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SPARTAN LOCKERS are on sale BIG TIME at ROCKRIDGE 4WD!ROCK BOTTOM prices on LIFT KITS at Rockridge4wd!! WANT TO NEW JK WRANGLER GRAB BARS NOW at ROCKRIDGE4WD

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Unread 08-22-2013, 07:44 AM   #1
capturecolorado
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 22
'00 XJ... a mountain bikers distraction

I bought this thing mid-summer 2011 with 124k on it, some piss-poor body work to the front fender/bumper end cap, front speakers that didn't work, but otherwise it ran strong (so I thought); bald and poorly cupped tires from the stealership.

The day after I picked it up, it got some real shoes.



Then I got pretty sick of looking at the matched paint bumper with a huge chunk of paint missing. Got rid of the air dam, and gave the bumper, end caps and grille plastic bits a coat of Rustoleum rattlecan bedliner.



Having already trimmed the rear fenders, I did the fronts.





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Unread 08-22-2013, 07:55 AM   #2
capturecolorado
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 22
I had read a lot about how terrible the stock tie rod is, so I picked up an HD tie rod from Rusty's, painted it yellow (I thought this would be the color I used for underbody add-ons).



Amazon has a product for just about everything. Including a $50 kit to add a 3.5mm or powered iPod connection to your radio - with two RCA splitters, you can have both - which paid off when my big iPod's dock stopped allowing me to play music.





Up until this point, whenever that was... a while ago; I had my spare mounted to the stock location - the 30" tall tire barely crammed in there, and a bunch of crap strewn about the cargo area.



So I OCD'd it. 1/2" plywood, joints biscuited and glued, everything bedlined with crappy Herculiner.



Stickers. I like stickers. This is a design my brother put together hoping to make large stencils of and use them as street art (or, just graffiti).

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Unread 08-22-2013, 08:11 AM   #3
capturecolorado
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
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Location: Denver, CO
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Then... I got tired of not being able to really see at night.

Wiring harness, some misc. stuff for an accessory fuse panel, and some Hella E-code headlamps.



Huge improvement.

All the while, I came up with the idea to design a front bumper, I had never done anything like this. I hadn't ever designed anything, never built anything out of metal (with exception of framing a wall with steel studs, but that doesn't count.), and I didn't know how to weld. But it was winter, and I was working construction at the time, so I'd get off at 5, go home, and not do anything. So I opened up SketchUp, and learned how to do stuff.

Several variations later, lots of measurements, and a foam board/hot glue mock-up later, I dialed in the design to this (I didn't do integrated lights).



Club Workshop - basically a gym membership to use a full wood shop, metal/machine shop, auto shop, laser engraver... all kinds of other stuff - had recently (about that time) picked up a plasma table, and were still dialing in the system for it, and hadn't really run a full test... so I transferred all of the parts from the SketchUp model to individual Solidworks components, placed all of those onto one page the size of my 3/16" and 1/4" plates, sent them to the plasma table computer and hit "go".



It was awesome.

And the leftover piece is pretty interesting looking.



Perfect, clean cuts.



And I was left with a pile of parts!



I made up some shackle mounts.

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Unread 08-22-2013, 08:26 AM   #4
capturecolorado
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By the end of the first day, I had the whole thing welded, brought it home to clean up the welds (my dad did the welding, they were cold... and ugly, I know).



Getting ready to weld the tubing onto the bumper.



Dead Kenny approves. Fresh from the powder coater.



After the bumper was finished, I hadn't really done anything to the jeep - I trimmed the LQP, added a pair of Hella fog lights with 100w bulbs, and a pair of Daylighters with 130w bulbs, set up my aux. fuse panel, installed an ARB compressor into the engine bay that I picked up for free, and moved the air filter into the cowl - but didn't do much for several months.

Then, I did a lot all at once.

RE 3.5" lift, Bilstein shocks, JKS discos, steering stabilizer, adjustable track bar, and a much happier jeep.







