Well as many of you know from my sig quote... The story starts when I put a flowmaster exhaust on my 2000 Cherokee. My crazy friend heard my exhaust and said "Dude, is that a flowmaster? Your exhaust moans like a 20 year old brunette!" What was running through his mind? We could all probably guess, but nevertheless my jeep now had a name.
Since I was young I always wanted a Jeep Cherokee. My dad had a grey '87 limited when I was growing up, and I always loved riding somewhere in the jeep. My dad taught me how to take care of my own vehicle when I was little, and even taught me how to drive it when I was ten years old. Lots of memories were made, and even though he sold it and bought a '99 WJ before I was able to drive, I always knew my first vehicle would be an XJ. My first vehicle turned out to be a 1990 XJ limited, basically the same XJ as dad's, except white. I knew nothing about lifts, and somehow crammed 31s under the stock suspension. That one was sold after being pretty problematic and I bought a 2000 black cherokee sport after months of saving money and driving "grandma's buick". That jeep had only 76k miles on it, but 6 months later was T-boned by a lady on 12/31/08 who was driving too fast in the snow. I was pushed 15 feet sideways and knew the jeep was a gonner. The paramedics were kinda ticked at me because I was more concerned about the jeep than I was getting my vital signs tested.
Picture of me washing my dad's XJ, around 1995 I would guess. My mom found this picture and yes that is one of those hats with a propeller. I was 5.
The 1990 XJ... minus the 31s...
Don't have any pics of the black XJ as I didn't have it long enough
Long story short, after much searching for a rust free XJ during the winter months of CT (almost impossible), I found a 2000 silverstone metallic cherokee sport. 84k miles, stock tiny almost bald tires, and no rust.
This Jeep is used to commute to college daily, and this thread will be used to keep track of its upgrades. Being a daily driver, it will have a mild build but also include improvements that make your everyday XJ even better. While it won't be a huge caged rockcrawler, it will look more aggressive and be more functional.
Here it is the day I brought it home:
Upgrades already completed or will be in the near future:
-remove side trim
-16" Icon wheels with larger not so lame tires
-KC lights (since converted to HID)
-H4 headlight upgrade along with wiring harness
-Aux fan switch mod along with DPG 3 row rad and new tranny cooler
-Flowmaster super 44 and new cat/downpipe
-replace 0331 head
-2" pieced together lift with possible upgrade to 4" down the road depending on summer funds
-Other ideas I'm sure to think of
I won't post everything all at once, but will add bits and pieces to this thread as I have time. Feel free to post questions on anything I have done or plan to do...
My first mod was to add some more lights. I hated how dim the stock headlights were, and having plenty of near-misses with deer I figured it would be well worth getting them.
I bought some 130 watt KC long range lights. This beam is perfect for shining far down the road, and helps spot deer on the curvy backroads I live on. They are very well built and I recommend them.
I also added the bottom square lights in the part of the bumper where stock fogs would have been if it had them. They are cheap walmart lights that measure 2" high by 4" wide, and are 55 watt. The brackets they came with fit perfect in the stock location. According to friends I have driven behind they are very bright. I often drive with just the bottom lights on and have found people don't pull out in front of me as often.
I then mounted switches for both.
I popped off the dash piece and drilled into it to fit the switch. Was a bit more of a pain but looks much cleaner.
Next I decided I hated the plastic side trim. Some was already falling off, and I decided to rip the rest of it off. It came off easy, but the leftover glue was a pain. For anyone doing this I recommend a drill and a rubber 3M eraser wheel. It will do the job in half the time. Don't do what I did and use a plastic spatula and some Goo-Gone. I ended up taking off some of the clear coat.
It looks cleaner and I plan on herculing the rockers and lower doors soon. I'm already getting a bit of rust on the inside of the doors.
The small tires were starting to show their age, and after getting completely sideways in the rain unintentionally, I decided it was time for some new meats. Winter was also coming quickly and I didn't want to have these crappy tires in the snow. I decided to go with the biggest tire I could fit.
I bought some 16" Icon wheels off craigslist, and ended up meeting this kid who had the same color jeep as mine except it was huge. About 5" lift and 33" Pro comp muds. If only my jeep could be that high..someday
I bought 235/75/16 Mastercraft Courser MSRs. They are a snow mud and rain tire with lots of siping. Cheap price and made by Cooper. My friend had them on his '01 Ranger with good results so I decided to get 'em. They are an awesome tire. Great control in any condition, and I'd buy them again.
The tires measure out to 29.9" x 9.3" and do look a bit stuffed.
I can even "driveway flex" them out with swaybars connected and they won't rub, but I bet if I disco'd they would rip the flares right off.
I started looking at lifts, but as luck would have it, something decided to break.... My exhaust. At first it was a small leak in front of the cat, which got bigger and I could smell exhaust in the cab. After hearing my friend's ZJ with a flowmaster, I decided to get one. I got the 2.5" IRO Exhaust with highflow cat, and it sounded great. Due to the cat falling apart, and the CT winter salt rusting competely through my autozone pipe, I redid it.
My current setup is a Walker Cat Convertor, and Flowmaster super 44 Offroad muffler. Everything is now 2.25" pipe.
Heres a video taken about a month ago a day after I installed it. I will add a new one soon since now its louder and broken in more.
x2. i looked through all your threads a couple times before and this time here it was. you know what youre doing so im excited to see how yours turns out
haha thanks guys. I didn't want to be one of those guys who starts a thread but never lifts his jeep. I've learned a decent amount about XJs, its really just the cash flow thats holding me back. I'm definitely lifting it soon, and I'm debating between a nice 2" lift or a cheaper 3". I'm trying to factor in how much money I'll have for extra problems such as driveline vibes or a new trackbar.
yeah I'm debating. If I go 2" I don't have to buy new shocks right away and mostly likely won't need a SYE or trackbar. With a 3" I will need new shocks, possibly a trackbar and a SYE if a T-case drop doesn't work. My 30" tires are also pretty new so if I get the 3" I will want bigger tires too. I'm thinking of maybe doing the 2", then when I graduate college going right to 4" and 32s.
Yeah just have to figure out how to install the suckers.
If you go 2 inch. on lift, you should check out OME. When/if I ever go 2 inches, i'll go w/ OME.
Installing them isn't too bad. Theres a little clip that hold the wiper to the arm. Pull the wiper outwards toward you, turn it almost vertical, and feel for a clip underneath it near the center. Push on that clip and you can usually pop them off.
I'm going with a 2" lift to start. I'm planning on getting 2" IRO front coil spacers, and 2" medium duty OME leaf packs. The medium duty packs give anywhere from 2-2.25" of lift. I am also planning to get Rough Country 2-3" lift shocks. This way, if I want to go to 3" I won't have to get new shocks. If I go 3" in the future, like when my current 30" tires wear out, then I will add a 1" shackle to the OME packs, and pick up some 3" rusty's coils for $99. Should be a nice riding setup without having to redo a bunch of stuff for 3". I'm mainly testing how well my drivetrain accepts the lift. If I go 2" and get crazy vibes even with a T-case drop, then I will know 2" is probably the max before a SYE. If I go 2" without many problems, then I will go to 3" over the summer. Thats the plan as of now.