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Unread 09-19-2013, 08:45 AM   #1
clintrivera
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Project NW Explorer II: 2003 Overland WJ

Project NW Explorer II


I'll admit it. I'm hard to satisfy when it comes to cars. I've recently stayed with the Jeep brand, but within that brand I've built a YJ, two TJ's, a ZJ and two XJ's. None of these have been the "just right" bowl of porridge for me. Too small. Too unrefined. Slow. Crap interior. And the all important "?" factor. The part of the car that binds you to it, that makes it feel right, feel right for YOU.

It's funny I've never built a WJ. Recently, I've been flipping WJ's for extra cash, and I've even rebuilt a '99 for my girlfriend that she loves. For some reason I've never really looked at the WJ as something to build. Too soccer mom. Too bland. Then, looking around the WJ forum looking for answers to a issue I was having with a flip car, I stumbled on the lifted grand thread. I was converted.

Some of you may have seen my last build http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/t...j-6-a-1453994/
I basically took a TJ, cut it in half, stretched it to unlimited, dropped a 5.3L V8 in it, and threw some JK axles with 37's on it. This new build will be a little more tame.

Here's what I'm starting off with:



2003 Grand Cherokee Overland WJ
4" Teraflex Lift
32" BFG all terrains
Kevin's anti-death-wobble kit
Trailready bumper
Superwinch EPI9 with synthetic rope
Custom Stereo

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Unread 09-19-2013, 08:45 AM   #2
clintrivera
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Build plans: (1.0)


Keep current lift height, add custom long arms (4 link rear, 3 link front) with MC bushings or Clayton's kit

33" tires maximum. Probably 255/85/16 or 255/80/17 KM2's possibly on beadlocks

Custom sliders

Axle swap or ARB front and swap Iron 44 center section rear with ARB

Custom roof rack with tire storage and lighting

Nexus 7 tablet integration for mapping / audio / angry birds / etc

Interior mods for overlanding (sleeping platform, ARB fridge, 2nd battery, etc)
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Unread 09-19-2013, 08:46 AM   #3
clintrivera
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Index:

Custom rock sliders
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Unread 09-19-2013, 10:15 AM   #4
BamaJeepman21
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Can't wait to see this.

Looks good so far.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 10:47 AM   #5
clintrivera
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaJeepman21 View Post
Can't wait to see this.

Looks good so far.
Thanks! I'm resisting the urge to attack the thing with my plasma cutter... Be strong... Be strong...
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Unread 09-19-2013, 10:54 AM   #6
REDLYNER
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Sweet build plan! I've played with the idea of taking a 4.7 WJ and building into a race car- long arms, 33"s, axle upgrades, air bumps, beadlocks, stripped interior, caged, etc etc etc. Sounds like yours will be a little more refined . All of my research had the 2000 to 2003 WJ as the fastest 0 - 60mph SUV under $10k.

Looking forward to pics!
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Unread 09-19-2013, 11:02 AM   #7
lemiller
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I cant wait to see this, sounds almost exactly what I am looking to do. Good luck and enjoy the WJ.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 11:18 AM   #8
michigan37
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I like your tire options. I'm thinking about doing the 255/80/17 for my LJ also. I was just worried how an E rated tire would ride and perform off road. I followed the beast build, can't wait to see this. Like the overland theme.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 01:03 PM   #9
clintrivera
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDLYNER View Post
Sweet build plan! I've played with the idea of taking a 4.7 WJ and building into a race car- long arms, 33"s, axle upgrades, air bumps, beadlocks, stripped interior, caged, etc etc etc. Sounds like yours will be a little more refined . All of my research had the 2000 to 2003 WJ as the fastest 0 - 60mph SUV under $10k.

Looking forward to pics!
It's a great platform. It's unibody, but stiffer and thicker than the ZJ and XJ so it should be a little tougher. I'll probably do air bumps eventually, but I'm trying not to let this build go out of control. It also has the 4.7HO, and while not as fast as my Wrangler, it definitely moves pretty good for a SUV.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemiller View Post
I cant wait to see this, sounds almost exactly what I am looking to do. Good luck and enjoy the WJ.
Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan37 View Post
I like your tire options. I'm thinking about doing the 255/80/17 for my LJ also. I was just worried how an E rated tire would ride and perform off road. I followed the beast build, can't wait to see this. Like the overland theme.
Tall / skinny tires are pretty much norm for overlanding rigs. Skinny tires give you more pressure per inch and therefore more traction. They perform better than wide tires in most conditions with the exception of mud and snow deeper than the frame rails. There are two reasons people get wide tires (outside of heavy snow or mud).

