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White 98 Sport

Old 06-06-2014, 02:36 PM
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 171
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0
Default White 98 Sport

Well I'm on cherokee #6. Built 3 of them myself, first of which when I was 16, in high school, and lets just say I've learned a lot. Hopefully some of you will find this interesting/useful in some way. That and hopefully I can figure out how to post pictures as to not look like an ******....

So here it goes, picked up a 1998 XJ Sport model (white) 4.0, AW4, NP231, HP dana 30 and chrysler 8.25... Cheap w/215k miles

I wasn't really planning on building this jeep but I can't help scanning Craigslist for deals.... Found a complete 6.5" rough country long arm lift with shocks and all- $600, couldn't pass it up. Not my first choice but for the price its a great starting point! Picked it up, had it sand blasted and powder coated black.

Ordered up some HD Offroad engineering no lift shackle relocation brackets, and painted them up as well.

Next I picked up a drop pitman arm from a friend, and ordered joint rebuild kits for the rc arms, a sye and a new hiem for the trackbar. Also scored a grand cherokee front driveshaft (for the sye to get me by for a while) and a set of disc brake backing plates/calipers and proportioning valve (for later) from the local p&p for $80!

Also found a set of decent 33" bfg km2's on 15" aluminum rims. Now for a few pics... Fingers crossed!

Jeep after I got it home:
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:43 PM
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Another of the jeep stock:
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I usually work by myself so it can be difficult to take pics (and I usually have limited time) but I'm working on that...
Here are a few pics of the lift install and sye install:
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And the sye, which for those who have never done it or are intimidated by it, it is so simple!!! I had done hack and taps before but never a true sye. I did it in the vehicle by myself, never having done it before in a couple hours! It was cake!

Installed sye:
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:49 PM
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Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee
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Now I put in my hd Offroad no lift shackle relocation brackets, and let me say these are beefy, and very well designed! It was a pita cutting the old shackle boxes out, especially on the driver side trying not to hit the fuel lines but I got it done! Pic installed:
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Got everything buttoned up (also had to pull pass side axle shaft to replace a u joint) and installed the 33's:
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:50 PM
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This is pretty well how it sits now. I must say, I've done several lifts on XJ's and 4 long arm installs and this one was the biggest pita yet!
I broke a pitman arm puller, lots of bolts (upper shock mount, one lower shock mount) and fixed. Stripped the lower bolt on the track bar frame mount that goes through the motor mount, and I have no idea how!!! So I drilled that and put a bigger grade a bolt through the hole with a nut on top of the one that is part of the motor mount! Worked great!

Then broke a few sockets, wrenches, threw a few things, smashed my hand, and had to buy a bunch of crap I didn't have (as usual) or couldn't find. I've never had a problem with the cross member studs till this jeep so I had to go buy some fancy stud extractors, a new impact and god knows how many sockets! basically what I'm getting at is this jeep gave me more grief than all the others combined! I hope this doesn't become a theme! I also now own one hell of a snap ring/lock ring plier assortment, thanks to the sye...

So now more on the build. I mostly wheel the beautiful (wet) PNW but would like to be able to take this cherokee to Moab and through the rubicon. I had a 94 that never ceased to amaze me so I'm going to copy that build for the most part.

I also scored a set of alloy USA shafts for the 8.25 off Craig's for a whopping $100. Brand new, in the box! Done! Then made a stop at the p&p looking for some other parts and ended up leaving with (7) 703 injectors (incase one is bad) to have rebuilt and install later, as I'd like to replace the header at some point so I'll do it all at once.

So as it sits right now, my 'phase 1' of the build will be as follows, and again I'll try to get a little more diligent with the pics....
And I know I'm gonna catch some 'flack' for some of my parts choices, but most of the stuff I'm familiar with and its my POS however like any build questions/comments and suggestions are welcome!

-6.5" long arm w/HD Offroad no lift shackle relocation brackets (currently sagged to ~5-6" and I'm guessing after the bumper & winch I'm gonna be even lower so ill add a spacer but I'm gonna stay at 6.5", no taller) these shackle relocation brackets are awesome with the rough country shackle and one spring removed from the leak pack! Rides amazing and flex is amazing in the rear for a cherokee! I'm impressed for sure!

