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post #1 of 51 Old 03-29-2011, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Cherokee Resurrection - Build Thread

Many of us that have drove for a long time know the agony of wrecking your favorite vehicle is painful. I previously had a Cherokee that I wrecked and was repaired by a shop. This is one of those stories, but in this story I will be doing the repairs. I responded to a Craigslist advertisement for a cheap 1996 Jeep Cherokee Classic. It was very cheap, a mechanic special for any one with the skills to fix it. A deer was upset with a creature more beautiful than it being in its territory and took a suicide bombing run into the grill. The Jeep survived and continued to run strong with need of immediate surgery. I promised the previous owner after taking it into my care I would fix it to keep a Cherokee on the road. Considering that many were lost to Cash for Clunkers, this is a worthy clause.

I will include some step by step of what you should do during the rebuild of your smashed front end.

TO DO
Strip Interior.(Reeks of smoke.)
Remove crappy tint.
Remove rat nest of light wiring including roof lights.
Redo head liner.
Paint interior plastic trim black.
Line-X Interior
Straighten bumper brackets

ENGINE PARTS
Steering pump with out reservoir
Air box
Fan clutch
Fan(Possibly)
AC Condenser
Radiator
Radiator support
Radiator isolators(Manufacturer 52002585, Quadratec 51219.000)
Electric Fan
Mechanical Fan Shroud

EXTERIOR PARTS
Header panel
Grill insert
Head light bezels
Head lights
Head light buckets/brackets
Marker lights, front and side
Light wiring harness connectors
Left Fender
Hood
Right Fender(Only if doing 1997-2001 swap.)
Front Bumper

INTERIOR PARTS
Switch plates next to steering column


I did not pay the price listed on the glass! Yes, this is a 2WD drive Jeep and may become a candidate for Jeepspeed. Also, the real paint color is black. The flat cheap spray paint poop/olive color has become contaminated with dirt that will not come out in a wash.


The minor, the interior. Those are exposed hooked up wires!




Front End
Radiator filler neck destroyed the air box. The radiator support looks salvageable, but the inner fender needs repaired.


The belt is actually straight. The steering pump pulley is bent in a comically wobbly fashion.


I will get a better picture of the pulley and fan dents on the radiator once I get it pulled apart.




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post #2 of 51 Old 03-30-2011, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Stripping down the front end of the a Cherokee is fairly easy. There are no hidden bolts and there are no Torx bolts until you get to the fenders. The exact details about the number of screws/bolts apply to Cherokees up to 1996, but the process is essentially the same for 1997-2001 Cherokees.

When removing nuts and bolts tape them to the part that was removed or bundle them together in a piece of tape and label the tape.

Steps to remove components in front of the engine.
1.) Start by removing the orange side markers held in with two screws. Tape the screws to the marker. The marker bulb holder twists counter clock wise to remove it. Remove the bulb and set it aside to prevent breaking it.

2.) Remove the head light bezels. Two screws are under where the side marker lights were and one in the upper left/right of the bezel by the grill.

3.) Remove the four screws holding the chrome head light trim on and disconnect the head lights. The head light buckets will come off with the header.

4.) Remove the two screws that hold in the front marker lights. Again, twist the bulb holder counter clock wise to remove it. Remove the bulb and set it aside to prevent breaking it.

5.) Lift the hood. Remove the four bolts at the top of the grill. There are four more bolts, two on each side, that were previously hidden by the side marker lights. Once all eight bolts are removed the header plus grill should come free. Carefully unclip the wire loom from the header and set the header aside.

6.) The radiator support is held in by six bolts and four nuts. There are three large bolts that connect each end to the inner fenders. Four nuts along the top hold the support to the radiator. Once these are all removed it will lift away.

6a.) Models with AC: Remove the two tabs on the top of the radiator that holds the AC condenser to the radiator.

7.) At this point it is time to drain the radiator. If your radiator has a drain valve, use it, otherwise remove the bottom hose and let it drain into a bucket. Afterwards remove the top hose with the bucket underneath to catch any excess.

7a.) Models with automatic transmissions: There are two transmission cooler lines that must be removed from the left side of the radiator. Prepare to a rag, hose clamp, or stopper to prevent the losing transmission fluid. The top fitting is removed with a crescent wrench. The bottom fitting is a quick disconnect fitting. Depending on what year your Jeep this may require a special tool. If you see two plastic tabs, squeeze, pull on the tabs, and yank the line off.

8.) With some wiggling and fiddling, remove the radiator straight upwards.

