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The Rippa

Old 06-16-2012, 05:17 PM
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Default The Rippa

Hey everyone, new to the forum but been putting my XJ together for a couple of months now. Been creeping this forum for ideas and seen some really cool builds. My XJ is a 2001 Automatic 4wheel Limited package with 150000. May have over paid on it, but I wanted something with working A/C, good paint, basically no issues. Got it home and a week later the A/C was not cold at all, called the previous owner because he had the whole system replaced before selling to me. A couple of calls later and I picked up a replacement compressor for free. Not sure if the belts where tightened back correctly because it runs a bit loud but its still working good.

The headliner was completely shot so paid a guy $150 to replace it, looks great now. Next I wanted to replace the headlights, I couldnt see crap at night. So ordered the AutoPals off Ebay, easy install and super happy with the lights (great deal, 40 bucks to the door). Then I had the windows tinted, I forgot what I went with but he put it over the stock tent, so now its SUPER dark. Drove it like this for a couple weeks.

Found a good craigslist deal on some Cooper 32's and decided thats the size I would run. Then picked up some steelies and had them mounted. Now it was time to figure out what lift to get, not really a ton of options that where practical for my budget. Ended up with the 4.5" Rough Country lift off ebay for the best bang for my buck. Spent a whole Saturday putting the lift on minus the t-cas drop. Got the tires balanced and drove it like that for a week. It was a really rough ride at this point. I knew the t-case drop would help things out a bit so I remained optimistic on the lift.

Following weekend got the time to do the t-case drop. A 45 min job turned into my whole sunday, someone replaced the factory bolts with something else and the head broke of two bolts while removing the crossmember. Freakin nightmare getting those drilled out and new nuts into the uni-body, talk about playing operation. After the t-case drop it drove like a new truck! Was stoked. Went back for a second alignment for free (thanks Sun Tire) after all the parts had worn in a litte.

Well thats where the Rippa sits now. Hopefully I can figure out how to post some pics to follow this post. Question, any one do a locking hub conversion on the front hubs? Thats about the only place im getting vibrations while driving around town. Still need to get the lift in the mud for some playtime.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:32 PM
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Before the lift:

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Putting the lift on:
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After lift:
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Next to my friends Samurai- before:
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Next to my friends Samurai- after:
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Last edited by ChippyDiese1; 06-16-2012 at 05:45 PM. Reason: uploaded bigger photos
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:50 PM
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The same thing happened to me when I did a transfer case drop on my old 3" lift. Took a whole day. SUCKS. The jeep looks good though!
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Nperryman View Post
The same thing happened to me when I did a transfer case drop on my old 3" lift. Took a whole day. SUCKS. The jeep looks good though!
Thanks man. How do i edit the botom portion of my posts so i can add a link to my build?

Also, anyone ever try painting their emblems black? I think that would help my black and tan/silver scheme.
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:20 PM
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Nice rig man love the silver. My tcase crossmember bolts gave me the same problems!
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ChippyDiese1 View Post
Thanks man. How do i edit the botom portion of my posts so i can add a link to my build?

Also, anyone ever try painting their emblems black? I think that would help my black and tan/silver scheme.
I tried painting mine with some auto body touch up paint that comes in the little bottles! Didnt work so well it flaked off after it rained the next day. I havent tried any other paints though.
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:38 PM
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That samurai looks familiar lol
To paint the emblems get a cheap spray for plastics and some medium sandpaper, rough up the emblem a little to make it easier to adhere, spray a couple coats then finish with clear coat. Make sure everything is compatible with plastic, even try adhesion promoter first but don't paint right over the original since it has sealer on it won't stick without either the adhesion promoter or a quick pass with sandpaper might even try both to cover all bases.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:38 PM
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Default One year with the Cherokee

I have been a total slacker on my build thread, me and the Rippa have been together for over a year now and I'm still diggin it. I have done quite a bit since my last post. I will try to keep this in chronological order.

First, i had a pretty leaky valve cover gasket which I planned on replacing. Also, the jeep had also developed a bit of a knock that my buddy convinced me was the valve adjustment. So i pulled the valve cover, removed all the rocker arm bolts (one broke and I thought I was in deep water but ended up coming out really easy), replaced them with new grade 8 hardware and tightened to the factory specs. Because of this forum I learned that the Cherokee has self-actuating valves, which means you just tighten the bolts to spec and donít have to worry about top dead center. This is to my knowledge, I am not super mechanically inclined but my buddy helping me was very confused there was no top center adjustment needed for the valves. If I have any of this wrong, please chime in. Anyways, got the valve cover back on with the new hardware and VCG and went to fire it up and it made a very scary sound. Took the darn thing back apart, found nothing wrong, put it all back together and this time she was purring. Funny how that crap happens but I was not complaining.

Next, I did some wheeling with my new lift and tires. Things went well the first couple of trips. I went VERY hard on it while on a camping trip in Georgia and when I was blasting doughnuts in an open mud pit steam starting shooting out from under the hood. Crap. Thought it was a radiator hose but ended up being a crack where the radiators plastic components meat the metal components. Limped it back to Jax Beach stopping about 5-6 times to top it back off with water and let things cool. Got a new radiator with life time warranty from O'Riely's for around a 100 bucks. Easy install and all it good in the hood.

After my wheeling trip my knock has come back, wonder if i can just tighten the rocker arm nuts again and it will go away? This still needs to be addressed because its driving me crazy, but, I had a temporary fix to keep me smiling. EXHAUST! Had the cat cut out and straight piped that section, new Magniflow and piping to the back. I'll try to remember to take a picture soon. It sounds bad to the bone now, minus knocking.

Next, my alignment started pulling to the right and a lot more vibration while braking. I had no love affair with my 32"s and was looking for an upgrade so this seemed like a good opportunity to look into that. I wanted to get a brand new pair after learning that my Craigslist pair was over 10 YEARS OLD and never should have bought them. Oh well, got my intro into the off-road/Jeeping world and a year out of them. I figured if Iím going to get a new set of tires I would splurge and get somthing nice. Well the Toyo Open Countries are, as read in a wheeling mag, "the Kim Kardashian" of tires so I said screw it, 1,250 later, I got some in 33" 12.5 15. They are sick! Had Sun Tire align the Jeep and after the new tires and alignment I was expecting smooth sailing. Jeep was pulling harder to the right than before. WTF. I take it back to them and the guy says the caster angle is off and thatís the best they can get it. Now, after looking into some info on the forum I have a few things to look into, I also plan on upgrading my steering now that I have full tread MTR's that have to be much heavier than my previous set.

The tires needed a lot more room in the fender wells, I couldnít even turn the wheel without rub coming from the shop. Iím sure there is tons of stuff on the forum on fender trimming so I'll spare you guys. I will share that I used a little pneumatic saw because I wanted to avoid using the grinder to save paint and have a cleaner finished product. It did take long using that tool but it turned out really well. Still need to do the rear but there is no rub there so no rush.

So this is pretty much where I'm at, I really need to get this right pull figured out. I am suspicious of the brakes sticking, I do have a noise that sounds like that is a possibility. The shop put the tire pressure at 35lb, I decided an easy thing to do would be to deflate a little. Brought them down to 30lb and its a much softer ride but the pull is still there. Probly going to replace TRE and U-joints and see if that doesnít take care of it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Iím going to post some photos I found.
BTW, I got a flats boat since my last post so between that and the Jeep I am a busy busy dude
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:42 PM
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