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Savvy/Currie Aluminum Control ArmsRockridge 4WD IS Taking Zone Offroad Suspension Lift Kits ZONE 4.25" combo lift for TJ available at Rockridge4w

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Unread 04-04-2010, 11:27 AM   #1
00XJ49
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Indiana
Posts: 215
Project 49: "Sheila"

I suppose it's time to start this...

2000 Cherokee Sport, 4.0L I6 engine, D35 rear axle. I'll have had her for 4 years when summer gets here, and she'll be past 140K by that point. Right now, everything that matters is stock. This is her just a few weeks after I bought her...



Didn't really have any big plans at the time, was mainly just happy to have a Jeep. The previous owner had put in some aftermarket fog lights, but they were in rough shape, so I found a factory kit and put them in. Put in an aftermarket stereo and CD changer (just found out it'll read MP3s, now I've got my whole music collection in the CD changer). I've got a friend who, at the time, was working for Harman Kardon, and got me a great deal on an amp, and was able to get me a couple of 10" subs and a box for free.

Had the Jeep for my junior, senior, and super senior years in college. Senior year we had a snow storm where there was over 2 feet on the ground, and drifts that were covering cars. Was heading to class one morning, and my neighbor was digging out his Toyota. I hopped in the Jeep, put it in 4WD, and backed right out - the look on his face was priceless. Got half way to campus, and my roommate called me to let me know classes were cancelled. The university hadn't called classes on account of weather for over 20 years.



Christmas of my super senior year I started losing alot of coolant, and traced it to the water pump. I'm not super mechanically minded, but I have another buddy that is, so he helped me replace it. Took over a week - the old gasket had pretty much become one with the engine block, and I didn't quite get it all off before putting on the new one. Had to wait for another gasket to be ordered, so the Jeep sat in his driveway for awhile. Was thrilled to get her back on the road, but on the way back up to school...



Was at about the half-way mark, when I got behind a salt truck doing 30 in a 50. There wasn't any snow anywhere, and the road looked dry as a bone, so I moved to pass. Turns out it was a solid sheet of ice, and as I was straightening out in the other lane, the back end kicked out. Ended up sliding sideways back into my side of the road, and went into an embankment at 90 degrees. Caught the front driver's side and flipped completely around (but not over!), stopped facing backwards. Miraculously, it was all body damage, and I've got full coverage, so things turned out alright.

I graduated last May, and the bug finally bit me - it was time to lift. Well, that and I noticed how shot the leaf springs were, and I figured if I was going to replace them anyway, might as well go the extra mile. ...er, inches... Here's how she stands as of last fall (still stock)...



And here's what's sitting on the floor of my living room...



Rubicon Express 3.5" Super Flex kit. Just waiting for the wheels I ordered to come in so I can put everything on at the same time. In the mean time, I've been taking care of all the little nitpicky things I've been putting off until now. My rear wiper switch and fog light switch had some issues, so I ordered and installed new ones. The window lock on the driver's window control panel was stuck on, so I put a new one of those in as well. I also replaced the lift gate struts - I knew the old ones were shot, but I didn't realize how bad... The lift gate actually raises itself now.

Also traced down a problem with my stereo. Whenever I had a really powerful hit on the amp, the head unit would completely crap out. I thought it was because the capacitors in the pre-amp outputs were shot. One of the other little things I was fixing was a switch I had hooked up to the remote line to control power to the amp. The switch had a LED on it, which had quit working after the body shop repaired the Jeep. They also managed to blow the in-line fuse to the amp, so I figured a power surge had fried the LED.

I finally got around to putting in a new switch, but the LED on it wouldn't work either. Started pulling wires, and discovered that I had wired the ground from the switch and the stereo to the factory ground harness, but had just secured it with electrical tape. The connections had come loose, which was why the LED wasn't working, and why the head unit kept cutting out when it tried to draw too much power. Cut the harness off and soldered the connections (don't know why I didn't do that to begin with), and got two birds with one stone!

