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Nitro Gear Packages Now Available at Rockridge 4wdG2 Disc Brake Conversion Kit for Jeep Wrangler YJ TJ LJ ChSPARTAN LOCKERS are on sale BIG TIME at ROCKRIDGE 4WD!

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Unread 05-07-2013, 08:56 PM   #1
paparker21
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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?

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Unread 05-08-2013, 07:25 AM   #2
VegasGT
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Id do disc swap, even though your 8.25 is a 27 spline it is still plenty strong enough for 33s and relatively mild wheeling.

I would do the lift first and then SYE. At 4.5" an SYE and stock front driveshaft out of an auto np231 XJ will be about perfect and they are easy to find. As for lift components, your plans for the rear will work just fine but I wouldnt fool with spacers/zj coils. I picked up my Rubicon Express 4.5" coils off Amazon for 70 somethin bucks. Hard to beat that for the money.

At 4.5" you will want to run longer aftermarket LCA's for shock mount clearance and to correct caster angle from the height change. Fixed length control arms can be had around 100 bucks all day. You will also need a new track bar or at least redrill the axle side hole to recenter the axle.

Honestly if you're not set on the 4.5" height, 3" lift will clear 33s just fine with trimming and wont really require the added cost of the LCA's, shackles, and in some cases even the SYE.
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Unread 05-08-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
paparker21
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Great, thanks for the feedback i really appreciate it!

I'm not really set on 4.5" of lift, 3" would give me a lower center of gravity which is always welcome. Initially, the guys around here were saying i'd kick myself for not having 35's but i've ready so much about xj's on 33s that I think it's the way to go, at least initially. Its larger than stock but not so large that i've got to rebuild everything to stand up to my tires. With 4.5" i can get 33's in easy and I believe with proper trimming i can stuff the 35's later.

Question - with 33's (or 35's for that matter) what all do i need to do in terms of steering assistance / stabilization? Am I okay with the stock stabilizer for 33? (related: is it even still good after 200,000 miles? I'm sure it's as easy as unhooking and manually compressing to find out) or do i need to upsize / or go to a dual stabilizer setup?

Any input on where in the hierarchy of upgrades i need to get my reinforcing done? I'm still way out on the rocks on how i'll approach it. Initially i was going to simply plug weld some u-channel over the existing stuff. then I saw the rock sliders that bolt up / plug weld square HSS to the rails, and i've seen TNT's contoured plate solution as well as seen plenty of people just welding on 3/16" or 1/4" AR plate. That's not even to say anything about the debate over whether plug welding is suffcient or if the perimeter should be weld-all-around or stitched.
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Unread 05-08-2013, 10:31 PM   #4
Muddy97Cherokee
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For the brakes I would rather do the easier thing, which is doing a disk conversion. You may think its easy to put in an 8.8 but it'll end up costing more and you'll have more time spent on trying to put it in. First you have to get the 8.8 kit to fit it on the XJ, then weld that stuff on. Regear the front to what you have in the rear, which would most likely be 3.73. Its rare to find a 4.10 LSD 8.8 from what I have heard and read. Regearing is a paintas well as fitting the 8.8. Find a Liberty in a junkyard and take the rear disk off of the rear axle and mount them up. Should bolt up since its the same exact axle besides spline count. Or you can buy the parts which would cost more than buying from junkyard.

Next you ask about SYE. If you plan on going to 4.5 you will most likely need a SYE or a tcase drop. I say think about what you are going to challenge your rig to do. 4.5 and 33's is a great all around combo for wheeling on trails or on the rocks. 3" would work just as good and you don't have to worry as much as 4.5 with driveline issues.

For your lift idea I think its planned horribly, for the front at least. You can do a bastard pack in the rear and gain 3-4 inches easily, even up to 5" if you want. If you do a bastard pack I say try for 3" and then a 1-2 inch shackle to recover the shackle angle you will want. When you go over 3.5 you really start needing more parts than you would at 3". that means more money put into the lift to make it a comfortable DD. For the front you will not even get close to 4.5. The ZJ coils, which have to be from an orvis, only gain about an average of an inch, varies how much the springs have been on the vehicle and abuse. Then you would need 3 inch spacers just to get to 4", which would be very dangerous. I am not a coil spacer fan and anything over a 2" spacer is just a death trap. Buy some 4.5 coils to get the best ride and flex out of your set up.

