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Project "X"J ---->>CherryCon

Old 03-08-2013, 11:27 PM
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Year: 2000
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Default Project "X"J ---->>CherryCon

Well, after weeks of cleaning the garage and a series of repairs to the other Daily Drivers in the fleet and some creative parking, The XJ has finally made it into the garage...and under it's own power I might add. So with the Cherokee in the garage and a <To Do List> that is too long to complain about I figure its about time to start a build thread. One day I can look back when my 401K is drained and I am living in the back of the trucked I toiled away to build I can finally say with complete confidence......"What the Hell was I thinking!?!?"



I have a confession to make: "Hi, my name is Jeff and I own a Jeep Cherokee. It all started about a year ago when I started hanging out with the wrong crowd. One guy had a totally built up Ranger. One had a nice decently stock Rubicon. Another with a Lifted YJ. They seemed like nice people, little did I know what would happen next,they tried to warn me <I didn't listen>. They took me wheeling one weekend and Jeep bug started nibbling. At first I thought I could contain it. Bought a couple magazines, no big deal. The Jeep Bug was baiting the hook. Soon I was talking pinion angles, selectable lockers, axle ratios, and wheel sizes. The Jeep Bug was beginning to take over and there was no turning back. Next thing you know I am joining forums, surfing Ebay, watching Craig's list, I was losing control. Soon I was driving across the state to look at used trucks and half way across the country to buy axles. I was in trouble. Spending loads on Tires and sleeping in a tent in the snow and fixing driveshafts on a sheet of cardboard in a sandy parking lot while trying to keep from losing my fingers..... It was too late.....I was too far gone......I bought a Jeep......Stop reading now, save yourself while you still can! Run! Get Out! Fleee! There may still be time!"

So it has come to this. Taking refuge amongst a crowd of crazed companions...starting a build thread.......


Last edited by Cerveja; 03-26-2013 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:55 PM
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So I found this "in process" build on the West side of the state. The truck is in need of TLC and the owner in need of money and some stacks of hundreds later I am the proud owner of a 200 Jeep Cherokee Sport with a 4.6 Stroker, 33 inch balding tires on 15 inch rims with a 6.5 inch short arm lift and a random selection of aftermarket goodies. She has a host of minor issues that seem surmountable and nothing outrageously wrong with it. Should make for a good trail rig for starters.

I feared the drive home the most. Drag link and track bar weren't set up correctly and it easily had 90 degrees of play in the steering which made braking, accelerating, coasting, turning, really any type of motion pretty exciting. Lower ball joints were bad and the only thing keeping the front U-Joints together was dirt and 'dirt' was doing a horrible job. So a couple nights in the driveway had the truck driving -ok- with New U-Joints, Calipers, Lower ball Joints and properly set up steering had the front end farily tight with virtually no play and a steering wheel level flat when driving straight.



A few trips to the junk yard to work out the minor issues; no rear wiper, door locks that don't; Broken Passenger mirror and unresponsive rear window, and a set of front axles for the Dana 30. A couple Trips to Quadratec for decentt floor mats, hinge keeper pins to keep the doors quiet, and a few odds and ends. Then a shopping trip at Nates 4X4 to get her a proper Front Bumper, some Rocker Protection and a Winch - Just in case.



After about a month of late nights in the driveway and installation of new used and fabricated parts, not to mention the alternator that forze up the day before her debut. She was ready for her first trip up north. Well.....No way was she ready, but she was going to go whether she wanted to or not.....lol


Last edited by Cerveja; 03-26-2013 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:48 AM
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So we took her wheeling a we learned a few things. I wanted to get one good trip it to find the weak points so I had Winter to fix the not so obvious stuff. Her heart was willing, but the body was not. The inferior parts started whispering and seeking out my MasterCard. Weak drums made backing down hills where Open Axle Dana 30/35's were never intended to climb. Overall she did really well and the things I wanted to fix after the trip was only slightly longer than the things I knew about before leaving for the trip. But one good hill climb had the rear tire faceplanting into a rock ripping the U-Joint strap clear off the Pinion leaving a nice perfectly circular imprint on the floor of the truck.

