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Project XJ - Jedeye’s Build Thread

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Project XJ - Jedeye’s Build Thread

Old 07-15-2015, 02:18 PM
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Default Project XJ - Jedeye’s Build Thread

Project XJ - Jedeye’s Build Thread

So I’ve owned an XJ for about four and a half years and have really just started doing some modifications. I am about to start medical school in Macon, GA and I have used a lot of my last summer to work on my Jeep. I’ve done some custom stuff so I figured it was time to start a build thread to document my progress in addition to keep a running list of everything that I’ve done. I hope this is in the write forum topic. Some of my stuff is simply bolt on, but a lot of the later stuff is custom fab. I’ll break it up into sections, starting with before I bought it and the minor stuff i’ve fixed and added over the years.

Feel free to add comments, ask questions or offer advice. I love hearing new ideas.


BEFORE OWNERSHIP:


I bought my XJ in 2011 when I graduated high school. It’s a 1996, four-door, 6-cylinder, with the 4.0L engine, 4WD. I bought it from a friend of mine who’s dad owns a paint and body shop. The jeep was white when he bought it and he didn’t like it so he just mixed a bunch of different colors he had left over from other jobs in his shop and it came out a beautiful bluish gray color. (pics below) The jeep has a salvaged title and the guy "rebuilt the rear end" Which I know nothing about and I can’t see what he did. But I have never had any problems with it so I assume that whatever he did is doing fine. When he bought it, it had a 2.25 inch spacer in the front and a 1.25 inch block in the back. He put 16 inch wrangler wheels on it and some mud tires which I quickly wore out. He also recooled the AC (?) I guess that means he put new freon in it. I’m really not sure, I just remember hearing him talked about making it cold again.

When I bought it:

1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport (?) [Guess I should find out...]
4.0L Engine
4 Door
4WD
Salvaged title
White, painted gray
Rebuilt rear end
2.25 inch spacer lift on top of coil in front
1.25 inch block under leafs in back
Wrangler wheels
245/75/R16 tires
Recent AC refresh

What it looked like when I bought it:





Fun fact: the first thing I learned about my XJ was how thin the floor board between the gas tank and the cargo area is. My buddy I bought it from had a sub in the back screwed into the floor. He kept it when he sold it to me so it left two screw holes in the floor. Every time i filled up I kept smelling gas. I finally looked in the back and found the holes and smelled gas out of them. I made my buddy give me the EXACT screws to fix that crap immediately.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:22 PM
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EARLY REPAIRS

Over the years, I’ve replaced a few parts and fixed some things. Some I’ve done myself, some I’ve had a shop do.

2012:

Tie Rod
Off brand AT tires
Thermostat and water cooler

2013:

Alternator
Belt (i think I replaced this)

2014:

Distributor cap
Tune up and spark plugs (that was a heck of a repair. Shop messed it up. Learned a valuable lesson in who to trust to work on your jeep)


EARLY ACCESSORIES/UPGRADES

Roof Rack





Stupid cup holder thing if you call that an upgrade. (seriously whats up with the lack of cupholders in the XJ?)




CB Radio and antenna








Sound system with new door speakers and 10 inch sub in a long truck box (Replaced later)

Floor mats
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:29 PM
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WHERE THE BUILD BEGINS

That pretty much catches me up as far as the minor stuff goes. The rest of this writeup will focus on the new stuff and upgrades that I’ve done this summer. I’ll continue to add to it as the years go on so feel free to subscribe.

HEADLINER

The first project I tackled was the replacement of my saggy and gross headliner. My friends riding in the back seat have complained about this endlessly all the way through college. I never rode in the back so I never cared





I read on some forums that you could replace it with bed liner but I didn’t want my noise level to increase. Regardless, I had to take out my old headliner before doing anything. Theres a great video on youtube of a guy taking it out but he replaces it with fabric. Link here:

Headliner removed. It was waaaaay too loud. Drove me nuts




Trim Removed




After I took it out, I seem to have failed to take many photos… Nevertheless, I scraped all the old glue off with a wire brush. IF YOU EVER DO THIS MY GOD BE GENTLE. If you make any little tears, the bedliner looks awful after its applied.

After all the glue was off, I put a coat of rubber undercoating on it. It comes in a rattle can. I used 2 cans. After that dried for 24 hours, I put 2 coats of cheap spray on bedliner. It was some cheap brand that came from home depot and I regret using it. If I had to do it over, I would buy the roll on kind even though its expensive. It would be worth it I bet.

When I put it back in, I scratched it around the seatbelts and it came off pretty easy. Also theres a small scratch right in the corner of the driver windshield and it drives me nuts. I gotta cover it with some sharpie or something.

Overall, I am pretty pleased with it. Even though it has some blemishes. At least its out of my hair now. (literally)






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Old 07-15-2015, 02:37 PM
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REAR TIRE HITCH MOUNT

I wanted to build a storage box for my cargo area so the first thing I needed to do was to get rid of that stupid tire in the back. I Hated how it was always in the way anyway. SO I started looking for solutions. I knew I couldn’t afford a sweet rear bumper with a sway so I explored less conventional ideas. I don’t like roof mounts as you lose the space on the rack so I had the idea to stick something in the hitch. Lucky for me someone else had this idea too so when I searched for it, I immediately found one here:

http://www.cherokeetalk.com/forum/f6...carrier-48809/

[Can I link to a different forum?]

Shoutout to Little-Red-XJ over at Cherokee Talk for being such a genius.

Overall the hitch carrier ended up costing me about $75 including parts and labor. If I had a welder it would have been like $50. First I found the Masterbuilt HFTB Hitch-Haul Folding Receiver Bar at Walmart for $30.





