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Project Cheap! (yeah right).

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Project Cheap! (yeah right).

Old 08-08-2013, 08:52 AM
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Default Project Cheap! (yeah right).

Well, after I was bitten by the Jeep bug (a sweet green 96 that rotted away underneath) I knew I would be back. This isn't going to be an exciting build with 6.5" lift and longarms - we just don't have access to that sort of terrain in the UK. Well it exists, but I don't own any .

This vehicle is going to run alongside my wife's E46 BMW 330 touring which is also on LPG and be the "big car" for when we need to load up 2 Basset hounds and a two year old (plus gear) for holidays etc. It also needs to cope with some mild offroad duty when I go shooting, and be the "definitely going to get there" vehicle when the snow comes down. Snow tyres for the BMW would cost 600!!

This time I scoured the ads looking for a clean XJ that was converted to LPG (vital in the UK) and didn't have the tank in the load area

So, here she is:
1997 4.0 limited with 242, hitch and trans cooler. I've never seen a Cherokee in the UK without a 242 and trans cooler, but I'm glad they are still there!

The good news:


She's clean!

She has LPG (Filler in the lower quarter there)

You can see the reduced size petrol/gas tank there: 30 litres capacity (just under half size). In front of it is a 70 litre cylinder tank for LPG which should give a usable fill of 56 litres. I'm hoping for a 200 mile range on LPG, but that is probably optimistic. I'll let you know when I find out.

Not the best shot, I'll try to get some more when I get her up on a ramp. That leak was Power Steering fluid, now fixed. The engine seems to be holding it's oil, so far.


The NOT so good. The LPG install, while working, is a bit naff. The ECU is flopping around and some brainiac decided that a cone filter would be a great idea - just next to the exhaust manifold and without a heat shield. Hmmm.


The ECU is ten years old, but it is a good one. Shame it's just flopping around loose!

and there is a dent on the wing/fender where someone closed the hood/bonnet on a pair of stilsons or similar.


So I've got what I wanted but there's stuff to do. Especially with the aircon!


WHUT??? Someone has decided that fan shrouds are just too much hassle and has completely removed the aircon fan. So much for the aircon then. I'm going to take it to a shop and see how much of the aircon is still present. I know for sure that the compressor is because it is squealing like a bad steering pump

Other stuff that needs to be fixed:
The vacuum system is goosed. The vents don't change from defrost and the cruise control switches on, but doesn't work. I'll be getting in there soon as well for a good poke around.
The idle is too low, which means a good amount of vibration when stationary. This isn't helping the exhaust which is rattling a bit.
There's no spare - but the PO found it so I can go pick it up.
Front door speakers don't work, I suspect that I'll be taking the door cards off to find the usual problem.

So there she is Ladies and Gentlemen - Project Cheap! 995 from ebay with a brand new MOT (annual inspection) and christened by my 2yo who can't quite say Jeep yet. He loves it, and so do I

Last edited by Morat; 08-08-2013 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:43 PM
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Made a small breakthrough today!
I found some disconnected pipes under the cone filter that seemed that they should have been connected up like so



After checking on an LPG forum that I had actually understood them right, I cut the pipes short and pushed them back on the fittings. Bingo, low idle is pretty much sorted. Low revs, medium throttle is much improved - and the engine isn't shaking the exhaust off at 500rpm, a nice steady 750 rpm idle instead

I'm not sure how that affected the idle on petrol as well, but I guess having an open pipe into the intake manifold didn't help - especially as the open end was under a cone filter.

I'll still have a go at the IAC, I bet it hasn't been done in years.

Also, having watched youtube videos about the aircon compressor clutch I can be sure that the grim noise from the front end is the clutch dragging when disengaged. What I can't quite work out is why it is trying to engage because it's meant to be switched off. Perhaps the aircon switches on the dash are having more problems than just a bad vacuum system....

Weekend coming up, wife warned!
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:34 AM
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IAC cleaned! It was pretty grim, and is still a bit rust pitted. Idle seems a little better. In Park I'd say it's perfect, in Drive it can get a little low still but nothing like it was before.

