Hey all, my name is John. I wanted to start this as a build thread/journal, just as a way for me to keep track of everything I'm doing and to ask about things, and hopefully soon have some good techy stuff in it. I also wanted to introduce myself and this WJ I just picked up. I'm 26, ex-Air Force, and studying Electrical Engineering at NC State. I have been getting tired of daily driving my 98 XJ Stroker with a big cam and loud exhaust around every day, so I decided it had to go. I figured since what I need is a 95% of the time nice DD and 5% of the time beef trail rig, I could make that happen pretty nicely in a WJ. I have been looking for a couple weeks for an 02-04 WJ Limited or Overland with a blown motor that I could pick up cheap, what I found a few days ago turned out to be even better. I found on CL a fully loaded 2004 WJ Limited, 4.7 non-HO with 135k and an alleged warped head... for $1200... I mean cmon, the book value on this thing is like $7k! wtf! I had to make the 250 mile drive to get it and tow it back (on a trailer, with my XJ, scary). It was a company car and the guy said they replaced the head gasket twice and it still wouldn't stop making steam out of the exhaust, but he said it did stop it for a little while, so in my mind that probably rules out a cracked head. This coming weekend I plan to start tearing the engine down for my own piece of mind, but so far it runs absolutely fine, not a single sign of anything being wrong with it, no steam, nothing!
Immediate issues to deal with:
1. Pull engine, inspect and rebuild as necessary. (As soon as I get this finished, the XJ is going up for sale.)
2. Grinding noise during turns, I think I've narrowed this down to be something with the driveline, maybe the QD diff.
3. The factory satnav is missing the DVD, so it's hard to find the mall.....
Plans for the future:
I built the stroker in my XJ by myself and welded up a JCR kit rear bumper which I thought turned out great (and also pulled a 6000lb trailer from Maryland, not too shabby), which I know doesn't make me a fabricator, but hopefully I'll be stretching my legs a little with fabricating stuff for the WJ, like integrated sliders (i.e. cut out the rocker panel and weld in some thick ****, then make it all look like it came from the factory.), actually fabbing my own bumpers, not just gluing someone else's design together, and hopefully I'll have the balls to make my own long arms, a 3-link front and 4link triangulated rear, all from the same x-member I hope, but I don't know much about the dimensions down below yet to know if all this can be done, since I don't think the Clayton's uses the same x-member for front and rear, and they use radius arms, trying to avoid that. I'm hoping that by moving the axles further to the front and back, doing some fender trimming and building my own high clearance bumpers I will be able to do 33s on minimal lift, I want to stay as good on the highway as I can, it will need to be the family beach/camping/excursion vehicle, and get decent mpg still, as in not 8... or 10.
Most of this is just mirroring what I post up on MC, not because I want to put my junk all over the internet, but I do want the most feedback on questions and crap I'm dealing with as possible. I've was never really active on JeepForum when I had my XJ, but better late than never. Thanks in advance to everyone on here.
Pics from the day after I got it home: