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Unread 09-15-2013, 04:20 AM   #1
Cmense
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This is sort of no brainer when it comes to children. Especially newborns. Because the upmost care and safety has to be taken I own a 98 Xj with a 6.5" lift 35s. And a loud a** exhaust due to the fact it runs underneath my floor with rhino lining. The fiancé is 7 weeks pregnant and owns her own Honda civic 2dr. I know the Jeep would be way easier to haul all the extra things that a newborn enquires especially the four doors when putting the car seat in and out. But am I the only one that thinks the Jeep isn't safe and impractical for a baby? She wants me to keep it for the winters and the family thinks Ill be fine. I guess I worry about everything, because I am the one who drives it everyday I do know it has its problems. Like howling from the rear bearings. Just figured I'd see what you guys thought about the situation. I'm on the edge of selling it..

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Unread 09-15-2013, 05:05 AM   #2
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There are the safety ratings which are 3/5 stars for most of it. The worst I have seen in junk yards are offset front end crashes that have the dash area pushed into the driver's leg space.

http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shop...vehicleId=4292
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Unread 09-15-2013, 05:11 AM   #3
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With it being lifted I'm sure that those ratings for roll over would be higher. Plus that site didn't have 98 Cherokee ratings. Not that it changed 97 thru 99
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Unread 09-15-2013, 09:03 AM   #4
chris87xj
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With it being lifted, the front end crash results might be better when it comes to interacting with stock height vehicles.
I think a lot of the rollover risk depends on how the vehicle is driven and would use a quality infant car seat, properly installed in the rear seat. The drone of 35's is pretty conducive to youngsters napping.
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Unread 09-15-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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My daughter was raised in a lifted 98 xj started out at 3 inch lift then quickly went to 5.5" the tire noise is great when you ave trouble getting them to sleep,plus there is plenty of room for baby crap.
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Unread 09-15-2013, 01:01 PM   #6
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I feel better about the mud terrains now haha
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Unread 09-15-2013, 07:34 PM   #7
Bubba46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmense
This is sort of no brainer when it comes to children. Especially newborns. Because the upmost care and safety has to be taken I own a 98 Xj with a 6.5" lift 35s. And a loud a** exhaust due to the fact it runs underneath my floor with rhino lining. The fiancé is 7 weeks pregnant and owns her own Honda civic 2dr. I know the Jeep would be way easier to haul all the extra things that a newborn enquires especially the four doors when putting the car seat in and out. But am I the only one that thinks the Jeep isn't safe and impractical for a baby? She wants me to keep it for the winters and the family thinks Ill be fine. I guess I worry about everything, because I am the one who drives it everyday I do know it has its problems. Like howling from the rear bearings. Just figured I'd see what you guys thought about the situation. I'm on the edge of selling it..
I don't post too often but think this is pretty important.

First off, congrats! First for the baby and second for posting as a concerned father to be - you're off to a good start already.

You're not the only one. As a father of 2 girls (3 yrs and 10 mos) and married 10 yrs, I think your concern is well justified.

While you may drive more defensively with the kids, your jeep is less stable and more prone to roll overs. I wouldn't trust the roof integrity with possibly more violent rolls and a heavier suspension.

How are your brakes? I'd expect your braking distance might be longer.

What about side impact protection? While you may be higher up than a standard car, what will your Jeep do if t-boned?

How's the reliability of your Jeep? Breaking down on the side of the road with the guys is MUCH different than a wife and screaming kid... Make that a pissed off wife whose tired from being kept up all night.

Lastly, where will you position the car seat? If both you and your wife can manage lifting your baby up and in the middle seat Routinely - more power too you. Try it out with a seat and 20 lbs of potatoes. If it is too difficult, you may get complacent and start using the outboard seats OR your new wife will quickly start getting pissed with you. It's common knowledge the safest place is the middle of the back seat.

Personally, I'd rather use an XJ than a 2dr Civic BUT not one with 35s and 6.5". Maybe you can find a stock one for the daily drives with the wife and kiddo. It may go without saying, but new priorities may prompt some personal sacrifices. While others (even family) may say you're fine, trust your gut. Your family's safety is YOUR responsibility, no one else's.