I've also had the front/pass door card off, to see if I could resurrect the door speakers. Mixed sucess. The speakers do now work, but the cone in the driver is torn so it sounds OK but is quiet. I'm not sure how I fixed it, which is worrying. I suspect that the cable has gone, but me disturbing it has brought it back temporarily. I couldn't see any breaks/slits but it is all covered up with fabric so it's hard to tell. I wish you could just buy the whole harness back to the nearest plug, like you can with BMWs.

On the upside, Cheap has the Infinity speaker upgrade with tweeters and the amp under the rear bench. I measured the front driver while it was out. 6.5"x 2.5" deep.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:03 PM
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Some progress! I had the LPG installation inspected by a good fitter. He has replaced the pipes for the pressure sensor and put the OMVL ecu onto a decent bracket so isn't loose in the bay any more. He also spotted that the injector rail was loose and could have potentially fouled the throttle cable. Fixed! There's a fuel leak from the top of the petrol tank which is a rotten gasket. This is a pita since it would mean dropping both the fuel tanks to get access and that would take a lot of labour which non lpg savvy shops won't touch. Until then, half a tank at a time.

I got the wheels balanced. Apparently two of the wheels were well out of balance and I'm getting less of a vibe at 60-70 than I was. Two of the tyres have high spots so it isn't completely gone. A good excuse for new tyres :-) While I'm on tyres, the pressures were way out, ranging from 22-44 psi with no two the same. Cheap rolls a lot better now!

Finally I got my CB installed. Nothing fancy, it is just screwed onto the top of the dash with the power cable running down behind the vent/radio surround to the power outlets. The antenna is on a mag-mount in the centre of the roof with the cable coming at the top of a rear door and tucked into the trim at the side of the headliner and on down the side of the screen. SWR between 1.6 and 2.5 chan1 and 40, so I need to do some antenna tuning.....

Next up, I need to get near a decent air line so I can try cleaning out my aircon compressor clutch which is still dragging.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:16 PM
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Lookin good! I gotta say, those British jeeps are like aliens to me. So, the thing runs on propane? That's pretty impressive. Won't see that over here in the states, lol
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:51 AM
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Thanks! It is a bit confusing when I check online guides or videos and then go to start work on my own Jeep and it's all backwards! Well, if it was ALL backwards that would be OK, but only some things are backwards.. which is a head scratcher

The propane thing is a mixed blessing. It does add some complexity and you can't just sling a jerrycan of LPG in the boot and refuel where you like. But realistically the UK is a small island so I'll never be that far from a fuel pump. The upside is I managed 200 miles from the LPG tank on the last fill and that worked out at 29 pence per mile. My wife's 2000 bmw 330 works out at 13ppm (also LPG) so it's not never really going to be cheap to run - but I knew that from the start
Another thing - if I gut the cat, it should pass our emissions test because LPG burns cleaner. The tester has to visually check that the cat is present, but that doesn't include stripping the thing down to check that it is anything more than a bulge in the pipe. So if this cat IS rattling badly, it's just going to get gutted.

Just had a look at the start of your thread and I'm jealous of your head unit. I use Android and Poweramp as well but I'm not sure if I want to rip out the factory Infinity gear I have at the moment. Despite not owning any CDs since 2001, I like the fact that the CD changer in the back still works, and the manual is still in the glovebox!

Anyway, I really need to look at rust prevention first, and then Road/Snow/Mild offroad tyres. The '96 did really well on General Grabber AT2 which were actually quieter than my current Eagles.

Last edited by Morat; 08-19-2013 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Morat View Post
Thanks! It is a bit confusing when I check online guides or videos and then go to start work on my own Jeep and it's all backwards! Well, if it was ALL backwards that would be OK, but only some things are backwards.. which is a head scratcher

The propane thing is a mixed blessing. It does add some complexity and you can't just sling a jerrycan of LPG in the boot and refuel where you like. But realistically the UK is a small island so I'll never be that far from a fuel pump. The upside is I managed 200 miles from the LPG tank on the last fill and that worked out at 29 pence per mile. My wife's 2000 bmw 330 works out at 13ppm (also LPG) so it's not never really going to be cheap to run - but I knew that from the start
Another thing - if I gut the cat, it should pass our emissions test because LPG burns cleaner. The tester has to visually check that the cat is present, but that doesn't include stripping the thing down to check that it is anything more than a bulge in the pipe. So if this cat IS rattling badly, it's just going to get gutted.

