Should I buy a XJ?!? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Should I buy a XJ?!?

I sold my WJ back in 2007 and have been Jeepless since. I'm starting to think maybe there is room for a Jeep in my life once again. I'm searching for some opinions but please try to set your Jeep love aside!!! I also thank you in advance for taking the time to read my post and give a thoughtful response.

Here is my situation: I just bought a 2013 Scion FR-S which I'm using for DD duties plus weekend autoX. I flipping love the car and could not be happier. It's a HUGE upgrade for AutoX, and MPGs for DDing but it's WAY smaller than the car I came out of so I find it's not meeting all of my needs (but really close).

Where I'm lacking is when I need to carry a large amount of stuff which happens a few times a month, I have nothing to take up to Tahoe for ski trips which is a big deal to me, and lastly the FR-S is manual so I'm stuck with that on tired and rainy days (would buy auto XJ).

At first I was thinking about getting an older WRX wagon (which still could happen) but still only gets 21ish MPG and I'd know I'd slap a big fat turbo on it and make it an even bigger money pit than my FR-S, so I thought maybe I should get Jeep?!

I've owned a ZJ and a WJ but I've always loved the XJ. I figured since I've only had full-bodied and uni-bodied Jeeps why not stick with it? A removable top does not appeal to me and I want real utility ability.

So just like the WRX idea I wouldn't be able to keep a XJ stock either. I would shoot for just enough lift for 33x10.5s (willing to trim) and other supporting mods.

My question is this: Should I buy a XJ? I'd use it for some commuting (but mostly FR-S still), utility work, any time I have more than one passenger, Tahoe ski trips, and MAYBE some light-moderate wheeling. Can I get 17MPG on the Highway? 16? Can stock axles (D30/D35 or C8.25) handle 33x10.5s?


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post #2 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 09:36 PM
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Yes. Get a 98-99 XJ for about 1200-2000.

98-99 are the best years.

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post #3 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 09:39 PM
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Get the xj im drunk cant explain why brother
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post #4 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tylerzap View Post
Yes. Get a 98-99 XJ for about 1200-2000.

98-99 are the best years.
got der non cracked heads an 8.25!
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post #5 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlaineWasHere View Post
Should I buy a XJ? I'd use it for some commuting (but mostly FR-S still), utility work, any time I have more than one passenger, Tahoe ski trips, and MAYBE some light-moderate wheeling. Can I get 17MPG on the Highway? 16? Can stock axles (D30/D35 or C8.25) handle 33x10.5s?
The XJ is a terrific Jeep but make sure you understand what a PITA it is to put on big tires. Stock, a 29" tire is about the max unless you want to accept rubbing or greatly curtail the wheeling you do. Going to 33" tires is a big step for an XJ. Not a bad step, just a big one. You mentioned you are willing to do trimming.

Can the stock axles handle 33s? Yes, or no, depending on driving style, locker choice and risk tolerance. The D30 should be OK but the D35 is dicey. Upgrading the D35 with 27-spline chromo shafts, however, can be done in under an hour for $350, which will allow you to run a TrueTrac in the rear with confidence on 33" tires. For the use you describe, a TrueTrac sounds perfect.

Those MPG figures are very achievable on stock tires. In fact you'd do much better if the engine is good. On larger tires, that will depend a lot on the size and type.

My do-it-yourself install thread for a TrueTrac in the rear, upgraded shafts, and a PowerTrax No-Slip in the front:


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post #6 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by FarmerinVA View Post
The XJ is a terrific Jeep but make sure you understand what a PITA it is to put on big tires. Stock, a 29" tire is about the max unless you want to accept rubbing or greatly curtail the wheeling you do. Going to 33" tires is a big step for an XJ. Not a bad step, just a big one. You mentioned you are willing to do trimming.

Depends on how you go about lifting it. It is possible on a 3 inch lift with trimming and bumpstops. After you go higher then it becomes expensive. Adj trackbars, SYE, and control arms.

Can the stock axles handle 33s? Yes, or no, depending on driving style, locker choice and risk tolerance. The D30 should be OK but the D35 is dicey. Upgrading the D35 with 27-spline chromo shafts, however, can be done in under an hour for $350, which will allow you to run a TrueTrac in the rear with confidence on 33" tires. For the use you describe, a TrueTrac sounds perfect.

A 98-99 will most likely have a 8.25 which is comparable to a D44.

Those MPG figures are very achievable on stock tires. In fact you'd do much better if the engine is good. On larger tires, that will depend a lot on the size and type.



If you DO get a XJ, get shackle relocation boxes and longer shackles first. Will lift the rear and make it ride 1000x better and flex way better. Then measure what springs you need for the front.

My 98 XJ "Zap" Build Thread

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post #7 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 10:22 PM
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I think tylerzap just stealth-edited my post by accident! But I don't disagree.

My do-it-yourself install thread for a TrueTrac in the rear, upgraded shafts, and a PowerTrax No-Slip in the front:


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post #8 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FarmerinVA View Post
I think tylerzap just stealth-edited my post by accident! But I don't disagree.
Who said by accident....



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post #9 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorcharge View Post
Remind me to reply to this when I'm more sober tomorrow. Have a good amount of experience with Subarus and the BRZ (same as the Scion FR-S) and obviously XJs and get where you're coming from, just can't articulate the response I want at the moment.
For being as drunk as you say you are you're typing really well! I'm glad your having a good new years! This is your reminder to come back and post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerinVA View Post
The XJ is a terrific Jeep but make sure you understand what a PITA it is to put on big tires. Stock, a 29" tire is about the max unless you want to accept rubbing or greatly curtail the wheeling you do. Going to 33" tires is a big step for an XJ. Not a bad step, just a big one. You mentioned you are willing to do trimming.

Can the stock axles handle 33s? Yes, or no, depending on driving style, locker choice and risk tolerance. The D30 should be OK but the D35 is dicey. Upgrading the D35 with 27-spline chromo shafts, however, can be done in under an hour for $350, which will allow you to run a TrueTrac in the rear with confidence on 33" tires. For the use you describe, a TrueTrac sounds perfect.

Those MPG figures are very achievable on stock tires. In fact you'd do much better if the engine is good. On larger tires, that will depend a lot on the size and type.
MPG is one of the reason I selected the 33x10.5 over 33.12.5, as well as mostly street use. Narrow tires are also easier to tuck when flexing.

I'm not really worried about trimming and rubbing. My WJ rubbed like hell in the front, I hacked the bumper to ****, ripped out fog lights, ripped out washer fluid box, ect... none of that scares me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tylerzap View Post



If you DO get a XJ, get shackle relocation boxes and longer shackles first. Will lift the rear and make it ride 1000x better and flex way better. Then measure what springs you need for the front.
I know nothing about leaf springs, both of my past jeeps were 100% coil sprung.

I'm also not super worried about needing SYE and adjustable LCA/UCA ect. Done this on past Jeeps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tylerzap View Post
Yes. Get a 98-99 XJ for about 1200-2000.

98-99 are the best years.
I was only looking at the "newer" body, I know 97-99 are HP30 but any reason not to buy a 97, 00, and 01? DO any years have 242 over 231?

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post #10 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlaineWasHere View Post
For being as drunk as you say you are you're typing really well! I'm glad your having a good new years! This is your reminder to come back and post.



MPG is one of the reason I selected the 33x10.5 over 33.12.5, as well as mostly street use. Narrow tires are also easier to tuck when flexing.

I'm not really worried about trimming and rubbing. My WJ rubbed like hell in the front, I hacked the bumper to ****, ripped out fog lights, ripped out washer fluid box, ect... none of that scares me.



I know nothing about leaf springs, both of my past jeeps were 100% coil sprung.

I'm also not super worried about needing SYE and adjustable LCA/UCA ect. Done this on past Jeeps.



I was only looking at the "newer" body, I know 97-99 are HP30 but any reason not to buy a 97, 00, and 01? DO any years have 242 over 231?
No Real reason not to buy a 97. 98 & 99 are slightly more reliable since they had a year or 2 to "work the bugs out" of the new design, but 97s don't really have any major issues (reliability wise anything 91-99 is pretty safe). After all it wasn't that major of a redesign, with many of the changes being in the interior.

It is generally best to avoid 00-01s due to the 0331 head issue. The 0331 head usually only cracks if overheated, but you never know if a used vehicle has been overheated in the past, so it is always a risk. If you get a really good deal on a 00-01 the risk may be worth it, but don't spend more on a 00-01 than a 97-99 just because it is newer, the 97-99s are actually more reliable. And of course 00-01s also have a Low-Pinion Dana 30 in the front where as 99 and older have a High-Pinion Dana 30 which is beneficial for lifts.

