GregB's 2000 Cherokee Classic (The Resale Red XJ Build Project)
Great pics and stories in this particular forum thread, so I felt compelled to add mine. I recently bough a mint 2000 Cherokee Classic from my Mother in law. She bought it from a Realtor in Vancouver BC (Canada) so it has seen like zero off road miles (sad). It had a rad failure, so it baked the top end of the engine on the highway.... bad for Mom in law, good for me. Funny thing, realtor lady ordered it with Tow hooks?
-4.0L inline 6
-Stock driveline with Dana 30 fr and Chrysler 8 in the rear
-full load without leather, Cherokee Classic
-re-sale red monochromatic paint (nice) in mint condition
Top end total rebuild, new rad, new cooling system and a nice job of it too. Looks like the exhaust manifold and downpipe were recently done too although the cat is older looking? This is what she did to it....
I replaced the entire braking system: New rotors, new pads, new drums, new shoes, new front wheel bearing (failing). New shocks (stockers for now), new tires, mild AT's as this will see 99% road and gravel duty. I did a full driveline service including a new set of rear gears as mine were wearing and I don't want to look at this again for some time. I have also added in a 600 watt Pioneer Premier based audio system with a ported 10" Infinity sub.
What I am planning:
2-3" lift, probably a Rusty's, a Rubicon Express or possibly a local mix and match from a local shop as they guy has been doing Jeep work for 15 years and good deals are to be had. I am also planning on adding a Flowmaster/Magniflow/Something exhaust system, a KnN Cold Air intake and possibly down the road a rear disk swap. Will likely add some recovery stuff just in case and some bumpers and lights... depending on budget and how addicted to this I get. lol
Looking forward to adding some pics when I actually get it #1. Off road and #2. Worked on and added to! Thanks all for the inspiration and for all of the advice I am going to ask all of you in the coming months.
Fresh out of the box (new to me)
Interior in superb shape...check!
Popped a decent set of shoes on it. Came with CRAP tires.
wow, FAIL on my part... I totally forgot I had started this!! 2008. Um yeah, one or two changes since I posted this! I will post some stuff on what I have done ASAP. I have like 200 pics or so I can post!
Oh and thanks man, I really appreciate that comment... it has been a long road, and I have enjoyed every minute of it!
SWEET!! I'm looking forward to these updates! It has been a long time waiting! (And hopefully those 200 pics make it on here). You have done an awesome job, and I am hoping to pull more inspiration from your build
Ok, was thinking about this today, and thought what the heck, post some updates on what I have done to the XJ since I got it in 2008 and posted this.
Yes, it did become a project, and a passion (ok addiction). I love this Jeep, most fun of any vehicle I have ever owned to date. It tows my trailers, hauls my kids, wife and I around (she complains, but I think she actually likes it), and does whatever I ask it to without much complaining. It spends 99% of its time on the road, hauling me back and forth to work, rain or shine. I knew this going in, so I decided pretty early on that this was going to be a smaller lift and 31" tires was as big as I was going to go.
1. Must be able to tow a camping trailer (2500-2700 LBS)
2. Must be road/commuter friendly(ish)
3. Must be kid friendly
4. Must kick some kind of arse somewhere/somehow?
1. 3-4.5" lift
2. 31" tires max
3. Quality components and no junk
4. Nothing that made it overly unpleasant on long drives on or offroad
5. Must be able to support Overland Travel (what I aspire to)
So where to begin? Well, how about at the beginning. I popped those AT's in the first pics on there. They were actually a really decent tire! Great in the rain, great in the dry, superb in the snow. I did a stereo, sub and overall maintenance. I did new Monroe OEM shocks, new rotors/calipers/pads/drums/shoes/wheel cylinders, new bushings and all new fluids (diffs/TCase/Trans etc). Need to start fresh right?
After that it was running and driving like a dream. But, I had "higher" aspirations for this little XJ, so a shopping I went. I picked up some locally sourced 3" lift leafs with an overload leaf for towing, a set of 2" lift pucks from Energy and a few bits to go along with that...here is what I ended up with.
With all that installed, I was sitting a lot *** high, and with the wee 235's on there is looked a little odd, but not "bad"?
Oh and I popped a roof basket on it at the same time, so handy as the XJ is not that big inside! I was happy with the way it drove, but it felt odd as it was nose down. I knew this was NOT going to last. I ordered a set of 3" BDS lift coils and some Warrior Products sway bar end links to match. I was planning a trip to go and pick them up at North Shore Off Road and came across a set of 4 31" Toyo AT's cheap on Craigslist. I popped the dude some PayPal and had a buddy pick them up (they were in Vancouver as well). I headed on over, and picked up my lift loot and new shoes along with some new shocks as my OEM Monroe's were WAY maxed out and topping out already. I had 15" tires, and was running 16 inch wheels...oh nos! JC Whitney to the rescue.
