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Ultimate Cherokee Build and Mods

Old 05-13-2016, 12:55 AM
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Default Ultimate Cherokee Build and Mods

My thought process with building 4x4's is in establishing a particular order of the priorities and defining purpose. Much like developing business plans or a MORT chart ( management oversite and risk tree) of potential failure.

Purpose - it will be used to take the family some times in the Mohave and southwest desert on traveled roads, old not so much traveled roads and difficult trails, washes, rocks etc...

With that in mind...we will be in places where there is no cell service and may be a few days to hike out. I do have a SPOT personal satellite locator but you can always count on technology.

Reliability, durability, traction, protection, functionality


What are the know problems are common fixes for the XJ, known failure points especially when working with a 20 year old vehicle.. What could have been reengineered from the factory better and what should be replaced considering wear and potential of failure?

Few ideas from the past, some from the recent and even more from the future....

I have a good base to work from, it's the way I want to build it and may not be the way others would do it but it will work for me...

I will slowly introduce her to you...like a puzzle...

97 Cherokee Country 4.0, np 231, auto, Dana 30 front, 8.25 Rear

The rest will be slowly added until you see the final product "It's a Jeep Thing" we build them the way we like them....make it different be different.....

My off-road tire set Interco Super Swamper 31x11.5 X 16 yes these are my offroad set I have an offroad set for it also.

I picked these up off craigslist, they are about 70%, the original owner wanted $400 firm, after a month last night I asked his bottom $ it ended up being $245 and he delivered them to the house.










Last edited by Cherokee XJ Ultimate; 05-15-2016 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:17 AM
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Default Rubicon Moab or Steelies

My next thought for my off-road set is the rim choice, I found a set of 5 Rubicon Moab Rims 5/4.5 16 for $200 with some wore out BFG's but then I also found a full set of 16" factory steelies for $50 and have ordered a diy bead lock to weld on one to see how it turns out.

The Moab has been a favorite wheel of mine for years






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Old 05-13-2016, 06:44 AM
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Default Chunked AT's

Then I found a set of chunked bfg AT's, a new set, the guy had less than a month on the back of a dually and he tried to pull an RV up a rocky hill... $100

So swampers on the steelies with some diy bead locks and the AT's on the Rubicon wheels?

When I'm desert running do the AT's then rocks the swampers

Here are the AT's I mean for two sets of rims and two sets of ties I am in $550


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Old 05-13-2016, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Cherokee XJ Ultimate View Post
Then I found a set of chunked bfg AT's, a new set, the guy had less than a month on the back of a dually and he tried to pull an RV up a rocky hill... $100 So swampers on the steelies with some diy bead locks and the AT's on the Rubicon wheels? When I'm desert running do the AT's then rocks the swampers Here are the AT's I mean for two sets of rims and two sets of ties I am in $550
you can only weld diy beadlocks to steel rims, steel and aluminum won't work together, also I've never seen factory 16" steel wheels only factory 15" steel wheels. You sure those aren't off a liberty? What load range are those ATs if they came off a dually? Those things will be STIFF under a light jeep probably.
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:05 PM
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Remember I am $150 in to a set of chunked bfg's and factory steel rims..

I'm no expert at this by any means...so excellent input...that's why forums are so important so we can learn from each other.

You are correct you can not weld steel to aluminum, I don't think I was planning to do that or led the discussion to go that way, I will have to check maybe there was a typo, sorry in advance if I did. I thought I directed the conversation to welding the bead locks to the factory steel rims,

. it's not even recommended to weld an aluminum "diy" bead lock in aluminum to an aluminum rim due to the differences in aluminum compositions. At least that's what I read on Wikipedia

I don't have a way to gauge the difference in load ranges when comparing the different range tires offroad, plus this set of tires are for dedicated offroad what would you suggest I do and what variables would you consider during testing?

Same dirt road, same Speed, same air pressure, same ambient air temp. and then what vibration / shock tester would you recommend to use?

So how stiff do you think the bgf AT would be if they are rated "E" compared to other load ranges when aired down to a lower psi when off-roading? Is it the composition of the tire that makes it stiffer and being aired down would this "stiffness" make it a stronger tire at lower psi than a lighter load tire at a higher psi?

