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Thread: My XJ Build

  1. #1
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    My XJ Build

    Got my Cherokee 12 years ago before knowing much about working on vehicles. First mod I made was a 3.5" Rubicon Express Which I rocked with little tires for a while before I got 31's. Came with fixed lower control arms and track bar.




    Spun a bearing in the motor and needed it on the road ASAP so we dropped in a rebuilt motor. Original motor eventually rebuilt and put in brothers XJ.

    Bigger heavier tires and steel rims were making the highway drive to the trails a pain and since we didn't know how to do ring and pinion ourselves I got some G2 Dana 44 axles with 4.88 gears and Eaton E-lockers.


    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

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    Member xaza's Avatar
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    With 3.5 inch lift and 31's I was still rubbing a bit and not wanting to trim yet so while doing axles we installed 2" coil spacers and longer shackles to give me just a little more. Upgraded stock steering with a Rusty's HD Steering. Did not work well for me and will be upgrading soon. At about 5.5" lift could barely rub 31's but had massive flex for a little truck.



    Don't remember when but had at this point upgraded control arms to Teraflex Monster upper and lower controls arms (adjustable). Upgraded to a Rubicon Express adjustable track bar with the drop bracket to help with bump steer.

    It was at this point we had started to build some confidence and the ball started to roll. I upgraded front bumper with a Smittybilt XRC winch bumper. Took some trimming but got it installed and it just looked silly without a winch so I installed a Smittybilt X2O comp 8k winch.


    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

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    Member xaza's Avatar
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    From there I wanted to help the engine breath better on trail. Already have electric fan wired into toggle switch for constant operation. Picked up some JY hood louvers from a Lebaron and went to town on the hood.



    Next I had to modify and prevent frame from twisting so added TnT customs frame stiffeners. Made a huge difference. Can park with one tire on third step of porch and rear hatch opens and closes nice and smooth.



    Got both front skid and gas tank skid finally installed and put in a 2" reciever hitch.


    After a oops moment on a trail run came home and ordered up some JCR Offroad rock sliders. They come bare metal so had to be painted after test fit.



    - - - Updated - - -

    Due to the steering hitting the diff cover I decided to try a different one. Still hits but I like it more.


    Being a family man with a good sized dog I needed more cargo space. Went with a Cargo Master roof rack.

    Decided it was time to upgrade the stopping power. Got a G2 Disk brake upgrade kit.



    Decided it was time for my truck to get a little taller since the leaf springs were starting to sag after 10+ years of wheeling. Upgraded to RE 4.5" Coils and leafs and left spacers and boomerang shackles in for around 6.5" of lift. Due to sag of springs got about 2" lift.


    Added the bull bar to front bumper


    - - - Updated - - -

    Next I wanted to improve on road drive ability and possibly increase flex. Installed a TnT Customs Long arm conversion. Had to cut off factory lower control arm mounts.





    Next cam the rear bumper. Got Smittybilt with swing away tire carrier. Brand new bumper and had to wait a while to get it. My daughter at 12 got involved in helping this install. Learned to use and impact and torque wrench.



    After over a year of running 31 inch tires on 4.88 gears I finally got my 35's. Went with BFG AT. This lead to some fender trimming to make it kinda work and eventually some fender flares.


    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

  4. #4
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    With 35 inch tires I needed to be able to inflate my tires back up to drive home and don't like waiting 30 minutes. Installed a 5000 watt power inverter and 120v 6 gallon pancake compressor and 25 ft retractable hose.




    So the slight fender trimming didn't work and my ne fender armor showed up. It is Rusty's Fender Flares. They are steel and I have walked on them to know they are sturdy.


    Factory temp gauge was not accurate and made me nervous. Added a new mechanical gauge.


    I had previously installed a 3" exhaust which left me with no back pressure and lacking low end torque. Upgraded to a proffesionally installed 2.5" high flow cat and muffler. Routed tail pipe differently due to nature of trucks use.



