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Unread 05-12-2014, 06:49 PM   #1
Beards
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: the woods, Pennsylvania
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Is my XJ capable for anything serious?

Right now I have a pretty much stock XJ except for like four things: rear sway bar removed, 2" AAL + spacers lift, extended rear brake line, and 31x10.5 Cooper Discoverer AT3s. My 15x8 wheels are also spaced out for an overall backspace of 4.25". Everything else is stock. It's a '96 with open diffs and all that. I've done a lot of maintenance (u-joints, brake lines) as well.

So my question is, is it really worth going to any off-roading events? There's an event called the Bantam Jeep Festival local to me. Some of the trails seem rather serious and I have never been seriously off-roading before (nowhere to go). Here's a link to the event page... http://www.bantamjeepfestival.com/

I've got some time before the event and was thinking about getting front sway bar disconnects, extended lines, and possibly a Dakota bastard pack for the rear and RE 3" springs for the front. I've also been practicing the "feather the brakes to transfer power to both wheels" trick but haven't had any luck yet.

Advise me!

A picture for interest's sake.



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Unread 05-12-2014, 07:35 PM   #2
Tru2Chevy
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Your XJ was quite capable in stock form, and with your mods it's now even more capable. I wouldn't try to tackle the Rubicon Trail, but you should have no problem doing some mild to moderate offroading. Your next mods should be recovery points, front and rear.

Where in PA are you?

- Justin
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1992 Cherokee Laredo - all stock, DD. Needs some minor rust repair, then on to the mods!

1996 Cherokee Classic - 3.5" lift / 31.0x10.5 Mastercraft Courser CTs / Warn XD9000i - Stripped for parts / junked :(

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Unread 05-12-2014, 07:41 PM   #3
miceanic
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[QUOTE=Beards;22862377]Right now I have a pretty much stock XJ except for like four things: rear sway bar removed, 2" AAL + spacers lift, extended rear brake line, and 31x10.5 Cooper Discoverer AT3s. My 15x8 wheels are also spaced out for an overall backspace of 4.25". Everything else is stock. It's a '96 with open diffs and all that. I've done a lot of maintenance (u-joints, brake lines) as well.

So my question is, is it really worth going to any off-roading events? There's an event called the Bantam Jeep Festival local to me. Some of the trails seem rather serious and I have never been seriously off-roading before (nowhere to go). Here's a link to the event page... http://www.bantamjeepfestival.com/

I've got some time before the event and was thinking about getting front sway bar disconnects, extended lines, and possibly a Dakota bastard pack for the rear and RE 3" springs for the front. I've also been practicing the "feather the brakes to transfer power to both wheels" trick but haven't had any luck yet.

Advise me!

A picture for interest's sake.


That only works with limited slip differentials, if both of yours are open then you are just burning up your brakes. I would suggest skid plates and at least one locker if you are trying to do anything too extreme. Take a second vehicle with you everywhere and know yours and your vehicles limits and you should be good.
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Unread 05-12-2014, 07:53 PM   #4
CJ7-Tim
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Join a local 4x4 club, or take a hosted 4x4 tour with trail guides to learn how to safely 4x4 off-road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Beards View Post
.....been practicing the "feather the brakes to transfer power to both wheels" trick but haven't had any luck yet.
Works with open differentials.

Below is my 2 inch budget boost with 30 x 9.5's in Moab Utah some years ago.

.

.
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Unread 05-12-2014, 08:12 PM   #5
Beards
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tru2Chevy View Post
Your XJ was quite capable in stock form, and with your mods it's now even more capable. I wouldn't try to tackle the Rubicon Trail, but you should have no problem doing some mild to moderate offroading. Your next mods should be recovery points, front and rear.

Where in PA are you?

- Justin
Alright, thanks, man! That's actually a really good idea. I need somewhere to attach chains and tow ropes for sure. I guess I could buy a trailer hitch for the rear and weld some nice big rings to the frame up front.

I'm an hour north or Pittsburgh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
Join a local 4x4 club, or take a hosted 4x4 tour with trail guides to learn how to safely 4x4 off-road.
I'll look into local clubs. That would be really helpful. And gosh, you did a lot with that Jeep! Thanks for the pictures!