You also have me thinking that a 15" verse a 18" rim with the same size diameter tire would make a difference in the ride also. So a 18" rim and a 15" rim both running 10 psi with the same diameter tire which do you think would be stiffer?

i didn't even think to measure the 16" steel rim to see if it was 5/4.5 I jested asked the seller and they said yes it was...may have made a mistake.. I didn't even consider that.... So maybe you can help me there, I may have to sell my $50'set of rims now and just get some black 16" steelies.

Your input has been greatly appreciated...I look forward to your assistance with the build and response plus future dialog as I move forward with the build.

Oh what do you think the weight difference is between a two door flat bed dually is compared a fully armored, front to rear belly skidded, roll bar, rocker guards,,corner guards, f/r framed stiffened, internal axle tube stiffeners, guesseted, front and rear bumper, dual battery, winch, roof rack, extra gas can, swing out tire carrier would be? Oh and my fat wife...Not so much a light jeep now..

Originally Posted by SatiricalHen View Post
you can only weld diy beadlocks to steel rims, steel and aluminum won't work together, also I've never seen factory 16" steel wheels only factory 15" steel wheels. You sure those aren't off a liberty? What load range are those ATs if they came off a dually? Those things will be STIFF under a light jeep probably.
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:15 PM
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I did some checking...

The tsl's are 4 ply load range D






My bfg km2's on the yj are C and 3 ply







The AT's on the 16" rubicon rims are 3 ply Rated


And the chunked set of AT's are E


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Old 05-13-2016, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Cherokee XJ Ultimate View Post
Remember I am $150 in to a set of chunked bfg's and factory steel rims.. I'm no expert at this by any means...so excellent input...that's why forums are so important so we can learn from each other. You are correct you can not weld steel to aluminum, I don't think I was planning to do that or led the discussion to go that way, I will have to check maybe there was a typo, sorry in advance if I did. I thought I directed the conversation to welding the bead locks to the factory steel rims, . it's not even recommended to weld an aluminum "diy" bead lock in aluminum to an aluminum rim due to the differences in aluminum compositions. At least that's what I read on Wikipedia I don't have a way to gauge the difference in load ranges when comparing the different range tires offroad, plus this set of tires are for dedicated offroad what would you suggest I do and what variables would you consider during testing? Same dirt road, same Speed, same air pressure, same ambient air temp. and then what vibration / shock tester would you recommend to use? So how stiff do you think the bgf AT would be if they are rated "E" compared to other load ranges when aired down to a lower psi when off-roading? Is it the composition of the tire that makes it stiffer and being aired down would this "stiffness" make it a stronger tire at lower psi than a lighter load tire at a higher psi? You also have me thinking that a 15" verse a 18" rim with the same size diameter tire would make a difference in the ride also. So a 18" rim and a 15" rim both running 10 psi with the same diameter tire which do you think would be stiffer? i didn't even think to measure the 16" steel rim to see if it was 5/4.5 I jested asked the seller and they said yes it was...may have made a mistake.. I didn't even consider that.... So maybe you can help me there, I may have to sell my $50'set of rims now and just get some black 16" steelies. Your input has been greatly appreciated...I look forward to your assistance with the build and response plus future dialog as I move forward with the build. Oh what do you think the weight difference is between a two door flat bed dually is compared a fully armored, front to rear belly skidded, roll bar, rocker guards,,corner guards, f/r framed stiffened, internal axle tube stiffeners, guesseted, front and rear bumper, dual battery, winch, roof rack, extra gas can, swing out tire carrier would be? Oh and my fat wife...Not so much a light jeep now..
my bfg kos and my ko2 are both load range c, the higher load range has a stiffer side wall (maybe harder compound not 100% sure) but I know that the stiffer side wall results in worse on road comfort, and when aired down the sidewalk won't "squish" as much.

I believe you said something about deciding which rim to put the bead locks on but I was tired when I read it and might have read it wrong, but doesn't really matter as long as you know to weld steel to steel.

A one ton truck (dually) usually weighed ~8k I believe and a jeep Cherokee stock weighs 3500 on a heavy day.

