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1 Ton Heavy Duty Steering Upgrade Kit. New and Improved dStainless Steel Door Hinge PinsPoly Door Hinge Bushings

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Unread 05-07-2010, 08:07 AM   #1
GTEIS300
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Frederick, Maryland
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Jeep Build: Minty White Country XJ Build NOW PICTURE HEAVY!!

Well I decided it was time to post up a build thread since I have some work I will be doing to my newly acquired XJ. I had been on the search for months looking for the perfect XJ. Dont ask me why I choose to buy a Cherokee. Something just appealed to me about them. Since I first got my license I have always have low and fast cars. Progressed from my first car (96 Maxima) to currently a 600whp IS300.

I have had some much frustration with the IS and so tired of tinkering with it I wanted something basic. I also have a 2003 Acura CL-S but I hated have to let people in and there was 0 room in there for passengers or cargo. I have two bigger dogs and there just wasn't enough room. ..Enter Jeep..

I think two friends from my old job turned me onto them. Mark had a Red XJ lifted, locked, roof rack, wheels, etc. Other friend had a TJ lifted, etc. I drove both of them while I worked with them and I think that is what got them stuck in my head. I had never owned a "bigger" car and I liked driving them. So I set out on a craigslist journey for months finding and going to look at Jeeps all over MD. I had found a White 94 in york. Was listed, locked, 31's, rack, etc. Downside was the floor boards were gone. Also had a dead idler pulley. I was so tired of searching and searching for a XJ I just bought that one. No more then two minutes after pulling out of his house the power steering was losing power and fast. I stopped and realized it was DUMPING power steering fluid everywhere. While under the car trying to find the leak I also noticed the header had a decent crack it in.

I called the guy and lucky enough he was very cool. We talked about it all and ended up trading back money for Jeep and I went home. That night I opened up craigslist again and BOOM! A 1 owner, white, 96 right down the street from me. The ad was a little sketch because there was poor typing and grammar errors. I got ahold of the guy and went to take a look at it. He wasnt going to be home for me to see and was nice enough to leave the keys in it for me to check it out. As soon as I opened the door I knew it was the winner. Almost zero rust, interior was basically spotless, had almost all the service records from 96 and even had the window sticker!

I picked it up the next day and was like a 5 year old on Christmas! Got to work cleaning the carpets and wiping down the interior. I was in shock on how clean it was. It was that mythical unicorn used car everyone talks about but no one can find. Here are a few pictures of it a day or so after I brought it home.












Super clean right? After driving it for a few days it happened. I was driving over to a friends house to work on his Evo and Molly (My XJ) just died. WTF! Maybe my mythical creature wasnt so mythical after all. Get stopped and pop the hood. Noticed my distribution cap was loose. Hum.. Got it tightened down and tried again. Nope, ****. Check all my wires and everything seemed fine. Friend picked me up and we got gas thinking maybe the gauge was broken. Negative. Now I was worried. I talk to my dad since I have never owned a car with a distribution setup. Tells me to check the rotor. Well my knuckle head friend had pulled it out already "examined" it and put it back in. I decide to recheck his work (which seems to be a common occurance) Sure enough the metal tabs on the rotor were missing.

Woohoo for a 7$ fix! Im happy again. Put in the new rotor and she fired right up

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Last edited by GTEIS300; 08-18-2010 at 11:57 AM..
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Unread 05-07-2010, 08:16 AM   #2
ibjeepin95
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Very nice XJ, I wish I could find one around here that clean.
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Unread 05-07-2010, 08:22 AM   #3
GTEIS300
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Frederick, Maryland
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The following weekend I decided to remove the seats to clean up the previous owners coffee mess that was under the seat. Bad idea. The seat rear bolt on BOTH sides snapped right off. Lucky it was only one and not all four. Ended up having to drill out the old bolt on each side and throw in new stainless ones. Not big deal just was a pain. I have been running the car on temp tags for almost two weeks now. After the rotor incident my pops decided to order me a new cap, and a backup rotor. Well I decide to put them in. I went to pull off the first plug and **** my pants. I pulled the wire right out of the boot. Thank you advance auto for being open till 10. Ran over there and got a new set of plug wires. Im starting to enjoy the quick and easy repairs. Something that doesnt happen on my Lexus.

Decided to drop it off for inspection yesterday. Hope everything goes well. The previous owner and replaced all the front suspension, radiator, valve cover and valve cover gasket, rack and pinion, tires, air filter, plugs, fans, and more. I just did the rotor, cap and wires the other day.