I've got some (more) overtime pay coming to me from work - every month or so I head down to Texas A&M University to conduct testing at their cyclotron facility. That'll go to a grill guard, brush guards (for the tail lights), and driving lights. After that, I'm saving up for a bit for a vacation. Then I've got plans for some light bars (front and rear), new exhaust/intake, and locker.

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Last edited by 00XJ49; 05-08-2010 at 03:05 PM..
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Unread 05-08-2010, 03:44 PM   #2
00XJ49
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Well, since the first post, things have pretty much just sat. The lift kit is still on my living room floor, but at least it's got some company now...



Pro-Comp Series 7069 15x8s. Got five of them so that I can just leave the spare in if I ever need it. Going to wrap them all in BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 31x10.5s.

Was going to install everything last weekend, but I ended up having another trip to Texas, and my buddy had to do something else too. So now the plan is for two weeks from now. I've been PB Blasting since Monday, so I hopefully won't have any trouble with anything.

I've got enough $$$ saved up for other goodies (grill guard, tail light guards, roof rack), which I'm itching to buy, but I'm trying to be responsible... Trying... I'm eventually going to put in a SYE and CV driveshaft, but I figure I'll see how bad the vibes are after I get the kit on, and if I can't live with them for awhile, those will be my next upgrades.
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Unread 05-27-2010, 06:53 AM   #3
00XJ49
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Still haven't installed the kit, but me and my buddy are on schedule to do it the weekend after this coming one. I'm in Utah right now (another trip for work = more $$$) and will be flying back Saturday. We could get on it then, but it'll be 3ish by the time I get home, and I'll probably be pretty wiped out.

The itches finally got to me, and I ordered more goodies yesterday. New spring-over plates, extended front brake lines, all new nuts and bolts (grade 8/10 for SAE/metric, all the bolts and washers are yellow zinc coated, all the nuts are clear zinc coated), Garvin sport roof rack with spare tire mount, 4 forward facing light tabs, and 2 rear facing light tabs, grill guard, and tail light guards.

I've still got enough in the account for an Advance Adapters SYE and Tom Wood CV driveshaft, but I gotta get the lift on to get the measurements... I think. I emailed Tom Wood to see if they already had the measurements for my lift setup - guess we'll see...
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Unread 06-05-2010, 09:47 AM   #4
00XJ49
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Well, we finally started on the Jeep last night. Many pictures follow...

First off, just a bunch of "before's"...










Then fender to tire and fender to hub cap measurements, starting with the passenger's front and working clockwise...








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Unread 06-05-2010, 10:03 AM   #5
00XJ49
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And now all the new goodies...

BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 31x10.5's on Pro-Comp 7060 15x8's. Got five of each so I'll have a full-size spare.



Rubicon Express 3.5" Super-Flex kit with new rear leaf springs.



Also got a RE adjustable trackbar, Skyjacker shocks and steering stabilizer, Steelcraft tail light guards...



...and a Ram grill guard.



Getting an idea of what's to come...



This would be my incredible friend Kory, without whom this project would not be possible.



This would be Kory's carport, which is the last place Sheila will ever be this short again!



We started to jack her up by the hitch, since it was the only good center point we could find, but we quickly realized we weren't going to get enough clearance that way, so we did each side a little at a time by the subframe rails.





Got the wheels off, and proceded to work on the upper shock mounts...




I've been PB Blasting for over a month, but unfortunately all four of these bolts broke. We get to drill and re-tap today...




The lower shock mount nuts came off without a problem, and I started pulling out the rear sway bar.



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Last edited by 00XJ49; 06-05-2010 at 10:23 AM..
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Unread 06-05-2010, 10:17 AM   #6
00XJ49
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I started removing the old rear brake line...




Kory made a trip to his dad's for some more tools, chief among them a breaker bar and cheater bar. BIG HELP!



He finished removing the old shocks.



The bottom of the old brake line came out no problem.



The top was corroded pretty badly, and at first the flare nut wouldn't spin on the hard line. Some PB Blaster and some taps with a hammer loosened it up, though. After getting the flare nut out, there was a clip that pulled out (with some prying with a flathead screwdriver), releasing the top of the brake line.



The new brake line went in the exact same way the old one came out.