-steering, right now its stock! I know, weak right? But this isn't going to be a mall crawler so I have already ordered rustys OTK steering conversion. Now I know some will lift their noses at this but I have ran it before with great success, and of all the steering setups I've ran (for factory dana 30 knuckles) this is my favorite. Fwiw I've ran stock (obviously), curries hd steering conversion and one 'similar' to (home brew) jcr 1 ton otk. However I much prefer the rustys (which I run drag link on top of knuckle and tie rod on bottom) because its beefy, very very tight, no flat spots, easy to allign, better geometry, and the heims are great on and off road! I didn't even run a stabilizer and had zero bump steer/death wobble etc. Could I have built the same thing cheaper? Yes, but I don't have the time so this was a no brainier for me. Should be here next week, I will also be installing jks mini skids for my lower control arm brackets to avoid destruction when I install the steering. Along with rustys track bar frame brace.

-axles; as stated I have a HP dana 30 front and chrysler 8.25 rear. I already have alloy USA shafts for the rear, and all the disc brake swap parts from a grand cherokee. Sometime next week (waiting for parts to arrive) I will be completely rebuilding both front and rear diffs and installing 4.56's. I will also be running an Aussie in the rear, and once I recover some money I will pick up some alloy USA shafts for the front and add an Aussie & diff cover.

-bumpers; I have tnt customs front bumper (and new steering box spacer) waiting to install on the front, and plan on running the newer OR fab rear (cut and fold) rear bumper. I like the look and clearance of both bumpers and like the cut and fold for the rear!

-sliders, I'm not 100% sure yet but I really like the look of the JCR crusader sliders! I think with a little fab work they would be plenty strong enough and I don't spend much time in the rocks so I'm leaning towards those. I really liked the 'bandit Offroad' boat side cherokee sliders but they don't seem to be around anymore which is sad because I really wanted to try those! We will see...

-body armor; since I have to have some kind of flare to drive on the street in Oregon I have settled on rustys new xj tube fenders. I think the look good and hopefully won't get ripped off!!! Those with some JCR light boxes should handle the sheet metal and allow enough room for the tires.

-wheels/tires; I know I'm pushing it here but I'm going to be running 36" iroks with allied (15") beadlocks. I ran this setup with the same axles/gears etc on my 94 with no issues. I'm not a pedal to the floor kinda guy so a light right foot and somewhat sensible driving will last long enough to get me through to the next set of axles and the end result of either 37" iroks or possibly pitbull rockers, but like I said that will require bigger axles...

-'performance'.... Lol, its an xj, that I'm not going crazy with so all ill be doing performance wise is replacing the rotted out cat/muffler with IRO's cat back exhaust, new ngk/ntk o2 sensors, 703 injectors and eventually a spectre intake to free up some space under the hood and raise the intake a little. I already replaced the plugs/wires/cap/rotor/coil as with 200k+ miles and not knowing the PO's maintenance was a must...

As with any build I'm sure things will change slightly, things will get added, and things will get replaced but this is the general direction of the build. Most of the parts have already been ordered just need lots of time lol... I'm hoping to have most of this stuff done by about the end of July so I can start having some real fun! We will see.
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:03 PM
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Trying to find some more pics, but only have a few poser shots ATM as is kinda in that awkward halfway done stage and I haven't really had time to do any wheeling..... Here's another to give you an idea.... I rattle caned the rims with rust oleum semi gloss and they turned out really nice I think:
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:58 PM
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Thought I would share this little bit of info for people installing the rough country la transfer case skid, or anything similar. With the kit the give you some 3/8" self tappers for the frame side attachment point.... Really? Given the thickness of the cherokee 'frame' I was pretty disappointed with this method so I made a trip to my local hardware store for a better solution. Now there are better was to do this, but with the time I had I figured this was the best solution; picked up these blind nut inserts (I believe they are called) in 3/8" and the 'tool' for installing them.

Had to attach the skid and use the holes as a template for my first hole, then removed the skid, drilled w/ 1/2" iirc and inserted the nut with the 'tool' and sinched it down. I'm guessing these crush down enough to give about 1/4 lip around the hole so to speak, and will hold up much better than the self tappers, given how thin the frame is.

Here's a few pics of the hole with the inserts before being tapped in:
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And the 'tool' which is basically a tall nut that is smooth inside so the bolt used to crush it can turn while you hold it in place:
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And installed:
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:47 PM
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Jeep looks really good.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:25 PM
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Thank you! Things should really start picking up in the next month or so, my parts pile is slowly growing, steering and a few other goodies will be here Thursday.... I'm really looking forward to seeing this thing ready to actually wheel!

Also if anyone is interested I'll have a rough country double shear track bar with new heim at frame and newer bushing at axle + frame bracket (bracket is freshly powdercoated black and track bar itself is rustoleum hammered) for 4.5" lift and up

And I have a brand new still in the box set of rough country's sway bar discos for 4.5-6.5" (iirc) lift. These are pretty nice and actually tie up out of the way, I just don't run a sway bar so have no use for them
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:25 PM
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So, steering (and a few other goodies) came today!
Hopefully I have time to install it this weekend! I've been scanning Craig's as usual, and I don't know how I keep getting so lucky.... I just found a rock krawler 3 link long arm, 6" coil springs AND the JKS ACOS adjustable coil spacers for....... $225 I just hope the guy doesn't flake on me!!!

