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theducksguts 06-08-2010 09:03 AM

"Dark Blue" XJ
Last summer my wife and I traded in her 2000 Plymouth Breeze for a 2000 XJ Sport to be her daily driver. This is how I will always remember it.

I hated that car, we put way to much into it and it had not been reliable. Had been in a couple fender benders (not me) and just was generally worn out. It didn't get very good gas mileage either.

The new XJ which she named "Dark Blue" after a song by the band Jack's Mannequin is as follows.

4.0L Engine
AW4 Transmission
NP242 Wife Proof Transfer case
LP D30 as is with the 2000 vintage
Chrysler 8.25 sporting 3.55 gears on both axles.

It ran pretty good for the whole summer. And then the fun started in the fall. She fell victim to the dreaded 0331 head casting. Victim of overheating caused by a bad fan clutch.

I am really aware of what is going on with my vehicles I try to drive them all at the same time (if that is even possible) so I know what is going on at all times. She will tell me about gauge readings, rattles, and quirks.

I pulled the valve cover after finding milkshake in the oil and knew exactly what I had discovered. The head had cracked right between the 3rd and 4th rocker tower. It was obvious what had happened.

Step one had been to identify the problem, step 2 was to fix it. I toyed with the idea of getting a JY 4.0 and stroking it but we needed to get this thing back on the road. It was still making adequate oil pressure. I felt like I had caught the problem early enough to spare my bearings.

it went together with half the effort it took to disassemble. Torqued everything to spec from the FSM in sequence.

It started up just fine. Ran for 10 minutes with new oil and gum out. Changed oil. Running full synthetic now. Has been making adequate oil pressure ever since. It isn't normal, but it isn't low oil pressure either and has been stable and predictable.:2thumbsup:

theducksguts 06-08-2010 09:10 AM

Step 2
Next I wanted to address some of the issues that had been bugging me. First thing to go was the discolored door plastic. I think it looks great with a fresh coat of wax on it.

I used soap and water to soften the plastic and adhesive on a hot humid day. I then took a plastic hamburger flipper and removed the left over adhesive. Have it a good wax and admired my nice work. The Mrs couldn't tell me if anything had changed. I guess I don't notice her haircuts either. :confused:

CJ2YJ2TJ 06-08-2010 09:14 AM

Crappy luck on the head. Nice work though.

theducksguts 06-08-2010 09:33 AM

Step 3
Address other nagging issues.

Flasher Relay stopped working.

Ten year old battery

U-Joints shot in Cardan joint - Front drive shaft
Picked up spare parts!

Rear wiper stopped working.
PB Blasted!

theducksguts 06-08-2010 09:39 AM

Step 4
It has been running great for the past year-ish. We have had some hot and humid days and the temp gauge (dummy electric gauge) is heating up. Thermostat is opening. Check radiator. Not cooling adequately. I guess you can't depend on these parts for 10 years. Well... most of them have been fine. Put out an order for a new radiator, triple core.

Until then a friend and I rigged up an electric fan manual bypass switch.

ran it through the firewall here. Sealed up real nice.

to this switch on the dash.

When toggled it runs when I want it to. When off it runs the normal programing. It was a great mod. Radiator should go in soon. Now that it isn't so hot around here. Thinking about doing some hood vents.:cheers2:

Here is the LINK for the writeup. Gotta give credit where credit is due!

theducksguts 06-08-2010 09:48 AM

Step 5 BUILD IT!
I found a great deal on some used Eagle "Scout" aluminum 15/8 wheels. $125 for all 5 wheels.

We are thinking about doing a 2 inch OME and running some 30/9.50 BFG AT KO's on it. She said she wanted to wheel it a little bit while still daily driving it.

She also formally became a member of our local Jeep Club.

She will also need some tow hooks for the front.

Here is what we are thinking. Stay tuned...

theducksguts 07-02-2010 08:16 AM

OK, so I am getting ready to do this within the next month. I am thinking about going with 30/10.5 with a 2 inch lift from Rusty's.

I should be OK with the drive line angles. Could I go to a 3 inch instead? What do ya'll think about that? I can trim if needed.

HikerX 07-02-2010 02:00 PM


Originally Posted by theducksguts (Post 9592380)
NP242 Wife Proof Transfer case


Seriously, I LOL'd.

Back in the late 90's I had to buy my (then) wife a Subaru because she kept trying to use 4 wheel drive in the rain. :facepalm:

Per your future plans, I have the light duty OME (which netted about 1.75" or so) and the ride is great. Not sure if that's an issue with your wife. For me, the light duty was kind of an accident - I didn't realize the different levels of the kit that were offered, so that may be something to keep in mind. Personally I would have opted for the medium duty kit to support all the added weight of a gas tank skid and rock rails, but hindsight being what it is...

Currently I have BFG AT KO 235s, and they rub just a tiny bit offroad. If I bumpstopped correctly, they probably wouldn't. 30s are just a bit bigger.

Nice job so far.

(as a side note, I'm adding about 1.5" front and rear to compensate for added weight of other stuff, etc)

countrythang 07-02-2010 03:11 PM

x2, i think it depends on what else is gonna get done cause bumpers, sliders, armor gets heavy.
i like it though and would probly have to say go ahead and do 3"s... not too high but better clearance and more agressive look..

theducksguts 07-02-2010 06:03 PM

If I have to drop the T-Case I will. I have done it before. The jeep will be wheeled. Mild/Moderate trails with my wife as the driver. It will also be her daily driver so I am not going crazy. Just the basics. Will fab up some rock sliders for her too.

I am excited to get started. Will probably do most of the work in August. Baby comes in early October so I will be indisposed for a good portion of the winter this coming year. I would start earlier but I am preparing my TJ for some major runs.

theducksguts 07-12-2010 03:13 PM

I ordered a new radiator from I received it and was installing it over the weekend. I got it all installed and fired it up. The radiator does not hold pressure through the fill neck. I looked closer and noticed that it had been damaged. I called up their customer service and with little effort they have already sent me a new one. I am very pleased with their CS and will order from them again.

In case you are wondering why I removed everything from the front of the XJ. I am going to do a little work on that while everything is taken apart. Add some recovery points, etc.

Wheels are still sitting around. Hopefully get the 3 inch lift and tires soon. Probably August.

JeepWJ 07-13-2010 03:55 PM

lemme know if you need a spare set of hands on any of this...heaven knows I owe you!

theducksguts 07-28-2010 12:06 PM

Second replacement radiator is leaking. I hope it is just a hose this time.

Radiator Barn sending me a third replacement CSF Radiator.

theducksguts 08-04-2010 09:27 AM

Alright it's just about go time. I'm just waiting for the perfect timing to spring this budget on her. She is knocked up so timing is everything.

Choosing between the Zone 3' AAL and the Rusty's 3'AAL (I will drop TC or shim as needed)

Make some Swaybar Discos

Rusty's Tow hooks and brackets for XJ

I was going to go with Treadwright MTR clones but she just discovered BFG KM2's last night and wants those now. Hmmmmm:)

Any thoughts on the Zone vs. Rusty's lift choice, and the Treadwright vs. MTR?

This is going to be a soft wheeler for her and her daily driver.

BriansCJ 08-04-2010 09:36 AM

Dont get the AAL. The stock packs suck, and it will start to sag. I just ordered new packs b/c mine was sagging and one of the leafs bent.

I think KM2s or Duratracs will be good for a DD. If you want something more aggressive, go with the Interco TrXus MT. I ran them on the Rubicon and they performed great, plus my mom drove it 70miles 5 days a week.

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