The long post can be summed up with safety, reliability, and happy wife = happy life! Best of luck with your new baby and future wife. Pardon the rant.
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Unread 09-15-2013, 08:09 PM   #8
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All 3 of my children have come home from the hospital in an XJ - one is almost 13, 9, and just turned 1. (yes the last one was intentional and with the same lovely wife)

The first 2 spent significant time in an old '88, and the '01. The baby came home in my trail rig former DD just to keep the streak up. She probably hasnt' driven 50 miles in it total mainly due to the fact that it's parked most of the time.

Dealership will install a anchor at the back of the hatch to secure a car seat at no cost. Crash or rollover you're no better than most, Reliability is generally up to preventative maintenance bearing in mind the youngest XJ is still 12 years old.

The biggest concern you should have is once they get out of a high back booster (let's say 6 or 7 years old) Then you do not have a head rest and a rear collision becomes a whiplash danger. There are mods to add headrests to the rear seat.

At least a 4dr XJ is easier to buckle kids etc. than any 2 dr coupe.
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Unread 09-15-2013, 09:51 PM   #9
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Thank you guys for the outlook on the situation. Its nice to know that its not uncommon for children to ride in modded xjs and be safe.

I know a lot of the safety concern is based upon how the jeep is set up.

When it comes to suspension, no corners were cut. The least safe thing done was the sway bar links are taken off. That will be taken care of.

I agree preventable maintenance is key. I'm very particular when it comes to fluids and the way I drive. The bad ujoints and rear end bearings will be fixed. I put those off due to money at the time.

My brakes are obviously less aggressive then a stock Xj but everything is new. brakes, pads, rotors, shoes and if I needed to I could stop quickly.

I couldn't possibly think about a rollover but to be safe I do know the risks and can drive more cautiously because of this. A 10" wheel and 12.50 Wide tire does help balance the weight of the Jeep. But the high center of gravity is still there I am aware of that.

I would assume that a side crash would be about the same as a stock Xj structural wise. And like I stated before the wider wheels make it so its not so "tippy" its a solid Jeep. No rust, body damage or weak points in the chassis. One of the big reason I really hate to part with it. (North east everything is rotted out)

After reading what you guys have said I do have some concerns, and I've also calmed down a bit also.

I think getting the car seat into the middle seat might be a tad tricky. I like the idea of a 20lbs bag of potatos. I might look into some side steps to really help out. Of course the back doors give you limited space already.

I'm going to give the dealership a call about installing an anchor on the tailgate. That's pretty neat. Thanks for the tip.

All in all whatever needs to be done will be done. And if it comes down to it I'll sell it but I still have a winter ahead of me without the baby so if I have any road Worthy concerns at the time. Well.. That would be it for the Xj.

It was really nice hearing past experiences from other Dads and I know that you guys love your jeeps as much as I do. Thanks again! I appreciate it.
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Unread 09-15-2013, 10:04 PM   #10
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I've been using my XJ as the kid hauler since my son was a newborn. He is 2 now and I have another due in around christmas

Use the kid as an excuse for Armor !

OH these may help you out my XJ was sitting at a redlight and the civic was tboned by the white xj at about 35mph which spun into me and my XJ destroyed its front clip. after the white xj that ran the light and hit the civic it was deflected head on into a mazda3







