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Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > ZJ Grand Cherokee Forum > My Build is going to be coming soon, but first a few general questions!

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Unread 03-28-2011, 12:07 AM   #1
MyZJ98
Registered User
1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Ellington, Connecticut
Posts: 1,007
My Build is going to be coming soon, but first a few general questions!

Alright guys, so I've been gone for quite a while as I had recently bough a '93 F250 diesel truck I've been tinkering on for a while now, but now it's up and running good, I got a little bored with it and began to miss the Jeep. Had to put in a new battery to get her started but now she runs like a top again, and quite frankly, after driving the truck for so long, I realized there's nothing like my Jeep and it's capabilities. That being said, I've decided to stop sinking any more money into the big truck, and I want to go more all-out on my Jeep. Before, it was my only vehicle, and I was concerned about the fact if I broke something on it wheeling, I had no back up. Now that I have a back up truck, I'm ready to finally build this Jeep the way I want it. I've got a pretty extensive list already, and when I get the bonus check April 29th, big changes will begin! Here's a few things on my big TO-DO list, and I have a few questions I would appreciate advice on!

-Paint. The truck is currently all-flat black, which is really Duplicolor Spray Can Truck Bedliner. Awful stuff, and after having it for almost a year now, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone for anything! So this spring, my plan is to purchase the complete, 2 Gallon Monstaliner Roll-On Bedliner kit, and sand the truck well and prep it, then pain the entire exterior in the Monstaliner. I've heard extremely good reviews about it, and I think I also like the texture much better, it seems like it has a glossier, smoother finish, and also claims to be 100% UV resistant, which is the most important, as the Duplicolor faded out like crazy in no time. Hopefully the Monstaliner will hold up much better, I've gotta get in touch with the JF Vendor on here soon!

-Lift. FINALLY. The time has finally come I get to lift the little beast. My plan is a 4" kit, unfortunately, I cannot afford any long arm set-ups, my budget for this kit is around $750 or less, so I'm currently leaning toward the Rough Country 4" kit, or possible the Zone 4" kit. Anyone have any reviews or recommendations or even negative feedback they could offer on either of the kits or another cheaper recommendation for a 4" set-up? I though about doing a spring swap, F=>R, and get 4" springs for the front with shocks, but I don't know if this would be sufficient? My wheeling areas are mainly mud, with small obstacles. I'm mostly adding the lift to fit larger tires, no rock climbing or large obstacle scenarios requiring a lot of flex, so what would be the most cost efficiently ideal here??

-Wheels & Tires. Obviously the new lift has a purpose; bigger wheels. I plan on some simple Black Cragar Soft 8's (I know, "how original...") with 31"-32" BFG AT's, or similar. Again, going for cost efficiency here as this is DEFINITELY a budget build for me. The AT's seem to be best for on AND off road use, as these tires need to be able to handle my 70-80mph highway driving, and still be able to turn off the road and dig through some good mud pits too. Any recommendations on another good yet reasonably priced tire for this purpose is much appreciated. Also, is a 32" the biggest I can fit with 4"? Again, I really won't be flexing much, probably won't even disconnect my sway bar in most areas, so rubbing hopefully shouldn't be a huge issue here...

-Exhaust. Unfortunately, due to a crack in my exhaust manifold, it's time to replace it, and this time, I'm going all out. I'm going to replace the manifold with a good set of headers, into a 2.5" Magnaflow cat. converter, 2.5" tubing into a good muffler (Still have a lot of research to do here. Looking for something with a mean growl, but won't drive me nuts with highway drone. Currently straight-piped and HATE it. I'm thinking Super 44 so far. What do you think?) then from the muffler back over the axle and straight out with maybe a 3" tip, no more side exit, I'm starting to feel bad for my rear, passenger-side passengers, they're afraid of it right now. MAYBE if I can figure it out, I'll attempt a muffler-back dual set up, but we'll see.

-Intake manifold. I've gotta try to dig up the old threads about it and look into it further, but I'm going to look into the WJ Intake Manifold Swap Upgrade, and possible upgrade to the WJ manifold for better flow, with better injectors for increased flow, and then bore out my throttle body a bit wider, and add a real K&N or similar CAI, or maybe a custom, TRUE CAI setup and have the air drawn from elsewhere. Or even go a step farther, and waterproof the engine bay and just install a snorkel as a lot of my wheeling is deep, watery mud holes, and I'm really afraid of any hydro-lock to the Jeep.

-Interior & Lights. Gonna add a lot more lighting, just got a set of driving lights im going to install in front of the grille for nighttime/daytime driving use, and I also want to get a smaller set to insert into the back bumper for backup/trailer hook-up lights. I also plan on changing up the interior a bit. I want to also Monstaliner all of the black parts of the dashboard to match exterior, then I'll be going with a full Mossy Oak Interior, including the Headliner, Seats, door inserts, tailgate insert, rear cargo area floor and wheel well arches, and maybe more. Not sure what to do about the floor, most likely will just leave in the tan carpet as I don't want to liner the floor and remove the seats. I also want to replace the front center console, I was hoping to replace it with a Tuffy Console, but they don't make one for a ZJ. I will do some research for a company that might, as I am looking for a similar locking console, but otherwise, I may just replace the console with a Tuffy console, and then custom-fabricate a sheet metal or even fiberglass console with custom CNC shifter and t-case shifter emblems. Then again, Monstaliner the whole center console as well, except armrest. I also want to add a CB radio and Antenna to the works, but thats a minor task.

Misc. The next few things to come lastly, after the prior bigger jobs are fully finished will be the fun things, such as an electronic selectable locker (from whom I'm not sure yet, but have PLENTY of time to think while I save up) a HD Winch, with which I plan on mounting just using a Winch Mounting Plate such as the Iceland Offroad version. Are the plates strong enough to be able to winch out a friend or myself when in need and hold up to the stress? I really don't care for custom bumpers so I prefer just the plate instead if it is strong enough. I'd also like to add some other goodies, such as a louder horn and other silly, useless junk. I also want to try and collect all of the product stickers I can as I purchase new stuff for the jeep, to put on my back side windows (cargo area windows) to add a little character, and of course, a JeepForum.com sticker is a must!

If you read through all of that and are still reading, I commend you for it, and appreciate any helpful advice, insight and feedback you can recommend. I've found the Jeep Forum to be the friendliest, most helpful forum of any I've been part of, the Diesel forums were a boring place, here, I always get the best help and project encouragement. Hopefully these major modifications will be happening very soon, and as soon as I begin making good progress, I will take pictures of EVERYTHING (just got a new camera ) and make my OWN Build Thread of it all. In the meantime, I'm sure I'll be checking in often for help and advice, and to chip in my own 2 cents and wisdom when I can. As always, Thanks for the help, guys!

__________________
Derek

'98 ZJ Laredo, 4.0L, 140K, NP242, stock. (Sold @205k)
'99 WJ Laredo, 4.7L, 175K, NP249, stock. (Sold @240k)
'97 ZJ Limited, 4.0L, 109K, NP249, stock.(Current)
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