    This brings us to current on truck. I have a Curry Currectlync steering waiting to be installed with new steering gear box and longer drop pitman arm. Hopefully by next Spring the exo cage will be done. Having it done professionally by a shop (a guy on my 4 wheeling forum). It will tie in front and rear bumpers with fender flares and rock sliders and additional frame points. The rear bumper came with plates to armor the rear fender in the gold patch at bottom but have not installed them because axle may be getting moved back and that section cut out. I also have the front frame stiffener extensions from TnT waiting to be installed. Hope you guys have enjoyed the progress so far.
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

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    im super special x10radsponge's Avatar
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    Very nice work. I for some reason want rock sliders..... Have liked there evolution from ugly weak tube to sturdy ones like those. I guess I am just going to have to find another one to put on the trails.

  6. #6
    Member Mark 318 ita's Avatar
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    that's one sweet trail xj!
    98 ZG 318 limited: np 242 swap, aussie locker, shift kit, optima red, 170lbs reduction, 5.9 vents, tcase skid, kn air filter, air ram, 1.7 HS RRs, SCT 93 oct tune, magnaflow muffler 12255, magnaflow hi-flo cat, spectre air hat, 2x52mm tb, 5.9 efan swap, ngk fr5-1 plugs, mopar perf wires, new cap 'n rot, maxxperf coil, iat relocation, roof lights, pirelli scorpions on masitaly 16x7 rims ET=0, ome HD coils +2",rubic exp +2"shocks, skyjacker ss, rubic exp adjustable front arms, jks rear+procomp front trackbar, prothane engine n tranny mounts, prothane sway bars bushings, drilled n slotted rotors, aeronautical front brake lines, purple led into front grill, hella h4s 100/55w, osarm h3s 55w.
    my channel
    https://www.youtube.com/TommyVercettism/videos

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    Member xaza's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, it has been a long road of learning the wrong way to do things to get it where it is. The other thing we are currently working on is a trail trailer for it. It is a 1947 Bantam trailer that we inherited, it was my wife's great grandfathers trailer. It will eventually have a rooftop tent on it and give cargo space to allow us expedition style camping. The first thing we did was flip the axle and give it about 6 inches lift. Got rims to match XJ and some decent truck tires. Had the paint stripped by a local shop with a starblast media. I am practicing with a truck tool box to learn to lay down some paint. Going to match with XJ colors of black and white. Modified the coupler to allow for more articulation and extra length to allow tire carrier to swing out. Has 360 degree rotation which will allow truck or trailer to flop without flopping the other. This was our first welding project other than repairing a control arm mount on brothers XJ.










    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

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    Very nice!

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    Damn! that was an awesome read. Great build and progress with that XJ. Keep up the good work and pictures.

  10. #10
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    Thanks again. I flew through this pretty quickly without much for details. If there is anything you would like more pics or detail just ask. I have more pics of most of the work. I have posted several of my videos here but not all of them. To see this thing in action check out my YouTube page.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/xaza23
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

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    Forum CONDUCTOR Man Z88Z's Avatar
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    That looks like a seriously capable rig. Nice!


    Was gonna demand a pic of your good size dog, but he's in there. Nice Rottie!



    Now do a build thread on the 55 (56?) Chevy in the background of the second pic

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    Did you notice a worthwhile difference with the hood vents? I have been contemplating something similar like yours for a long time now.

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    Member xaza's Avatar
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    I call the Rotty a good sized dog because he used to be the little boy. We had to put down our Great Dane a couple months ago.


    The Chevy sat in that parking lot and never moved in the 2 years I lived there. Never did find out who owned it.
    I did not notice much difference with the louvers but I have the aux fan run through a toggle switch and running constant on trail. They have been more of a hassle than help because I still have to build a drip pan.
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

  14. #14
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    Wouldn't you know it. The day after saying that with the louvers I found a new use for them. Had to take one off to reach in and pop the hood when my cable broke. Can imagine without them it would have been quite a task.
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

