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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Added an up to date photo just to keep at the beginning of the build thread. (5/19/21)



Well first of all, I never intended to start a build thread for this Jeep but since I am installing a small lift this weekend and have done a significant amount of modifications over the past year, I figured I might as well.

Here is the Jeep as I got it in August. 2000 Jeep XJ with 317k on the clock. absolutely bone stock. 4.0 with 174k on it, AW4, NP231, and a set of highway tires and wheels that I thought looked like industrial strainers.



The very first thing that I did was to take the dumb faded trim off the sides, take the plastic off from under the bumper and started figuring out what I wanted to do for tires. I bought this Jeep specifically as a DD and because of this it needed to be tame on the road. I soon decided that since my YJ was ready to bump up in tire size, I would take the 31's off and fit them under my cherokee. Here it is with the fenders trimmed and 31's about 2 weeks after I got it.



As I was driving the Jeep about 800-1000 miles a week for the first 3 weeks I had it for work, I did some needed maintenance. First was front and rear wheel bearings, 3 of the 4 were bad.



Also picked up a set of power heated leather seats from a zj for free. Got the front and the rear. Only the front are currently installed though.



They actually seem to match the interior better than the stock seats. And besides that, my drivers seat was broken from more than 300k miles of driving, so it was a warm welcomed upgrade.

This winter, I got an engine knock that would happen on startup. I brought the Jeep home over winter break and found one the bearings was pretty badly worn. The crank was still within tolerance with no marks on it, so I ended up putting a set of standard bearings back in the engine and it runs great and makes good oil pressure. Also replaced the oil pump, all main and rod bearings, and seals while the engine was apart.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After returning to school, it became noticeable that the rear springs were getting pretty bad. With 2 people in the back of the Jeep, the tires rub the fenders on any bumps, especially when I am carrying tools in the trunk. I took the Jeep to a parking lot with some friends during a snow storm and that is when it first became truely noticable. 3 people in the back seat and tools in case anything went wrong, as well as a full size spare tire.





This is what first sparked the idea to put new springs in the rear. As I said earlier, I dont really want to lift the Jeep very high, but rather want to make it more usable and practical. I ended up waiting until summer to actually take any action on the spring issue. In the mean time, I have had to replace the fuel pump and also have been doing some rust repair on the rear quarter panels. I opted to do a cut and fold on the quarter panels to get rid of the rust and improve departure angles. I also wanted to be able to get rid of the only plastic that was left on the Jeep. I only kept it there to hide the rust.

This is a picture I took in the school parking lot while I was changing out the fuel pump.



And here are some pictures of the rust repair.







 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The plan as of now is to put new Crown HD springs in the rear with polyurethane bushings and 1.75" spacers in the front to level things out. I also picked up a trailer hitch last weekend and will be installing that this weekend as well. Currently the rear of the Jeep is sagged a little more than an inch, and the front is sagged only 1/4 of an inch. I am hoping that will the new springs and spacers, the Jeep handles the slightly larger tires a little better and will do better with the weight. I have a small trailer that I plan to use with the Jeep on occasion to haul the mini baja car around for school. Mostly for trail testing and publicity events. For competitions, the car will be towed in an enclosed trailer with a much larger vehicle. Here are some other pictures of the Jeep along the way.













Second to last picture is my two Jeeps. Last one is what the Cherokee looks like as of last week. Hopefully it is a little taller by the end of the weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Got the rear done yesterday. Also lifting a friends Cherokee at the same time, makes things go a little slower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also got the trailer hitch onto the Jeep. Made all of my own hardware mounts. Worked out really well. And saved $50 over ordering nut strips online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got my lift fully installed last week and it mostly went well. Broke both of my front sway bar links. New ones should be here this week. Drives fine without but I have to tow a trailer this weekend and would like to have it ready in case someone pulls out in front of me or something. Tires almost look small with the lift in now compared to what I am used to.

Here is the before and after.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Been putting the XJ through its paces since the lift and trailer hitch install. Just a couple days after I got the hitch done, I towed our baja car about 400 miles round trip. Jeep did great. Got about 14 mpg with the trailer on. The firewall on the buggy was basically a big sail and really slowed things down. Cruised along at 70 mph pretty happily on the highway though.



Also took the Jeep camping up in Maine (about 5 hour drive) and then went canoeing down Saco river. Had a blast. Used the trailer hitch again to hold the coolers on my HF trailer hitch basket. Ended up having to pick up a piece of sheetmetal and some duct tape to make a heat shield for the basket. The exhaust was melting through the corner of the cooler. Ended up being a successful weekend though.

