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Project (HELP WITH NAME)

Old 01-13-2016, 11:27 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Sherman, TX
Posts: 108
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
Default Project (HELP WITH NAME)

AS SHE SITS NOW











Hi everyone,
So I've actually been a long time lurker or Cherokeeforum and Jeepforum... After years of wanting a jeep and honestly just wanting to get rid of my piece of crap Bronco, I finally got the opportunity to do so!!

A little background - I am an 18 year old college student about an hour away from Dallas TX, majoring in Computer Science! So literally, 0 experience on cars or anything other than computers...

KEEP IN MIND - this is my first build thread, and I totally get carried away and do everything in one day with no pictures.. If that happened or does happen in the future, i apologize.

Also, I am making this for you guys, but honestly, this is more for my use haha. I'm monitoring everything I have done and have planned to do while keeping an organized list and something to show myself in a year or two.
Over the course of building up this jeep, I'm gaining skills I would never pick up without the jeep.... Welding, Mechanical skills, what not. This is also a chronicle of how unexperienced I am now, and hopefully how experienced I will be later on.
I want to be making most of this stuff on my own, just so i can learn the know how, save some money, and have the pride of seeing it and being like h*ll yeah, I made that and it looks awesome!

Current Stats!
102k miles, running strong on that beautiful I6.
4.5" Zone Offroad Full Leaf Lift
33x12.50x15 Nitto Trail Grapplers
15x8 "Soft 8" Cragar's, 4in BS.
Cut flares.
Stickers (adds some much needed HP)


Future Plans!
Track bar! If you have any recommendations please let me know!
Sway bar disco's (currently riding with them disco'd so i can flex and show off
Rear Flares cut and folded over.
Flat Fender Flares eventually
Bucket type Roof Rack
Front Stinger Bumper.
Rear Bumper possibly tire carrier, not sure yet. (if so, with jerry can mount)
Cargo Net. (Raingler type)
Oh ***** handles, 550 paracord.
Flowmaster Muffler. (Any recommendations?)
12" sub in the back. (coming soon!)
Switch Panel. (ashtray or overhead console, not sure)
Winch. (Combing craigslist now)
Sliders
Skid plate for the underbelly, which will mostly be splash guard type plates. I don't rock crawl, it'll mostly be mud or trails.
Hood Vents
Re-gearing, locker in the back

LED Interior Lights
62MM Throttle Body
New Injectors
New Spark Plugs
Whole new Brake system
Clean and re-do Valve cover gasket




Background:

I was originally looking for a 97+ TJ with <175k miles. However, doing some more searching and background info, XJ's seemed a more likely option... for the cost of a stock TJ, I could get a lifted XJ with less miles.
So anyway, my job gave me a $5000 bonus in late November and finally, getting a jeep seemed to be realistic, and I started combing through craigslist, ebay, autotrader, and every single other website known to man. After a month of searching, planning future mods, and learning more about jeeps, I found the one.

PART I

Asking $3300 for it.
Bone stock black 97 XJ.
Tan interior
Overhead console
Cruise control, power seats/mirrors
D30 in the front, 8.25 in the back
101,488 miles!!!
4 door.
Dead battery (drove home on the alternator)
One headlight out (drove home using brights..)
not even sagging at all!

So anyway, I knew something had to be wrong on the craigslist ad, so I called up there, and everything seemed to be good. It was a rebuilt title, but I'm 18 and no way i can afford full coverage anyway so no biggie; i'm also personal friends with my insurance agent, and i called her up and she said it was all cool.
As I test drove the XJ, I realized one MAJOR problem... 2WD...
The deadly killer of all badass jeeps. THAT's why the price is so low.. damn. That's okay, I can work with that.
So I made a big deal about everything that was wrong with it and got them down to $2500, with the tax, title, all the bs taxes, and a full tank of gas for me and my friend who drove me 1.5 hours away to go get it, it ended up right around $2900. I was fully okay with paying $3300 for it, so i was pretty happy i saved $400.


Exterior of the XJ, as per the dealers photos.










Interior of the XJ, as per dealers photo, and also a mileage pic.









So after doing some more research, with the condition this cherokee was in, I calculated that I could actually convert this to 4wd for cheaper than a 4wd in this condition would cost me.. We'll say $1000-2000 for jy parts to make the 4wd conversion, and my friend, his dad, and I would do all the labor.. My friends dad has rebuilt transmissions and axles and knows what he's doing, I would honestly mostly be just watching and learning.
Driving my XJ home after driving around my bronco which is literally falling apart was AMAZING. I know this sounds stupid, but to me, it was like a racecar! before this, I drove a '91 bronco with basically no transmission lol.. it would get stuck and not shift out of first, and couldnt get over 60.. so obviously, driving the XJ home, I floored it. Maxing at 110, I literally was screaming in joy and was so happy I finally bought a new car.