I would generally look for one with a Chrysler 8.25" rear if doing a lift and bigger tires. The 97+ 29 spline Chrysler 8.25" is roughly as strong as a Dana 44 so it can handle a lift and bigger tires without issues (at least up to 35") where as a Dana 35 is barely capable of handling 33"s and you'd have to be very careful not to break it. Again price is a big factor if you get a really good price on an XJ with a D35, you can get a used Chrysler 8.25" for <$250 (easy swap only takes a couple hours) or you could swap in a Ford 8.8" if you don't mind welding the shock brackets on (or buy one with the brackets for around $600). Note: a Ford 8.8" will also give you disc brakes.

The 242 was available in all years but is not that common.

Don't worry about the leaf springs compared to coils and 4 links leafs are a breeze. Your options are basically drop shackles (up to 2" lift, wear the springs faster and are not recommended unless on a really tight budget), Add A leaf (also a budget option, usually wear out over time and sag), or new leaf springs (the best but most expensive option, there are also many salvage yard options using springs from other vehicles if on a budget.)
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post #11 of 56 Old 12-31-2012, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BlaineWasHere View Post
I know nothing about leaf springs, both of my past jeeps were 100% coil sprung.

I'm also not super worried about needing SYE and adjustable LCA/UCA ect. Done this on past Jeeps.
Leaf springs are super simple. Just a peice of steel that bends out and inward upon suspension travel. A leaf connects to a solid point on the frame and in the rear has a peice of metal called a shackle. The shackle moves back when suspension is flexed into the body, and inward when the suspension droops.

Simplest suspension ever.

Now a relocation box allows the shackle to change angle to make. Usually used to make ride better when the shackle is completely vertical. The relocation box will life the Jeep some.

Also, stock XJ shackles are so short they limit suspension droop. Longer ones are used to lift the vehicle and allow more droop.

Thats the basic concept of XJ rear suspension. If you get a XJ, you will quickly understand.

Look for a UpCountry XJ. Thats the factory offroad package. You can identify it by front steering, transfercase, and steel gastank skids all from the factory. The tank skid will save alot of trouble down the road.

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post #12 of 56 Old 01-01-2013, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dmill89 View Post
No Real reason not to buy a 97. 98 & 99 are slightly more reliable since they had a year or 2 to "work the bugs out" of the new design, but 97s don't really have any major issues (reliability wise anything 91-99 is pretty safe). After all it wasn't that major of a redesign, with many of the changes being in the interior.

It is generally best to avoid 00-01s due to the 0331 head issue. The 0331 head usually only cracks if overheated, but you never know if a used vehicle has been overheated in the past, so it is always a risk. If you get a really good deal on a 00-01 the risk may be worth it, but don't spend more on a 00-01 than a 97-99 just because it is newer, the 97-99s are actually more reliable. And of course 00-01s also have a Low-Pinion Dana 30 in the front where as 99 and older have a High-Pinion Dana 30 which is beneficial for lifts.

I would generally look for one with a Chrysler 8.25" rear if doing a lift and bigger tires. The 97+ 29 spline Chrysler 8.25" is roughly as strong as a Dana 44 so it can handle a lift and bigger tires without issues (at least up to 35") where as a Dana 35 is barely capable of handling 33"s and you'd have to be very careful not to break it. Again price is a big factor if you get a really good price on an XJ with a D35, you can get a used Chrysler 8.25" for <$250 (easy swap only takes a couple hours) or you could swap in a Ford 8.8" if you don't mind welding the shock brackets on (or buy one with the brackets for around $600). Note: a Ford 8.8" will also give you disc brakes.

The 242 was available in all years but is not that common.

Don't worry about the leaf springs compared to coils and 4 links leafs are a breeze. Your options are basically drop shackles (up to 2" lift, wear the springs faster and are not recommended unless on a really tight budget), Add A leaf (also a budget option, usually wear out over time and sag), or new leaf springs (the best but most expensive option, there are also many salvage yard options using springs from other vehicles if on a budget.)
Drop shackles are actually very good on a XJ suspension with drop shackles. Stock ones dont allow enough droop.

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post #13 of 56 Old 01-01-2013, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, I had the factory skid package on my WJ and with the spare tire under the cargo the tank skid was a must!

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post #14 of 56 Old 01-01-2013, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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What about highway MPG? With everything running well can I get 17MPG going 70MPH with 33x10.5s? What gearing do the 97-99s usually come with?

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post #15 of 56 Old 01-01-2013, 12:04 AM
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Pretty much what were saying is you need a Jeep exacly like mine, but with a 8.25 rear end.

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