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Unread 04-10-2012, 08:38 PM   #1
Eagyl
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1988 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Post Falls, Idaho
Posts: 72
'88 XJ Build

I'm new to both Jeeps and the Jeep Forum, and saw other people had build threads going for their Jeeps, and thought I'd join in. Just bought my '88 Cherokee Laredo January 5th, and have been doing stuff with it as I go, with great plans for the future. Since I'm starting this now, I'll go ahead and list everything I've done so far, and everything I'm working on at the moment. Because I'm going to college right now, everything is currently stock. Cash is a little low, so I'm focusing on fixing leaks and all that fun stuff before I move on to more "fun" stuff.
What I've done so far:
-Installed a locking gas cap
-Replaced the track bar [had over 1" of free play]
-Replaced shocks
-Valve cover gasket & rear main seal
-Replaced the pathetic P205/75/R15 Wild Country tires with LT235/75/R15 Cooper Discoverer ATRs
-Replaced the driver's electrical mirror
-Replaced the shot speakers
-Replaced the broken grill parts
-Replaced left turn signal wiring harness
What I'm working on:
-Factory Tire rack [got it from local car yard for $30]
-Fixing up a 4'x2.5' hitch rack [going camping all summer, be great for coolers and extra gear!]
-sanding down grey trim, front/rear bumpers, tire rack, hitch rack, and mirrors and then putting a coat of bed liner on them
-Fixing rear window washer
-Replacing rear window
-Rebuilding the front/rear brakes
-Replace front seats

Can't post any pictures yet, but I'm taking them as I go, and hope to post soon.
Thanks for reading, and plan to keep you all updated as I go!

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'88 Cherokee Laredo XJ -- Mechanically Stock
Build Thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/88-xj-build-1355200/

Last edited by Eagyl; 04-10-2012 at 09:25 PM..
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Unread 04-11-2012, 05:36 PM   #2
droz
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
 
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Location: MD
Posts: 139
good luck! I am in the same boat with my 97 XJ, just got it and been doing small things to it to get it ready for the road
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Unread 04-11-2012, 09:12 PM   #3
Eagyl
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1988 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Post Falls, Idaho
Posts: 72
Got some pictures. Body's pretty good all the way around (for which I'm glad; I can fix mechanical issues easier than I can body). Yes, I know in this picture I'm missing the "J" in "Jeep." I just put another on and used some of that liquid-ish (more gooey) gasket stuff to help keep it on this time.

Here's the tire rack. Need to sand it down and coat it with some bed liner before I install it though. Well, want to, don't necessarily need to.

My 4'x2.5' Hitch Rack. Also want to sand it down and coat it with bed liner.

My ignition relays went out, and I lost turn signals, blower motor, windshield wiper (front and rear), radio, and a couple other things. As a quick fix, my uncle and I decide to run a wire from the battery through the firewall to a switch on the dashboard, and then a wire from it to the fuse box; hooked it into the turn signal fuse. When I turn the switch on, it sends the power into the turn signal fuse, which in turn back powers to the ignition relays and returns power to everything I lost. I've already bought a new ignition switch, just waiting until I have time to install it. As you can see in the picture, I skipped the part of putting the switch on the dashboard. Instead, I used some electrical tape to tape it and the left over length of wire to the steering column. So far, I haven't had a problem with it!
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'88 Cherokee Laredo XJ -- Mechanically Stock
Build Thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/88-xj-build-1355200/

