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Project "Utility Jeep"

Old 09-10-2012, 04:58 PM
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Default Project "Utility Jeep"

Hello everyone,

It has been almost 3 years since I sold my XJ cursed with an earth rattling death wobble. After much thought, I have decided to do it again. Unlike most other jeep build threads were the owner has a jeep, I do not. I'm looking for some opinions and suggestions from start to finish.

The Jeep--

I have my heart set on a 95-99 XJ. Now here's where the questions begin... 2 door or 4 door? How many miles is acceptable and at what price? A couple that I am looking at are 217k for $1300 and its a 1997 county. Also a 1996 SE at 180k with a starting issue for $1500.
both are 4 door. Lastly a 1997 with a rebuild engine with 150k and 250k on the body, and its a two door for 900. What are your thoughts?

The Goal--

I have recently started an ecological consulting business. I need something that I can haul people and gear. I have a 1.5 ton dodge 2500 and a goose neck for the heavy lifting. The XJ will be what I use to get to more hard to access areas of customers property's. So I don't think I need much more that a 4.5 inch lift and 31's.

The Build--

I have always purchased equipment from rustys offroad and plan to continue. I am going with:
-4.5 inch lift kit
-31x10.5" dick cepek fc-II's
-Adjustable control arms
-Transfer case drop
-Adjustable track bar
-Dual steering stabilizers.
-Rustys Prerunner Bumper
-I might have a winch from a guy I work with
-4 Hella 35w 6inch lights
-Modify a Thule roof rack to haul tools, spare tire, fuel, etc
-Flowmaster 40 muffler surrounded by a 2.5 mandrel bent catback
-K&N 9x6 intake
-Hi lift Jack, and mount
-And many more things...

I am looking for any suggestions or comments. Thanks for reading!
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:23 PM
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If you at hauling people then I would go with a 4 door.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:23 PM
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So you get to build your Jeep and write it off??? Now THAT is the way to go......kudos.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:25 PM
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I got my '95 XJ for $800, and it's a 2 door with some body damage. I love it to death but it is not a great platform for a rig. If you are planning on upgrading anything on the vehicle, I strongly recommend that you front the cash to have a clean, straight, and nice running Cherokee that fits your needs. As for the 2/4 door, that is all up to you, as well as the year, i prefer the 97+ simply because they have the feel of a newer car, mostly because of the updated interior. Anyway, hope this helps!
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:20 PM
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Go 4 door..more practical for transporting people. 4.5 and 31s is good for a mild build. Can't wait to see where you go with it
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:02 PM
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if you are gonna be carrying more than yourself and one passenger get a 4 door, nobody likes climbing in the back of a 2 door
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:09 PM
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If you ate going to have all your gear, winch etc AND 3 or 4 passengers, make sure you get a stiffer spring because even 4 runway models in there is another 400lbs to support.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:34 PM
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Then four door it is! My last jeep was a two door and I didn't mind it. Four door makes so much more sense. Now to mileage... What is worth it? My last XJ I bought was a 95 with 110k for 1800. Now it seems anything under 200k is $2000 plus or has something wrong with it. Its going to get a fair amount of miles 5-7000 a year i'm guessing. Any suggestions.

Thanks for the responses!
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:46 PM
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Another option could be to get an XJ with excessive mileage and find a low mileage motor in the junk yard. Swapping the motors yourself will get you a good low mileage motor for cheap and an XJ for cheap.

This requires you to have time and motivation to work on the Jeep though. It's hard to get a new vehicle only to park it in the garage and take it all apart.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:53 PM
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I have toyed with that option. Two problems... I live in wisconsin now and everything with 250k+ definitely a rust bucket. I don't mind rebuilding rockers and fenders, but I want to do that next summer not this winter. So less rust the better. Second I live in an apartment with a very small garage and a wife who wont give it up over the winter... especially for an engine and tranny...

Engine might be a future upgrade anyway. I want to build up something and just swap it out over a weekend. Most likely a year or so down the line.

Last edited by kitsapfreerider; 09-10-2012 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:58 PM
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Look out of state. Sometimes it is worth the drive to get a good deal
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:04 PM
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Okay I started searching a little farther out. I found a 96 with 149k and they want 1900.. ill talk them down to 1700. Its a four door and about two hours away. I will report back with what I find.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:27 PM
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Lesson learned: well... sort of...

Went to see that last jeep, dealer wouldn't budge on the price a cent. So I mentioned that the vehicle had multiple equipment violations not mentioned on their "safety checklist" and that their information was fraudulent under WI highway equipment code. I was promptly asked to leave the premise... Well next listing.. No more dealers for me...
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:00 AM
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I had a similar experience at a small dealership .. tries to talk them down saying there was illegal tint ( had to be 5%) that would have to be stripped.. wobbled at high speed.. and had multiple other issues.. dealer said talk a walk .. didn't take it personally.. shop with an individual.. mostly all jeep xj's at least down here in florida are sold by individual and small dealers.. since you know a lot about jeeps you prob know more than 75% of most dealers of what to look for.. save your money and get a better deal
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:49 PM
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Well I think I have come to the conclusion that the 97 with 217k is going to be the one I pick up. If its what the girl said and sent pictures of, I think for 1000 I can't be to bad off. I'm going to pick up a set of u-joints if I pick it up. Also some metal for new rockers, and body fill for a rusty spot above the rockers. Floor pans look fine and the interior, except for the back seat, look spotless. I'll order up the lift, tires, bumper, exhaust and intake this week also. Stop me if this is bad idea, but i'm not to worried with stories of the i6 lasting forever.

Thanks for reading,
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