I had some trouble getting both sides of the hard lines on the axle shaft back into the junction. I ended up starting them with the junction loose, then screwing it onto the axle shaft, then tightening the flare nuts.





Then I moved on to the U-bolts...




Down came the axle. Not gonne lie, this part made me nervous.



I'm not sure we're gonna have clearance for the new leafs with the axle supported this way, but we'll figure it out when we get there...



Had to brace the nut on the shackle-end bolts on the leafs to get them out.



We did get the subframe-end bolts to come out of the weld nuts, but they siezed to the metal sleeve inside the bushing, so we'll have to cut them out today.



The shackle-end bolts wouldn't come all the way out due to the hitch, so there'll be cutting on these guys too.



All this took around six hours to pull off. Right now the old leafs are still on with the bolts loosened. The biggest things I was afraid of were breaking the upper shock mount bolts (which happened), breaking any of the weld nuts (which hasn't happened), and the leaf spring bolts siezing to the metal sleeves inside the bushings (which happened). Everything so far is overcome-able, though...

More to come!
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Unread 06-05-2010, 10:41 AM   #7
2000BB6
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sweet XJ. i broke all my bolts when i did my shocks too. pita
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Unread 06-05-2010, 12:39 PM   #8
Amills
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Lookin good so far! Good progress!
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Unread 06-05-2010, 12:55 PM   #9
Bama_WJ
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Cool to see another Purdue person on here. I'm about to start my last semester there in the fall. If you ever come back to visit and see a lifted WJ with bumpers, give me a wave.

Build is looking good though.
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Unread 06-05-2010, 02:41 PM   #10
misscla
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cool! Cant wait to see what it looks like when its done!
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Unread 06-06-2010, 01:17 AM   #11
00XJ49
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Thanks for the encouragement! We made a little progress today, but ran into a few more problems, too...

First thing on today's agenda was to cut out the leaf spring bolts. The Dodd-grinder (borrowed from a buddy whose last name is Dodd) was a resounding success!



The back bolts came out no problem!



...unfortunately, the front bolts weren't so easy. There was still a fair amount of the front end of the bolt hanging out inside the subframe rail.



I started to attack it with the angle grinder, and thought I was making progress, until...



...I looked at the front of the mounting bracket. Whoopsie...



...and this is what you look like when you're too close to melting rubber bushings (that's me).



Another excellent friend helping with the front mounts. First thought was to pry them out, but that didn't work. Ended up going with a sawzall, and that ended up working even better than the angle grinder. Who knew?



The crappiest thing that happened today was a drill bit broke off. We're gonna try heating it up tomorrow to pull it out.

Kory drilling out the broken bolts.



Drilled out bolts.



Leaf springs finally removed!



Comparison of old and new...



"Action" shot...


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Unread 06-06-2010, 01:25 AM   #12
00XJ49
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New leaf spring in place.



Had to widen the spring plate pin hole a little with a Dremel.



The front leaf spring mount that we'd been beating and prying on got a little messed up, so we home-brewed a tap out of an extra bolt. It worked!




U-bolts and spring-over plates in place...



We had to rig up a pulley system using a ratchet strap to get the rear mount together.




Leaf springs all bolted in - look Ma, no jack stands! (That bottle jack isn't doing anything, promise.)



I put the bolts in opposite from how the factory put them in. Seemed to make more sense to me...



I couldn't resist sticking the new wheels and tires on. I now can't wait to get this project finished.



Measured it out, and I got about 6.5" higher from where the back end used to be. It'll settle about an inch, but I'm still very pleased!



Pinion angle looks good...



...and the slip yoke isn't too far out!



Wish us luck on that broken bit tomorrow. Ryan (the leaf spring walker) works at a truck customs shop, and some of the guys there know how to deal with such a situation, so if we don't have any luck, that's where we're headed.
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Unread 06-06-2010, 08:40 AM   #13
jahlborn
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I vote you drive it around with just the backend jacked up...haha
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Unread 06-06-2010, 09:02 AM   #14
Amills
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that would be pretty cool!
Looks good!
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Unread 06-06-2010, 07:02 PM   #15
kabowabo
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Good job, my '00 gave me about the same problems.
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