Suspension
Well After being on the forum looking at ever damn jeep on here I was bitten. I already have a "toy" car that gets messed with all the time. I didnt want to go crazy with Molly (my XJ). I just wanted something that had a more aggressive stance and could get me out to go camping and fishing off the beaten path. Some may have seen my other posts about wanting a small lift that would good for a daily jeep. I estimated 90% roads 10% off roading. I decided to give Molly a look over underneath to see how the suspension looked.





Seems like the rear is shot. After a ton of research I have decided on my budget kit. I ordered a set of JK(Black) shocks, OME 2" HD Leaf pack, 2" coil spacers, and leaf bushings. Im planning to run some 30" A/T tires. Not quite sure on brand yet. I know the BFGs are the most popular tire. I have also been looking at Treadwright retreads. They are SO cheap. Got to wait till next pay check to order wheels and tires but soon enough.

Anyways I will try and keep this up-to-date as frequently as possible. I am trying to make a trip out to Green Ridge State Forest here in MD sometime soon to do some camping and wheeling.
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Last edited by GTEIS300; 07-20-2010 at 08:05 AM..
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Unread 05-07-2010, 01:34 PM   #4
GTEIS300
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Crap. Just talked to inspection place and she has two exhaust leaks. One on muffler and one on manifold.
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Unread 05-07-2010, 02:43 PM   #5
GTEIS300
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Looks like I need a new muffler and exhaust manifold gasket. Not quite sure if the mechanic was just looking for something to get some extra money out of me or if it really was a problem. Looks like Im getting exhaust Anyone recommend a decent but cheaper muffler?
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Unread 05-07-2010, 09:10 PM   #6
jeepmanjc
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yea.....NO MUFFLER!!!! haha sweet jeep
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http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f6/support-jeepforum-equipment-drive-963790/
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Unread 05-10-2010, 07:26 PM   #7
GTEIS300
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PARTS!



Awesome. I started messing with the bushings this afternoon. Not to much fun but after some careful redneck engineering I got them in snug. My first question is does anyone have the size of the bolts needed for the leaf springs. I plan on cutting the old ones out if they give me any problem at all. I also forgot to order Ubolts. Any I going to need new ubolts? Also my coil spacers for the front are on back order. Gr. No big deal I guess I dont plan on installing the lift till I get my wheel/tire setup.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:36 PM   #8
GTEIS300
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Just an update for the people who are following this. I finished up replacing my old exhaust manifold this afternoon as wheel as my old muffler. Bolted on a thrush muffler. Doesnt sound bad at all. Im actually surprised on how it sounds. Really mean. Not to loud but just loud enough. Ill try and get a video up in the morning. I also ordered some Cragar V5s
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Unread 05-22-2010, 09:31 AM   #9
RobbyD
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That's just as clean as my '95 Cherokee Sport.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 08:05 PM   #10
GTEIS300
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Did my first sort of wheeling the other day. I can see how this can get addicting. My girlfriend, another friend, and I all went up to Green Ridge State Forest the other day and had a blast. The jeep went through obstacles that I never thought a stock Jeep would get through.

Shows you how much I know! Went through one serious mud pit that came up to bottom of the doors. Just shocked me that it was so deep and my Jeep just crawled right through. Anyways it was a blast and I cant wait to get my lift on and get my tires ordered.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 10:31 PM   #11
getgnar
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wow! this cherokee is so clean. can't wait for updates!
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Unread 06-01-2010, 09:07 AM   #12
GTEIS300
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Decisions, Decision. Trying to decide if I should go with 30" or 31"s. Its the last piece of the puzzle. Got wheels, lift, new lugs, coil spacers, and struts. If I go with 31s am I going to do any trimming, or run the risk or ripping fender covers off? I have been set on 30"s for a while but got the crazy idea to look at 31s and now i cant pick.
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Unread 07-14-2010, 12:34 PM   #13
Jesseman445
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Pics don't work

If I read correctly you're going to run a 2" lift? You'd probably have to trim to fit 31s, my old 3" (sagging a bit, probably 2-2.5) rubbed when I got new 31" Cepeks.
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Unread 07-14-2010, 03:05 PM   #14
getgnar
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Where the pictures! I wanna see!
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Unread 07-20-2010, 08:07 AM   #15
GTEIS300
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aaaghhh. I didnt know the pictures were down. I need to upload the new pictures of the Cragar V5s and other goodies.
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