1. Very few options past a 33" tire
2. They look better

Think of it this way, when it's icy out and you are trying not to fall down, do you sometimes walk on your tip toes to stop you from slipping? Same concept with the skinny tire.

As far as load range E, the WJ is a little heavier than your average Jeep so it should be no problem. Also the KM2's are known for weaker sidewalls and this should help. Plus there are lots of guys running them on Tacoma's and they do not report a rough ride.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 01:41 PM   #10
michigan37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clintrivera
Tall / skinny tires are pretty much norm for overlanding rigs. Skinny tires give you more pressure per inch and therefore more traction. They perform better than wide tires in most conditions with the exception of mud and snow deeper than the frame rails. There are two reasons people get wide tires (outside of heavy snow or mud). Think of it this way, when it's icy out and you are trying not to fall down, do you sometimes walk on your tip toes to stop you from slipping? Same concept with the skinny tire. 1. Very few options past a 33" tire 2. They look better As far as load range E, the WJ is a little heavier than your average Jeep so it should be no problem. Also the KM2's are known for weaker sidewalls and this should help. Plus there are lots of guys running them on Tacoma's and they do not report a rough ride.
Can't wait to see it. Thanks for sharing the info.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 03:10 PM   #11
cycleguy04
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Oh, no! Not the 4.7!

Nice WJ. I think I recall seeing that one on CL. The 4" lift with 32's doesn't look half bad. At that height, how is it getting in and out? What's your ground clearance like? Reason I'm asking is my wife is tired of her $380 Subaru Forester payment, so I acquired a Ford Ranger for free and got it running. She likes it, but I know she would be a little more happy with something newer with four doors and a real back seat.

I've scoured the WJ lift threads a few times and really like the look of the 6.5" lifts with 33" tires with the axles centered properly underneath the wheel well, but my wife is 5'4". She might not like getting in and out of it. She certainly doesn't like getting in and out of my Wrangler with 3.5" lift and 33" tires.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 04:22 PM   #12
clintrivera
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycleguy04 View Post
Oh, no! Not the 4.7!

Nice WJ. I think I recall seeing that one on CL. The 4" lift with 32's doesn't look half bad. At that height, how is it getting in and out? What's your ground clearance like? Reason I'm asking is my wife is tired of her $380 Subaru Forester payment, so I acquired a Ford Ranger for free and got it running. She likes it, but I know she would be a little more happy with something newer with four doors and a real back seat.

I've scoured the WJ lift threads a few times and really like the look of the 6.5" lifts with 33" tires with the axles centered properly underneath the wheel well, but my wife is 5'4". She might not like getting in and out of it. She certainly doesn't like getting in and out of my Wrangler with 3.5" lift and 33" tires.
Oh I know! The sludge monster, head gasket blowing, valve seat dropping, timing cover eating, POS! Luckily the PO had the thing dealer serviced it's whole life with documentation and frequent oil changes.

4" on 32's is very nice. That's one thing I hated with my TJ was having to get into the thing. That's one reason it's going to a 33" tire at most and no more lift height. I want this thing to drive long distance well and not feel like a lifted rig so much. 6" of lift looks nice, but that isn't the build for this rig and I can do 33's with 4" of lift fine. I may even stay with 32's so I can use JK Rubicon take offs. It would be way cheaper.

I'll see how it does this Sunday's shakedown run.

Leaving for Moab next Friday!
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Unread 09-19-2013, 05:56 PM   #13
jforse
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Can't wait to see how the build goes!

I have a full set of JK MOABS and 1.5" wheel spacers if you end up needing a set.
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Unread 09-19-2013, 06:12 PM   #14
mncdriver
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Loved your last build, taming the beast!
Look forward to Moab trip story and build up of the WJ
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Unread 09-19-2013, 07:44 PM   #15
MoonyJohn
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Loved my WJ, youll love it too.. Good luck on the build!
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