We limped her out of the trail in Front Wheel drive, fixed her up in the parking lot just in time to drive home for the night. The trouble started once back in the driveway. Closer inspection of the driveshafts showed bent tabs on the rear pinion yoke which eventually give way and potentially let the U-Joint get out of Center to the drive axle. Not to mention a pretty dinged up and and stock Driveshaft near the end of it's stroke off the end of the T-Case. Inspecting the Front revealed more drama. The slip yoke on the DriverShaft was loose and far from slippery while the Double Cardan at the T-Case had Broken Tabs and lots of miles.

Buying new driveshafts would seem like the intelligent thing to do, especially since I just put new 33 inch tires on her for a cancelled trip over Christmas break. But, as I am slowly learning, Jeep owners; while often quite intelligent, aren't always known for smart decisions. Rather than get new Driveshafts to Fit Axles with Drum Brakes that were getting close to their limits with 33 inch tires and probably not worth outfitting with Lockers and a Transfer Case that really needs a Slip Yoke with 6+ inches of lift....we went the other direction.

After a month of shopping, contemplating, comparison shopping and trying to price out custom axles, a road trip to Maryland had me hauling home a set of used JK Rubicon Dana 44's with 4:10 ratios and selectable E-Lockers and disc brakes all around converted to fit under a CJ. After exercising the Visa's Credit Limit, the SYE and the Clayton 3-Link Long Arm are on it's way. So tonight she sits inthe garage with a project list that keeps growing the more things I take apart. This weekend should be a bunch of random little projects to clear room in the garage for the new bits and to make room for the Front Axle swap.



More to come, will take some more pics of the little projects and distractions in the morning.

Last edited by Cerveja; 03-26-2013 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:35 AM
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Spent some quality time in the garage and online this week. Removed the center console and cut in some new factory switches for Auxillary Lighting, and moved the 12 volt power plugs from the dash to the Armrest. No pictures yet, but likely in a few more days.

Recieved in Rocker Switches from otrattw.com to control the front and rear Eatons.

Managed to cut pockets and mount them in front of the T-Case Lever, but didn't ahve the camera on me. Also started pulling the Transfer Case to install the Slip Yoke Eliminator Kit.

The job was much easier without the exhaust in place. So a few quality minutes with a die grinder solved that problem.

Probably a good thing I made the swap, the filter was pretty covered and and magnet had an unhealthy coating as well.

Filter had lots of goop on the screen from little chunks of RTV sealant that had fallen down from the case covers. Unfortunately my RTV was old and dry, so I couldn't finish the job and button things up last night. So hopefully tonight I can get back out there and let the sealant set up.

Also picked up a new used set of rims over the weekend. They have seen a couple miles, but I am not building a trailer queen, so a couple dings and nicks isn't the end of the world here.

Last edited by Cerveja; 03-27-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:18 PM
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Looks good, But next time copy and paste the link from photobucket that has [IMG] in front of it and [/IMG] at the end...
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I hate having to link photos out of photobucket. Seemed like a pain in the neck and I didn't like the way it appeared. Will have to edit them when I get a chance.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:32 PM
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Finished cleaning up the differential covers and added a fresh layer of paint. They had a fair amount of rock rash from the previous owner and one of the bolts were stripped out. Went body color & black on the covers, it will look cool for at least the first trip.....Sprayed them with reflective paint over the body color. Although I don't think it's as reflective as I wanted. Oh well, they still look good for now.

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Old 04-18-2013, 11:32 PM
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Making progress, busted out the plasma over the weekend and burned off all the old brackets from the JK Axles.


Ground off all the slag and splatter and got them all cleaned up for the new Clayton Pro 3-Link. Welded on the Differential Bridge, Track Bar Link and Lower Control arm and Shock mounts.


