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Our New 1999 Cherokee Classic

Old 08-27-2016, 03:51 PM
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Red face Our New 1999 Cherokee Classic

Hi all,

We're new to the forum, but I've lurked for many years throughout owning 3 previous XJs. We're finally at a time and place in life to build out an expedition-style Cherokee, so we picked up this 1999 Cherokee Classic via ebay for a great price.

It's a 4.0, AW4/231 with D30/8.25-29spline, 103k miles, and fresh 30x9.5 BFG AT KO2s. We purchased it from the 2nd owner, who'd recently purchased from the original owners, an older couple who bought it new in '99 at retirement for their snow vehicle. Garage-kept for most of its life, and not a hint of rust anywhere. Well maintained, just needed some upholstery cleaning.

Our family has roots in Colorado, and though my fiance and I presently live in Atlanta, we get back to CO for several weeks every summer, and hope to explore the Ozarks and Appalachians some as well. The purpose of this XJ is to give us access to some deep trails for camping and outings while on family trips. We're planning a modest build based in an Old Man Emu 3.5 from DPG offroad, with some special rear springs Dirk recommends focusing on cargo and towing capacity. We have a YJ and set of quads in the family already, so the XJ is for transporting four adults for trail outings to specific locations.

We'll get to the lift in the Spring when work quiets down, but until then we wanted to get the XJ cleaned up and some of the surface things done. New Hella H4 headlights, new headliner, all new fluids throughout, somewhere to mount the spare tire since it doesn't fit in the cargo space anymore, etc.






1999 Cherokee Classic, our new firecracker.



Photo from the original ebay auction




Another photo from the original ebay auction. I later learned those were the original 1998 tires. The tread looked great, but they developed spider cracks after 100 miles. The older couple had kept snow tires on it most of its life. Had a blow-out on the way back from DE and put the BFG ATs on.




Got it home and got to work cleaning it up, replacing headliner, all the fluids, and getting it as fresh as possible with the shop vac and some upholstery extraction.



Seats out for the deep clean, and to keep away from insulating the headliner.





Headliner pulled and painted with Behr Deck Over (I started a thread elsewhere about this)





My fiance taping up insulation. It's just standard home R-13 insulation, now sandwiched between the headliner and roof. Dramatically improved road noise. We also put a new stereo and speakers in (Polk DXI 651 all around, and a Pioneer MVH-X580BS head unit). To help with sound, we coated the cavities of all the doors and cargo area with peal n seal (dynamat type stuff).





Drying out in the Hotlanta sun from the cleaning.




The interior cleaned up very well, and 303 Protectant brought most of the plastics back to life.





Cleaned up very well!





Still need to recover the visors. Will use some sort of wipeable vinyl.




Really like the Rugged Ridge floor liners.







Getting fresh oil and a coolant system flush.






Ready for a lift! ROLA roof rack mounted to the factory luggage bars.






Wow, the OEM rear springs are so shot! That's only 12 bags of mulch in there! The OME 3.5 will fix all of this!


Thanks for reading. We're excited to finally be back in the XJ family and look forward to giving this one its share of parts.

Regards,
Aaron

Last edited by Trombahonker; 08-27-2016 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:17 PM
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Looks awesome! Glad to see someone else who loves 303 as well, that stuff is fantastic.

Same color as my 2000 xj, but the body on yours looks much more mint. You are giving me some motivation
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:45 PM
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nice looking rig, following along.
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:30 PM
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Default Old Man Emu 3.5 Ultimate Installed

Hi all,

OK, so we got to the lift earlier than I thought we would! We purchased the OME 3.5 Ultimate kit from Dirk at DPG Offroad. He was extremely helpful and was available to answer several questions throughout. Dirk's reputation for customer service and aid is well earned and I highly recommend people work with him.

Our goal with the lift was expedition/cargo oriented. We use the XJ mostly for camping off main paths, so we wanted springs that would give us 600-1000lbs cargo capacity throughout (including passengers) while still having good clearance, and the ability to tow a trailer with toys.. Dirk steered us to a specific set of rear springs with an extra overload spring to help with the cargo, and suggested one size up coil spring.

Below are photos from the process. We're really happy overall. The only negative is that there is now some driveline vibration, so we will be installing one of DPG's SYE/Driveshaft combos when time permits.




