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XJcreature's first build

Old 05-02-2017, 12:17 PM
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Year: 2000
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Default XJcreature's first build

I'm a new member here so let me start with a small bit of background info. My first XJ was a 1988 2WD I6 that my step father helped me buy as my first car at the age of 17. Many good memories in that Jeep (Passing around the one remaining window crank). Anyhow i sold it for w/e reason and the kid i sold it to got it stuck in the mud and caught it on fire. RIP.

After wanting another XJ for a long time i finally had the opportunity to purchase one last year. My main goals when finding an XJ were, 4x4 and fairly low mileage. 3 months of searching yielded a 2000 Jeep Cherokee limited with 80k. This baby is my DD but i also want to do a lot of modifications. With it being in such good condition i want to keep the mods as quality as possible and within a reasonable budget.


So now i'm getting ready to do my first project. I want a 3" lift with 31" tires. The lift needs to be off-road worthy but not to the extreme. It is mostly a DD after all. After researching and debating with myself over and over about an all new lift kit, piece-meal, or junkyard i finally determined that the best thing for now would be a Junkyard build. After spending a decent amount of cash on new tires and wheels i need to save some money for other things going on in my life.

I went to the local pull-a-part and wound up getting exactly what i needed. I will include what i obtained below.

2000 XJcreature 3" Lift
  • Leaf Springs - Junkyard(2001 GMC Sonoma) - $50
  • Coil Springs - Junkyard(1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited V8) - $30
  • Coil Spacers - Teraflex 2" 1905120 Spacers - $50
  • Rear Shocks - JunkYard(2001 GMC Sonoma) - $20 (see post below)
  • Rear Shocks - Rancho rs55245 - $106
  • Front Shocks - Rancho rs5239 - $100
  • Front Track Bar - Rock Krawler rk05194 - $160
  • Brake Lines - Rugged Ridge 16735.09 Braided Stainless Steel - $90
  • Misc - Pro Comp Spring Clips and RE Center Pins - ~$35

As for tires and wheels i got:
- General Grabber AT2s
- Black Rock 942 type-D


Pics of the kit:





I'm starting the build this week. Just cleaned my garage in preparation last night. I plan to get started on brakes, track bar, and shocks tonight and hopefully making some serious progress on springs this weekend. Also i'll get some pictures up soon.

EDIT: Initial lift is finished. Pics for comparison.

Before:


After:

Last edited by XJcreature; 06-12-2017 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Pictures
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:05 PM
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Welcome to the forum! It seems like you're off to a good start. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures.
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:17 PM
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Well i was hoping to have more done by now but i got sick during the week so by the time i got home from work each day i'd had enough.

I got started tonight.


I removed the sway bar and pulled the brackets to use as BPEs, then i was going to replace the shocks and extend the brake lines. I forgot to measure my factory height so i decided to do the brake lines first. This is when my lack of planning really began to bite me. When i examined the brake lines i noticed something i didn't account for. The ABS lines. Yep, i have the lovely Dana 35 complete with an ABS system .



I figured what i'll do is detach them from the rear brake line and see if they have enough slack alone, maybe tie them up somewhere else. Otherwise i'll have to work on a solution there. Any suggestions are welcome.

Since i'm still fighting the cold i decided to set her down and take the factory height measurements, then get back to those brakes and shocks tomorrow.

From ground to fender flare:
rear - 30.5"
front - 31"
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:14 AM
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More setbacks this weekend. Felt like the universe was against me and the XJ. Where to begin?

First thing i did was begin to modify the rear S-10 shocks / Sonoma shocks. They measure up for a perfect 3 - 4" lift. Here is a pic compared to stock shocks.



The bar pin on my shocks are forked at each end. The one on the S-10 shocks has a hole on each end and the width from center to center was about a quarter inch too short for the XJ upper mount. I just cut each end of the bar pin to make it forked and it mounted near perfect.
The bushing for the lower mount had a rubber bushing with a metal bushing in the center unlike mine which were only rubber. The metal bushing may have been a 16th too narrow to fit on the lower shock mount.
After lots of drilling and then some smoothing out with the dremel i was able to mount the S-10 rear shock to my XJ.



So junkyard shocks can definitely work if they are in decent condition. Unfortunately for me my second rear shock wasn't in the best shape. After getting about halfway through boring out the metal bushing the rubber gave way and it came apart.



