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Upgrading my Father's XJ

Old 02-15-2018, 08:43 PM
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Default Upgrading my Father's XJ

So I was given my father's XJ(as I've always wanted one) and now I need to make it a solid machine that I can drive around town on bad weather days and take out for some light wheeling on good weather days.

Its a '96 Cherokee Sport with 4 doors. The rear axle is a Chrysler 8.25 as best as I can tell(it has a chrysler logo on it...). It does not have a driven front axle at all. The body is clean and straight.



This thing has been sitting in my garage for a year and if I don't get it upgraded and useful in the next 3 months I risk losing it. My wife and I are expecting our first child and I need this XJ to be my family car(she has a toyota with 4 doors already) to drive the family around in. I am a heavy equipment mechanic so I can do most of the work, I just lack experience.

So I guess what I am in need of is advice. Due to sentimental reasons I can't toss it and get a 4x4, so I gotta convert it from where it is to where I want it. I have a bunch of questions:

Should/can I keep the 8.25 in the rear?
Is it actually what I think it is?
What axle will go well with the existing axle that is in the back?
I heard of a divorce transfer box, what are the pros/cons of that vs. one that bolts to the transmission?
Is there space for one of those instead of a bolt on?
Anyone have a suggestion/links to similar builds?

I tore all the old carpeting out of the front area of the jeep, it has only a bit of surface rust, nothing that compromises the floor. Some of the bolts/brackets for the seats are gone/rusted/modified. The cloth on the seats is ragged and looks like someone lived in jeep, using the seats as butt wipes.

Cost effective sound/heat treatments for the now bare floors?
Can I get inexpensive covers for the existing seats?
Are there good alternatives to recovering the existing seats(replacements)?

I'm willing to work and spend money to make this happen. I know I have used words like cost effective and inexpensive, but that is only because I want to get the most out of the build and get it finished without breaking the bank.

Thanks for anything you can give me for advise and direction. Also, I am in Euless, Tx for anyone who would be willing to drink beer and turn wrenches.

p.s. it might have sat longer than a year not actually. I also might have posted once before about this but I don't know how to look for my old posts to see what I had in it and in response to it.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:28 PM
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Welcome back if you were here before that is

I know sentimental value is unmatched with a dollar amount so I can understand not wanting to sell it.

You say your risking losing it so is that because once your child is born the wife will want to keep what she has as your family vehicle or the jeep?

Photos of all that you need to fix will help assess what is cost effective.

Seats probably can be found in your local JY. You could also try to clean those ones up and or cover with seat covers.

Floors you can sand all rust down, prime it with rust converter primer, bedliner it and then reaaply some carpet back down but also consider some sound deadener before you do.

Mechanical how is it running? Any oil leaks? How's shocks? Tune up when was the last one? Tires in good shape?

I would add up all the basic tune up Costs, tires, brakes, shocks, etc and see if its in your budget. If so then after that is all done you could consider mild lift but capable of DD setup.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:30 PM
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Oh and having a Chrysler 8.25 rear is good over the D35 but its likely you have a 27 spline instead of the 29. Nothing to be worried about though because I'm sure you will be fine with that rear axle. What gearing does it have? Should be a tab on axle to show unless it was removed you would need to then tear into cover and look inside for gearing identification.
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:17 AM
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Are you saying it is a 2wd ("No driven front axle")??
Converting to 4wd should be a somewhat "bolt on affair"
But probably not going to happen in a few short months with a wife, and baby on the way.


Slack
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Slackdaddy View Post
Are you saying it is a 2wd ("No driven front axle")??
Converting to 4wd should be a somewhat "bolt on affair"
But probably not going to happen in a few short months with a wife, and baby on the way.


Slack
X2 on that not sure what was being explained except same thoughts as you.
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by XJIrish4x4 View Post
Welcome back if you were here before that is

I know sentimental value is unmatched with a dollar amount so I can understand not wanting to sell it.

You say your risking losing it so is that because once your child is born the wife will want to keep what she has as your family vehicle or the jeep?

Photos of all that you need to fix will help assess what is cost effective.

Seats probably can be found in your local JY. You could also try to clean those ones up and or cover with seat covers.

Floors you can sand all rust down, prime it with rust converter primer, bedliner it and then reaaply some carpet back down but also consider some sound deadener before you do.

Mechanical how is it running? Any oil leaks? How's shocks? Tune up when was the last one? Tires in good shape?

I would add up all the basic tune up Costs, tires, brakes, shocks, etc and see if its in your budget. If so then after that is all done you could consider mild lift but capable of DD setup.
I risk losing it because if it doesn't get finished before the baby shows up there is a good chance I will lose my budget for the build.
It ran when parked, ran well even. I am not sure when it was last tuned up, and it needs tires. The rear seal on the trans leaks, but I would need to replace that wouldn't I? I do not know what the shocks are like, I haven't driven it more than I needed to take it off the trailer and into the garage and out again a few times to tear out interior.

Originally Posted by XJIrish4x4 View Post
Oh and having a Chrysler 8.25 rear is good over the D35 but its likely you have a 27 spline instead of the 29. Nothing to be worried about though because I'm sure you will be fine with that rear axle. What gearing does it have? Should be a tab on axle to show unless it was removed you would need to then tear into cover and look inside for gearing identification.
I don't know if it's the 27 or 29, but I can pull the driveshaft and count this weekend. There aren't any "tabs" on the axle that I saw, where should I look? Again, I can open it up to check.

Originally Posted by Slackdaddy View Post
Are you saying it is a 2wd ("No driven front axle")??
Converting to 4wd should be a somewhat "bolt on affair"
But probably not going to happen in a few short months with a wife, and baby on the way.


Slack
It is in fact 2wd. I know that I have put a chore in front of me with this conversion, but I gotta give it 100% effort so the wife doesn't just kill this dream.
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:34 AM
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It doesn't matter honestly the spline count unless you want to beef it up for off road purposes.

C8.25 is good and better than a D35.

Axle gearing can be found when you take differential cover off it will be marked. See photo below of my C8.25.

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Old 02-18-2018, 03:34 PM
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I got under it today and found that tab with the gearing on the axle, 3.5 and was able to compare to photos on the net to confirm a 8.25. Unfortunately, I don't keep big enough sockets at home to get a look at 27/29 splines, which will tell me if I need to pair it with a D35 or a D44 to have a roughly equivalent axle for the front.
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
I got under it today and found that tab with the gearing on the axle, 3.5 and was able to compare to photos on the net to confirm a 8.25. Unfortunately, I don't keep big enough sockets at home to get a look at 27/29 splines, which will tell me if I need to pair it with a D35 or a D44 to have a roughly equivalent axle for the front.

As long as your front axle is same gearing should work.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:09 PM
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Ignorant question, but I gotta learn somehow... Does it matter if it's a front or rear axle? I understand that if I have something like a "high pinion, driver side drop" that it would need to be installed in the front or there would be issues aligning the drive shafts... I think that didn't make sense.

The front axle swap I want to do will require a front axle from somewhere else, because the only area that has space for a driveshaft is offset to the driver side?
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:21 PM
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Not sure what your trying to ask here but like I said your 8.25 will work fine with any front axle as long as they are same gearing. Now if you wanted to change the axle in front to something wider like a D60 or something beefier then I would recommened you do the same on the rear and not run that 8.25 in rear. Many things can be done withe the right amount of money and fab skills.
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