PART II

The day after driving it home, I went out and snagged my battery from my old bronco (currently chilling in my front yard) and replaced the one in the XJ. Later that day, I ordered new headlights, housings, and wiring kits from Amazon.
Again, I got carried away.. no pics.

Housings: "GENSSI H6054"
Amazon.com: GENSSI H6054 7x6 Inch 200mm Headlights Pair Uses H4 Bulbs Non-sealed H6014/h6052/h6054: Automotive Amazon.com: GENSSI H6054 7x6 Inch 200mm Headlights Pair Uses H4 Bulbs Non-sealed H6014/h6052/h6054: Automotive

Bulbs: HELLA H4 12v
Amazon.com: HELLA HLA-H83140141 H4 12V 100/55W Halogen Bulb Off Road Use: Automotive Amazon.com: HELLA HLA-H83140141 H4 12V 100/55W Halogen Bulb Off Road Use: Automotive

Wiring Harness: PartsSquare Harness
Amazon.com: PartsSquare H4 9003 HB2 Heavy Duty Ceramic Plug Connector Relay Wiring Headlight Harness: Automotive Amazon.com: PartsSquare H4 9003 HB2 Heavy Duty Ceramic Plug Connector Relay Wiring Headlight Harness: Automotive

I can take pics tomorrow of how they look currently if anyone wants, but i have no pics of before the upgrade - however it looks SO MUCH BETTER! Like bright white light instead of yellowy light.


After a week of sitting on my porch staring at it and smiling, I figured it was time to upgrade. Using the rest of my bonus, I kind of went crazy looking at lifts and tires. literally thousand of reviews, threads and questions later, I settled upon Zone Offroad - the baby company of BDS (the exact same stuff with no warranty) I'd only heard good things of BDS, but they were way out of my price range, so I went with their 4.5" lift with full leafs!

Lift: Zone Offroad 4.5" Full Leaf Pack
http://zoneoffroad.com/zone-offroad-...erokee/j23-j24

EDIT: btw, shout out to Eric Jensen at RockRidge 4WD! This guy talked to me on the phone for hours about everything and more i would need, and gave me a huge discount on the lift! If you need anything, I 100% recommend RR4WD and Eric J! I got free shipping on the lift and over $120 off the lift price from Zone themselves.
I appreciate you Eric!

I know usually you would need an SYE, but according to some sources, I wouldn't since I guess 2wd XJ's driveshafts are like extra long? And plus the Zone lift came with a 1" T-case drop (crossmember drop for me) so I thought if i needed anything to relieve vibes I could just use that. All this time mind you, i'm combing through craigslist for any ads that I could use for the XJ.. tires, wheels, lift, anything lol. So I finally find some tires (BRAND NEW) 3 hours away.

Tires: Nitto Trail Grapplers, 33x12.50x15 (With stickers still on them)

basically, the guy bought 17 wheels and 15 tires, and had to rebuy the tires. So I got a set of 4 tires for $700 + gas. (he met me halfway)
I looked them up online and with shipping and everything I almost got 50% off! I was super stoked. Picked them up, ordered the wheels the next day.

Wheels: Cragar Soft 8's, 15x8, with 4in BS.
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CRR-3975812

Went to a local tire shop, got tires onto wheels or vice versa whatever it is lol, they looked amaaaaaazing!


At this point, all I'm waiting for is the lift to get here! Most arrived about 4 days after I ordered it, one box and one leaf spring set arrived the day after the rest came.


PART III

This is the part that was totally not fun and fun at the same time - so remember when I told you I was a computer science major? yeah I suck with cars.

Putting the lift on was a challenge, especially since my dad is a web designer and has like one set of screwdrivers and a hammer... that is the extent of our tool set / workshop. So calls to friends and friends parents later (I have a really close knit group of friends whom i've known all through high school and we're like one big family)

So the week after getting the lift/tires/wheels all ready to go, and WD-40'ing the underside and everything i could reach, we started on it!
I don't have any pics of us actually doing the lift, but it was not too bad once we got the hang of it! Like I said, I'd been researching everything, so I knew everything I had to do and where everything went, and it wasn't as hard as I thought. With the correct tools/jacks, it would've been 10x easier...

The back took about 4 hours, the majority just trying to position everything and get the jeep high enough with our little baby jacks and maneuvering the leaf springs into place. The underside had barely any rust on it, and most bolts came out flawlessly, just with a breaker bar and some muscle (Thanks brendon, my muscle man)
Like I said, no pics while putting on the lift, but this is with the back done and tires mounted!