Ordered a set of Allied Wheel Soft 8 (same as Cragar and everyone elses). Picked up my stuff, and headed home.
I headed home, got the wheels a couple days later (4 x wheels, 4 center caps, shipping to Canada and all in like $250.00 CDN)! I took them to my local tire shop and had them mounted and balanced. Of course I knew they would rub as I still only had the puck lift, but what the heck! Whats a little rubbing between friends? Oh wait...sounds dirty?
Pretty tight in the front. RUBBED like mad at full lock, but looked great! Time to trim, install the coils, links and shocks and see where I was at?
Much better. Pics dont show the end links yet. I had also along the way installed a Magnaflow cat-back system, some KC 57 series lamps and some other goodies. LOVE the driving lights, and cannot say enough good things about the Magnaflow, best sound ever.
So where was I, lift, tires wheels and some other bits installed. Right, now it was time to concentrate on using the Jeep. My wife and I had this awesome camping trailer, and we wanted to get the wee kids out camping. Before that I wanted to do some stuff to the Jeep (of course). I picked up a B&M Supercooler transmission cooler and matching B&M trans temp gauge. Installed both in short order, fantastic quality and they both work amazingly well.
here is what we were towing...
I really like the location I picked for the trans gauge. I didnt figure this one out all on my own, someone on this forum had done this, so I "borrowed" that design. Worked so well, and it is right where you need would think it should be, near the trans right? At this point I was pretty pleased overall, with the excpetion of the ride quality. 3+" of lift on stock LCA's just well, sucks. Harsh and loud over bumps. I ordered a set of 3-4" lift Rough Country X-Flex LCA's and got the JF 10% off discount! I had also popped in a set of crossmember blocks for the trans to get rid of the vibrations. It worked "ok", but as I had won an Advanced Adapters HD SYE from JF Vendor giveaway, I was ready to fix that too!
I got my free AA SYE in the mail (Thanks again dudes at Advanced Adapters), and sourced a stock XJ front driveshaft rebuilt with nice greasable Spicer U Joints for $100 bucks. Dealz!! Installed ALL that stuff.
You might also notice that I have some new NEW shoes in the pic above. Yup, got such an amazing deal on the tires, Hankook MT RT03 for cost! I gave the guy my now 2 year old Toyo tires (which were like 3-4 years old) and he sold me a set of Hankooks for wholesale! Sweet!! I also scored a set of Jeep Liberty center caps for $20 bucks for all 5. I had them for a little while with the old tires...was not digging the old skool steel center caps anymore?
Funny... as I am looking at the pics I noticed a few things.
1. I forgot to mention the wee flare extension install?
2. I forgot to mention the light/brush bar I scored locally!
Wheel well openings were fine with just the stock flares, but MAN the spray in the rain! I live on the west coast of Canada, way out on the west coast, on Vancouver Island. It rains a lot here as we technically live in a rainforest. While beautiful, get used to the wet! The flares were an idea I scooped off of the nicest Jeep on JF. I was checking out his older photos and was digging is old flares. I sent Stevieboy a PM and he hooked me up with the Pacer Performance flex flare idea. $76 bucks for all 4 wheels and some left over!
Not the greatest look ever...but SO much cheaper than say Bush Whacker flat flares, and they work great! The brush bar was a score. I troll the local Craigslist and Used Victoria sites for the Jeep bits. I have scored so many sweet deals on there by being first in line. I paid $100.00 for an OEM dealer installed Mopar brush bar that only needed paint and some new hardware. A half dozen coats of black, and some new stainless hardware and I was good to go!
Scored a pretty sweet deal on a bike rack too!
Around the same time I was lollygagging around this forum, and was chatting back and forth with PhillipJ from Tacoma. He is building one of my fav XJ builds on here, and I was reading his build thread. He mentioned ditching his front factory skid... and I said, man I would like that.
So he gave it to me!
Awesome guy! My mom lives 3 blocks from him in T Town, so she picked it up and brought it up to me on her next visit. Not only did he give it to me free (I got my mom to give him $20) he also stripped it, painted it and THEN gave it to me!
In the meantime I picked up a set of LeBaron hood vents. I sprayed them Jeep Flame Red to match, and sadly they are still sitting in the garage wrapped up awaiting install. The kool think, I found a perfect condition hood same year and color as mine. I am going to have a summer hood, and a winter hood! lol
Um, what else...