Last edited by Eagyl; 04-11-2012 at 09:35 PM..
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Unread 04-11-2012, 11:04 PM   #4
Eagyl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droz View Post
good luck! I am in the same boat with my 97 XJ, just got it and been doing small things to it to get it ready for the road
Yeah, and hopefully it won't be too long before I can start having some more fun with it!
Good luck to you, too!
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'88 Cherokee Laredo XJ -- Mechanically Stock
Build Thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/88-xj-build-1355200/
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Unread 04-22-2012, 11:56 PM   #5
Eagyl
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Location: Post Falls, Idaho
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Well, went for a road trip (not a very long one, only 125mi) and the cap on the antifreeze reservoir stripped itself and I lost all (and I mean ALL) of my coolant extremely fast. I'm not too sure when it happened as I wasn't seeing any smoke and have made this trip quite a bit before in Cherokee, and the only trouble I've had with it was before I replaced the rear main seal I had lost about 1 quart of oil coming up a steep 6mi hill. I came to a stoplight in a town and noticed some slight smoke coming out from under the hood. Looking over all my gauges, I noticed the temperature gauge was wavering quite a bit, but was way up in the red. So, I decided to pull over and check it out before I did something stupid like blow the engine. Well, it died before I made another 50ft. Sadly, it looks as though I've got a blown head gasket, if not a possible cracked block (I'll know more soon). Tomorrow morning I've got a relative that is willing to help me tow it home and then I'll start looking into what I can do. Worst case scenario is I just buy a rebuilt engine and drop it in, as well as replacing as much as I can of the cooling system.
What frustrates me most is that if I paid more attention to my gauges, I probably would have caught it before this happens, but s**t happens. Will know more tomorrow.
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'88 Cherokee Laredo XJ -- Mechanically Stock
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Unread 04-23-2012, 06:26 AM   #6
94cherokeesprt
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Posts: 192
Yeah $h!t happens lets hope it is just the head gasket but to replace the engine (if you have a friend with the right equipment) but i am subscribed now so keep us posetd
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Unread 04-23-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
Eagyl
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Just towed it the 100 miles home. Had to take the front bumper mostly off so that I could remove those black plastic/rubber pads, then put the bumper back on. Drilled some holes into it and hooked up a tow bar. Glad I've already got a new bumper waiting to go on, and also glad I hadn't put it on yet.
Currently, the best diagnosis is that I've got a cracked head, and we're hoping that's all. Picking up a rebuilt head from a '87 Cherokee with the 4.0 I6 for $50. Only has ~10,000 miles on it. Figure for $50 it's worth a try. If it doesn't though, it'll have to wait till next payday before I can do anything with it.
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'88 Cherokee Laredo XJ -- Mechanically Stock
Build Thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/88-xj-build-1355200/
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Unread 04-23-2012, 10:08 PM   #8
Eagyl
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Have had a lot of lower end blow-by, which was pushing the oil through the crank breather into the air filter. I put a brand new air filter in when I bought it, and here it is after only two and a half months.

After a little while, I finally decided it was time to get a new front bumper. Here's what I currently have:

So, walking through the local junkyard, and came across this one, and had to take it. There's a little rust on the inside of it, so before I put it on, I'll clean it up real good and have some stuff to put on it to seal off the rust.
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'88 Cherokee Laredo XJ -- Mechanically Stock
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Unread 04-23-2012, 10:29 PM   #9
Eagyl
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So, had to tow the Jeep home. Had to get those black plastic pads on the bumper off so I could hook up the tow bar. That took a while. Had to take off the front bolt holding each tow hook in so we could swing them out of the way to get the bottom bolt holding the pads on. Then, to get that tricky upper bolt off, we had some trouble. Due to the tight fit, we couldn't get a ratchet with a 13mm nut onto the bolt, even with a variety of extensions and universal joints. So, we had to use 13mm wrenches. Due to the tight fit, we could only turn about a quarter turn each time. I can't believe how long those bolts were. And, out of pure luck, I didn't bring my ratcheting 13mm wrench with me. Soon as I got home, it went right into my tool box in the Jeep. Then, we had to put the tow bar brackets up and drill the holes for it. Lot of fun.

Then it was a simple matter of hooking it up to the tow bar and then to the truck.

That's my dad making sure it's not going to fall off, and my Uncle off on the left edge of the pic. My other Uncle let us borrow the truck and tow bar, but since he couldn't take the day off, my other Uncle came down and towed me home. That's my dad's little Honda behind the Jeep. I think this incident has just convinced my dad to get something that can tow me home if I get into trouble; that's what he said, but I think he just wants to get something that will be able to pull his boat around (yes, he has a boat, but only a Honda for a car, something is not quite right).

