This won't be so much a build as throwing up some pics of how it is and updating it from time to time. Maybe that is a build. To me a true build is more than bolt-on's so I'll try to make stuff and post pics.
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4
Bought 5/14 with 140k miles for $7300 (includes tax / title / license)
- Get it all back to working order. On the test drive I noticed a very light rear end howl. I figured to with 140k miles a thorough freshening would be in order. All fluids, belts, hoses, etc.
- Replaced missing right rear door weatherstrip
- Checked front halfshafts
- Checked front diff mounts / drain / refill front diff
- Replaced rear axle bearings / resealed / refilled
- Drained and refilled transfer case
- Replaced driveshaft with wholesaleimportparts.com steel with replaceable u-joints
- Replaced wiper blades
- Added tow hitch and wiring
- Replaced radiator hoses and fluid, belt, tensioner
- Replaced rear brakes
- Change trans fluid / add inline filtration and extra cooler (really need to do this)
- Replace ball joints, possibly tie rod ends
- Check all lights
- Repair / replace LF door hinges
- Clean throttle body & IAC
- Replace spark plugs
- Fix HVAC lights
- Clean / lube all locks & hinges
- Clean / lube seat belt retractors
- Flush power steering fluid / add inline filter
- Adjust rack
- Fix sunglass door for overhead console
- Touch up paint
- Check out slow RF power window
- Sand and paint underside (especially subframes / axle)
- Add new remote keys and remote start (came with one non-functioning remote key)
- Originally complete Step 1 then add OME lift and wheels / tires. However it was so pansy looking with stock wheels and tires (and three mismatched tires no less) that I needed to get the lift on stat.
- OME HD springs and shocks
- 255/75R17 Duratracs (32.1") on Moab rims
- 1.25" Spidertrax spacers
- Isolators for springs
- Added Hypertech tuner
- Rough alignment (as is, have positive camber)
- Add TPMS sensors to new rims / tires
- Try to mount spare underneath
- This is not solid yet. I'd like to get a Commander 2 speed transfer case for the MB transmission and then wire up my own actuator. What I don't know if is anyone has done this (I thought I saw it somewhere) and if the electronics will freak out because the wheel speed sensors will see something different than the computer(s) for the engine / trans expects to see. The low range is a want to have that I might be able to get away without having, but I really would like to swap the axles for ones with 3.73's and eLSD's. I have 3.07's now and they do keep the revs down on the highway but there is frequent downshifting on hills and start and stop traffic requires a fair amount of throttle.
- More research to swap to 2 speed transfer case
- Change front and rear gears / housings to 3.73 with eLSD's and wire up my own actuator
- Full suspension rebuild - new bushings, joints, paint, etc.
- Bumpers - fabricated - front and rear. If I can't find any I like, I will build them.
General notes and things I've learned:
- I would say this is not an expensive vehicle to work on / own if you aren't trying to fix an accumulated list of problems. Unfortunately at 140k I bought someone's "third vehicle" and that combined with my "anal-ness" (anality?) and ended up spending a fair amount of money working through Steps 1 and 2. I have about $13.5k in it right now with maybe another grand or two before it's close to perfect. If I left the rear axle alone I could have saved $1500 as it really only improved the noise by a marginal amount (don't hear it with the tires now anyway).
- I am impressed by certain aspects of the engineering. The rear axle is awesome, full floating in a semi-floating package. Large brakes all the way around. The front suspension design looks well thought out, they could have stuck with a typical strut-type suspension but it actually seems like a well built double a arm type. With my mild lift, no real geometry worries, no vibrations, etc. Other than having to drop the gas tank skid plate because one of the axle links was hitting it, and having a little trouble getting the left rear spring in, it was all pretty easy. There are very few creaks and rattles, even after 10 years and 150k miles, it's pretty solid.
- I am not impressed with the fact that the driveshaft didn't have replaceable u-joints. I now have two elegant extruded aluminum driveshafts in my garage that are otherwise servicable. A big waste. I didn't see a lot of other glaring cost cutting but this one just stuck for me.
- Gas mileage is better than I expected. I can get up to 24 sometimes, with my short commute and the cold it is only about 16.5 right now. Still, for being misaligned with basically mud tires, cold weather, etc., I will call that good. I also tried to maximize mpg but in going to relatively skinny tires I might have made a critical mistake. The Duratracs work because in normal driving you ride on the "all terrain" center tread. In mud, the outside part of the tread is "engaged". Well with the vehicle being somewhat heavy I think it's actually using part of the mud tread, increasing noise, friction, etc. I might have actually gotten better MPG with a wider tire which is contrary to what you would think. On the other hand the narrower tire seems to make it look visually taller so that's kind of cool..
- Power with the tuner is more than acceptable, especially with the tall 3.07 gears. I'd love more torque but I think the 3.73's and keeping the weight down by not adding a bunch of stuff will probably be adequate.