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Unread 01-26-2014, 09:36 PM   #1
Discgolfer1981
Registered User
1989 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Springfield, Oregon
Posts: 6
Building an '89 Cherokee - First Major Project

Hey Jeep Forum, I've posted a few questions here and there over the last couple years, but now I'm ready to undertake the building of my 1989 XJ. I figure I'm going to undertake it in three phases. I need this forums help though to make sure I don't miss any key things when I start tearing into my rig! I'd rather do it right the first time than have to tear it apart again to fix something.

My goals are a bad *** Jeep that can last another 25 years. I live in the country on some hilly property so I want to be able to rumble around the forest roads, as well as tow my quads to the coast to off road, and take the jeep out too. I don't plan on ever being too crazy off road with this rig.

For mechanical aptitude I took a couple years of mechanics in HS, which included tearing down and rebuilding an engine, as well as doing all the repairs on the Jeep for the last couple years. Also my Father in Law and his family used to dirt track race and know older rigs back to front, so I have a ton of resources to call on.

This is the order I plan on working on the Jeep.

first phase is to replace all major suspension components and upgrade with a 3" lift.

Second Phase is to pull the motor and replace with a stroked 4.0.

Third phase is to clean up the minor issues that the interior and exterior have and put bigger better tires on.


Before we get into anything else, here is a picture of my Jeep from a couple years ago, its pretty much in the same condition, except for some more aggressive tires.



So the reason I decided to start with suspension and under body is because my rear leafs are pretty much flat at this point, and if I load anything over a couple hundred pounds in the back I get wheel rub, not cool! Also, what's the point of having a bad *** engine if I can't go anywhere?!

What I have planned so far is to go with a Rough Country 3" lift Series two with the full leaf replacement and 2.2 shocks.

To go along with that I'm also going to add in the extended front brake lines, adjustable heavy duty front track bar, heavy duty tie rod and single shock steering stabilizer. As far as major components go I think I'm covered. I just have a few questions.

Firstly, do I need to buy two tie rods? I haven't gotten underneath the jeep and actually looked around too much yet. Secondly, I want to do a full bushing replacement while I'm under there and I have no idea what kit to buy, could I get recommendations? Thirdly, I need new U-Joints on the front end, as I'm getting a clunk on the front drivers. I had the wheel bearings go out last year and my father in law said that it had damaged the U joint. I have no idea what to order for this though, so recommendations there would be great as well!

This rig isn't a daily driver, its barely an every other week driver at this point, so I don't think I'm doing too much damage to it right now.

Thanks everyone, I'll keep posting pictures as I do work. Plan to be buying this stuff at the end of February and doing the work in March.

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Unread 01-27-2014, 11:57 AM   #2
zachmc2010
Registered User
1990 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Statesboro, Georgia
Posts: 8
Thats a good looking XJ you've got to start with, I've got a similar project Im starting on myself as well
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Unread 01-27-2014, 03:41 PM   #3
Discgolfer1981
Registered User
1989 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Springfield, Oregon
Posts: 6
Right on!

On another forum I was heavily recommended to go with Rusty's lifts instead of rough country, so I think I might switch to that. Everyone said it is better quality and for the things I get the price works out to be about the same.
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Unread 02-20-2014, 08:55 PM   #4
Discgolfer1981
Registered User
1989 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Springfield, Oregon
Posts: 6
Update!

Alright folks, going to be biting the bullet on the lift kit here in the next couple days, this is the parts list so far. Figure it's worth changing out some of the stuff while I'm under there. Here is the list... Please critique! Also, all of this is from Rusty's Offroad

Rusty's XJ Cherokee 3" Advanced Kit

Component Box
1 x Rusty's XJ Cherokee 3" Advanced Kit - Component Box $750.00
Front Shocks
2 x Rusty's RX100 Performance Shock: RX-27 $0.00
Rear Shocks
2 x Rusty's RX100 Performance Shock: RX-26 $0.00
Front Coil Springs
1 x Rusty's Coils – XJ 3" HD Front $0.00
Leaf Spring Pack
1 x Rusty's Leaf Springs - XJ - 3.5" - Rear (pair) $0.00
Lower Control Arms
1 x Rusty's Fixed Front Lower Control Arms (XJ,TJ) $0.00
Upper Control Arms
1 x Rusty's Fixed Front Upper Control Arms (XJ,TJ,ZJ) $0.00
Axle Type
4 x Rusty's Dana 35 / Dana 44 – U-Bolts - HD Grade 8 (each) $0.00
Front Track Bar
1 x Rusty's Track Bar - Adjustable Front (TJ,XJ,ZJ) $0.00
Steering Stabilizer
1 x Rusty's Stabilizers - Single Perfomance (XJ,TJ,ZJ,YJ) $35.00

Rusty's Tie Rod - HD Replacement (XJ,TJ, ZJ) - $99

Rusty's Steering Box Brace XJ - $59

Rusty's Drop Pitman Arm 1.25" (XJ/TJ/YJ) - $59

Borgeson Cherokee / Wagoneer XJ - Steering shaft assembly - $260

Total: $1262

The steering stuff I figure will help with safety because all the stock equipment is 25 years old at this point, and I do plan on trying to cram 33"s under there at some point after cutting out the wheel wells. Also stiffer steering would be nice as the jeep is a bit sloppy as it stands.

Is there anything else I'm missing that anyone can think of?
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