By the time we were done with that back, we had about 30 minutes until dark, so we took a break, i took them all to dinner as a thank you, and we came back the next day for the front. The front was WAY harder then the back - again, this is because we didn't have the proper tools (jacks)

So we ghetto rigged it, using a piece of a tree stump (it was flat.. don't worry.) tree stump on the bottom, jack on top, and some pieces of 2x4 on top of the jack.. this provided that extra 6 inches to jack it up to the right height. After experimenting with this for like an hour or two, we removed everything from the front end while one of my friends is using these coil things on the coil? EDIT: Coil Compressors!
After compressing the coils and lowering the front end, with some prying and pushing the axle to the ground, we finally got the coils on. after the coils, the shocks were easy, and tbh i still haven't relocated the brake lines. oh well.

Once this is all done, we mounted tires and tried to drive it... it was possible and I actually drove to get it aligned, but it rubbed on tight corners and bumps and i didn't like that. Having expected this, I had an angle grinder and cutoff wheel ready to go. I took off the flares and cut I'm gonna guess around 2" off the fender. I cut to the top of the little fold, right to the edge of the washer reservoir on my drivers side.

The back flares are actually okay for right now, I haven't messed with those at all. I meant to after I cut the front, but I just haven't gotten around to it - it's purely cosmetic, I can drive fine and even hit holes and they don't really rub just because the lift hasn't settled. I know I'll have to do it eventually, but I'm planning on making some flatties anyway so not worried.


I'll be taking pics tomorrow and editing them in here, but that's all for now!! Definitely will be modding and doing future work to her, but I need some inspiration, i'm kind of burnt out from all this haha. I did all of this in around 2-3 weeks nonstop, while working so i'm beat. What a great waste of my christmas break!


I'm still a noob at this so please give me feedback and ideas and recommendations for certain things!! Constructive criticism is critical in any situation and I love hearing feedback!

Last edited by j4mison; 02-02-2016 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:37 AM
  #2  
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Posts: 1,080
Year: 1994 SE
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
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That's quite the intro to your jeep! Looking good. You list a D30 but say it was 2wd and plan on converting...have you already done it or are you just planning on the D30? You made a good choice with Zone, I'm happy with my 3" by them as well.
Sounds like you have a good backing of friends and family willing to help. And a waste of Christmas break?!? The whole time I was stuck in he house with relatives I was dreaming of getting something done to the Jeep!
BTW, nice Vans sticker, but that one doesn't gain HP, just cool points.
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Old 01-14-2016, 01:31 PM
  #3  
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Sherman, TX
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Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
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Originally Posted by jay_sco View Post
That's quite the intro to your jeep! Looking good. You list a D30 but say it was 2wd and plan on converting...have you already done it or are you just planning on the D30? You made a good choice with Zone, I'm happy with my 3" by them as well. Sounds like you have a good backing of friends and family willing to help. And a waste of Christmas break?!? The whole time I was stuck in he house with relatives I was dreaming of getting something done to the Jeep! BTW, nice Vans sticker, but that one doesn't gain HP, just cool points.
I'll be grabbing another front axle from somewhere, that D30 is just the stock 2wd axle. I know, I've put around 200 miles on it since the lift and it rides so smooth! like stock but higher, and a little stiffer when it comes to holes in the road, but that's no biggie.
I actually have 2 vans stickers now haha so 2x cool points!
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:40 PM
  #4  
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Sherman, TX
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Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
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Update! Ordered a strip of LED's from Amazon, originally planning to use them for my computer actually, but I was like hey, I could use these as courtesy lights for the XJ!
Amazon Link
Amazon.com: LEDwholesalers 16.4 Feet (5 Meter) Flexible LED Light Strip with 300xSMD3528 and Adhesive Back, 12 Volt, Red, 2026RD: Home Improvement Amazon.com: LEDwholesalers 16.4 Feet (5 Meter) Flexible LED Light Strip with 300xSMD3528 and Adhesive Back, 12 Volt, Red, 2026RD: Home Improvement

They were like $12 shipped and it's 16 feet of LED's, more than enough for the whole cherokee and my computer!

No pics during the install cuz i'm a dummy, but it's super easy, i just removed the stock courtesy lamps and zip tied strips of led in place and soldered the wires to the led. Works perfectly, and now it glows red at night and just looks awesome.
Also, i ordered led's for the guages, don't have the link as i did it on my phone and can't find it but those were super easy, just remove the guage cluster and popped them in. Will edit in a pic tonight.
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:42 PM
  #5  
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Sherman, TX
Posts: 108
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 I6
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So after hearing a loud vibrating noise when my AC/Heat was on, I decided to inspect and see if I could figure out what was up. so basically, my radiator fan was cracked.. in 4 different places. These cracks enabled it to wobble instead of turning straight, so it was shaking the whole fan shroud and honestly could've come loose and caused some major damage - Ran down to NAPA, picked up their last fan and am installing it right now! I'll take some before and after pics and upload them later on tonight.
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