Bocephus

Old 10-10-2018, 06:42 PM
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Year: 1989
Model: Cherokee (XJ)
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My name's Zack, I'm 19 and live in Washington. I call my '89 Cherokee a bunch of stuff... Bocephus, Pig, Jeep/Cherokee... But the big black letters I put on the back of the tailgate say "BOCEPHUS" so that's what you'll probably know her as.

I moved to Washington state (from Texas) with my family almost three years ago now, and the place was a mess. There wasn't a yard, there was a blackberry patch. The previous owner of the place was a drunk, as far as we can all tell, and let it all fall apart... Including the poor Cherokee. As it sat, it had severe body damage (an impact to the upper right rear corner had pushed the shape of the body out of whack enough for none of the doors to close properly and for the tailgate to not close at all) and was literally filled to the brim with garbage. I didn't think to take any photos at the time but we got at least four trash cans full of nasty garbage out, and what was left was still sad.

Needless to say, I've done a lot of work on an extremely slim budget. This Jeep is what I learned how to work on, because I came from Texas knowing nothing. It was my first car, even though it would be almost a year and a half before I'd be able to drive it.

A few pictures:


She had a bath today.


The mesh you see over the lights and grille is chicken wire... A $10 roll was just enough to do everything I needed. Deflects good-sized rocks away from important bits on the cheap, which is exactly what I want. The hood ornament is a hammer head that broke off of an old hammer that came with us on the move to WA--That old thing was probably in the family for 15 years or so, I don't think there wasn't a time it wasn't there when I needed it.


Closeup of the cheap rock-guards. I sometimes go trail-riding with some buddies, and if I'm behind someone and they get stupid on the gas I don't want to be paying for a new radiator or new headlights.

Some stuff that's been done on it is a new windshield, quarter glass, tailgate, tailgate glass, exhaust system (cherry bomb right off of the headers), paint job (stripes and roof are white roofing paint designed to keep the interior of buildings cool. I barely ever turn the AC on in the summer it works so well), hood ornament, extra interior gauges, wheels and tires, fuel injectors, spark plugs, wires and coil, rear main seal, lots of gaskets...

A few U-Joints, DAYS of wiring fun (pretty much nothing worked at first), a 2 inch lift, entirely redone front + rear brakes, lots of stickers, a fun DIY mirror re-mount, truck bed insert, heater box fire extinguishing and then repairing...

New fog lights, aux reverse lamp, CB radio (that doesn't work for now because I snapped the antenna off at the Oregon Dunes), PA system, window seal fix, mud flaps, LOTS of body damage repair, and a whole bunch more stuff I'm not remembering.

The only thing I've let anyone else do to her are the radio installation, tire balancing, and alignments, windshield installation (I did all the other glass myself), and A/C recharge. Everything else is/was me. Needless to say, I'm pretty proud, and also surprised that I haven't joined this site earlier.


Another side shot. You can see where the damage happened on the upper rear corner there--something fell and pushed the roof down, which I had to fix in order to put the new windows in. She ain't pretty, but that's how I like her.


Rear shot. Stickers! BOCEPHUS refers to two things: I like Hank Williams Jr., and Primus's "bocephus" lyric in "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver". The tailgate is a different color because it's new... She's not actually a HO, lol. The tailgate that was on her when we got her was broken in half from the pillars down. The gold tailgate was the first automotive part I ever bought with my own money, so when she actually gets painted all pretty-like it won't get painted like the rest--it'll stay gold.


She's a four-door two-seater. I made the bed insert you see here, which gives me more than enough room to sleep in when I go camping. It bolts into the bench seat mount on the floor in the rear.


A shot inside from the rear passenger door. The bed insert has enough room underneath to put jugs in--antifreeze and engine oil, here. There's an emergency kit on the other side of the tranny tunnel.


Front interior shot. Pardon the mess, I'm a metalworker and the stuff around the parking brake is my work stuff. I made the 8-Ball shifter myself.

