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Unread 05-02-2014, 07:31 PM   #1
mallcrawlin-xj
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2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: greenacres, Florida
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FSJ or XJ dilemma

Howdy folks! My first time over on this side of the Jeep world. I have a delimma (err a jeep itch) and would appreciate some advice and opinion on. So to get right to it, I have a serious itch for a FSJ. More specifically a Chief or Grand. I can't help it I just love the lines of the late 70 to early 80. I am however having a great time getting to know my xj and her project potential. That's the crux of the matter that I need some input on. Do I keep developing my xj to be everything she can be or cut bait and jump ship over to you guys? I have enough jingle to go either way and I'm at that point of tackling major projects on Ginger (hey she's a redhead) as in 2WD to 4WD conversion and possibly small block or stroked conversion. Keep on mind either way it willbe my DD . I'm not doing well enough to keep two jeeps so if I come over your way I'll be cutting my losses in the xj world. Any former xj owners over here that might have some input? Any opinion on a Chief vs Grand? I'm a single guy with no kids so 4 doors for me would only be a convenience to driving friends. We're all here because we love talking jeep so im looking forward to hearimg what you all think.

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Unread 05-02-2014, 10:24 PM   #2
pleontks
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have an xj and a fsj. How far do you drive to work? Hate the xj, but mpg is better. hate it so much
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Unread 05-03-2014, 07:23 AM   #3
mallcrawlin-xj
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Yeah I'm a city driver mostly and go 40-50 miles roundtrip a day. Occasionally I'll take a roadtrip for camping or fishing. I have it rolling on 31s now which has probably dropped my mileage to the 16mpg area. Was alot better with the previous set of 235's but then it also looked wimpy with no character. That's one of the things drawing me to the FSJ's. They have way more character than all the xj's I see everyday. On the flip side a project could turn it into a not so ubiquitous xj. Your right though, mpg has been in the back of my head but I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker on which way I go.
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Unread 05-03-2014, 04:07 PM   #4
olliehopnoodle
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The downside to the xj is they are unibody and the body flexes. The FSJ are full frame. The xj's are a little smaller and can fit in tighter spaces. They also have less overhang from the rear tire back. Both can be made into nice trail rigs. The xj will get better gas milage but it also might need more money to make it as trail worthy. The late 70's and beyond FSJ's all came with good axles and transfer cases.

Lots more room in the fsj for stuff. Cool factor is a little higher as well. (IMHO)
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Unread 05-11-2014, 07:34 AM   #5
jamesdart
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don't let the cool look fool you. I started out with a real rot box 78 wagoner. I did all the rust repair, basically all the mechanicals too, and im starting to get burnt out with it. I think the novelty has worn off. ill give you some things to consider before you make the plunge.
fsj isn't really a "fullsize" the axles aren't full width, the inside is about the same width as a Dakota.
the cargo area might be a little bigger but with the top of the tailgate sloping forward, the seat sloping back, and the wheelwells in there its kind of an awkward space.
you have to reach over the tailgate or climb up on it to get anything out.
the power tailgate glass can drive you nuts.
the roof racks leak.
the leaf springs aren't ideal for a daily driver, or offroad.
all fsj came with a carb, not efi.
overdrive transmissions weren't an option.
they are cool, can be fun, but the newest one made is now what 23 years old? unless you shell out big cash for a real nice one, its going to be a project. depending on how you decide to set it up, mpg can range from decent for a suv, to horrible. if you ad a lift and bigger tires, mpg is going to suffer. you could bring it into the next decade and help driveability and mpg a bit and ad the chevy tbi setup. steeper gears and an od trans like the 700r4. it would take a long time to recoup the investment on gas savings
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Unread 05-11-2014, 09:05 AM   #6
olliehopnoodle
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I say let the cool look fool you!

Before:




to this:









A lot of people think it is a 'cool truck dude'. I get thumbs up on the freeway, teenagers at gas stations, older people at the store telling me how they like it. I also wheel with a local Jeep club that consists mostly of Wranglers with some WJ/XJ tossed in. They all mostly think my rig is pretty cool too.

With kids you probably want to stick with a 4 door wagoneer. Jamesdart makes a good point, they are not as wide as you might think so the storage inside isn't gigantic. It's better than an xj for sure. You can always put a roof rack on top if you need some extra storage space.
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Unread 05-11-2014, 06:59 PM   #7
jamesdart
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Yeah same here. People love t. All kinds of people, and mines really not nice. I'm in, or was in a jeep club that is all wranglers. Me and my buddy with a 70s ramcharger are the 2 outcasts. They are cool trucks but can turn into a major project, and are probably not as practical as you might think. Just want to make sure the op gets the idea. He'll, I've been considering getting rid of my kj and fsj for an xj. You rarely see a fsj around in nj. Actually today we took the wagoneer to the beach and while I was getting my fishing stuff ready, a guy was cruising around the parking lot in an m715. That was pretty cool.
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Unread 05-11-2014, 07:06 PM   #8
jamesdart
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Did somebody say roof rack?