On a 15" rim, there's 8" of rubber above and below the rim for a 31 inch tire, my friend has 18" rims with 31" tires there's only 6.5" of rubber above and below and that's 1.5" less shock absorption and "squish" offroad. May not make a difference, but it's easier (at least around here) to find a good selection of tires for 15" rim vs a larger rim. Especially a 16" rim since it's a strange size. Width of rim has a lot to do with surface area of the tire touching also. There are very many variables with tires and rims.
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:17 PM
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Found a spare for $40, looks like I'm mounting on the Rubicon rims until I figure out the steel rims and get some bead locks welded up






Originally Posted by SatiricalHen View Post
my bfg kos and my ko2 are both load range c, the higher load range has a stiffer side wall (maybe harder compound not 100% sure) but I know that the stiffer side wall results in worse on road comfort, and when aired down the sidewalk won't "squish" as much.

I believe you said something about deciding which rim to put the bead locks on but I was tired when I read it and might have read it wrong, but doesn't really matter as long as you know to weld steel to steel.

A one ton truck (dually) usually weighed ~8k I believe and a jeep Cherokee stock weighs 3500 on a heavy day.

On a 15" rim, there's 8" of rubber above and below the rim for a 31 inch tire, my friend has 18" rims with 31" tires there's only 6.5" of rubber above and below and that's 1.5" less shock absorption and "squish" offroad. May not make a difference, but it's easier (at least around here) to find a good selection of tires for 15" rim vs a larger rim. Especially a 16" rim since it's a strange size. Width of rim has a lot to do with surface area of the tire touching also. There are very many variables with tires and rims.
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:41 AM
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Ok... Tires and rims...

What's next and why....
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:24 AM
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Default Cherokee best traction device

Traction is a consideration and I think completed but street verse off road. I have set up several choices of tires and rims.......but there is more to traction than tires on and off road, now the question is how do we get maximum traction to the ground?

So now the questions goes in to traction devices....open diffs verse limited slip verse full time lockers verse selectable lockers.....

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Old 05-15-2016, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Cherokee XJ Ultimate View Post
Traction is a consideration and I think completed but street verse off road. I have set up several choices of tires and rims.......but there is more to traction than tires on and off road, now the question is how do we get maximum traction to the ground?

So now the questions goes in to traction devices....open diffs verse limited slip verse full time lockers verse selectable lockers.....
If I understand the direction of your build correctly I'd recommend a selectable locker up front and LSD in the rear
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Old 05-15-2016, 02:47 PM
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Default Cherokee lockers, posi, open diff, arb

Very good input, that would give me street ability and traction offroad and exploring when needed.

Over the years I've run Detroit lockers, Detroit Tru Trac, Auburn Pro Posi, and ARB's..... Each having its benefits but not one that for alll situations.

To date myself a little and how long I've been keeping I remember when the Howell fuel injection kit, Jacobs ignition and 33's were the in thing on the CJ.

One of my add to list that I just ordered....two decals.. Jeepology...


Originally Posted by Jeepology View Post
If I understand the direction of your build correctly I'd recommend a selectable locker up front and LSD in the rear

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Old 05-15-2016, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeepology View Post
If I understand the direction of your build correctly I'd recommend a selectable locker up front and LSD in the rear
what's your reasoning? I'm also going down this route for my DD... Waggy 44 with Arb up front and an Isuzu rear 44 with LSD in the rear.
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Old 05-16-2016, 09:46 AM
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I think a selectable locker in the front with a selectable locker in the rear that is also lsd when not engaged would be the ultimate.

An arb is open or locked, not as good as an lsd in rain or snow, so if the application is available a selectable locker in the rear that is also a posi when not locked would be ideal.

If I went lsd only, it would be a tru trac since it is gear driven, no clutches or cones to wear and from my experience it has been the best lsd I have run. And yes I have run many lsd diff in the past and present


Originally Posted by XJwonders View Post
what's your reasoning? I'm also going down this route for my DD... Waggy 44 with Arb up front and an Isuzu rear 44 with LSD in the rear.
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Old 05-16-2016, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Cherokee XJ Ultimate View Post
I think a selectable locker in the front with a selectable locker in the rear that is also lsd when not engaged would be the ultimate. An arb is open or locked, not as good as an lsd in rain or snow, so if the application is available a selectable locker in the rear that is also a posi when not locked would be ideal. If I went lsd only, it would be a tru trac since it is gear driven, no clutches or cones to wear and from my experience it has been the best lsd I have run. And yes I have run many lsd diff in the past and present
so an Auburn ECTED in the rear?
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