Shortly after the lift was installed, I put on some 1.5" wheel spacers, it doesn't look as silly now. I don't actually have a picture to show that, though.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 08:40 AM   #5
capturecolorado
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And then, I learned how to weld. My first project was building some work benches for the bike shop I work at.





From here, it's all gone down hill.

Made some mounts.



Cut some holes.



Nice new nutstrips.





Really slim fit, not really on purpose, but I'm still happy with it.



Gave it a wing.



And some LQP protection.



Cleaned up the corners, finish welded everything and cleaned up the welds.



Primed and prepped.



And then paint.

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Unread 08-22-2013, 08:43 AM   #6
capturecolorado
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Slender lines.







The lines are very similar to my front bumper, that was really unintentional, but I'm happy with the results.



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Unread 08-22-2013, 08:48 AM   #7
capturecolorado
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My front ball joints were bad, and they had caused some pretty awful wear on the front, really uneven and choppy with some pretty big chunks coming out of the side knobs on the fronts.

Treadwright Guard Dog 265/70r16, now with these, I can get rid of the crappy used Firestone AT spare I've had, and have a spare that'll actually get some grip.



Little bigger.

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Unread 08-23-2013, 08:07 AM   #8
capturecolorado
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
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A couple of weeks ago, I had the idea to make a swingout for my bike rack. Once I built the bumper, I raised my hitch up by about 8", and with my Thule hitch rack, the rack itself now barely clears the hatch - and it's hopeless if I have a bike on the rack.

So I went to the steel yard, hardware store, and Amazon, bought materials, bolts, and bronze bushings, latch, and clevis pin. I figured out how I wanted my brackets to work, cut up some 1/4" plate and went at them on my drill press.



Each bracket is held on with three 1/2" bolts, I started with 1 hole each to align the brackets horizontally to each other, and punched a 1.5" hole through one end of my 2" crossbar, welded in my DOM hinge sleeve and pressed the bushings in.





Made up some anti-crush sleeves and welded the bolts to the hinge-side bracket as studs.



I'm all about redundancies with this thing, my latch system uses a 1" clevis pin and a 2000 pound toggle clamp. Don't wanna take any risks when I'm driving the shops $8k demo bikes around



I then notched and burned in the (harbor freight) receiver to the center. I decided to wrap it around the tube and run a bolt through the tabs to help increase strength. Not that I'm really all that concerned with the strength of the 16" of linear weld on that interface between the 1/4" receiver tube and 1/4" crossbar tube... But again, redundancies.



Now, I could have reasonably cleaned up my welds, prepped for paint and finished at about this point. But I looked at it, stuck a 2' chunk of 2" in the receiver and bounced around on it a bit to see how strong it is... And decided to make it double as a tire carrier. I hadn't intended to do this, my ultimate plan (still) involves building a hybrid cage wherein the A- and D-pillar are exterior, and running a pair of heims on either side of the hatch connected to the D-pillar cage bar as the hinge arrangement with two horizontal bars for the tire carrier. But I need to pick up a tube bender for that whole project, and I've got higher priorities at the time than dropping that kind of money on a tool. In time....

Anyway, I decided last minute to add a tire carrier to this thing. I had plenty of 2" 3/16" wall and enough leftover receiver material, so...





Ran to the store and picked up some paint, and some nice gussets



I got it fully mounted up yesterday morning, I have yet to get my hands on a mounting plate for the wheel, but there's a guy locally that says he has one for me. Once I get that I'll get the insert welded up and painted pretty quickly. I still need to go through and add some crossmember tie-ins to the rear bumper - I never got around to that when I built it initially, and now that's the weak point in the system, I believe. I also need to add some brackets to tie the LQP sliders into the unibody. And recovery points...

That's where I'm sitting right now.

Random wheeling pic from last time I was out. This is up there among my favorite sections by Central City

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Unread 08-23-2013, 07:48 PM   #9
Jeep01AH
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