Anyways, just picked up a rebuilt head from a 87 Cherokee, and will pull my head to make sure they're a match. Then I'll take the rebuilt to a machine shop to make sure it's straight and what not. Will know more soon.
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Unread 04-24-2012, 10:48 PM   #10
Eagyl
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Location: Post Falls, Idaho
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Did some more messing around today, and eventually dug out the voltmeter after we noticed that at 190 degrees the fan had still not come on. We turned it on after inspecting the head to make sure it wasn't cracked. After letting it idle for a little bit I drove it around the block and then parked it again, letting it idle. After getting back the engine temp gauge was reading ~170 degrees. We started messing with other things to see if we could find out what was up with the coolant system. After idling its way up to ~190 degrees, we determined that the electric fan wasn't working properly. While letting it idle still to see if while the temp climbed, if the fan would kick on. We finally narrowed it down to the coolant fan switch. And right as we found that out, the temp hit ~220 degrees, and the cap on the coolant reservoir came off, spewing antifreeze all over us and all over the engine block.
My guess is this is exactly what happened the other day when we had to tow it home. Since I had been driving at 60-70mph, there was enough air blowing through the engine compartment to keep it cool. Once I stopped in the first town at a stoplight, I no longer had the moving air and the temp soared, the cap must've come off and spew the antifreeze everywhere, and I saw the steam come pouring out from under the hood. Which would explain the temp gauge shooting up into the red & beyond. As of right now, we don't think the engine block or head are cracked or have the blown head gasket. A warped head is still a possibility. However, even after running it for ~10min today, we still have found no sign of water in the oil.
While I went to the auto store to see if I could pick up the new coolant fan switch, my Uncle pulled the air box to get it out of the way, and attempted to take the switch off of the radiator. Well, as he did so, the switch came off, but it decided to take a decent sized chunk of the radiator off with it. So.... I guess I'm getting a radiator too.
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Unread 04-29-2012, 12:07 AM   #11
Eagyl
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Alright... One radiator, coolant fan switch, water pump, serpentine belt, and temperature sensor later, the Jeep's back on the road!!!
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Unread 04-29-2012, 05:34 PM   #12
jeepkid03
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For the blow by, check all your PCV lines going from the airbox to the valve cover. They are known to get clogged up and push oil into the airbox.

Jeep looks good!
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Unread 04-29-2012, 06:15 PM   #13
rayxj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagyl
Got some pictures. Body's pretty good all the way around (for which I'm glad; I can fix mechanical issues easier than I can body). Yes, I know in this picture I'm missing the "J" in "Jeep." I just put another on and used some of that liquid-ish (more gooey) gasket stuff to help keep it on this time.

Here's the tire rack. Need to sand it down and coat it with some bed liner before I install it though. Well, want to, don't necessarily need to.

My 4'x2.5' Hitch Rack. Also want to sand it down and coat it with bed liner.

My ignition relays went out, and I lost turn signals, blower motor, windshield wiper (front and rear), radio, and a couple other things. As a quick fix, my uncle and I decide to run a wire from the battery through the firewall to a switch on the dashboard, and then a wire from it to the fuse box; hooked it into the turn signal fuse. When I turn the switch on, it sends the power into the turn signal fuse, which in turn back powers to the ignition relays and returns power to everything I lost. I've already bought a new ignition switch, just waiting until I have time to install it. As you can see in the picture, I skipped the part of putting the switch on the dashboard. Instead, I used some electrical tape to tape it and the left over length of wire to the steering column. So far, I haven't had a problem with it!
What type of jeep did the tire rack come of of, looking for one for my 99 xj.
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Unread 04-29-2012, 09:40 PM   #14
Eagyl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepkid03 View Post
For the blow by, check all your PCV lines going from the airbox to the valve cover. They are known to get clogged up and push oil into the airbox.

Jeep looks good!
I don't think I have any PCV lines. At least, according to several other threads I read through for blow by, they referred to them as CCV lines. At any rates, I changed ALL of them about 2 weeks ago now, and it made a huge difference in performance. I'm still getting some oil into the air filter, but not anywhere near the amount I had been getting. I'm looking into building an oil scrubber to go between the head and the air filter so that the oil will drain back into the head instead of into the air filter.
And thanks! I'm really glad that the body is in as good of shape as it is! As I said earlier, I can do a lot of mechanical/electrical work, but when it comes to the body, I have trouble.
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Unread 04-29-2012, 09:43 PM   #15
Eagyl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayxj View Post
What type of jeep did the tire rack come of of, looking for one for my 99 xj.
If I remember correctly, I got it off of an '87-'89. I know it was the 2 door "sport" version of my body style. It also had a VERY nice front bumper that I REALLLLY wanted, but the idiots that had put it on had decided to literally weld it to the frame. And since power tools aren't allowed in our JY, it was going to have to stay there....

Edit: '87-'89 XJ
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