Here is a picture of the xj all loaded down.



I've also been playing around with some plastidip on the sides of the Jeep.

Didn't come out as well as I wanted it to the first time. I waited too long before I pealed the tape off and it didn't leave a nice edge.



So I redid two of the panels yesterday after work and they came out much better. I will be redoing the other two panels and then doing the rest all the way around over the course of the next week.



Going home for the first time in a couple weeks today after work and I think I am going to see how my 33's from my wrangler look on the xj. If they fit, I will run them for the winter. My YJ is apart and i don't have the money to get it back together right now. So if the 33's fit, it will save me from having to buy new tires this winter. Hopefully I post a picture here before the end of the weekend with some nice 33's!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also planned in the near future, I need to do something about my headliner since it is completely falling down now. I would also like to install a transmission temp gauge if I put the 33's on. I don't want to overheat my trans. Even though I have a spare sitting at home, I don't want to have to use it. If the temps look like they will be an issue, I will most likely convert my AC condenser into a trans cooler. The AC doesn't work anyway. I'll do an inline cooler after the factory "cooler" so that it still gets heated by the radiator on a cold startup since I live in New England.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Only had to do a little trimming to make the 33's fit. Bombed around my field and drove about 20 miles so far and no rubbing. I am sure it will win in the front if I take it off-road. Might look into slightly longer springs for the front. Rear has plenty of room for now.

So here it is, sitting at 1.5" with 33's
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Blew a radiator hose yesterday. Here is the Jeep waiting for my roommate to come with a bigger pair of pliers.

 

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Only had to do a little trimming to make the 33's fit. Bombed around my field and drove about 20 miles so far and no rubbing. I am sure it will win in the front if I take it off-road. Might look into slightly longer springs for the front. Rear has plenty of room for now.

So here it is, sitting at 1.5" with 33's
looks perfect right here.this is the perfect height to me...hope I can get my jeep this height one day.what would be the part list for this height? minus the tires
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
vowbeachbum said:
looks perfect right here.this is the perfect height to me...hope I can get my jeep this height one day.what would be the part list for this height? minus the tires
Thanks. I used Crown HD rear leafs in the rear and 1.75" poly coil spacers in the front. I got about 1.5" of lift front and rear. For 33's to fit, there's a lot of trimming that needs to be done. But as you can see, it can be done cleanly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Honestly not sure. I trimmed long before I ever lifted the Jeep. I was running 31's on no lift for about a year. When I lifted and bumped up to 33's, I just trimmed a little extra.
 

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Thanks. I used Crown HD rear leafs in the rear and 1.75" poly coil spacers in the front. I got about 1.5" of lift front and rear. For 33's to fit, there's a lot of trimming that needs to be done. But as you can see, it can be done cleanly.
can I use stock shocks? What's the leaf spring part number? about to order and there's like 3 different crown HD leafs.ones just HD other is 6 3 /8 HD.I can use my old u bolts?sorry to bother you like to order everything I need at once and bang it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thevanillaninja said:
Dude, looks good. Especially for over 300k and not putting much money into it. I like it. More time than money, right?
Definitely more time than money. I honestly have a hard time to find time to work on it, but I am broke so time is still more abundant than money is. I am in college and paying my way as I go, so that's pretty much every dollar I make.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
vowbeachbum said:
can I use stock shocks? What's the leaf spring part number? about to order and there's like 3 different crown HD leafs.ones just HD other is 6 3 /8 HD.I can use my old u bolts?sorry to bother you like to order everything I need at once and bang it out.
I'll check tomorrow for a part number. I just got home and it's pretty late. It's whatever part number is on Quadratec for their HD replacement springs. I would suggest replacing your ubolts. Whenever you replace your springs, it's a good idea to replace those as well. I am running stock shocks still. They are honestly too short but until I have money to replace them, they work fine.
 

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I'll check tomorrow for a part number. I just got home and it's pretty late. It's whatever part number is on Quadratec for their HD replacement springs. I would suggest replacing your ubolts. Whenever you replace your springs, it's a good idea to replace those as well. I am running stock shocks still. They are honestly too short but until I have money to replace them, they work fine.
Thanks man.I'm off work next couple of weeks so I have time to work on truck.
On my last jeep I had 3 inch skyjacker lift and used jk red and black shocks to replace my worn skyjackers shocks.and ride was great with jk Rubicon's.would jk red and black be to long for this lift your running?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In theory it would be a little long but I want to get a set simply because with tires this big, I will be set up with bump stops and extra down travel anyway. My up travel is limited by my tire clearance.
 
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