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Unread 08-17-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
MyZJ98
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Ellington, Connecticut
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Looking to buy an XJ and had a few ??'s

So I currently own a '98 ZJ laredo 4.0l that I've had my fun with, but now pushing over 190k miles, and running into a lot of things starting to need repair, I'm looking for another Jeep to add to the family and this time I've been thinking about an XJ, I love the look, I find them very easy to work on, not to mention they lift options are far cheaper I've found than those for a ZJ, and plus it has my favorite engine, the 4.0L.

My goal is to find a nice, newer-grille-style (I think like '98-'01??) 2-Door, auto 4wd with low miles and little rust. My GF DESPISES the 2-doors, but I don't care, and the one I drove one seemed like it had more leg room than the 4-door my buddy owns, at at 6'5" & 240lbs, I prefer the extra leg room if I can get it! I did love my ZJ and wouldn't mind another, maybe a V8, but I don't have the same trust in the V8s and honestly I really do more wheeling than I expected myself to, and prefer the XJ for adding a lift and tires. Plus, the XJs look better than ZJs doorless, IMHO.

My questions are:

What are some of the better brands that offer good prices for lifts? With ZJ's some brands had much better quality kits than others, and the price was not much different. Ideally, I'd like to go pretty big on this Jeep, I'm thinking 4.5-6", really enough to fit 35's. I've got a good deal on some 35's on rims, and would like to start looking at kits too. Also, with a lift of this size, what else do you all recommend to get with the kit? Keep in mind my wheeling type is primarily mud or trails, no rocks so I don't really flex much.

What do you guys recommend me to look at for XJs to definitely add to it right off the bat as far as lift and upgrades go?

Also, what problem areas should I be looking for in an XJ when I'm shopping around?

Thanks guys!

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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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Unread 08-17-2011, 06:25 PM   #2
gcy24
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
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I can't speak with lift brands, but I can tell you look for rust on rocker panels and bottom of the doors. if power windows work from the driver door but no others, no worries its an easy fix. same with the front speakers. try and find the 8.25 rear axel. the d35s have a bad rep among us xj folk. that's all I can think of for now, good luck!

edit: look in the Cherokee tech forum and you'll see a stickie with lift setups!
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Unread 08-17-2011, 07:56 PM   #3
Frankied325
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If its a 2000ish model make sure it allready had the head fixed. They are guaranteed to crack if it hasnt allready. If you search the cherokee info thread its all in there. Also i have a a 97 with the 4.0 inline 6 cylinder. v8s suck in my opinion. I have 240,000 and it still had every bit of power it had when brand new.
If you could lift it and throw 35s on it WITHOUT chopping the fenders it looks really good.
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Unread 08-17-2011, 08:07 PM   #4
MyZJ98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcy24 View Post
I can't speak with lift brands, but I can tell you look for rust on rocker panels and bottom of the doors. if power windows work from the driver door but no others, no worries its an easy fix. same with the front speakers. try and find the 8.25 rear axel. the d35s have a bad rep among us xj folk. that's all I can think of for now, good luck!

edit: look in the Cherokee tech forum and you'll see a stickie with lift setups!
Thanks for the tip, and which years/models are known to have the 8.25? As I have also heard the 8.25 is better as well. Gonna check out that lift section now, too. Thanks

Quote:
If its a 2000ish model make sure it allready had the head fixed. They are guaranteed to crack if it hasnt allready. If you search the cherokee info thread its all in there. Also i have a a 97 with the 4.0 inline 6 cylinder. v8s suck in my opinion. I have 240,000 and it still had every bit of power it had when brand new. If you could lift it and throw 35s on it WITHOUT chopping the fenders it looks really good.
Thanks for that info too, so would a pre-'99 model be a wiser choice? For the right jeep I don't mind an early model I can always swap the nose. All I care is that it has a solid 4.0l in it with fairly low mileage and in stock form. And that what I want to have a good lift and NOT CUT FENDERS with 35's. Id rather just settle with 33's than cut up fenders.

Thanks for the tips guys keep them coming! Gonna go start searching now...
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'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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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:21 PM   #5
KRAKER
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97-99 are the best years with the newer body style

00-01 had the 0331 cylinder head that is prone to cracking.

I've never noticed a difference in leg room 2 door v. 4 door

You're not going to have much luck not chopping fenders with 35's: I've never seen it done.

Last edited by KRAKER; 08-18-2011 at 12:00 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:59 PM   #6
gcy24
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where do you live? I know of a nice one for sale here in Akron oh...
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selling "snowflake" 15x7 wheels with 225/75/15 tires, pm me.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 12:10 AM   #7
90xjblue
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The XJ's are hit or miss with the d35 or 8.25, you just have to look when you go check it out. I think the upcountry has the d44 under it for sure but other than that all the other models could have a d35 or 8.25.

