My Red 97 XJ Build - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
Chris_XJ97
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My Red 97 XJ Build

So I decided I would finally make a build thread for my current build. Its a 1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L, auto, np242. Had 289000 miles on it when I picked it up out of Grand Junction last year, rust free, clean interior and for the most part the exterior was pretty clean, some minor dents in some of the panels. Drove it the 300 miles back home. The next day I had to replace the driver side motor mount, welded the crack in the exhaust manifold and replaced the transmission solenoid valves. Then drove it out to Memphis and back a week later.



Pictures of when I got it home
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A week later I got around to cleaning it and waxing
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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
Chris_XJ97
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Fast forward 7 months I came across a parts Jeep that I paid $2000 for that I couldn't pass up. It was one of the ugliest XJs I had seen in a while but it had a lot of good parts. 93 cherokee, 6.5" rough country long arm, ford 8.8 rear, smittybilt rear bumper, ORF front bumper, smittybilt winch, rock sliders, dana 30 (w/ lunch box locker, lower control arm skids, chromoly axles), 4.88 gears, had fox 2.0 front shocks, sye kit, roof rack, rustys tie rods, track bar and steering box stiffeners, decent 35" tires, 62mm throttle body, K&N air intake.


I stripped that down, sold all the parts I didn't want and that's how this build started.
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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Decided I would start with the back half of the Jeep as I needed to get more room where I am working and the back half would be a lot faster to do then the front.


Installed the roof rack and light bars.
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Got the rear end and suspension ripped out. All pulled the fuel tank as I needed to replace the fuel pump and decided I would paint the underside while everything was out.

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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Then it was time to rip the front end apart. While it was apart I decided I would rip the engine out and reseal it as it was leaving a nice puddle of oil on the ground every time I parked it. Typical of a 4.0l especially with 308000 miles on it. Cutting the lower control arm mounts off is kind of a PITA. Also while the engine was out I decided would be a good time to delete the abs since it now has the ford 8.8 in the rear. Went to the junkyard and pulled the front brake lines out of another XJ with no abs, and swapped out the proportioning valve.


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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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It was then time to tear the engine apart. Pulled it apart and there was hardly any wear on this motor, keep in mind it has 308,000 miles on it and has never been touched before. Very little carbon build up on the pistons, cylinder walls still had cross hatching and no lip at the top, lifters still looked like they were brand new. So all I ended up replacing was the timing chain, oil pump and all the seals. Also installed a new thermostat housing that has 2 sensor ports as I ditched the mechanical fan and installed a new radiator with 3 electric fans. Also while I was tearing the Jeep apart I found out why the Jeep had no power above 1500 rpm. Turns out when the driver side motor mount broke the exhaust pipe was crushed in almost half way blocked. Surprised I didn't catch that when I replaced the motor mount and welded the exhaust manifold. So I replaced that pipe when I reinstalled the engine.


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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Now it was time to finally start putting it back together,. Got the front bumper installed, track bar and steering box stiffener installed, also replaced the steering box aluminum spacer with rustys steel spacer. Installed the engine, new 3 core aluminum radiator with electric fans and installed the front axle and suspension. Also while all this was happening I swapped out the np242 with the np231 I pulled out of the 93. That I didn't take any pictures of.


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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Finally it was time to install the front fender flares and snorkel. I didn't like the idea of using the factory intake box, so I found a write up on using the spectre inline air filter. Yes I know in the picture I have the crankcase line connected on the wrong side of the filter, I have since fixed it. I also relocated the washer fluid reservoir back into the engine bay using a pre 96 reservoir. I still need to make a better mount for it and get it at least a couple inches away from the radiator and ecm.


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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-10-2020, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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This is where I left off for the weekend. It has taken almost 5 months to get to this point but at least it's almost done. Just in time as the weather is starting to warm up. I had to replace the tie rods as rustys tie rods was hitting the track bar mount and sway bar mount when I ever I would steer right. Installed cavfabs high clearance tie rods and drag link. Also the steering gear box and pump I took out of the 93 was leaking, so I decided I might as well upgrade to the durango box and grand cherokee power steering pump. Installed rusty's sway bar disconnects, got the front tires back on it. Jeep is finally sitting on the ground. Installed the winch and mounted the light bar on the bumper.



I'm hoping next weekend I can get the driveshafts rebuilt and installed, get the hood installed and finally be able to drive her.


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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-11-2020, 08:28 AM
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That's a serious amount of work in that amount of time. Looks awesome, can't wait to hear how it does on the trails.

Garrett

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post #10 of 14 Old 03-11-2020, 12:46 PM
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Wow! I need to get off my rearend and finish up my YJ if you can do a complete XJ build in 5 months. Im very impressed. I do miss my XJs, they were always fun.


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post #11 of 14 Old 03-12-2020, 10:27 AM
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Great project and nice work. Iíve got a soft spot for those XJs as Iíve had a couple. And my son has one currently. Looking forward to following.

Jeff

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post #12 of 14 Old 03-16-2020, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Didn't get to much accomplished this weekend, got the hood vents installed, mounted the hood and rebuilt the driveshafts.


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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-24-2020, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Swapped out the transfer case today. I found a very low mileage 231 out of a 99 yesterday and I did not like the hack n tap sye that was installed on the one I took out of the 93. So I installed the RE HD SYE on the new t case. I'm going to have to have some driveshafts made for it as these stock ones I have a just barely long enough. They'll get my by so I can at least drive the Jeep around but I don't trust them off road. I also installed Azzy's transfer case linkage and got the transfer case skid plate installed. Then I was finally able to drive it up to the gas station and filled her up.


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1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L Auto 4x4
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-25-2020, 01:10 PM
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Nice! Get some spacers to widen out that rear stance.

'88 Comanche -->
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