Just had a look at the start of your thread and I'm jealous of your head unit. I use Android and Poweramp as well but I'm not sure if I want to rip out the factory Infinity gear I have at the moment. Despite not owning any CDs since 2001, I like the fact that the CD changer in the back still works, and the manual is still in the glovebox!

Anyway, I really need to look at rust prevention first, and then Road/Snow/Mild offroad tyres. The '96 did really well on General Grabber AT2 which were actually quieter than my current Eagles.
Nice! I wonder how the price of propane over there compares to gasoline & mileage here in the States. And thanks, it's a great unit! I'm thinking of putting it in my car now actually, since it would get way more use there and my XJ is garaged for quite a while now. Do you have pics of your current unit?

The good news is if you do decide to put a different one in, it's SUPER easy on the Cherokees. I swapped mine out in 15 minutes.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:44 AM
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Well the LPG/Propane system decided to spring a leak... There's nothing quite like the smell of gas to give you the pucker factor when driving. Windows open!
Anyway, I pressed the LPG button to switch off the system and the smell went away. When the system is off, the LPG tank valve shuts on a solenoid so whatever was in the pipes vented off and that was that. The secondary problem was the very small petrol tank and getting home on trad fuel.
Made it, booked her in again. I'm pretty sure it was my fault and I banged down on the LPG injector rail when I put the top airbox back on. But I'm not taking any chances.

In other news, my fan shrouds and aircon fan arrived today. Once the LPG is fixed it's time to get booked in for UJs and aircon test/inspection.

Empty Pockets, I forgot to get pics of the audio - I'll do that and post 'em
Cheers all!
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:44 AM
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Well she's running along fine. I haven't spent nearly as much time on this as I hoped. I've got all the parts ready to put in new LPG injectors and I've got the bits and pieces I need to restore the aircon fan, and fan shrouds. All I need now is daylight outside work hours, or a free weekend.

Still, there's some progress - NEW TYRES



General Grabber AT2 which are getting tough to find in the UK now that the EU have banned "noisy" tyres. I'd just got myself used to the idea that I'd have to get the new AT (which are called AT instead of AT3 which confused me for a while) when the local tyre fitter said he had AT2 in the right size - 235/75/15 - and for 10 less than anywhere I could find on the internet. SOLD

And here's a pic of my CD/Radio/Tape unit for emptypockets, if he's still interested!



There's an amp under the seat, and a 6 disk changer in the back which looks like carp but still works - unlike most of the speakers. Only the speakers in the sound bar above the load area still work But hey, one day I'll get the speakers and amp replaced by a nice stealthy modern install.

Last edited by Morat; 12-14-2013 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 12-18-2013, 04:09 AM
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And just in time, because I got a once-in-a-lifetime shooting invitation.
Cheap was very happy running around with two shiny Discoveries and showing them how it's done


Last edited by Morat; 12-18-2013 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:43 PM
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Sub'd.... love the thought of an LPG XJ. There's a CNG station not too far from my house, but I don't even wanna think about the cost/process of a CNG conversion. If I did anything it would be LPG.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:06 AM
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LPG works really well - when it's working
There's quite a mature industry in Europe and the UK for converting all sorts of vehicles. Also, there's a good forum here: www.lpgforum.co.uk
XJs are prime candidate for conversion!
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:21 AM
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Good info!
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:10 AM
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What I have learnt today:

1. I'm an idiot
2. The vacuum bottle on a RHD Cherokee is on the other side of the bay (Left side, Port side, Passenger Side) because of the steering box.
3. The arch liner is secured by torture devices _specifically_ designed to wedge plastic under your fingernails.
4. The vacuum bottle is brittle, and if you try to pull the pipe off it you will snap the end off.
5. I've left the oil filler cap somewhere. Not sure where, not sure when.
6. see 1.

****

also:
I have a small transmission fluid leak from the join on the lower line to the transmission cooler.
I have an oil leak from the filter housing
The front disks have about a 3mm lip due to wear!

Last edited by Morat; 02-22-2014 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 02-22-2014, 11:35 AM
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