Please help plan this build...
So I've purchased a two door 91 cherokee sport with the vac-less dana 30 front, np 231 transfer case, and chrysler 8.25" rear end. The engine sounds great and i'm excited to get it out on the trails...
First thing i've been working on is making it safe - the brakes were all in bad shape. So far, i've replaced my front calipers, rotors, and pads but the rear.... well... they're drums. It doesn't make good sense to me to spend money to get drum brakes working again - the drums are badly scored so it's more than just shoes to fix it.
So - decision point #1: Do i do a disc conversion, or do i go ahead and just do a full rear axle swap?
Logic: A disc conversion *should* be cheaper and easier, and the chrysler 8.25 is probably strong enough for the type of offroading I'm looking to do (some mildly aggressive trail riding, NOT hardcore rock, NOT trying to drive through the center of the florida everglades). However, in looking at doing this from a local pull-a-part type place, it almost seems like it'd be easier to simply roll out a full axle than try and get the backing plates and wheel studs out at the yard. If that's the case, then I don't know that i'm not better off looking for a ford 8.8 - that will net me rear discs, potentially 4.10 gears, and if im really lucky an LSD, as well as a slightly stronger rear end.
Next step, I think, is to do an SYE and get a new double cardan shaft made. Question: If i'm getting this made *prior* to having the lift installed, how can i determine what the proper max and min shaft lengths will be? Or do i need to hold off until the lift is in to have this made?
Following that comes the lift - i'm thinking 4.5" is my target to clear 33" tires. I was planning to use the junkyard add a leaf w/ drop shackles approach for the rear and a coil swap (ZJ up country if i could find it?) + spacers in the front. Extend bump stops to limit up travel by about 2", go with all new shocks, and then source whatever else i need (control arms, track bar, sway bar quick disconnects, pitman arm, etc) separately. Alternatively i keep looking through 100 forums worth of classifieds hoping someone is selling a lift kit they decided against or outgrew.
At some point, frame stiffening needs to occur but i'm not sure where in the hierarchy of importance it falls - seems like i can build it as above, wheel it some, and then do the reinforcement as funds allow - the build and the offroading shouldn't be so extreme that, the first time out, i end up tweaking the 'frame'. Maybe i'm wrong though.
That should put me in a rig that can have a *REALLY* good time around here and then, as things break, I'll go about upgrading them further. Lockers, front axle w/ lockouts, etc etc can come down the road. So am I on the right track or is there a better approach to this?