared for them. Just feel that Cherokee's in the family are worth posting here, especially when they die and get parted to upgrade old blue. Again, I digress.

Last edited by deucestudios; 11-23-2011 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:03 AM
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Ok damn the 33" mud terrains had to go, so I traded the wheel/tire combo for a Remington 03-A3, but again I digress... Magnums. Big rubbers for big wheels. I was real hesitant to go 17", when I had been 15" for so long, I wanted to keep sidewall, because most of the fun driving I do is between 10-15psi.

I got a great deal on JK Rubicon take off tires, and needed/wanted a cheap 17" steel wheel.

Wheels:
300c, Challenger, Magnum (LX Platform) 17x7" stock steel.
Some sources say 5x4.5 others list them 5x115. That is 0.02" difference, so run these at your own risk!!!
71.5mm center bore. Seats PERFECTLY on the hub, better than the Cragars I have.
4.5" backspacing.

Tire:
255/75r17 BFG Mud Terrain (measure a full 32")
Front is about 1/2" tucked, rear is about 1" tucked in the fender.

Center caps are stock XJ, the wheels needed the mounting holes for them, but even they fit great.

The combo is around 67 pounds tire & wheel.

Thanks Hammered.













A hint of what's to come:








^ :heart: I f'n love that picture...

The tires work, and work well for where I live. Having the thinner profile cuts real well through soupy stuff, and wheeling this spring was fun, but the horrible sound of rubbing tire was back.





Works fine here though:


Last edited by deucestudios; 11-23-2011 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:17 AM
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It took me 3 years to talk my brother out of the hellas from lil mule. He finally caved.

I added these to keep what's left of my rocker panels.
Please note proper brick placement for high lift jacking.



added a piece of angle iron to the other side of the pinch seam to help keep things straight under there:



I tried adding one of these.
Still having issues with it, need to beef up some bracketry on my undercarrige.






Best junkyard add ever:





got a new one of these things:



Still kicking *** & taking names:



(3200lbs of aluminum scrapped, huyoo!)
oops, old wheels, must be out of order...


Last edited by deucestudios; 11-23-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:26 AM
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At this point though, 3.07 wasn't cuttin the mustard.
I had spent the better part of a year assembling parts for the 4.10 swap (keepin it OEM+).
Took a while to find someone selling a hp30 geared 4.10, finally scored one off comanche club, drove from philly to DC for it. The rear was from york PA. Weird part? both came out of '96 cherokees, both going in a '96 cherokee.

I switched 2 axles out in just under 4 days. Now if you think maybe that's taking too long, I have a lovely wife, 2 year old, and a newborn, and my 2 year old's birthday is the day after mine. So we had other fun to contend with. I had a few favors owed to me, and tried pulling them, but somehow I still ended up flying solo this weekend. Forever Alone . Seriously though, most of my owed favors were my nerd friends with silly putty for hands. Which is rough when you're trying to line up control arms and schlep axles around. I did have quite a bit of help from D.G. Yuengling though.

I cut close to an inch of the bottom of the Chrysler 8.25. Easiest ground clearance I ever gained.



I did some bracing on the front link mounts.





New ball joints, axle U joints, and hubs.





I switched my Riddler cover over, new royal purple, new Iron Rock Offroad lower control arms...



old stock uppers still, new bushings though.



Added a cut coil spacer in for an extra inch. Hopefully this keeps the new(to me) rubber out of the fenders.




So my old shocks couldn't hang. Apparently they gave up the ghost a while ago.
I had them sitting off to the side during the axle swap, and noticed a large puddle of fluid formed around them. What seals...
So I drove around shockless yesterday, and ran over some rocks & took some measurements.
17" compressed, 25" dropped, 20" at ride height.
A buddy of mine had these 5125's: BE5-6253-H5 8.60 255/70 N/A 22.50 14.06 14mm eye/eye.
Using a stud top conversion (1") and pin bottom conversion (") kit puts me in the right range for them. I should strap though, because I could barely bottom them out as my steering binds, so it'd be better to have a seatbelt catch that load than steering joints or bilsteins...

edit. Looking at this, it pisses me off that I didn't shoot off a black rattle can in the wheel well when I had all that stuff out. oh well.






Custom leaf pack for the rear to gain the same inch back there. Hopefully it sits level at 4"



New plates to raise the bumpstop point from the axle tube up to the U bolt plate, again, to keep the rubber off the body.



Spent way too long making spring clamps, which ended up pinching the leaf pack and binding it up, so I took them off.

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Old 11-23-2011, 10:34 AM
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wow i really like those rims where did you get them? the steelies from the 3 inch lift eras i mean

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Old 11-23-2011, 10:34 AM
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So that's my story.
It sits pretty level with some tools in the back at 4".
I'll update this whenever I make moves on it again.









Front tow hooks work damn good.







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Old 11-23-2011, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Moparguy45 View Post
wow i really like those rims where did you get them? the steelies from the 3 inch lift eras i mean
couple from a junkyard, the rest off craigslist. I'm at $410 for 6 take off tires mounted on 6 wheels. full specs in post #7
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:23 AM
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no im talking about the rims from the first picture in post #3
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Moparguy45 View Post
no im talking about the rims from the first picture in post #3
my bad. 15x8 Cragar V5, all the same backspacing & sizes as the D windows and Soft 8s.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:58 PM
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Looking good. I’m a big fan of the OEM + look also. I’ve had a few VW’s as well so I know exactly what your talking about. I’m planning on doing the same style with my XJ. It should look like it came from the factory, but done right. Mine’s in a little bit of rough shape now, but that will hopefully be changing little by little.
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