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bryweb 09-28-2015 04:57 PM

Project YETI - 98 Cherokee 2x4 to 4x4 and build
I started this project a while ago... but thought it would be good to start a Build Thread.

PROJECT YETI IS THE WHITE JEEP BELOW ... but first a little history how it came about.

I have had a few Cherokee's in the past and initially I planned on just running a Black Cherokee I bought that was already cut up and on 33" Goodyear MTR's that needed a motor, but after yelling at my daughter about wheeling her Daily Driver Cherokee on 33's (I gave her for her 18th Birthday) we decided to sell her Clean Cherokee for top dollar and build her a Trail Jeep and first she bought a 94 Mustang Conv. for a DD, but it kept being a pain so she bought a gas sipping Daily Driver (2013 Ford Fiesta).

My daughters old DD we sold for over $3K. (Paid $1200 with a week old lift kit on it, put a used motor in $400, sold stock rims and 29" BFG AT tires which paid for the $200 Goodyear MTR mounted on free Dodge Magnum Rims)

It was this picture that prompted me to suggest she gets a trail jeep and a DD (She is a Full Time Student and Works as a Manager at a Baby store Full Time, she can not afford to be with out a vehicle)

What was going to be my Black Trail Jeep that was almost done that I paid $1000 for and put $400 total into installing a used motor, plus added a $200 SYE (now my daughters Trail Jeep)

So I got this nice 1998 White Cherokee 2x4 to start building for my daughter, But she flashed her darling eyes and said "But Dad I want a "Black" Jeep, and truth be told, I wanted a White Jeep (better in the Florida Heat), so the agreement was she had to pay for what it takes to get the White Jeep where the Black Jeep was.

So instead of a Cheap Beater Trail Jeep... I decided to build a Budget Minded Trail Jeep .... aka Project YETI (My Toyota Avalon we always called the Yota, so it just seemed right)

So I started with the White 1998 Jeep Cherokee, found it on an online ad, seller wanted $600, but I talked her down to $350, it was a "it ran when it was parked a year ago" buy. It appears to have been a municipal vehicle, it has vinyl seats, factory trans cooler, but still has gauges, PW, PL.

I dragged her home on my tow dolly, cleaned her up, charged the battery and she fired right up and drove around the neighborhood.

And so it begins.... Project YETI

All my daughters cars at one point.

bryweb 09-28-2015 05:07 PM

So I had some nice left overs from Jeeps I bought to fix and sell, or old jeeps I wheeled and kept a few things before selling it.

I had a Winch Bumper (which sticks out too far even after modifying it) that I will eventually give to my daughter and build a new one.

I had a Warn xd8000i winch

I had a rear D-Ring Bumper

A Chrysler 8.25 29 spline with 4.56 gear installed and welded spiders (Lincoln Locked)

I had stock skids (front steering, transfercase, and gas tank) that I got from a pile of parts I bought $300 and sold the transmission/transfercase before getting this jeep for the cost of parts. It also had a Dana 30 HP had all new bushings, balljoints, etc in it (from a postal jeep that caught fire)

Plus some misc. stuff like tow wiring harness, Putco headlight harness, KC off road lights.

So the first thing I did was mounted the Winch Bumper, hated how far it stuck out so I cut back the brackets almost a full 2". This will just have to do until I can build a hidden winch and almost flush bumper.....

bryweb 09-28-2015 05:26 PM

Originally I was going to run the 33" Goodyear MTR off the Black Cherokee and my daughter got some 32" BFG KM's we found for $200 (which we ended up selling the BFG's - more on this later)

With the plan to run 33's

I found online a Rusty's 4.5" lift kit that included (4) shocks, (2) Coils (2) Full Leafs, and (2) lower control arms for $80 SCORE !!! it was like brand new and I was only on the guys jeep a week or two before he decided to go bigger.

Then I found a low mile AW4 transmission, 231 transfercase, and brand new in the box Rugged Ridge SYE, offered the guy $300 and he took it SCORE !!!!

Luckily I had a friend who drives all over Florida as a car transporter and picked up the lift kit in Jacksonville, and Trans combo near Orlando. (I live in Tallahassee, FL) THANKS BRAD !!!!