Also received in the heavy gauge wire for the Winch Solenoid box. Rewired the solenoids and attached the solenoid box to the fabricated bracket and moved it over by the master cylinder. Really wanted to keep it close to the battery, but just wasn't fitting there.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:06 AM
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Man that's gonna be a BEAST!
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:42 AM
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It's going to be a beats for sure!
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:12 AM
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Been a while since I have added to the thread. Actually way behind on posting so I will try and do some catch up. I have actually had it wheeling and its back in the garage for mods, so I need to catch up on the old build before getting into Phase Two.....

So as things were under way on the front end, I took the plunge and went for the Clayton 4-link kit for the rear.


Started getting the axles in place under the truck. Spent a few bucks at home depot on some casters and scrap plywood to make the Roll-Arounds. Built them so they held the axles at ride height base on the wheel diameter. Certainly made rolling them around the garage and testfitting them way easier.


Made a seperate Roll-Around for the rear, this was before the brackets and everythign was welded up.


I was a little concerned how 35's would fit under the wheel, so I fitted the spare rim for test purposes.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:29 AM
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Started mounting the rear axle which required cutting into the frame for the upper coil perches. I was very happy slicing into the frame to find very little rust in the unibody. We tapped around with the hammer before ordering the kit and things felt pretty sound, so It was nice to confirm our suspicions after busting out the die grinder.


Got the rear crossmembers welded in place. It looks like it really hangs down, but after wheeling it hard for a couple weeks, the skid and square tube frame took no damage at all.


One of many delays...What I think is part of the EGR or fuel return system sits right above the Upper LH side Four Link. Had to remove it in order to get the Links to install.


Axle in place and all links temporarily bolted in. Parking brake cable is still not connected, but it's an automatic, so it's a pretty low priority on my list of things to do.


This time the wheel is actually bolted to something and not just for show. I was planning on 6.5 inches of lift with 35's, but I think I am actually shorter than that. Which is actually preferred, I didn't want to be super high.


The Track Bar wasn't welded up yet, so I had to cross tie the axle in place to let the weight down on the jackstands.

Last edited by Cerveja; 08-25-2013 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:30 AM
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Your jeep looks great. I love the color.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:49 AM
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I was torn between the Viair and the ARB, but I cheaped out and went with the Viair. I couldn't justify the ~$600 for the Twin Pump ARB and it didn't mount that well in the spot I wanted to put it.


I wanted to put it in the molded recess in the rear quarter trim panel, but it just wasn't going to fit there. So I welded a shelf up behind the panel and cut the curved recess portion out and basically tossed it out.


I had some old pressboard from a past project laying around, so I cut a flat panel larger than the opening. Went to a local Auto Upholstery & Restoration Shop in the area and got a piece of carpet to fill in the opening.


I drilled a series of 1/4 inch holes around the perimeter so I could use some Plastic Christmas Tree Clips to hold the carpetted panel in place.


I mounted a master kill switch up front in the center console and a secondary kill switch in the back so I could turn the pump off from either location. Drilled a hole in the panel and carpet and mounted the gage in the panel as well.


I milled up a manifold to distibute all the tubing and then a couple shorter manifolds to mount at the Rear Passenger Seat to attach the air hoses, but I don't have any good pictures of them at the moment.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:02 AM
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Default Driveshafts Are In

We are apporiaching the Panic Time round about now. It's Early June at this point and at the end of the month I was supposed to drive to Colorado and go wheeling for a week, then out to Moab for another week. Over the two weeks we would log about 4,000 miles on & off road and the Truck hadn't been out of the garage since November and we were less than three weeks to go.....


Slightly better view of the rear suspension and the relocated Fuel Vaper Charcoal Canister Gizmo Thingy. I opted to paint it yellow (I had extra yellow paint and was running low on black) plus I figured if it ever wound up in a shop getting fixed, I figured this would help draw attention to it in case it ever broke.


I pulled the axles out one last time to paint them. When I first started the build I had visions of grandeur sandblasting and powder coating everything. Logisitically there just wasn't time to keep shipping stuff out, so the Aerosal cans would have to suffice.


Slight problem with the rear shocks. According to the Kit, these should have fit, but vehicle empty, no gear, half tank of gas, there was only about 2 inches of up travel before the shocks bottomed out. So off to the internet to find a better set with more balanced travel.
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