Trying to wrap it up with the shocks i ending up looking through a couple parts stores for a bushing, gave up pretty quickly and opted to buy new rear shocks. I'll have to edit the main post to include those in my budget. But it doesn't end there. I asked for shocks that would be good for a 3" lift and the store's system showed the Rancho rs5129 shocks to be just that. I also checked a very popular online 4x4 retailer and their system also showed this part as being good for a 3" lift on a 2000 Jeep Cherokee. However when i got the shocks home and measured them i found that they measurd the same as my stock sized shocks.


On to the brake lines. Got the rear installed no problem.



When i went to do the front i realized the lines were for the same side. So much for that. I went ahead and installed my Rancho front shocks since i already had the wheels off.




I always check my take out before i leave a restaurant. Why i failed to do it from the parts stores? I won't make that mistake again.
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:20 AM
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I called the retailer i got the brakes from and explained the issue. They were super cool and ordered me another set. I also ordered the rear shocks from them since the junkyard shocks didn't work out. I went to pick up the shocks and brakes yesterday and made sure to check my packages. Once again, the new set of brake lines were sent with two driver side lines instead of one for each side. I had the guys at the store check to make sure i wasn't missing anything and they agreed with my assessment. So they've have to call the manufacturer and open a case with them. Now i'll have to wait longer for the front brake lines.

Anyway, the shocks are awesome. A bit more heavy duty than the front ones which is great since i'll be loading up the rear eventually anyway.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:46 PM
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Ok I feel like a huge idiot. I just got the spacers and ZJ coils on. I had to drop the LCAs to fit the coils. Now my axle is to far back and I can't fit the LCAs back in. Having trouble figuring out a way to move the axle far enough forward. Can anyone help?

Last edited by XJcreature; 05-17-2017 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by XJcreature View Post
Ok I feel like a huge idiot. I just got the spacers and ZJ coils on. I had to drop the LCAs to fit the coils. Now my axel is to far back and I can't fit the LCAs back in. Having trouble figuring out a way to move the axel far enough forward. Can anyone help?
How much lift did you get?? 3" is about the max you should use stock LCA's for.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by CantDrive55 View Post
How much lift did you get?? 3" is about the max you should use stock LCA's for.
cant be more than 3. I have 2 in spacers with ZJ coils. I haven't put the wheels back on yet to set the Jeep down so I haven't measured but the axle seems to be tilted slightly and when I jack it up it tilts even more causing the pinion to push upwards as well. This seems to be because of the LCAs being detached.
Also for a reason I am unsure of the passenger side of the axle is pushed back even further than the drivers side by a few inches.

Last edited by XJcreature; 05-17-2017 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:03 AM
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After a lot of searching i found this thread.
https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f67/fr...d-help-176047/

Although i already tried using a ratchet strap from axle to body but the distance may have been too short.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by XJcreature View Post
After a lot of searching i found this thread.
https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f67/fr...d-help-176047/

Although i already tried using a ratchet strap from axle to body but the distance may have been too short.
Would unbolting the trackbar give you any extra wiggle room?
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CantDrive55 View Post
Would unbolting the trackbar give you any extra wiggle room?
Sorry i didn't mention it but i already did that. I was wondering if installing the new adjustable track bar would help but i don't think it would. I need to get the axle pulled forward enough to fit the LCAs back in, get the wheels on, set it down, then install the track bar. Other recommendations are greatly welcomed.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:12 PM
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My one and only recommendation..... Use tubular control arms instead of stock ones
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Guywitha92 View Post
My one and only recommendation..... Use tubular control arms instead of stock ones
i will definitely take that recommendation once I can get the axle back into a good position.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:37 PM
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Tubular control arms will assist with getting the axle back in the right place. As you lift your jeep, the axle pulls further away from your subframe. Your stock control arms only work for so much lift until they start to pull your axle backwards. I suggest at least getting tubular lowers, if not adjustable. You can probably get away with using your stock uppers
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Guywitha92 View Post
Tubular control arms will assist with getting the axle back in the right place. As you lift your jeep, the axle pulls further away from your subframe. Your stock control arms only work for so much lift until they start to pull your axle backwards. I suggest at least getting tubular lowers, if not adjustable. You can probably get away with using your stock uppers
im all for getting adjustable but the thing is if the axle is in a position where the stock LCAs are pushed to far back to fit into their mount then how would I go about getting an even longer aftermarket arm to fit.
Besides this 2in spacer and ZJ coil lift should only be 2.5 to 3in lift max after I set it down.
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