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post #1 of 6 Old 03-26-2013, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 145
92 XJ Build

Hey guys. I thought I'd go ahead and post some details of an XJ build I started this week. I recently picked up a couple more XJs and I've decided to put one of these together for my wife as a daily driver. It's going to be fairly stock, with many creature comforts, but nothing hardcore. Here's the plan:

Victim 1 (the builder): Red/silver 1992 Cherokee Laredo (power windows and locks, tilt, full gauges, full console, 4.0L, AW4, NP231) The Jeep's a nice 30 footer, but up close the body has a few dings and dents, the bumpers are far from straight, and the interior smells like moldy wet dog. I'll take care of the smell, but I'm not going to mess with the body. My wife has a history of hitting things in parking lots, and it is a Jeep after all, so I figure it can remain a little rough around the edges. That way I don't have to worry about giving it a little trail rash when we take the thing camping. The front end is pretty sloppy and it leaks fluid from like 5 places but it runs great and only has 139,000 miles on it. Bonus: it has a nice aftermarket class 3 hitch, trailer brake controller, and large aftermarket trans cooler, as well as a decent aftermarket (I think Kenwood) CD player with iPod cable already connected and run into the console, and a decent set of aftermarket Modern wheels (I'm not too wild about them but my wife loved them and it's for her, so they'll do).

Victim 2 (the parts rig): ROLLED Red 1997 Cherokee Sport (power windows, locks, full console, factory Infinity system, 4.0L, AW4, NP242) This Jeep was rolled a couple years ago and subsequently sat out in a field with no windshield so the interior is a little funky, but it actually still runs and drives. The roof is caved in a bit and the front end is smashed, so no 97 front end conversion sadly.

The plan: To fix every problem, except bodywork, on the 1992 Jeep, using new parts and used parts harvested from the rolled 97, and to give the Jeep several upgrades to make it nicer than it was when new.

Specifics: Here is a list of the specific jobs I'll be doing.

Front end: Replace ALL ball joints, tie rod ends, track bar, sway bar bushings and end links, and possibly more if I discover any other trouble along the way. (I picked up a complete front end kit on eBay to take care of this)

Brakes: Inspect all 4 corners and replace anything even remotely questionable, then retrofit the 97 MC and booster.

Leakies: New oil pan gasket, rear main seal, oil filter adapter seal, transmission filter and pan gasket. Transfer case leak with be cured by case replacement... more on this in a bit.

Fluids: All fluids are being placed including engine oil, trans, t-case, both diffs, brake fluid, power steering, and coolant.

Engine maintenance: Standard stuff. Plugs, wires, cap, rotor, recharge K&N, replace squeaky idler pulley, new T-stat.

T-case: I'm hoping to replace the stock NP231 with the 97 NP242 out of the rolled Jeep. I want my wife to have the option of full time 4wd so that she can be safer on rainy and snowy days. This Jeep is never going to be lifted and it will never see any worse off-roading than just some rough forest roads. The 242 should be up for that. I've done a little bit of homework on this and I know that it's a direct bolt it, but I may end up with an issue with the VSS. I guess I'll figure that one out as I go along.

Interior: Amazingly, the seats in the 92 are in immaculate condition. The upholstery is perfect and the seats frames are still totally intact. I'm smart enough to know that they won't stay that way for long, especially if I spend any time driving it (I'm a pretty big guy) so I plan on transplanting the seats out of the 97. They should clean up ok and I think they're more comfortable and should last longer than the 92 seats. Looks like by cutting out the stock 97 front seat mount brackets and transplanting them into the 97 this should be pretty easy to do. (well, if you have the tools to cut and weld like I do). I'm also going to transplant the 97 console (woo cupholders). While I have the seats out, I'm going to pull the carpet and throw away the stock carpet pad (I'm sure the pad is what is causing the smell), then take the carpet to the car wash and blast the crap out of it til it isn't nasty any more. When it's dry, I'll install new carpet pad and reinstall the carpet. That, combined with the cleaned up 97 seats, should get rid of the moldy dog smell. Then I'm going to install an aftermarket remote start/keyless entry system (happy wife, happy life, right?) and install a bunch of speakers. The 92 already has the Kenwood deck and a pair of nice Pioneer speakers in the front doors. I have a nice pair of Memphis Audio speakers that will fit in the lower dash speaker holes. I also have the factory Infinity door tweeter pods in the 97, which I plan to transplant into the 92 doors and a pair of Rockford Fosgate speakers in the 97 doors which will end up in the 92 rear hatch. 8 speakers. She should like that. I'm also going to rewire the heater blower motor switch with a relay to prevent the typical meltdown they tend to experience.

