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Unread 07-10-2014, 07:27 PM   #1
ThreeperJeep
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The Not Entirely Stock XJ

Well, okay, I'll admit; she ain't much to look at. Just a run of the mill 2001 Jeep XJ sitting on a sagging rear suspension and tires that are just a little, eh... large for this application. But she's got good bones, a halfway decent non-rusted body, and the willingness to go everywhere I want to take her. So here's the start.

How it came in early 2012 when I snatched her up from a stealership in Tacoma, WA:



Under the hood:



In her current state, after 2 years.







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Unread 07-10-2014, 07:31 PM   #2
ThreeperJeep
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We've had a lot of good memories so far, but after every trip driving around with the rear end sagging under the strain of only our camping gear, it's time for a change. The springs have had it, so a Rough Country 3" lift system is on the way.

This gets old fast.



But you can't beat the views!

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Unread 07-14-2014, 06:19 PM   #3
ThreeperJeep
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Well it's here. My Rough Country 3" lift came in today. Got the parts laid out to make sure everything is there. My daughter is looking forward to helping Daddy get this thing under the Jeep.

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Unread 07-16-2014, 01:19 AM   #4
91AzXJ
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Use lots of PB Blaster a few days prior to trying to take it apart and you will be a whole lot happier. Also air tools and heat make thing go a lot easier!
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Unread 07-16-2014, 01:26 AM   #5
TylerU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 91AzXJ
Use lots of PB Blaster a few days prior to trying to take it apart and you will be a whole lot happier. Also air tools and heat make thing go a lot easier!
X2.. And Cross your fingers none of the bolt will snap. Or you'll have to put an extra 3 hours to drill them out. But damn your rig is CLEAN... Maybe it's the tires but it kind of look sitting lower than the stock..
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Unread 07-17-2014, 05:15 PM   #6
ThreeperJeep
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Oh we've already had a bolt snap, and a couple leaf spring bolts that refuse to budge. But do not worry. I haven't made it almost a decade as a diesel mechanic for lack of effort. We'll get this on eventually, LOL!
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Unread 07-17-2014, 09:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ThreeperJeep View Post
Oh we've already had a bolt snap, and a couple leaf spring bolts that refuse to budge. But do not worry. I haven't made it almost a decade as a diesel mechanic for lack of effort. We'll get this on eventually, LOL!
Air hammer the shock bolts out if they break. You can fish some new bolts into the holes to use for the shocks. It's the easiest and quickest way.
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Unread 07-18-2014, 04:37 PM   #8
ThreeperJeep
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All done!



Now a couple before and after shots.

BEFORE:


AFTER:


This is how these things should have looked coming out of the factory. She's sitting at a proper height for the tire size. After 13 years, she was ready for the altitude adjustment. The lift is a Rough Country 3" full suspension lift (no add-a-leafs) with their lower control arms.
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Unread 07-18-2014, 10:15 PM   #9
Jrozar
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Looks great, what size tires and rims are you running?
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Unread 07-18-2014, 11:45 PM   #10
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235/70R16 Michelin's on limited 16" wheels. They're nothing special, but I was strapped for cash when the steel belts started showing, and I got these puppies for the right price. And they make the Jeep handle like it's on a rail in the rain.
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Unread 07-24-2014, 09:48 PM   #11
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Speaking of wheels... I've been giving it some considerable thought lately. Where to mount a full size spare? In 2001, in their infinite wisdom, Jeep decided to outfit the Cherokee with a donut for a spare tire. This will not do, especially since my tires are larger than stock. The donut is about 3" shorter than my 237/70R16's, which come out to about 29.5" in diameter. As this is the size I'm going to run, I'm trying to think ahead about how to best mount a spare.

At first, I considered a spare tire carrier on a bumper, but the price of those things are outrageous! I'm not spending upwards of a grand just to hang a spare tire off a piece of metal.

So, I did a little experimenting. I took one of the tires off my jeep and stuffed it in the original spare tire mounting location.



Well look at that! It fits! And it's free!



It sticks out a couple inches into the cargo area (boo hoo, right?).



But I still have enough room to put my camping boxes in the back. It's just a wee bit tighter.

So this simplifies things considerably. And yes, the lift gate does close with that big sucker in there. It's a tight fit, but the tire doesn't contact the lift gate, strut, glass, or the sound bar up above it. So that's going to work for me.
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Unread 08-10-2014, 04:57 PM   #12
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Well after checking to make sure the suspension wouldn't fall off this Jeep, we finally got a free weekend to go play at the beach, so we loaded this pig down with all our camping gear and headed out. I gotta say that the RC 3" handled very well, especially when loaded. On the worn out suspension, this thing would sway back and forth going down the highway at 65 mph. This trip, we were hitting 80 mph+ out on I-15 in Utah, and didn't feel bad at all. It also handled the washboard dirt roads, and some off camber stuff very well. I'm happy with this system.





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Unread 08-10-2014, 04:59 PM   #13
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Why I love my Jeep. All the memories it helps bring.

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Unread 09-16-2014, 06:23 PM   #14
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Suspension Fine Tuning

Well, when the suspension was fresh, the Jeep sat just a little higher in the rear than the front, which is what I like. I'm not a big fan of those truck leveling kits, or vehicles that sit at exactly the same height in the back as the front. When you load them down, they look like they are sagging when in reality, the rear suspension is doing what it is designed to do. Either way, I'm going to go pick up a loaded 5x8 trailer in Idaho next week, and decided I don't want to look like the guy going down the freeway with the Jeep that sits lower in the rear than the front. Plus, with the rear springs settling in, the Jeep lost what little height it had over the front. Well I like a rake. To me, it's more aggressive looking, and when you load the rig down, it handles better.

So the solutions were that I could try to fit some air bags under the Jeep, but it's not cost-effective - not when Rough Country already figured out a solution to the problem I've been having.



This will do nicely. The sun is in a crappy spot for picture taking, so I'll snap a couple when there isn't a bunch of glare in the driveway.
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Unread 09-16-2014, 07:03 PM   #15
ThreeperJeep
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The sun went down a little bit, so I was able to snap a couple poser pics in the driveway.



Now that we have the same amount of wheel well to tire gap front and rear, the Jeep looks a hundred times better. It was a big optical illusion before because while the Jeep sat level, the rear wheel well opening had less gap than the front, and it looked bad to me. I like this much better.



Rear quarter shot. Love it! The ride quality is unaffected.
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