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Thread: in search of an XJ

  1. #1
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    in search of an XJ

    Hi..

    i'm searching out an XJ.
    I like the size of it, and the fact i can actually keep stuff in the back...or build a system, has been a long time since i've run any quality sound and i've got two 15 OZ Q subs here dying for some re-energization.

    anyway, are there certain years that are better than others? right now i have a line on a 99 and 01 that look to be in really decent shape (look to be, haven't gone to see yet..) but i don't wanna waste my time going to see them if i'm barking up the wrong tree so to say.

    I do plan on pretty much modding it up...suspension, diff, front/rear bumpers etc etc.
    I'd also like to do a rear disc swap and if it makes sense shield the underbody
    maybe one day even swap to a 318 ?? who knows

    interim i'd like to drive it come spring to save some km on my Ram

    thanx for reading and for any recommendations tossed my way

    Whip

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    my vote would be anything less then a 00,01 and some 99's.

    99 is the mix year they started changing it.. some came with crap axles like the grand and TJ came with - D35 rear/low pinion D30, more O2 sensor computer crap etc... but if your planning on changing axles, motor etc anyway any year will do.

    also I've seen V8's put in XJ's but it never ended up working so well with the design of the frame.
    Last edited by sk8snwmx; 10-28-2013 at 08:13 AM.
    OF4WD MEMBER# 6656

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    ya, the uni-body has me a little worried but i'll see where it goes
    i'll see too if i can find something a little older that still has decent rockers.
    I agree, the less computer controlled stuff the better. My '13 Ram is quickly becoming a scary dream instead of a wet one

    thanx for the input sir

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    The only real issues with a late 99,00 and 01 that are of any real expense are the bad casting on the 0331 head. They have a habit of cracking between #3 and #4. If you miss the mysterious coolant loss then you end up with the engine bearings being wiped out by the antifreeze in the oil.
    Having said that my 00 went 286000 KM before I changed the head and it was because #6 exhaust valve burnt. I could have fixed the valve for the cost of it and a gasket set but I had a 99 7120 head sitting on a project engine so I just swapped it in.

    Everything else that non owners of these years will tell you can be easily overcome if you feel they are a problem.
    # 1 is the Low Pinion D30 front axle. Yes the previous years HP D30 are nice but show me a ZJ Grand Cherokee or any Wrangler, TJ YJ etc that also came with a LP D30 have any problems over their many years of production. I'm keeping my LP just changing to 4:10 gears
    #2 is the 01 triple catalytic converter issue. Yes that could be a problem if you have to replace them. I haven't heard of anyone who has yet. Still relatively young for the vehicles running on this site. It's only 12 years old. Many many still on road.
    #3 is the coil pack found on the 00-01s. I'm particularly not a big fan of Loss Spark systems but I personally haven't had a problem. Parts are readily available and cheap.
    #4 Unibody. Non issue. Period. Just some smoke blowing out someone's rear. Unibodies have been around since the 30's. Except for rust issues anything can be reinforced for a more rigid "Frame" There are a bazillion CJ style jeeps with rotten frames too.

    Pros are that they are "Newer" and more than likely haven't been modded and offroaded yet. Which means you get a fresh slate from which to work with instead of trying to fix someone else's headache which is why he sold it in the first place.
    AND they have doors that close in the winter and keep you warm!! I guess most of the new Wronglers have that too. LOL Just kidding guys IT'S STILL A JEEP at least.

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    much thanx James57. Great to get a multitude of viewpoints
    thanx too for easing my tensions re: unibody. ya i guess some square tubing could be added if i got that worried about it...i've had my damn mig a year now and haven't even plugged it in yet, sounds like that could be a good excuse lol

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    There are kits out there for plating the sub frame. They look to me like angle iron with holes and v notches where they bend to follow the frame. You could probably make those up yourself if you had the tools. If your going to really pursue the XJ check out NAXJA and Cherokee Forum. I'm on both with the same handle. Salad is another that frequents all 3 sites and lives near Kingston. Staangs in Burlington could also send you in the right direction! Love his stuff!
    Stay here though for the local stuff!!

  7. #7
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    definitely be hangin' my hat here long term...
    seems like a good helpful site, friendly people......and like you say it's local which can't hurt!!!

    Ya, the XJ just seems to "fit" my needs, thanx for the other source info will check them out

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    X2 naxja.org

    Was on there for years before i even knew jeepkings existed, only on here for the local info... 90% ontario.

  9. #9
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    local info is good info

    sorry for the error in name Jamie57, i'm getting old and the eyes aren't what they use to be lol

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    after my third XJ of multiple build sizes (a YJ and a TJ both on 33's) and a few friends that tried to go 37's+ and 'V8 route etc'

    also 'for the record' I was never putting down the uni-body design, there are tonnes of weld in stiffeners and winch plate/tow hook mounts etc available that are already to go in. its just that the people I have known that tried the V8 route in an XJ have found ALOT of problems... Stroker would be my vote if you think you need more power.

    98, 4L, 4dr auto AW4/242 <-- this combo was what I was after...

    heres why...
    came with HPD30, Chr8.25, AW4/242 which gives you axles and drivetrain already stout enough for 33's very reliably with the same driveline lengths front to back = less parts.

    i've had a D35 blow with 31's on a TJ so I'm not a fan of them and if you can get an XJ already with a Chr8.25 then the turdy-five, why not, instead of swapping in an 8.8 later. also if you put some alloy shafts in the D30 you can do 35's, but your re-gearing for sure and on a 'budget build' cost goes WAY up...

    the Chr8.25 is pretty much on par to the D44 (though they both have differences) will both turn 35's as they are. ...stick a cheap Aussie locker in there and be done with it unless you have the $$$$$$ for an ARB that's worth 1/2 as much as your entire vehicle.