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Unread 09-15-2013, 11:11 PM   #11
Cmense
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Nice classic I have the same model. That's crazy! I would feel much safer in the Xj than in a small civic like that. My front bumper is huge. I don't have rock sliders or a rear custom bumper but I do know if that was me hitting the civic it would be way worse. Thumbs up on the pictures!
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Unread 09-16-2013, 08:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmense
Nice classic I have the same model. That's crazy! I would feel much safer in the Xj than in a small civic like that. My front bumper is huge. I don't have rock sliders or a rear custom bumper but I do know if that was me hitting the civic it would be way worse. Thumbs up on the pictures!
The white Xj had a Logan's metal works bumper. It had zero body damage but it had bent the lower control arm and mount.
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Unread 09-16-2013, 01:55 PM   #13
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Xj is definately better in head on collisions then the honda civic. My first car was a 96 civic coupe and i hit a curb going about 5 mph when i slid into it (I was driving like an idiot trying to show off and locked brakes up trying to stop lol) and it destroyed my front bumper, radiatior clip and bent the frame in. The newer ones may be safer but the old ones crumple up like a beer can.
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Unread 09-16-2013, 03:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cmense View Post
Nice classic I have the same model. That's crazy! I would feel much safer in the Xj than in a small civic like that. My front bumper is huge. I don't have rock sliders or a rear custom bumper but I do know if that was me hitting the civic it would be way worse. Thumbs up on the pictures!
Quote:
Originally Posted by exador View Post
Xj is definately better in head on collisions then the honda civic. My first car was a 96 civic coupe and i hit a curb going about 5 mph when i slid into it (I was driving like an idiot trying to show off and locked brakes up trying to stop lol) and it destroyed my front bumper, radiatior clip and bent the frame in. The newer ones may be safer but the old ones crumple up like a beer can.
Cars are designed to crush on impact so that the car takes the force instead of whoever is inside. Your bumper make do more appearance damage to another vehicle in an accident but you're going to take all the force that your car didn't which isn't what you want for a baby.
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Unread 09-16-2013, 03:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bubba46 View Post
If both you and your wife can manage lifting your baby up and in the middle seat Routinely - more power too you. Try it out with a seat and 20 lbs of potatoes. If it is too difficult, you may get complacent and start using the outboard seats OR your new wife will quickly start getting pissed with you. It's common knowledge the safest place is the middle of the back seat.
I think this point may be dependent on your stature. Our '98 XJ has 6" of lift on 33's, and it's the easiest vehicle I've had to put the car seat in. It's much easier lifting him up and moving him straight across into position. This is in contrast to lifting him up, then bending over to reach my body into the center of the car to place the car seat in the center of my wife's car. My wife and I are both 90+ percentile for height though.

As part of my engineering degree I had to take a course on ergonomics. We basically studied the human body as a machine and derived forces required to perform industrial tasks. Imagine leaning forward by bending at the hip. All of your upper body weight acts like a lever and your main back muscles (erector spinae) must counteract that weight using a roughly 2" lever arm on the back of your vertebrae. That pulling force of your muscles keeps your back supported but also creates a compression force on your vertebral discs. Even leaning forward to pick up little items or perform simple tasks, it's not uncommon to see forces in the 500+ pounds range. This force is the main contributor to herniated or ruptured discs.

Let's do an example: Imagine holding out a ~30 pound car seat at the distance to place in the center of the car (let's assume 16") while standing straight up. That's a moment of (16in x 30lb =) 480in-lb. In order to support this your back muscles must create an equal but opposite moment with a 2" lever. That means your muscles exert (480in-lb / 2in =) 240 pounds of force just to hold a 30# car seat out 16".

Now if you had to bend over to a 90 degree angle to reach into the car: Add a little over half your body weight (let's say 100#) at half the distance from your hip to your shoulder (assume 12"). That alone is 1200in-lb. That's an extra 600 pounds of compression force, plus the 240 of the car seat (assuming you hold the car seat at about the same 16" distance from before). This action of leaning into a car with a car seat is the exact equivalent compression force of stacking 840 pounds of weight right on top of your head while standing upright. Around 1200 pounds is the upper limit for most people.

Basically, by keeping my back straight to load the car seat in the Jeep, it's 240# vs. 840# to bend into the car. All the math aside though, I really do find it more comfortable placing the car seat in the center of the lifted XJ than any stock height sedan. Just be sure to, as they say, lift with your legs.

More on topic though, I don't have even have a second thought about the safety of my son in the XJ. However, as others have pointed out, reliability is a much bigger worry for me. Definitely want to avoid that situation that Bubba46 points out of being on the side of the road with a screaming child and a pissed off wife.
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