So the project began.....

bryweb 09-28-2015 05:39 PM

Well I was helping a friend take his Jeep on my dolly to a Trans Guy who works on the side, while there I got to talking to a guy who designs shift kits and works with this rebuilder, ends up I SCORED, after talking with them they are going to go through my AW4 transmission (cost of parts only), then install a Shift Modifier (can't say kit) for free and I will be a BETA tester.... So far he has had it for while but I am in no hurry as the jeep is far from done, in the meantime I picked up the Red 1999 Cherokee with a blown motor for $140 (scrap metal value) it was beaten pretty bad and stripped it for everything I might possibly need or use.

I got Dana 30 HP (swapped my old straight axle in it to tow it to scrap year), I got a Chysler 8.25 29 spline rear axle - both these axles I will rebuild later for my jeep (swapped my old Dana 35 back in to tow it) plus too Tilt Wheel and Cruise out of it and the AW4 and 231 Transfercase, the new style intake with everything on it, as well as the Starter, Radiator, A/C Compressor, Electrical knock out box (I will use to build a relay box out of), driveshafts, stock aluminum wheels, side glass, ignition lock (I needed one) all the door locks, ton of interior parts, and I am sure a lot more I don't remember, There was not one good body panel.

Threw all my old scrap around the house in it and got $160 at the scrap yard.... SO ALL THE ABOVE WAS FREE with a lot of labor (-:

bryweb 09-28-2015 07:26 PM

Well I got some work done on installing the lift kit, and before I could even bolt the tires on it I SCORED (5) Treadwright Guard Dog 315/70/17 tires for $650 that had about 2000 miles on them (I always wanted to go 35's so I could not resist), I went out and bought a Larkin Manual Tire Changer (it weighed more than the Harbor Freight One), bought 3 tire irons, mounted it to the floor and mounted the tires on some Dodge Magnum Steel Wheels (used these before) - So plans are changing on the lift. (My daughter was very happy to get the 33" Goodyear MTR back at a smoking deal from Dad - got to take care of family)

bryweb 09-28-2015 07:31 PM

Next I mounted up the tires and used balancing beads to balance, Did the Rear Main Seal and oil pan gasket before installing the trans (out of the red jeep for now) and transfercase w/SYE, got the Boostwerks 231 Shift Linkage (Might as well upgrade)

Pictures show the 35's with 4.5" lift. (bumper is just held in with 2 bolts at the moment)

bryweb 09-28-2015 07:43 PM

So now I had to decide how to fit the tires for wheeling, Since I already had a set of ACOS Adjustable Coil Spacers I SCORED for FREE from a buddy, I went with those up front (they adjust from 1.5" to 3" of lift), this way I can adjust my rake. In Back I order a .75" Shackle Lift and decided to install an H.D. Engineering Shackle Relocation Bracket.... BETTER RIDE BETTER FLEX and it adds 1" give or take of lift (they have a no lift kit as well), so right now I am at about 6", I won't go any higher, I am going to bumpstop it for now and see how it goes, I already drilled and prepped for some hockey pucks at the top of the coil buckets, right now the tires fit nicely under the stock flares, not sure if or how much it will rub, but my daughters DD Jeep had the same rims and 33's at the same width and it barely rubbed with 3.5" of lift..... TIME WILL TELL.

While I was mounting the H.D. Engineering Brackets I decided it was a good time to pull off the back bumper and weld-in some tie-ins... the stock rear 8 bolts into sheet metal did not give me a good feeling, so I integrated the Rear Bumper, Shackle Re-locators, and Gas Skid Plate all bolted together.

bryweb 09-28-2015 07:50 PM

Well as I got bigger tires it was time to beef things up a bit, First I went with a set of Tatton Driveshafts, SCORED them while on sale, bought both at the same time and got them further discounted $400 for both driveshafts.

Then I ordered some Hooligan Offroad Mid Frame Stiffeners for $99 (introductory price), I liked them because they were 3/16" thick and wrapped in a U around the unibody frame in many parts.