Doors: Unfortunately, the rollover crushed the tops of the doors on the 97 so I can't do a straight door swap, but all the door internals survived. I'm hoping to swap the full length glass along with tracks, regulators, and motors from the 97 doors into the 92 doors. I know they'll fit, I'm just not sure what will need to be done to secure them. I've done some preliminary searches and I have not run across anyone who was able to successfully swap door guts from the 97-up into pre-97 doors, so I'll be sure to document this one well. I'm a decent fabricator so I'm sure I can make it work. While I'm at it, I plan to replace the upper hinge on the left door due to worn hinge pins. I'll check out the lower hinge and replace if needed, then I'll perimeter weld all the hinges to add a little extra strength and try to prevent them from tearing.

That's about it. When it's done, it should be a nice reliable daily driver for my wife and a great camping rig. I'll do my best to take pictures and update daily and hopefully I'll get it done this week, so no waiting months and months for updates!

I have an illness. It's called "While I'm at it"
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-26-2013, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 145
Crap! Rust.

Ok, so I started by pulling a few of parts out of the 97. I pulled the seats, console, and transfer case and then pulled the 92 in to begin the job. I figured since the interior parts are going to need a couple days to dry I should probably start there, so I pulled the seats, console, and carpet out.

Crap! Rust.

We normally don’t worry about rust in southwest Idaho. It’s pretty much a desert here and they don’t use salt on the roads in the winter so rust is almost unheard of, especially on something less than 40 or 50 years old.
I didn’t even bother to look for it when I bought the Jeep because it just isn’t ever an issue around here. Oh well, I own it now. Time to do something about it.

I started by finding all the rust. I got out my trusty pneumatic die grinder and some rolloc pads and started cleaning all the nasty spots. With a little poking and prodding, I eventually found about a dozen holes than needed repair. Realizing this was going to take a while, I hauled the 97 seats and the 92 carpet down to the car wash and pressure washed the crap out of them, then came back to home to continue with the rust. There were several holes right around the passenger front seat mounts, so I ended up cutting a rather large chunk out of there. Most of the other holes I was able to cut and keep fairly small. Then I ran into a nasty one. In the back of the trunk area, right up against the driver’s side rear wheel well I found a small hole. As I cleaned that one up, I removed some of the seam sealer around the fuel filler bump and discovered more rot under the seam sealer. After a few minutes cleaning seam sealer, I discovered that this particular spot runs all the way around the fuel filler bump, almost 18 inches long. Goody.

This was all yesterday. Today I got all the rest of the nasty rusty bits cut out, cleaned and prepped. Then I made patch panels and got a few of them welded in. I’ll get the rest tomorrow and follow up with a generous dose of POR 15 just to be safe. While I was at it today, I ended up rewiring the trailer lighting and brake harness. Somebody slapped it together in a hurry and did a really lousy job of it so I cleaned it all up and made it safe. I guess next on my list will be welding in the 97 front seat mount brackets, then the door hinges and 97 front window conversion. Might as well get all the metalwork out of the way first. I’ll update again when I get to something interesting.

I have an illness. It's called "While I'm at it"
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-28-2013, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 145
Ok so I got the rust all patched up. Today I'm going to POR-15 the floor, then move on to the doors. Should be interesting...If anybody has any insight on swapping door internals (glass, regulators, etc.) from a 97-up door into a pre-97 door, let me know. With a little luck, I'll be rid of those horrible wing windows by the end of the day...

I have an illness. It's called "While I'm at it"
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-28-2013, 12:52 PM
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1988 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Lillington
Posts: 994