No Jeep is complete without safety stickers. These were my grandfather's, from the construction sites he was a foreman on. He was a car nut, but passed away before I really got the chance to share that passion with him. I feel like he would've really liked to see her.

My extra gauges. The little helmet stuck to the dash on the right side is something I found in the sand at my campsite near the Oregon Dunes. I didn't realize I'd kept it, so I felt like it deserved a place to stay.

I've got big plans for the Jeep, because I'm gonna use her for road trips. First one is in may of next year, all the way up to the northernmost driveable point of Alaska and back. For that I'll be making a roof rack out of rebar, putting a 30-gallon tank in, making some pretty unique jerry can mounts, and installing a winch. I might put this thing in the build section, but for now I'm really just doing little stuff every day--mostly re-sealing the windows, because the roof keeps wanting to re-deform back to its damaged shape. I don't think I'll really be able to completely fix that--the jeep sat for almost ten years like that.

She's had a few accidents here and there, three major ones. The first was a heater core fire about a year and a half ago--rats had built a nest in there and I fiddled with the heater controls out of boredom when I left school one day. Exposed resistor coil in the box lit it all on fire and I had no idea I was breathing rat **** in... I had thought it was a wiring fire, but funnily enough that fire is the reason my A/C and heater now works at all. The second accident was a fuel pump failure. The old pump still works, the rubber line that runs from the actual pump to the outlet tube just came disconnected. I was thankfully able to coast into an O'Reilly's parking lot and fixed it all there. The third one was entirely my fault--I had disco'd the rear driveshaft to put the lift on and did two things... Didn't tighten the u-joint bolts up enough, and didn't put loctite on'em. I was out on some forest trails about two hours from home one day and my driveshaft fell out. Pulled it out, taped the back of the TCase up, and limped her home in FWD.

Some more technical stuff--She's a RENIX Jeep, D35 in the rear and D30 in the front. I took her to the drag strip about a year ago and got an 18.35 or something like that as my best pass... I kept up with a Mustang for two seconds! I think I get about 14MPG but I'm looking for ways to improve that, and right now she leaks oil from just about everywhere a Jeep can leak oil from. Rear main, valve cover, head gasket, oil filter adapter... Once I get paid next, fixing those will be my priority.

For now, though, she's my daily--and recognizable enough that I'm sure people remember her around town. Loud and ugly.

Perfect.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask away. I'm looking forward to my stay here!
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Old 10-16-2018, 06:55 AM
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Welcome to the forum
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Old 10-20-2018, 01:16 PM
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Welcome! So much awesome character. Resourceful utility-driven ingenuity. Love it!
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Old 10-20-2018, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by NRGXJ View Post
Welcome! So much awesome character. Resourceful utility-driven ingenuity. Love it!
Thanks! I've put a lot of time and effort into her, it's always a pleasure to look back on it all.
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:41 PM
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Welcome to the site ELC AMX !

whats your plans going forward! My 01 XJ was 2 days from meeting the crusher and I felt sorry for it. has come a long way in a short time.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by RockinRonnie View Post
Welcome to the site ELC AMX !

whats your plans going forward! My 01 XJ was 2 days from meeting the crusher and I felt sorry for it. has come a long way in a short time.
In the short term, I'm going to just keep fixing some broken stuff (leaks oil from most places a jeep can leak oil from), adding new things here and there like a roof rack and maybe some pretty unassuming rock sliders--I've got a really unique mod for the back doors I hope to be able to realize, that's gonna come in a month or so. As for what I plan to do with her, I have lots of camping to do, and then a bunch of massive road trips I'd like to take! I'm always glad to hear about people saving XJ's from an untimely death... These are some rock solid vehicles, the only weakness you can't entirely fix is the fact that it's a unibody!
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Old 11-01-2018, 04:57 PM
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Edit: Wrong thread.
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