Right. I ordered some other stuff around this time. Ruff Stuff diff covers for the CHRY 8.25 and the D30. MAN these things are BEEFY and well made. I sprayed them with a good etch primer and 4 or 5 coats of black, and let them cure for a week. Installed, with some nice RTV and some new Synthetic fluid front and rear and booyeah!
I managed to come across a set of RC 2.2 shocks for $100 bucks shipped. These were used, but only 1 or 2 months and they came looking brand new in the Bilstein boxes he replaced these with. Good score and in my personal opinion, very good shocks. Supple, smooth ride, 10 times better than the BDS/Rancho they replaced.
I ordered and installed some engine goodies as well around this time. I picked up a set of Precision Injectors 4 port reman/upgraded injectors and a Leah Machine 63MM bored out Throttle Body. I popped in some new plugs (Champion double coppers) and MAN what a difference.
This jeep is so sick. I love how you have taken your time, kept everything simple but useful. I would love to find a brush guard like that.
Thanks man, I really like the way it has turned out. I have a list of projects and things I am planning on doing. Some I have the bits already, some are in progress, and some are awaiting funds. Some of the stuff I have on the go:
1. Ashtray Switch Panel (99% completed)
2. Relay box ala FitchVA (99% completed)
3. Power Distribution box for LED under jeep "Rock" lights (99% completed)
[aka Night Maintenance lights, a-aka I broke some crap, it is dark, I need lights...lights]
4. Jeep Factory overhead console
5. LeBaron vents
6. Dual battery setup
7. Hi Lift mount
8. Wire in rack mounted backup lights
9. Install 2 x 100 Watt rack mounted offroad lights
10. Steering upgrades some day when needed
11. Add 1-2 inch rear and front lift (leafs are already sagging a bit more than I like)
12. Finish WJ seat install (rears remaining)
What the hell, I am still up and in a typing zone (not so much a spelling zone, so apologies in advance). ha ha
What I am working on currently, well first and foremost a relay box and switch panel to go along with my lighting noted above. I was following FitchVA's build thread and was really stoked on the lighting and switching stuff he was doing. I decided to use his ideas and make my own interpretation of what he was doing. Sadly he has sold his XJ, and his domain is no longer registered, so his super awesome XJ resource site is also gone. Ugh.
Switch box is based off of this FitchVA drawing and photos:
These are all his pictures that I copied for reference while I was doing mine, good thing too!! As you can see, he is using CAT5 or CAT6 cabling to trigger the relays from the switches. To me this is brilliant, low milliamp load, one cable to run, colour coded even. He used a fuse block, some small jumpers and even made a nice schematic.
Me, well I used a similar job box and a similar fuse block, with the exception that mine has a common ground as well as power. I used 30 AMP relays and put in an aluminum heat sink to help. I will likely only run MAX 2 of these at a time, and many of them will run LED's so really low power draw.
I will be using this relay box via this switch panel I fabbed up. It is currently wrapped with exterior sign vinyl, but I think I am going to bedline it when I do my Expo Trailer (pics of that soon).
No pics of the power dist box for the LED lighting, but it is pretty basic. I picked up some Superflux LED's from Oznium.com. There are pre-wired, waterproof, small and SUPER powerful. I fabbed up some brackets out of aluminum and epoxied them in place. each front wheel will have 2 sets of 2 (4 lights per front) and each rear will have 1 set of 2 for now.
My little assembly line...
final product ready to be wired in.
If you are looking for some LED lighting, be sure to check out Oznium.com. Very good prices and nice stuff.
I am using one of these for a license plate light, and it is uber bright.
I recently picked up a set of WJ seats in very good condition locally. They are hard to find here as Jeeps seem to last forever here and sell for a pretty penny. There are never any at the wreckers and if they are, they are picked clean like road kill in buzzard country!
I upped the crossbar quotient on my XJ as well. I load a lot of stuff up there, and for $20 bucks I added 2 additional older style crossbars to help distribute the load on the SportRack safari basket.
I popped on some side plates where the basket extension went in. This is a 3 piece rack, and the joints needed reinforcing... I guess you could also look at it like I exceed the load limit, ahh tomato tomato' right?
Now a sneak peek at where most of my time is going this spring!
Picture this, all repainted, the tub red to match the XJ. Inside Monstaliner and new lid/fenders/Jerry Can Holders/Propane holders/Roof Top Tent. Ahh yes... so many plans!