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    Member Mark 318 ita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xaza View Post
    Thanks again. I flew through this pretty quickly without much for details. If there is anything you would like more pics or detail just ask. I have more pics of most of the work. I have posted several of my videos here but not all of them. To see this thing in action check out my YouTube page.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/xaza23
    good to see some vids in build threads
    98 ZG 318 limited: np 242 swap, aussie locker, shift kit, optima red, 170lbs reduction, 5.9 vents, tcase skid, kn air filter, air ram, 1.7 HS RRs, SCT 93 oct tune, magnaflow muffler 12255, magnaflow hi-flo cat, spectre air hat, 2x52mm tb, 5.9 efan swap, ngk fr5-1 plugs, mopar perf wires, new cap 'n rot, maxxperf coil, iat relocation, roof lights, pirelli scorpions on masitaly 16x7 rims ET=0, ome HD coils +2",rubic exp +2"shocks, skyjacker ss, rubic exp adjustable front arms, jks rear+procomp front trackbar, prothane engine n tranny mounts, prothane sway bars bushings, drilled n slotted rotors, aeronautical front brake lines, purple led into front grill, hella h4s 100/55w, osarm h3s 55w.
    my channel
    https://www.youtube.com/TommyVercettism/videos

  16. #16
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    With the sub zero temps around here I haven't gotten as much done as I wanted. We did manage to get the paint laid down before it rolled into full freeze. Brother had the better hand at painting so he took on the task of painting white. Wife and I taped off trailer and laid down black. Did it backwards because I knew we would screw up and it would drive me nuts to not fix it. Have some black over spray to fix. Some is from poor taping, some is from the paper absorbing moisture from the air from over night rain storm (no direct rain) No big deal, when Spring hits we will tape up black and lay down another layer of white and top the whole thing with clear coat. Inside will also get bed liner at that time.




    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

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    Haven't gotten much done but figured I would throw in an update. Got trailer wiring routed just need to insulate it. Might use nylon or rubber hose rather than loom. Got driver side light mounted and the hole cut for passenger side light. Made the mounting bracket but still have to weld to trailer. The side marker lights have arrived but need installed. They are pretty cool, called dragon eye lights because they look like an evil eye.


    I got the Currie steering installed on the Cherokee with new gearbox and drop pitman arm. I kept my stabilizer mount because it's ridiculous strong, but no longer needed a bushing for it to clamp tightly on steering rod. Drove a lot better on the way to the alignment shop and amazing on the way home. The steering is very solid and considerably stronger than the Rusty's and does not have the slop from tie rod roll. It get's my 2 thumbs up rating for an under the knuckle steering! Slapped skid plate on it to make a run to the hills and found the steering hits on the skid plate. Will modify skid later, took it off and went wheeling. Found after sway bar is disconnected and tied up tight like I do, the drooping side hits the steering. Sway bar disconnects came with mounts to hold it where I want, will have to install them to hold it in the middle. After a day of wheeling it was pretty nice to get home without my hands hurting from squeezing the wheel.



    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

  18. #18
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    Got the truck dropped off at the shop to get cage, rear axle stretched and frame stiffener extensions installed. Got a few pictures of the progress this week.







    Last edited by xaza; 06-06-2015 at 04:17 PM.
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

  19. #19
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    Some progress has been done on the truck. If all went as planned he should have started cage today and will have things complete next week. I am so excited to see this thing progressing into my vision.

    Fender armor removed and fender cut.







    Gap filled in



    Fender armor cut and filled in




    Passenger fender done the same way. Damage to the quarter made for a bit more of a challenge but turned out great.



    Should have more pictures this weekend and will share when I get them.
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

  20. #20
    im super special x10radsponge's Avatar
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    Been busy. Nice work!

  21. #21
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    Work continues. Passenger side fender armor cut and filled




    I am not exactly sure the plan for the tubing removed from fender armor and rock sliders but IIRC he was explaining that they will be replaced by one solid tube rather than trying to tie into them. I am excited as can be and have absolute faith in my fabricator so I am sitting back enjoying this ride.





    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

  22. #22
    Member xaza's Avatar
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    Overflowing with excitement as the tube bending process is beginning.









    ___________
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.

    Cesare Pavese

  23. #23
    im super special x10radsponge's Avatar
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    Man, so nice to see Jeep work. I got to fix a Kia sliding door today for the wife. Plus side, saved 140 in labor, down side, My 9'er sat there and sent me bad vibes.

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    Damn, you must be excited! I used to be a Porsche guy, and I remember I was absolutely manic the day I went to see my baby in the paint shop! That thing is going to be one bad ass zombie apocalypse grocery getter!

  25. #25
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    That is one hell of a build. Some serious hours into that thing. All looks awesome, can't wait to watch this progress some more.

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