9.) Models with AC: Removing the AC condenser. WARNING: The AC system is under high pressure! Releasing the pressure/removing the refrigerant without facial, eye, and arm protection can cause frostbite burns on exposed skin and blindness if splashed in the eyes. You must use a reclamation system on the service port to prevent venting the refrigerant into the atmosphere. Not using the proper reclamation tools, if found out, can result in massive fines from the federal government. Once you have drained the AC refrigerant use two wrenches to remove the fittings at the condenser. One to hold the condenser side to prevent damage, if in good condition, and one to remove the compression fitting.

10.) Recover all brackets from the AC condenser and radiator. Not all aftermarket replacements come with the brackets needed.

Congratulations! You now have full access to the front of the engine and can now begin working on the inner and out fenders.

Stripped down front.


Damaged inner fender pieces. From the look of the damage they can probably be hand pulled straight.


Back side of the damaged radiator, shown upside down. Steering pump pulley indentation on the right and fan indentation on the left.


The only salvageable parts from the front end which are mostly bolts and small brackets.
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post #3 of 51 Old 03-30-2011, 02:39 AM
ZORDREK
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Why its so expencive????? I mean price on the glass...
Its a "corpse"!!!!!
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post #4 of 51 Old 03-30-2011, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZORDREK View Post
Why its so expencive????? I mean price on the glass...
Its a "corpse"!!!!!
I believe the man was really attached to it. Like I said way above I did not pay that much for it. Even I had paid $750 for it I could have still parted it out for a profit.
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post #5 of 51 Old 03-30-2011, 03:12 AM
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I only could not understand such prices)))
In Russia its simple to buy XJ 1993-1998 years without documents (but really alife cars) for price 1000-1500$.....
But now i see photo of USA car in USA with unreal price!!!!
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post #6 of 51 Old 03-30-2011, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZORDREK View Post
I only could not understand such prices)))
In Russia its simple to buy XJ 1993-1998 years without documents (but really alife cars) for price 1000-1500$.....
But now i see photo of USA car in USA with unreal price!!!!
OH! Sorry, I misunderstood you. $750 USD was the advertised priced for it in wrecked condition.(The Jeep hit a deer and needs parts replaced.) A good condition 1996 Cherokee is about $1,500 to $2,000 USD.
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post #7 of 51 Old 03-30-2011, 03:30 AM
ZORDREK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeLJ View Post
OH! Sorry, I misunderstood you. $750 USD was the advertised priced for it in wrecked condition.(The Jeep hit a deer and needs parts replaced.) A good condition 1996 Cherokee is about $1,500 to $2,000 USD.
Thank you for explaining situation of "wild" prices!!!
Now I realy understood.....
So I see, that its not bad prices in Russia...
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post #8 of 51 Old 04-15-2011, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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It has been two weeks since I started on this project and I have put many hours into sourcing parts during the repairs. I spent all of last Saturday hopping around Atlanta Pull-A-Part yards to get great condition replacements.

Parts sourced:
1997+ Left Fender
1997+ Right Fender with antenna
1997+ Hood
Radiator Support
Electric Fan
Mechanical Fan Shroud
Air Box

Lets start off with fixing that power steering pump!

Power steering pumps are rather robust in their normal operation; rotating. However, they are easily damaged by objects slamming into the shaft. Early pump fairly is usually due to inexperienced installers hammering on the pulley.

Removing the old pump is simple if it still has the OEM style pulley. Simply disconnect the screw in fluid line on the front and remove the push on line from the rear of the reservoir. Afterwards the three bolts holding the pump in place are easily removed through the holes in the pulley.

The solid style replacement pulley from Doorman is a world of annoyance. The remove the pump the pulley must be pulled off to remove the bolts. If the pulley is damaged a large hole can be drilled through the pulley to access the bolts.

TIP: If the hard to find M8 1.25 85mm long bolts were destroyed in removal they can be replaced with 5/6" 4" long bolts and nuts after drilling out the threaded hole in the intake manifold.

Fully reinstalled power steering pump with a brand new Doorman pulley.


The replacement air box from a junk yard. This came from an earlier Cherokee that had the extension tube. Simply cut the front off the extension tube off to make it match.


Other replacement parts. The radiator support ended up being too damaged to reuse. Pictured at the top are a replacement electric fan, mechanical fan shroud, and the throttle drying after being cleaned.
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post #9 of 51 Old 04-16-2011, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Minor body work can be easy to tackle especially if it is in areas that are not structurally critical and are rarely seen. Repairing the inner fender were the radiator support attaches too just needs two hands, big hammers, and a measuring tape to compared the adjustments to the opposite side.