Plus I order IRO new front Frame Stiffeners, I liked them because they were L shape in parts, found them at a good price on eBay vs. their website, I got them for $89

bryweb 09-28-2015 08:01 PM

The Rear Axle I installed was a Chrysler 8.25 29 spline with 4.56 gear and welded spiders (It came that way, I plan on changing it to a Lokka soon - yes the spiders come out - I checked), I pulled it apart, checked everything, installed it, then added ZJ Disc Brakes on it, Got the Calipers & Backing Plates with all hardware for $100 at 1/2 day are my local PicknPull, then bought all new pads and rotors, as well as extended brake line, and found a deal on parking brake cable that someone bought and never used on a Jeep Parts Facebook page.

The Front Axle came out of the pile of parts I bought a pile of stuff and had sold enough parts that it was FREE, MY ONE MISTAKE SO FAR IS BUYING A USED 4.56 gear for my Dana 30, having only done a few gear swaps I am finding it difficult to get a good pattern with a used gear, next time I will pay the extra $100 and get a new gear., also bought a $200 lokka for the front - I think later I will take the spare axle I have and build it with a truss, RCV shafts, and a full case locker, but for now this will work (I have a lot of spare shafts, can change them quickly, and mostly mud)

bryweb 09-28-2015 08:05 PM

Well not exactly Jeep Related.... but I SCORED (3) Craftsman Workbench cabinets, its great to have some counter space to work on things, and the added tool storage is awesome. Still need to finish organizing everything but at least they are out of my way now.

bryweb 09-28-2015 08:17 PM

And this all brings me where I am today..... a long to-do list, had to first get my daughters Daily Driver Cherokee fixed and sold, then fix up and sell the Mustang Conv. she bought and hated so we can sell it (just finishing it now)

On my To Do list.

1) Order B. Lee 3 Link Long Arm and install it - since going up the extra 1.5" the axle has pulled back, saving my money to order this now
2) Install the Spectre Cowl Intake I got, swap out the old style intake manifold and put the 99-01 intake on, remove a broken exhaust manifold bolt from head and install the new valve cover gasket
3) Move the battery where the Air Box use to be giving me room to build a mount and install my York 12c Compressor for On Board Air (have all the parts)
4) Finish my front gear install, now that the Lokka arrived I can do final assembly and check pattern again. Install my Alloy Axle Seals
5) Weld all my Frame Stiffeners on, then build some Rock Sliders.
6) Drill some holes to complete mounting my Front Bumper and fix my Warn Winch (wont go into free spool)
7) Swap out my steering column, for one with Tilt and Cruise buttons and install cruise under the hood (all swiped from the Red Jeep).
8) Install the IRO OTK 5/8 Steering I bought used $100, and the Rough Country Adjustable Track Bar for $20 - I bought an IRO Body side mount. (probably will get the IRO Trackbar later)

If I can get this all done and work out the kinks, I will be happy for PHASE I

PHASE II will be rollbar or exo-skeleton, better axles, and maybe 37's

bryweb 09-29-2015 05:25 PM

The Price List Post..... mainly for my own records of what it costed, gets a little scary when I start adding it all up.... Still going through my head to see if I have included everything and will update here as I remember.