Any tips on the brake trick?
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Unread 05-12-2014, 08:25 PM   #6
indeepwithajeep
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Look into a local off-roading club. It's the best route to go. You'll end up going with people familiar with the area and offroading the terrain. You can pick up some rear trailer hitches at junkyards for fairly cheap for a rear recovery point. You could also look online for ideas on how to weld up a bracket worth fabing up for front tow hooks. As welding something right off the unibody would more and likely end up bending or tearing your unibody. Custom4x4 makes some excellent front tow hook brackets. Also if you're planing on doing some quick dissconects for your front sway bar look up on how to press out the lower endlink bolt on the axle. Since I'm stock for now I ended up using 1/2" bolts, wing nuts with lock washers, and a cotter pin in the end to keep things from backing out.

I've been once with a local club. All I did to prepare was get a rear tow hitch and remove my rear sway bar. I made it through quite a bit of medium trails and didn't even feel like I was beating on my Jeep much. It's also not a bad idea to buy some kind of 12v air pump so you can air back up after your all finished up. Also if you have a CB radio, it's good to have so you can communicate with everyone in your group. Good luck

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Unread 05-12-2014, 08:36 PM   #7
DunmerBoy
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I was on a 2 inch BB and 235s for quite a while and saw some pretty sweet places! skids should be next on your list though since you dont have the height benefit
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Unread 05-13-2014, 05:07 AM   #8
1995_XJ
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You'll be surprised by the places your jeep will go! Even 100% stock

Join pgh-offroad. They have all kinds of trail rides and meet and greets. It's not 100% jeep, not sure if that matters to you. There are a lot of jeeps though
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Unread 05-13-2014, 09:33 AM   #9
Tru2Chevy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beards View Post
Alright, thanks, man! That's actually a really good idea. I need somewhere to attach chains and tow ropes for sure. I guess I could buy a trailer hitch for the rear and weld some nice big rings to the frame up front.

I'm an hour north or Pittsburgh.
Skip the chains - you want recovery straps (much safer).

That's a really nice area - I went to college at Slippery Rock in the early 2000s.

- Justin
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1992 Cherokee Laredo - all stock, DD. Needs some minor rust repair, then on to the mods!

1996 Cherokee Classic - 3.5" lift / 31.0x10.5 Mastercraft Courser CTs / Warn XD9000i - Stripped for parts / junked :(

2004 Grand Cherokee Laredo - 4.7, bone stock - Wife's DD

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Unread 05-13-2014, 05:45 PM   #10
CJ7-Tim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beards View Post
.....weld some nice big rings to the frame up front.
Unibody Jeeps REQUIRE the use of reinforced brackets to prevent tow hooks and/or off road bumpers from pulling loose and injuring somebody.

.
frame-rail-fail.jpg

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Unread 05-13-2014, 05:47 PM   #11
Project1
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Is my XJ capable for anything serious?


Have you not seen the movie taken ? :-)

man you can have a blast in a stock xj!!
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Unread 05-13-2014, 07:15 PM   #12
98muddyjeep
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I have been to bantam jeep fest and am going again with my 98 xj, I have done all the trails there except for the trail where you needed at least 35's for tires (I'm running 33's ) with no problems, I would show up and spend some time go on the easy trails to start and maybe work your way up,they have easy trails for stock jeeps you may find out just how capable your jeep really is. Plus you may get some great ideas for your rig.
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Unread 05-15-2014, 06:25 PM   #13
Beards
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
Unibody Jeeps REQUIRE the use of reinforced brackets to prevent tow hooks and/or off road bumpers from pulling loose and injuring somebody.

.
I would definitely reinforce them. I was actually just planning to weld some plate steel to the frame and build my hooks off of that. However, those ones in the picture look really nice! Who makes those?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Project1 View Post
Is my XJ capable for anything serious?


Have you not seen the movie taken ? :-)

man you can have a blast in a stock xj!!
NOPE. Not really a Liam Neeson fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 98muddyjeep View Post
I have been to bantam jeep fest and am going again with my 98 xj, I have done all the trails there except for the trail where you needed at least 35's for tires (I'm running 33's ) with no problems, I would show up and spend some time go on the easy trails to start and maybe work your way up,they have easy trails for stock jeeps you may find out just how capable your jeep really is. Plus you may get some great ideas for your rig.
I think I'll do just that. Sounds like a great idea to work my way into things.

Thanks a lot, guys!
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Unread 05-16-2014, 05:30 PM   #14
CJ7-Tim
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Quote:
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I was actually just planning to weld some plate steel to the frame and build my hooks off of that. However, those ones in the picture look really nice! Who makes those?
Genuine Jeep parts.

I see them now and then in the junkyard, and if you search around you can still buy them if the Dealership has some dusty ones on the way back shelves.
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Unread 05-16-2014, 06:28 PM   #15
Beards
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No way! Well those would be perfect. I'll get hunting then. Thanks, man!
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