Started in back. As Dirk at DPG suggest would happen, most of upper shock bolts broke. We were able to knock the tack-welded nuts out and fishnew bolts up and through the existing holes with the wire method many talk about. Dirk also recommended we try this method.



finger tightening the U-bolt nuts.



Looking pretty good!



Boy, that looks silly - lifted rear and not up front! Getting ready to start the front end.



I had limited time and ran in to delays getting the control arm bolts out, so I had to leave the Jeep like this for a couple weeks.



Waiting patiently.



Rear looks pretty good. Will be fun to get a JCR hitch bumper back there...



Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, I was able to get away from work for a couple days and back home to finish up the front end. New springs, quick disconnects, and trackbar all went in pretty easily.



All done and very happy with the result. We wanted a compact build that fit the 30x9.5 ATs well, but provided for ample cargo.



Looks nice









Thanks for following along!
Aaron and Sawlar

Last edited by Trombahonker; 10-07-2016 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:35 PM
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This looks great! You've got me leaning towards the 3.5" OME kit over the 2.5" one. I'm trying to decide which would look better with the 30 inch tires. Dirk said both will work without fender modification, but the extra clearance with the 3.5 looks really nice. Decisions... decisions...
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:43 PM
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Yes, I'm definitely liking the look of the 3.5" lift!


I originally contacted Dirk asking for the 2.5, but he steered me to the 3.5 with thesespecific leaf springs to really maximize the cargo capacity. I'm sure the truck would be fine at 2.5, but those springs wouldn't have the same ability to deal with weights. I think if you have the means, you should just get the 3.5.

-a
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:06 AM
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Sub'd because she's hot
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:31 AM
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which head does yours have?
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:50 AM
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Hi there,

On the engine, I don't know. Whatever the stock head is. is there some place you'd like me to look to find that information?

-a
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:53 AM
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The driver side of the head above the manifold. Raised numbers that should read 0630.
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Trombahonker View Post
Hi there,

On the engine, I don't know. Whatever the stock head is. is there some place you'd like me to look to find that information?

-a
do you have coil packs or a distributor

some 99s have coil packs and a crappy head prone to cracks

just wondering if you knew

theres been a ton of threads aboot 99,00,01 xjs with heads goin and the owners didnt even know aboot their head issues

just curious.
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rzldzl View Post
do you have coil packs or a distributor

some 99s have coil packs and a crappy head prone to cracks

just wondering if you knew

theres been a ton of threads aboot 99,00,01 xjs with heads goin and the owners didnt even know aboot their head issues

just curious.
Didn't know about my '01 until I sold it. She looked so good and clean and I never knew it was a time bomb.
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by NewbJeep View Post
Didn't know about my '01 until I sold it. She looked so good and clean and I never knew it was a time bomb.
yeah, im leery of calling it a time bomb....theres sometimes hype and sometimes reality

but i would never buy one, and purposely bought 98s cuz of the head (and the other changes)

im just really surprised of how many ppl buy something w/o even a teeny bit of googling...theres lotsa ppl buying used diesel cruzes and being surprised of the issues, yet us that own them have reported the issues for all to see, if they only look.
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rzldzl View Post
yeah, im leery of calling it a time bomb....theres sometimes hype and sometimes reality

but i would never buy one, and purposely bought 98s cuz of the head (and the other changes)

im just really surprised of how many ppl buy something w/o even a teeny bit of googling...theres lotsa ppl buying used diesel cruzes and being surprised of the issues, yet us that own them have reported the issues for all to see, if they only look.
Totally Agree. That's the last time I bought without researching. There's so many reviews. Especially when the car is a turd

Don't want to scare OP though. He likely doesn't have the 0331 head
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rzldzl View Post
...how many ppl buy something w/o even a teeny bit of googling...
Oh, I spent a bunch of time on forums and with Google! I just wasn't looking in terms of the 0630 head. Rather, I was looking for a 4.0 with a distributor (which I understood was tied to a different head, though I didn't know the number), as well as a Chrysler 8.25/29spl - so no ABS. Past that, and considering we're down the road 18 years, the most important part was finding a Cherokee that had been well-maintained overall, didn't have rust issues, and that I could purchase for a great price. So the 103k '99 for $2k met all this criteria - and I've been happy since.

Anyway, yes I have a distributor and 0630 head.

Thanks for your time,
Aaron
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