Make sure you get a 97+ 8.25 as they have the 29 spline instead of 27.

If you get one with an 8.25 you wont get any abs but who cares!

If you go with a 6.5 inch lift make sure you get a long arm kit, ome, RE, TNT Customs, Clayton, those are all really nice lifts for the 6.5 or 4.5

You could get away with 35's on a 4.5 lift if you bump stop it correctly.

Remember that the xj has a slip yoke so when you get your lift make sure you get a slip yoke eliminator also. Some of the kits come with them and some do not.

Other things to consider with 35's are gearing and steering upgrades as well! Takes a lot of money to roll on those tires with peace of mind.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 12:49 AM   #8
Steev89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by "90xjblue
If you go with a 6.5 inch lift make sure you get a long arm kit, ome, RE, TNT Customs, Clayton, those are all really nice lifts for the 6.5 or 4..
Just to add to 90xjblue
I run TnT's Y-link long arm on my 99 xj with 5" lift and I like it a lot and the skid plate that comes with the kit is awesome!
I have not run into any problems with it so far.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 05:56 AM   #9
Kevin108
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Buying another batch of problems may not be the best approach. You're probably better off fixing your ZJ.

If I was building an XJ for 35s, I'd be looking at a 4"-4" lift and the Iceland Offroad flares.

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Unread 08-18-2011, 07:54 AM   #10
Trons
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The perceived difference in leg room comes from the size difference in doors between the 2 door and 4 door. From what I understand, the seats are mounted in the exact same location, but the 4 door has shorter doors making it feel more awkward to get into for a taller individual.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 10:20 AM   #11
MyZJ98
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Well guys thank you all for the very helpful advice and info. From what I've learned, I've given up on the 35's plan, the biggest thing I totally overlooked was rereading, steering and handling issues and really, there's no need for them. So im going to stick with a 31"-33" tire, and so far I've also noted to mainly look at 97-99s forthe newer style while avoiding the head cracking issue.

For lifts, I've been looking at about 4.5", especially the RE and TNT kits, but still debating there.

Also, I've decided to just stick with 4 doors; I often have people with me plus lots of gear, my bike and my tools so Id prefer the groom if a 4-door.

One other question: Are the exhaust manifolds as prone to cracking on xjs as much as zj's? My zj's cracked and apparently its a notorious issues with zj's for the manifold or gasket to crack, resulting in a really crappy sounding exhaust and noisy engine bay.

Thanks,

Derek
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'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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Unread 08-18-2011, 10:28 AM   #12
Showtime3492
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Cherokee classic has an 8.25 under it everytime if I'm not mistaken. My 98 has it. Stay away from the newer models not only did they have head problems they went to the low pinion 30 up front. A few things that haven't been mentioned as far as things to look for check the rear for rust underneath on the unibody rails at the bumpstops and feel the carpet in the front floor board and rear hatch area to make sure that they aren't wet its my understanding that they are pretty common to leak from the roof rack... Mine does..
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Unread 08-18-2011, 12:43 PM   #13
90xjblue
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Yes the manifolds are prone to cracking, just like your zj, must be something to do with the 4.0 itself idk.
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Unread 08-18-2011, 01:09 PM   #14
MyZJ98
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Thanks good to know about the classics. I love the extra touches the classics offer to so ill keep my eyes peeled on them.

However in my searches for the right lift, I've noticed many good ones specify being for the d35 only and I've only found very few and by brands I haven't really heard of, for the 8.25. What's the reason for this specification between axles?

And for a lift I THINK I've settled on the Rubicon express 4.5" Superlift kit which replaces everything as opposed to just adding blocks or leafs. I like the idea of new components and it would only save about $200 to be cheap with this kit. With the 4.5" ill probably get a set of 33x10.50's and maybe spacers depending on the rims I settle on. Any pros/cons to the RE kit?

As far as headers cracking goes then, I will probably just replace the whole system since I would upgrade the exhaust anyways. Maybe some Banks Torquetubes, magnaflow hi-flow cat with a FM super 44/40 in all 2.5" tubing.

Just gotta find a nice XJ now, my craigslist is filled with beat down zj's and a tj or 2 but not many xjs at the moment...
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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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Unread 08-18-2011, 02:13 PM   #15
gcy24
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take your time deciding on a lift. there is many options to choose from. don't be quick to make conclusions about an xj that you don't even have yet. just be patient and it'll all come together.
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1999 Cherokee classic- 3" RC lift with 31" Firestones.

selling "snowflake" 15x7 wheels with 225/75/15 tires, pm me.
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