Lifting your jeep is really the main and hardest part of deciding what you want out of your rig. All those other accessories can be added without driving problems.
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Unread 05-08-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
Tom95YJ
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I am running a 3.5" lift with 33's on stock steering still ( It's on my list to replace with something a little stronger) If you want to stay low I highly recommend getting rocksliders and a gastank skid I use mine all the time and I'm not easy on my XJ

The rear you can do a bastard pack on but on the front I would not cheap out, But a Pair of coils they are cheap enough (120-150 new for decent coils) Buy an Adjustable track bar, and Atleast Lower Control arms . I highly recommend getting Stainless braided brake lines also








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Unread 05-09-2013, 07:08 AM   #6
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I wish I'd done my brakes when I first got my XJ.

If it's me the next thing I'd do is swap all fluids and "consumables." Plugs, air filter, belt, oil/filter, trans, diffs, t-case, etc.,
I know it's not exactly "build" stuff but none the less it's a "control/alt/delete" and gives you a baseline for everything else.


Here's a thought with the rear if you're considering a swap - find an 8.25 29 spline (jy, CL, forums). Should be able to find one for $125. Then put the discs on. Direct bolt in. Already should be geared to match your stock front (IIRC can be geared down to at least 4.56 w/o a carrier breakover like the front will have). Slightly stronger (down the road you could swap in chromo shafts, a locker, and trusses and you'd doubtfully ever break it). Way cheaper and easier than an 8.8 swap. More appropriate for what it is you describe you wanna do with the rig.

IMO full coils/packs is the way to go.

Your plan for the chassis stiffeners is exactly what I've done. Getting ready to put mine on this weekend.

I would agree with Tom on the rockrails and gas skid and add you will want to look for more tcase protection than the stock crossmember.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 07:19 AM   #7
VegasGT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepN4KC View Post
I wish I'd done my brakes when I first got my XJ.

If it's me the next thing I'd do is swap all fluids and "consumables." Plugs, air filter, belt, oil/filter, trans, diffs, t-case, etc.,
I know it's not exactly "build" stuff but none the less it's a "control/alt/delete" and gives you a baseline for everything else.


Here's a thought with the rear if you're considering a swap - find an 8.25 29 spline (jy, CL, forums). Should be able to find one for $125. Then put the discs on. Direct bolt in. Already should be geared to match your stock front (IIRC can be geared down to at least 4.56 w/o a carrier breakover like the front will have). Slightly stronger (down the road you could swap in chromo shafts, a locker, and trusses and you'd doubtfully ever break it). Way cheaper and easier than an 8.8 swap. More appropriate for what it is you describe you wanna do with the rig.

IMO full coils/packs is the way to go.

Your plan for the chassis stiffeners is exactly what I've done. Getting ready to put mine on this weekend.

I would agree with Tom on the rockrails and gas skid and add you will want to look for more tcase protection than the stock crossmember.
^Good advice on catching up on maintenance first. Ill 2nd that as I did lift/tires first and my last few rounds of wrenching have been nothing but maintenance issues. Problems will catch up to you regardless, best to get them solved early on.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 06:01 PM   #8
paparker21
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Thanks for all the feedback guys. I have decided i'm going to stick with the original disc swap approach. Basic maintenance has already been caught up.

So i'll be hitting the junkyard this weekend hoping to pull everything needed for the rear disc conversion. Time to cross my fingers and hope for a ZJ in good shape with calipers that aren't locked up. The forum trawling for lift components will also start. Luckily for me this jeep doesn't need to be a DD, just comfortable enough to get me to and from the trails and keep my girl from refusing to come on the excursions. That said, i think that reinforces Vegas's lift then SYE approach since @ 4.5 I (should, i think, maybe?) only suffer a little bit of vibes and that can be quieted by slowing down on the way to the trails. At 4.5" inches, am i within the magic "use an XJ AW4 front driveshaft in the rear" range or have i pushed beyond to a custom shaft?
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Unread 05-09-2013, 06:54 PM   #9
Muddy97Cherokee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paparker21 View Post
Thanks for all the feedback guys. I have decided i'm going to stick with the original disc swap approach. Basic maintenance has already been caught up.

So i'll be hitting the junkyard this weekend hoping to pull everything needed for the rear disc conversion. Time to cross my fingers and hope for a ZJ in good shape with calipers that aren't locked up. The forum trawling for lift components will also start. Luckily for me this jeep doesn't need to be a DD, just comfortable enough to get me to and from the trails and keep my girl from refusing to come on the excursions. That said, i think that reinforces Vegas's lift then SYE approach since @ 4.5 I (should, i think, maybe?) only suffer a little bit of vibes and that can be quieted by slowing down on the way to the trails. At 4.5" inches, am i within the magic "use an XJ AW4 front driveshaft in the rear" range or have i pushed beyond to a custom shaft?
Look for a liberty if you can at the junkyard. The liberty disks are direct bolt on as the Grand Cherokee disks you will need to drill precise holes. You will get vibes at 4.5 but a simple t case drop can fix that if you don't want to dish out the dough for a SYE.
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