$350 1998 Cherokee 2 wheel drive
$300 AW4/231/SYE (bought together - SYE new in box)
$ 80 Dana 30 4.56 gear - used
$ 50 Install Kit
$100 Chrysler 8.25 w/4.56 Welded - used
$ 65 ACOS Coil Spacers Missing Parts
$ 45 Dana 30 Alloy Seals (new)
$130 HD Engineering Shackle Relocators
$ 80 Rusty's 4.5" lift kit (shocks, lower ca's, coils and leafs - installed but never used - got this at a steal!!!!)
$ 75 Rusty's 3/4" Shackles
$ 40 York 12c Compressor (used ebay)
$100 Gauge, Safety Pressure Switch, manifold (est)
$124 Hooligan Offroad Mid Frame Stiffeners
$110 IRO Front Frame Stiffeners
$ 75 IRO Trackbar Bracket
$100 IRO OTK Steering (used)
$ 20 RE Adj Track Bar (used) - I think I am going to go ahead and order the IRO trackbar.
$ 50 ZJ Rear Caliper and Backing plate (1/2 off day at PnP)
$130 Ext rubber hoses, pads, discs, etc.
$ 50 Parking Brake Cable - private party - new and unused.
$ 50 Bumper Tie-in materials
$100 Gaskets - Rear Main/Pan, Valve Cover, Intake/Exhaust
$650 (5) Treadwright Guard Dog 315-70-17 (34.5") less than 2K miles.
$400 (2) Tatton Driveshafts
$700 B. Lee 3 Link Long Arm (Saved over $100 on Black Friday Sale)
$135 Spectre Cowl Intake
$200 Dana 30 LOKKA
$ 40 Boostwerks 231 Shift Linkage
$ 80 Rampage Headlights
$ 20 Bump stops (12 hockey pucks ordered from Amazon - for mine and my daughters)
???? Fluids/RTV, Nuts/Bolts ETC
???? Rock Sliders (will build)
Added 5/2/2016
$250 DB Metalworx Quarter Panel Armor
$175 DB Metalworx HD Trans and Motor Mounts
$110 DB Metalworx Alum 3 Fan Shroud
$ 45 DB Metalworx Steering Box Spacer
$135 Durango Steering Box - Using Advance Auto TRT30 code for 30% off - printing it and price matching at OReilly's - I hate the local AAP
$ 60 Grade 9 bolts and nuts for my used IRO Steering setup, yes Grade 9 not 8. Ordered from McMaster-Carr- Ain't cheaping out on steering bolts !!!!
$287 Bilstein 5100 Shocks, 2016 Black Friday Special
$5491.00 Estimated Sub-Total

FREEBIES Est. Values

$150 Dana 30 HP
$350 Warn x8000i (Scored a M12000 winch - sold x8000 winch and bumper to my daughter)
$200 Winch Bumper
$150 Rear D-Ring Bumper
$ 75 ACOS Adjustable Coil Spacer
$ 50 (4) Dodge Magnum Steel Rims (need one more)
$ 20 Putco HeadlightHarness
$100 OEM Front, T/C, and Gas Skid plates
$100 50" LED Light Bar & Bracket
$ 35 (4) LED PODS

$ 1205 Estimated FREEBIES

I HAVE DONE ALL MY OWN LABOR!!! So no labor costs are included.

Things I still want/need in this Phase 1 - Bigger Alternator $100 (150a on eBay), Probably will need wheel spacers, exhaust, header, upgraded fuel injectors, bigger throttle body, (3) fans for triple fan shroud, HiFlow Water Pump, Hesco Thermostat Housing with extra sensor hole, Trans shift kit, Trans Temp Gauge, Probably will end up getting IRO Trackbar (I have a used RE one with new IRO Bracket) Build new Winch bumper.

Things not included, Tow Strap, Tree Strap, Snatch Block, Hi-Lift Jack, Stereo & Speakers, CB & Ant, trail tools, etc.

Phase II Hybrid Roll Cage (need to buy JD Squared Tube Bender)
Phase III Bigger Axles and 37-40's
Phase IV LS motor or VW 1.9L TDI Turbo Diesel (just started looking at the VW) This video got me to take it seriously so watch before you laugh at me, that and 30mpg cruising a lifted XJ.

bryweb 05-24-2016 09:39 PM

In case anyone cares, this was my last build a 2000 Jeep Wrangler 4.0L 5spd, on 35's MTR, with 4.56 gears I installed with Dana 44 in back and a Spartan Locker, and Dana 30HP up front, Rough Country Winch, and pieced together lift.

Day I bought it home.

2000 Jeep Wrangler

Mid Work

Here is a picture of the TJ with the Axles out ready to do the lift and the gears - I did all the work myself, I was quite proud of doing my own ring and pinion - Thanks Google !!! LOL

and Done

My 2000 TJ

unidentifiedbomb 05-25-2016 09:58 AM

Oh snap, lots going on in the next couple weeks.

bad_idea 10-17-2016 05:57 PM

How many cats you got?! My wife has two and I've collected some buckets over the years, but you've definitely got me beat. Looking good.

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