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Project 'BEATER XJ'

Old 08-12-2017, 06:40 PM
I'm NOT a Mustang guy!
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: PA KOTUFU!
Posts: 1,767
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0L 162,000
Default Project 'BEATER XJ'


To go along with 'BOOST XJ', 'RACE XJ' and 'DIESEL XJ'

Today my son Ben is out at Rausch Creek wheeling at 'Topless for TATAS'.

He got another Cherokee, '97 2 door red auto, lift blocks front spacers, beat, slightly rusted, too beat to make nice and keep on the street. He traded a XJ for it + money, so it is basically 'free'. He was going to part it out but it still runs and drives, So a New project begins. Project "BEATER XJ".

Project "BEATER XJ"
Minimal cost, Only use hand me down parts, parts that we have left over and sitting on the shelf from other projects. Minimal money to be used.

6 hours before leaving he stripped the front fenders and header panel off. Installed 2" wheel spacers and used 35" Duratracs. Cut the rear fenders for tire clearance. Pull off the sway bars. Weld the rear diff. Painted the front now exposed inner fenders red. It actually looks pretty good. Checked and topped off the fluids and filled it to the top 18.2 gallons with gas. Loaded on the trailer and off to Rausch.

Mind you, there are no skid plates, no body armor, no sliders, just slightly cut stock bumpers. Started wheeling and landed on a rock on the exposed plastic fuel tank and sprung a leak. He thought that he punctured a hole in it and drove back to camp spilling fuel, oops. Back at camp, couldn't find a hole or leak and someone suggested checking to fuel pump retaining ring. The previous owner had cut a small hole in the trunk to access the top rear shock bolts and as luck had it, the hole was right above the fuel pump. Yep it was knocked off and the fuel pump was loose and rattling around. Screwed it back on, no leaks and back to wheeling.

Lesson learned- was wheeling without a gas tank skid plate but Project Beater.
Lesson learned- when wheeling without a gas tank skid plate and a full tank of gas, if you hit a rock, there is no air/space to compress and as gas is not compressible, the pressure pops off the fuel pump retaining ring.
Lesson learned- having a hole in the floor right above the fuel pump was key to saving the day.
Lesson learned- when break, modify! Plan is to pull the gas tank and put it inside the rear out of harms way.

Future Plans for Project 'BEATER XJ'
-move gas tank to inside the rear
-replace rear hatch with a dented red hatch
-add 'beat up' front header panel
-flip the rear springs to 'stretch' about 4", no gas tank in the way
-bastard pack and add a leaf the rear springs and remove the lift blocks
-comp cut the rear fenders
-front and rear bump stops, currently has none
-'redneck' stretch the front control arms about 2", lengthen stock arms
-pull the rear quarter glass panels and rear hatch glass
-replace the good 2 doors with junky 2 doors we have
-strip out the rear interior and bedline
-install my fabricated front and rear bumpers, including $200 12k Chinese winch when I get JCR Bumpers and Warn or Smittybuilt winch
-add some take off bilstein shock we have front and rear, current ones are shot, the rear actually 'twerks'. That's embarrassing.
-add my rock sliders when they come off my XJ when we do rocker repair and add 2x6 sliders to it
-add front lunchbox locker, got it for free trading parts for another project
-transfer case drop

Money items
- limit to $1000
-JCR transfer case skid plate, track bar and bracket, chrome moly front and rear axle shafts, ?3" front springs.

Plan is for minimal cost.
How capable can we make a near zero cost 'BEATER XJ' trail rig.
It will not be street legal or street driven.
Basically a 'who cares if body damage' trail rig.
This represents the complete opposite of what we usually do but 'what the heck'.

Last edited by CobraMarty; 08-13-2017 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:47 AM
I'm NOT a Mustang guy!
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: PA KOTUFU!
Posts: 1,767
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0L 162,000

Originally Posted by CobraMarty View Post
Ha, he's wheeling more today and banged the tank again and popped the fuel pump retainer ring off, again. Definitely moving the tank up and inside.

He just walked up 'Jotter's Way' and showed everyone up. Ha, Go 'BEATER XJ'!
Originally Posted by CobraMarty View Post
Latest, fuel pump retaining ring staying on, but just died out of nowhere and won't restart.

Funny in that just last week his 'DAILY XJ' died a block away from home and it was the CkPS. Replaced with one of our leftovers and has been fine since. Now today the BEATER XJ dies. Probably also the CkPS. Need to check with a multimeter.

This is actually the first time even driving this Jeep. Lots of 'what if's'. Just like any new to you vehicle, need to check the basics, fluids, battery, grounds and connections, scan tool, etc.
So after it cooled down, BEATER XJ started and drove up onto the trailer.
Cat converter was rattling.
Duratracs were aired down to 12psi and worked very well but because BEATER XJ is much lighter that our built XJs, the Duratrac sidewalls hardly flexed. Next time air down to 8psi and see how that does.

So all in all for first time out no real issues.
Needs a CkPS, cat converter, move the gas tank up and inside, F+R shocks, bastard pack and add a leaf rear leafs, cut more rear fenders, recovery points, all hopefully before the next use.

Interesting the difference between this XJ and our other 2 built XJs.
They are lifted 5", armored, refined, reliable, street legal, inspected and street driven and heavy, 5000 pounds.

This one, BEATER XJ, is beat, stripped, lifted 2", lighter ?3500 pounds. It doesn't drive on the street so it doesn't have to be driven with utmost care and be armored, refined, inspected, street driven or all that reliable.
Lighter and lower with 35s and welded rear diff makes as good or better trail rig compared to our other 2 XJs.

So today off to wash it and store it until time available to do some more mods and wheel it again.
I'll get Ben to post some pictures. I know, threads without pictures ****.

Until next installment.
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