JJ the Red XJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-08-2013, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 988
JJ the Red XJ

Welcome to the World's Slowest Build. No seriously though. This build will be slow, but a lot of it will be detailed with write-ups to hopefully facilitate those of you in need of help. So, before I begin...


First and foremost let me introduce myself. My name is Matt. Im from upstate NY and I am currently residing in Hampton, VA. This is my current duty location (Air Force). This is my second XJ and Jeep. The first was a white, 96 Sport with a mild 2" BB and 30" Dakota A/T's. That bad boy could do some work... then came tragedy. I blew the head gasket, had a rear main seal leak, and a slew of other issues. So, being right out of high school, I sold it for around what I paid for it, which wasnt much. That was roughly 4 years ago. Enough though, onward...

My Aspirations:

What Im aiming for with this build is a well endowed XJ. Basically enough to go play and not get stuck, but enough to get me from A to B, no matter what the distance. We all know however, this could change. So as of right now the goal is
-3-3.5" Total Lift Height
-31" A/T's
-Full undercarriage armor
-Front and rear bumpers
-Swing out tire carrier from the hitch
-Enough lights, not many though

The idea is, I want to maintain a level of stock feel. Im aiming to have the 31's mounted on stock Moab's. The bumpers will be mild, nothing crazy, and the lights will be few, but effective, possibly LED's. First and foremost Im going to be restoring it as best I can to factory look. I want someone to think when they see it, "Did he get that from the factory?"

The Way I Bought Him:

Sweet and simple. Its a stock 2000 XJ Sport. Had 156,200 miles when I bought it 9 months ago, it only has 156,600 now. I live and work on base luckily, 2 miles round trip. When I purchased it I was under the impression that all was wrong was a bad brake setup in the front which was all I could find. Came with a tow package, installed from the dealership sometime after purchase as far as I can tell. Stock CD player, and everything worked... except for the windows. The switches on all the doors were inop except for the drivers panel. The only body defects it had were a faded header panel and trim. Aside from that, everything was in really awesome shape, I was rather surprised. If youre wondering why I call him JJ, it is a name given to him by my girlfriend. She calls her Cobalt (terrible, I know) CC. So the name stuck.

So it begins....

About 3 weeks after purchasing JJ I noticed some of the coolant was magically disappearing. Didnt think much into, just filled the radiator back up, put the cap back on. Took off about 5 miles down the road to go to Lowe's when *POP*. Saw the temp gauge shoot up and the check gauges light come on. So I quickly pulled into the nearest gas station and bought some coolant. Let it cool down so I could try to limp home. WRONG. Got about a mile down the road when it happened again. Lucky for me, there was an AutoZone in the complex where it happened. Asked one of the guys, thinking it was a blown gasket, and he said it was more than likely a cracked head which caused the gasket to blow. Called up the insurance company, had em tow JJ to the shop...

Turns out it was a cracked head and blown gasket. Only cost about $900 to get it done after machining, and it was a job well done.

SOLD- '13 JKR with lots of goodies
Current- '98 TJ Sahara: build coming in October
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-08-2013, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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First Write-Up

This will be my first (sort of) write-up.
Trim Painting

This literally is the easiest thing Ive done that requires work. Anyone can do this to make their XJ look a bit better, from the newbs to the trail proven. If you go to any automotive store, they should have the stuff. Its just a simple, $7-9 spray can of trim and bumper paint such as this:

So now is a good time to just go ahead and mask off everything you dont want painted. This stuff will get specks everywhere if you arent careful. I would mask off an area of about 1 ft to 2 ft around the part you are spraying like so

Then just go ahead and spray it on. Spray atleast 2 coats and let it sit for about 10 min before you put another coat on. This stuff sticks well to the plastic, but not everything else, so if you notice it getting on the paint, rub it off, it almost always will come off if you catch it early enough.



This literally is one of the easiest things you can do. Granted, its a slow project due to prep time and waiting, but it was worth it IMO . Side note: Im planning on removing the trim already, what a waste haha.

SOLD- '13 JKR with lots of goodies
Current- '98 TJ Sahara: build coming in October
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-08-2013, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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So today I got the brakes done finally at the Firestone on base. Didnt take them long and it drives a lot better. After I got it back I decided to try and change the spark plugs. This is the first time Ive ever done it and frankly, its not hard, just tests your patience a bit. I didnt take pictures while I was doing it mainly because towards the end of the breakdown, I started running out of time at the Hobby Shop, a shop on base with a bunch of bays and lifts you can work on your car at, costs $4 an hour with tools included. Nonetheless it all went well. I used this write-up for the specs on torque values and such:
Its a great step by step of how to do it, mind you for a distributor-less 4.0.
The Spark Plugs
Out- Autolite
In- Champion Copper

Now I understand some of you may thing that those were cheap and not worth putting in, but honestly, they were cheap and I will more than likely replace them in another year with something better. Started JJ up, and ran just fine with the new plugs. The plugs themselves were slightly different than the Autolites but it ended up being fine. Now to the real issue. I went to close the hood and back out when I noticed the hood wouldnt close on the right side, so I went to pop it and...

Notice anything wrong haha? (Yes, I removed the kick panel after this happened to show the carnage)
This warranted another trip to AutoZone to get a cable assembly. Unfortunately they didnt have another one in stock so they over nighted it to the store. I will be doing a write-up on the replacement tomorrow.

Up Next:
-Write-up on Replacing Hood Release Cable
-Write-up on Repainting Header Panel
-Write-up on Replacing the Headlights with wiring harness install

I had purchased the Rampage housing and bulbs along with a wiring harness in hopes I could do it this week, but the MOPAR spray can for the header panel wont arrive until early next week. So that will have to wait until then. However, the hood release cable should be getting replaced tomorrow and I will hopefully have that written up tomorrow evening at some point.

SOLD- '13 JKR with lots of goodies
Current- '98 TJ Sahara: build coming in October
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-09-2013, 01:54 PM
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looks to be a good starting platform, but holy huge pictures, use photobucket and shrink them down so they dont explode peoples screens
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-09-2013, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I meant to drop them down in size but never got around to it. I'll work on that this evening.

Also, got the hood release cable fixed. One of the easier things I've done. I'll do a write up on that later as well.

Sent from my pocket brick

SOLD- '13 JKR with lots of goodies
Current- '98 TJ Sahara: build coming in October
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-09-2014, 08:50 PM
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What ... You got a tj ..I'm spamming all your threads lol

[ ]||||||[ ] ... http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f11/98-green-xj-daily-driver-build-996260/
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