99WJ Laredo I6-A 2wd
88XJ-Building on a budget.
95 E34 540i-DD
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-16-2013, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 145
Not much of a build thread so far huh? Well, I’ve been making a little progress, but it’s been slow with school. I have learned some things though as I’ve been working through this project.
1. Rust sucks. I don’t know how you east coast guys do it. I seriously wondered whether this thing was a lost cause. MIG wire and gas is a lot cheaper than a whole new Jeep though, so after much cutting and welding, it’s rust free.
2. You can forget about converting older doors to have the 97-up one piece glass. It can’t be done for this specific reason: The front edge of the earlier door has no provision for a window track and it can’t really be added. In the 97-up door, the front window track is part of the door itself. It’s a piece of bent sheet metal, sandwiched and spot-welded between the inner and outer door skins. Unless you’re insane enough to try to separate the entire inner and outer skin of two door just to try to cobble together some half-assed frankendoor, all to avoid having to pay a couple hundred dollars to have a 97-up door resprayed, it can’t be done. I never did find a definitive answer on this in my searches, so there it is for future searchers.
3. Other people do lousy work. I discovered some really poor quality repair work as I began to tear into the mechanicals on this Jeep. First, the transmission was basically held in by nothing but gravity. The transmission mount only had one bolt holding it to the trans, and it was backed out almost a half inch. The 231 transfer case (which had a 2001 date code) only had 5 nuts holding it to the trans. I guess they just forgot about the 6th. The rear seat belts had previously been cut out of the Jeep, then *get this* BOLTED back together. Somebody had actually cut holes in the seat belt, then looped it back through its mounting tab, and bolted the belt to itself. That’s safe.
4. Maybe that motor isn’t so sweet after all. As I was cleaning my garage today to make room for the next stage of work I looked over at my Jeep motor and noticed it has coil pack mounting bosses. I don’t know why I hadn’t realized it before, but sure enough, it’s a 2000 engine. So that means the wonderful 0331 head. Goody. I guess I’ll be roaming the junkyards soon for an earlier head. The motor still runs well today, but I just don’t trust it.
5. So THAT’s why it looks so low in the front… My Jeep has a serious nose down stance and it’s been bugging me. I originally suspected the front springs were sagging but after measuring from the center of the wheel to the bottom edge of the factory fender flares, I’m at 17.5 inches up front (perfect) and 18.5 inches in the rear (1.5 inches higher than stock). Not a major issue. The previous owner towed with it so I’m guessing he installed different rear leaf springs. It doesn’t have lift blocks, drop shackles, or add-a-leafs so I’m not sure what exactly he did. It rides fine, so I figure I’ll throw some 1 inch urethane spacers on the front springs, and some new KYB monotube shocks all around and be done. Well, after all new bushings and steering and ball joints.
Anywho… I’ve gotten most of the electrical work done on the Jeep at this point. The remote start and keyless entry are in and functional, and I replaced all my blower motor bits and wired the whole thing with relays to prevent future problems. Followed this write-up :
only instead of running whole new wire all the way to the battery, I tapped back into the factory blower power supply to feed the system. Power supply was never the issue, so I figure continuing to pull power from there is fine, and it keeps my wiring much neater. I’ve also completed my 231-242 swap. Easy. Getting the full-time light to work was super easy. There is an unused harness tied up against the driver’s side of the trans which feeds the switch ground signal to the cluster. Even though my ’97 242 had a completely different pigtail on it, it was super easy to just map the switch with an ohm meter and then map the pigtail, then splice the two together. It was like a 20 minute job.
I know I’ve been terrible about posting up here, but now that school’s out, I’m hitting it hard again. I’ll try to remember to photograph some of this as I go along. If anyone has any requests for either a specific write up, or just some specific pictures or how-tos, feel free to post them here. I’ll try to remember to take lots of photos. Here is my to-do list in the rough order I plan to tackle it. If anyone wants me to document any specific parts, let me know.
• Install 96 XJ Booster
• Modify and mount 92 e brake and 97 console
• Install entire interior (including 97 seats and console)
• Disassemble nose and remove driver’s side fender
• Replace driver’s door hinges
• Plumb 97 XJ master cylinder
• Rear disc brake conversion (ZJ, Chrysler 8.25)
• Drain front diff, disassemble front suspension, remove front axle
• Drain oil, replace rear main seal, oil pan gasket, oil filter adapter o ring.
• Build new *welding wire* battery cables
• Replace control arm bushings
• Install front spring spacers
• Install axle housing
• Install all new steering and suspension components on front end
• Get 91-95 HO cylinder head
• Lap valves, install new valve guide seals
• Swap in head (and maybe late model intake manifold?)
The list is actually much longer, but I figure most of you don’t need me to explain changing spark plugs or replacing brake pads.

I have an illness. It's called "While I'm at it"
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-15-2013, 07:45 PM
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Cedar Falls
Posts: 459
[QUOTE=Barrishautomoti;15443526]Not much of a build thread so far huh? Well, Iíve been making a little progress, but itís been slow with school. I have learned some things though as Iíve been working through this project.
If anyone has any requests for either a specific write up, or just some specific pictures or how-tos, feel free to post them here. Iíll try to remember to take lots of photos. Here is my to-do list in the rough order I plan to tackle it. If anyone wants me to document any specific parts, let me know.

ē Modify and mount 92 e brake and 97 console
ē Install entire interior (including 97 seats and console)

Did you manage to swap the console from the 97 in, and if so, any tips or advice on the procedure?
jhickman1 is offline  

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