M715
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Unread 05-12-2014, 03:05 PM   #9
mallcrawlin-xj
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Dang Ollie that's what I'm talkin about! That is nice! James, I appreciate the candor. I get it these things are old and there is going to be many design challenges compared to today's suv. Even I get annoyed with the xj one piece tailgate compared to any other with a split rear gate/window. I'm still sleeping on what I'm going to do. Doesn't help when you find on CL somebody selling a wagoneer for $350 with a missing engine. Then finding days later on CL a 1977 MOPAR 440 block with a few parts for $500. Trust me when I say I spent all day researching 440 FSJ conversions. I think the jeep gods are telling me my heart belongs over here in the FSJ world. Now its a matter of getting my brain out of the way and pulling the trigger on something. I'm still thinking might tackle the 2wd to 4wd conversion on my xj just from a re-sale/trade value. Again, I really do appreciate everyone's comments. I don't know that'll be picking anything up soon so keep the good, bad, and ugly coming.
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Unread 05-13-2014, 08:22 AM   #10
jamesdart
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A 440 wagoneer would be cool but definitely not in a daily driver sort of way.
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Unread 05-15-2014, 03:55 AM   #11
BagusJeep
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The XJ is a good all round vehicle but as you have a 2WD it sounds like you will spend a lot of bucks and time and effort making it into something else.

I have an XJ 4.0 HO 4WD Limited, a few CJs and the J20. OK, the J20 is not a Waggie (certainly not an XJ) but is an extended cab so I am not almost a Waggie but more than a pickup. Here is my take on them all:

- The XJ is my choice for long high speed trips as it is solid, mileage is OK and it is nimble enough to get out of the way of trucks. The 4WD capabilities are rarely strained. On highway it is my choice and pottering around town on errands it is superb. I have stock size AT tyres and I love driving it.

- Around the local trails and down to the beach the CJ rules supreme. Put a board on the back and I am off. But it is a bit small and with the family in it the space is a bit stretched.

- The J20, as a FSJ and having an extended cab, has a LOT of space and is wide and solid and built like a piece of cast iron. Hauling loads, packing in everything for a long trip or a beach barbeque this is the best. Mileage is best not measured. It is difficult to park in a small space but it stands out in a crowd. With the T18 low first gear and Dana 60 rear it will crawl out of any hole and has off road capabilities I have rarely tested. Thsi will be my Expedition vehicle if I ever get it finished and utterly reliable, there is so much space for extra gear and systems.

Given the choice I would have the XJ as a DD for the mileage and the FSJ for weekends and trips where I would want heavy duty off road abilities.
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Unread 05-15-2014, 08:05 PM   #12
KC87Wagoneer
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I have owned both a 2000 XJ 4x4 and now an 87 grand wagoneer! I do miss the xj but not enough to sell my FSJ. With my xj I got 17 mpg everywhere I went, highway or city, now I get about 11 city and just over 13 highway in the GW. I think I can do better. My GW is reliable but I don't go far without a tool bag. I love to upgrade, always messing with something. Most XJs I have seen that are tricked out are not really appealing to me (it's personal, I know). I never turned heads in it either. The FSJ is absolutely my favorite so far but it is not my daily driver, it is my baby!

If you are planning a swap either way I would do an FSJ with a 5.3 swap. The guys who have done this get 15 mpg, have a reliable mpfi rig, tons of power and a crazy cool engine bay. If I was gonna go through that trouble I would get a 08 or later 5.3 with active fuel management and hit every bit as good mpg as my xj got with something way cooler. The older wagons are harder to find parts for, you will be scouring the yards and internet for many items. I hear AMC FSJs are a bit easier than previous manufactures but it doesn't seem like it.
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Unread 05-15-2014, 08:31 PM   #13
olliehopnoodle
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Most parts are not too bad, especially if you are not a purist. The BW quadratrac is getting hard to find cones/chains. The axles, most of which included d44 or amc 20's are fully supported. THe AMC engine had a unique bell pattern but ran either a th400 or 727 which are still supported. If you went with a 5.3 or some other swap, drive train becomes less of a problem.
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Unread 05-16-2014, 03:43 PM   #14
mallcrawlin-xj
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Well folks I've been listening and everyone has some great opinions. It's also good to hear from people who've had both and I've pretty much decided to keep the xj (for now). I know you all are probably thinking there goes another fsj wannabe. Trust me it's not an easy decision and pretty confident I'll make it back over here before too long. Maybe it's a case of too many choices and my brain fixin to blowup from research overload. I've already got a good bit into the xj and I figure I'll finish off the interior like I want, convert it to 4wd, throw a lift on it and call it a day. Unless of course an offer I can't refuse rears it's ugly head lol. Anyhow again many thanks for the conversation.
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Unread 05-16-2014, 09:05 PM   #15
olliehopnoodle
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Well good luck with the Xj. They are a fine platform.
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82 Cherokee WT - SOA/SF/agr box/Borgeson ujoint steering shaft/401/performer/holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/np208/d44(aussie)/amc20(ARB)/BFG 35X12.5/Corbeau Moab Seats/RCI 6point Harness,Hella Aux lights/tuffy console/killer32 slider bars/custom bumpers and roll bar/Alpine head unit/amps/speakers 2002 Liberty Limited Early edition - Basically stock
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