The first step to working on the inner fenders is to remove the outer fender. The outer fender is held on by eleven T27 Torx screws and a bunch of nuts that hold it to the wheel well lining. There are four Torx screws along the top, two at the bottom by the rocker, two behind the door hinges, and three in the front. Once you have removed all the Torx screws and nuts holding the lining on the fender should come off with some wiggling. Heavily damaged fenders may require damaging the fender even more to remove it.

NOTE: The corner bracket attached to the front of the outer fender is specific to the 1984-1996 and 1997-2001 models. Converting to the different style fender will require swapping this bracket as well.

Starting repairing the inner fender by gently tugging at the metal to feel where it naturally wants to move. Remember this is thin sheet metal and has already been stressed once. Too much force could causing more breakage. Use the opposite side of the Jeep for reference as to what it should look like. A mini-sledge hammer can be used to make large movements. After major adjustments take measurements to compare against the opposite side to get an idea of what needs to be done.

Completely removed left fender.


Reference - Damaged state of the inner fender.


After about two hours of beating on the metal to get it into a rough shape the new fender was test fitted. More adjustments were made after this photograph was taken.




The matching replacement right fender has some damage that needs to be addressed.
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post #10 of 51 Old 04-18-2011, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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It is time to resolve the throttle body issue. Which is that there is an amazing useless spacer in there. Remove the four bolts that hold the throttle body in place and the three bolts on the throttle cable bracket. Remove the throttle body spacer, three bracket spacers, extra gasket, and set them aside with the extra long bolts. Replace the bolts with seven M6 1.00 20mm long bolts. While the throttle body is removed take the time to remove any dirt, carbon, or oil build up on it. Oil build up on the intake side of the valve may indicate oil blow by coming from the valve cover.





Getting all the replacement parts bolted into place. The radiator and AC condenser from Pull-A-Part cost a total of $50. No leaks and brass tanks on the radiator!
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post #11 of 51 Old 04-23-2011, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Body Work

Doing body work requires patience. Some body panels may require being installed ten times just to get them perfect. However, with some simple guidelines aligning the front end pieces of a Cherokee can be easy.

1.) Start with the fenders. Aligning the hood and header panel will be impossible without these. The back of the fenders are fairly easy to line because of the corresponding body panels all around.

2.) After the fenders move on to the header panel. At this step you will immediately see if the front of the fenders need to be pulled together or pushed out. Always start by aligning the top of the fenders. The bottom of the fenders require minimal work to get right.

3.) Once you are satisfied with the alignment of you fenders and header panel grab a friend to help install the hood. Note that the hinges on the body side allow for very little adjustment. The majority of adjustments will be done where the hinges bolt to the hood.

4.) Start checking the gaps on all sides of the hood. The gap on the left and right should be roughly 6m to 8mm wide which is about the top width of the rubber hood rests on the fenders. The front of the hood should line up with the end of the fenders 2mm to 3mm back depending on the year of the Cherokee. A quick way to determine if the hood needs to move forward is it hits the plastic cowl cover when opening and closing.

Back fender alignment on the left fender. Due to the differences in model years of the sourced parts the cowl does not line up correctly.


Still requires some backwards movement.


Header panel needs to slide downwards slightly on this side so the top and bottom line up.


Top of the fender needs to move in about 2mm to line up perfectly.


Gap on the left side is too narrow and the hood needs to move forward.


Right side gap is way too big and can really see the gap in front of the hood on this side. Can also been seen from this angle that the header panel is not fully seated against the fender.

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1997 Jeep Comanche - 4.7L Stroker, Lifted, "Restored", and soon to be supercharged.
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post #12 of 51 Old 04-23-2011, 06:37 PM
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Sweeeet, what plans do you have for the jeep? offroad or just a DD or something?

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post #13 of 51 Old 04-23-2011, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BeepBeepGoJeep View Post
Sweeeet, what plans do you have for the jeep? offroad or just a DD or something?
The first step will be a daily driver for my room mate until she can afford her own vehicle. During that I will be working on various portions of it. I was looking into Jeepspeed, but since it is all out on the west coast I am shelving that idea. The backup plan is to convert it to 4WD and entice my friends without Jeeps to come try it out.

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1997 Jeep Comanche - 4.7L Stroker, Lifted, "Restored", and soon to be supercharged.
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post #14 of 51 Old 04-23-2011, 08:50 PM
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post #15 of 51 Old 04-23-2011, 11:06 PM
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Good details... nice project. I love these technical write ups.


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