And to top things off, I've been trying to get my brother to get a cherokee for a while now, and lets just say I've missed at least 3 absolutely incredible XJ's for very reasonable prices.......... Well last night he handed me an envelope and said find me a jeep!! I found a nice black '99 close by that already has a 4.5" short arm, 33's, 4.56's and that's about all I know right now. So, my plan is, hopefully to pick up the Craig's finds tomorrow, hopefully the 99 checks out and we can pick that up tomorrow or Saturday, then install the 3 link on his jeep and save the ACOS for my 98. This is why I say I hope I have enough time to get to the steering. Just can't express how excited I am to finally get my brother in an xj and wheelin with me! That is all....
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:56 AM
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Well I've been gathering parts (as usual) scored a D30 lock rite for $100, picked up a few other random parts, got my 2nd new radiator in, new belt, idler pulley, and 120 amp alternator. Also installed my rustys otk steering, track bar, and frame brace. I'll post pics of that later.

Got O'riley's to refund me for the leaky pos radiator and used that money to get a new trans filter (so I can change the fluid and filter when I pull the axles to have my gears installed) and new zj rotors and parking brake hardware for my zj disc swap.

Now I've been doing some reading, and am going to make some changes to the suspension. One of my other brothers has a 98 xj that is stock that he wants to lift for his twin boys who are about to turn 16. So since I have a double shear trackbar, dpa, sway bar discos, I'm gonna piece together a lift for him. On top of that stuff I'm gonna give him my rc coil springs, and extended shackles.

My plan is to replace my springs with poly performance progressive 4.5" coils (ill add the ACOS if I need to level it out) and I'm ordering the boostwerks tc shifter anyway so I'm gonna go ahead and order their bad *** shackles with the ballistic joint in the. My thinking is with the pp coils and the shackles my (already great ride) will be even better and ill be able to get a little better flex in both the front and rear! So this should work out good!

Things are coming along, just trying to get as many parts together as I can possibly afford so that I can utilize the down time ill have while the axles are out getting gears done (4.56's).
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Old 08-04-2014, 05:01 PM
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A pic of the steering (and my trans fluid and dirt coated front axle) still need to finish painting the track bar bracket....
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And a pic from the 4th, still rocking the flag. I think that will be a permanent thing! I get a lot of compliments and I'm proud to fly it!
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Also got this little gem, super fast shipping! Also got a few other things but I'm most excited about this as my tc shifting has been weird on this cherokee....
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This weekend I was doing a once over, checking bolts etc and noticed my RC leaf spring bushings are toast..... Fml..... So one more thing to add to the list of things to do while the axles are out getting geared. I just want to wheel this thing already!!!
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:10 PM
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Well picked up a few more things today.... Got a deal on some tires:
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And traded some parts for these:
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My plan is to mount them on my hatch for back up lights. I just hope they will fit.... We will see. Then when I get my rear bumper on I'll figure out what lights I can fit in it so ill have a couple more back up lights. I like to be able to see what's behind me lol

Just waiting on my rear locker and a couple other things then I can get my gears in. Getting closer!
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:13 PM
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nice build and you are extremely lucky with some deals you find...
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:44 PM
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Thanks! I think I've found about all I'm gonna find deal wise, but you don't even want to know what I paid for the LEDs!

I've just got so much stuff piling up I need to get some stuff done, just hard to find the time because this is my 'busy season' and in the PNW its a pretty short season so I have to take advantage of it!
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:15 PM
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Well, another update. It seems I just can't quit finding deals.... This one I wanted to do anyway but couldn't really afford it. So like I've mentioned the axles are about to get removed for re gearing, and I need new ball joints soooo.... I stumbled on this little deal:
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WJ knuckles, with the spacer welded on, and the rotors (basically new) for $100.... I couldn't pass it up. Just need to get some calipers and pads, was already gonna replace ball joints so that's no biggie, and I'll grab some new unit bearings. I'm hoping my tie rod will work but I'm pretty sure I'll have to shorten my drag link a little.... Trackbar is already over the axle and knuckles are already drilled to 5/8 for my heims, I'm pretty stoked on this score.

And I'm not gonna say too much yet, but looks like I'll have me some sexy beadlocks here shortly! I'll post a few pics when their in my possession....
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