Then I measured the space i needed and took the dimensions to a welding shop and had them fab it up for me. Everything is ¼ inch steel except for some of the flat pieces which is stuff the shop had left over. Its ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. After it was all finished, I just spray painted it with some matte black paint from Home Depot.

The long vertical piece is 2 feet long. It has a hole about an inch from the bottom for the bolt to go through.





The shorter piece is 7 inches long. The corners are welded to the long piece but bolted to the short piece. I did this so that If I ever buy tires that are wider I wont have to replace the whole hitch but instead just replace the short piece.





Here is a pic of the hitch laying down. The flat square has three bolts (should have used lugs) welded to the outside. If I had to redo it, I would have drilled holes through the plate and put the bolts through the holes and then welded the back bolts down. I find myself worrying about breaking the bolts off when I drop the tire every time. If I ever break it, I’ll just do it then.





When I first finished it, I found out that my spare was the original spare from ’96. It looked pretty goofy back there being so small.

Original Spare




But I had a shop trade me a bigger size for my spare with one of there takeoffs laying around for free. Its not the same as my other tires but it’s the same size so who cares. Oh and I also relocated my tag with a bracket off amazon. Overall, I am extremely pleased with how it turned out.

New Spare:





Rear View:

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Old 07-15-2015, 02:47 PM
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STORAGE DRAWERS

There’s a great post over at JeepForum.com with lots of drawer systems and stuff. Again, idk if I am allowed to post these links but here ya go:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/xj-interior-mods-whatcha-got-692690/

I got a lot of inspiration there. After a buddy of mine built one, I decided I needed one too. I was tired of all my stuff being loose in my cargo area too. I wanted something that looked professional and was really heavy duty but I didn’t want to work with metal. I ended up using 2x12s and ¾ inch subfloor particle board. I covered it with carpet so I didn’t care about it being particle board. I even made the drawers them selves from it. First I found the dimensions of the cargo here from another guy that had designed his system: https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f58/re...drawer-118094/

The dimensions worked out great and I used the exact ones. First I made the verticle pieces from the 2x12s and attached them to two pieces of subfloor on the front and the back. This held it all together.





After that, I just began assembling it one cut at a time until the entire wood-working part was finished. I used 20 inch drawer sliders from home depot for the drawers.













When it was finished, I coated the entire thing in subwoofer box carpet. That stuff seems pretty durable. I’ll tell ya though, the upholstery was the worst part. That stuff is hard to work with. Here is the finished project:











I put hinges on some compartments on the top since I have the rear hitch tire mount. If I ever can’t get my cargo hold open, I wanted to be able to still get to my tools and stuff without having to open the drawers.







I made some smaller opening cubbies for behind the seat so that space wouldn’t be wasted. I will put my amp in the one with all the wires. Theres a hole in the side for the wires to pass through.






I braided some paracord handles for the drawers and cubbies. I just haven’t attached them to the cubbies yet.





This is my favorite project yet even though it was a ton of work. I enjoy wood working and I love how well this thing turned out. I really think it looks pretty professional. Let me know what you think.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:50 PM
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CARGO SIDE COMPARTMENT SUB BOX

I wanted to keep my sub box even with the drawers system so before I built the drawers I designed a sub box for that stupid compartment in the cargo area. I built the entire thing for my 10 inch sub only to find out that there was no way to make it fit. So I bought an 8 inch sub off amazon. After I hooked everything up I discovered that my amp is probably shot so this project is on hold until after I get moved into Med school. Regardless, I can at least talk about the box.

I found a pretty good post with working dimensions here: https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f58/di...y-hole-195367/

The box consists of a smaller compartment attached to a bigger compartment. I put a dip in the piece holding the sub so I didn’t have to waste any air space. It is ported at the end nearest to the rear seat. Like I said, I don’t know how it sounds yet but Ill post when I do. The picture really doesnt do it justice since its most hidden behind the drawers.


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Old 07-15-2015, 02:53 PM
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REAR LEAF REPLACEMENT

My other posts about this:


Pre-project: https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f67/do-i-need-new-suspension-210812/

Other pre-project: https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f67/leaf-spring-replacement-help-me-buy-stuff-210994/

The basic gist is my old leafs were flat. There is a 2.25 inch spacer in the front and a 1.75 inch block in the back. Pics in “pre-project” thread. Here are the flat leafs:





I did a ton of research and decided to replace the flat leafs with some Old Man Emu lifted leaf springs and replace my stock shocks with some Skyjackers. Everything turned about very nice.

Here is my post project thread: http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1121791

I was getting some wobbles pretty bad with my rear end being higher than my front but new tires seem to have fixed it.

Here's the new stuff. I had my steering stabilizer replaced too. It was worn out.












Last edited by Jedeye; 07-15-2015 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:55 PM
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TRIMMED FENDERS.

After blowing a bunch of money on my suspension, I was determined to squeeze bigger tires under there. So naturally, I trimmed my front fenders. I made the line even so it wouldn’t be as noticeable. Now it just needs some touch up paint. (In a color that doesn’t exist...great). Turned out pretty good. And I was able to fit new tires under there! I bought some Hercules AT2 Terra Trac 265/75/R16. They seem great. They were $129 each with 60,000 mile warranty. Pretty pumped to get them. My buddy Ed sold me on them. Even if I did refuse to use his favorite shop. Sorry Ed.











And here are the new tires and the latest full body photo of the XJ:





Last edited by Jedeye; 07-15-2015 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:13 PM
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Looks good man. I really like your hitch carrier you made.
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by cbs_24 View Post
Looks good man. I really like your hitch carrier you made.
Thanks man!
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