    The AW4 auto will come with 3:55 gears and will push 33" mud terrains down the hwy at a 105-110kms and still just about make 400kms/tank (65-70L whatever it is)

    As for the 242 with the AW4 combo, you can run the same stock front XJ CV driveshaft in the rear and only carry 1 trail spare shaft! no custom ordered shafts, and the same u-joints front to back.
    hack-n-tap the output shaft with simple parts (SYE) and your good to go for cheap and easy, heres a link for some reading http://jeep-xj.info/HowtoSYEconversion.htm also search 'corvette yoke SYE' on naxja all the spicer part numbers are on there.

    Chop out sway bars... then 'add preferred lift'

    Lift to whatever you prefer 3-8" long arm / short arm...at 3" I'd suggest 31's and 4.5 and cutting or 6" for 33's.
    after 4.5" I'd seriously suggest long arms and knuckle to knuckle steering.

    theres lots of stuff I've missed from my current 'small budget build' (like simple OKT steering with flipped solid tie-rods from a ZJ) but I'm sure more people will chime in with their experiences too.
    Last edited by sk8snwmx; 10-28-2013 at 08:06 PM.

  11. #11
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    wow, you lost me at "here's why" LOL

    that's a lot of info to digest sk8snwmx...and i appreciate every word of it
    it definitely lets me know i'm gonna have a lot to learn as i go...but seeing the "why" you went in the direction you did definitely gives me focus and tells me i best be looking a lot closer at specifics and beyond a pretty facade
    reading the true to life experiences is appreciated as well.

    thanx for your time and the reality check off to do me some skoolin'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie57 View Post
    Salad is another that frequents all 3 sites and lives near Kingston.
    I've been spotted! :O

    sk8snwmx you type a lot. Holy hell man lol. It's good stuff though.

    My honest answer to people looking for XJs: Get the best body you can find. The rest is replaceable. I've had two offers for parts Jeeps with good drive trains, junkyards and forums have the rest. Okay maybe interiors are a pain in the ass. But if I had a garage with tools I wouldn't think twice about buying just a body with no drive train. I've got a parts XJ in my driveway I bought for $350, one of our customers at work approached me to sell his for $300 (I'm out of driveway space ), I got a complete 29-spline Chrysler 8.25 axle on here for $100 or so, spent $100 on skids, got a front axle for basically free (I had to replace everything outside of the diff but hey these things are old at this point), drive shafts run me $25 at the junk yard... you get the idea.

    Regarding the late model stuff, I'll make it easy on you: If the VIN says "1999" it doesn't have a 0331 head, low pinion D30, or all the other shit people say. 2000 Model Year began assembly in mid-1999. You'd never know unless you asked Chrysler what a vehicle's specific manufacture date was so don't even bother thinking about it. Even easier is just to look under the hood for a distributor.

    General wisdom regarding used vehicles really applies to these things. 2.8 million XJs were made. They're not as desirable as YJs or TJs (weren't in Jurrasic Park and Barbie never had one). They'll run a LOT longer than most other vehicles WITHOUT regular maintenance. So basically they're cheap 4x4s that everyone and their uncle used for winter beaters. Even worse since this province lays down 4" of salt for every 1" of snow. Overheating, engine sludge, original transmission fluid, etc are pretty common. But parts are cheap and plentiful!
    But our trip was different. It was to be a classic affirmation of everything right and true in the national character. A gross physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country. But only for those with true grit.

    And we are chock full of that, man!

  13. #13
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    thanx for your advice as well salad, have added it to the mix
    LOL on the Jurrasic Park.

    thanx again all, it's definitely appreciated!!!

  14. #14
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    X2 on the best body you can find. working with one that is falling apart or has been beaten to shit can make things a royal pain in the ass. As for some of your other inquiries, here's what I think. Regarding the stiffeners vs no stiffeners debate, it all depends on how far you want to go with the truck. I've heard lots of people say that they are unnecessary if you are staying at or below 33s. Well after 4 or 5 yrs of beating on my xj with 33s, my stiffeners didn't line up properly, so take that for what it's worth If you are planning on putting significantly more stress on your chassis than it was meant to take (tires, axle swap etc) then definitely do them sooner than later. As for a potential future motor swap, novak adapters makes everything you need to fit a GEN3/4 chevy V8 in an xj. Is it as cool or potentially cheap as doing it yourself, nope, but it's already designed and you know it's gonna work

    There is more and more aftermarket now for the xj compared to a few years ago, so find what you like, and go nuts. Or fire up the mig and go really nuts.

    Lastly, if there is one thing I can advise, along with the stiffeners, do 2x6 rockers or at least aftermarket bolt-on/weld-on rockers sooner than later. I delayed that particular mod and now have to go a touch higher to clear the trail damage...

    Good luck!
    The OG HOISTWAGON
    99 XJ, CT Motorsports built, Tons, 37" MTR/Ks, TMR 3-link and Beadlocks, CrewFab Cage and Bumpers, PSC full hydro

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    thanx Timberlake

    ya the hard part i'm running into so far definitely seems to be finding one that hasn't been affected by the rot...if it's not the rockers it's the floors, if it's not the floors it's.... onward with the search

    guess i could scrap the whole idea and go with a "framed" jeep, but man i'm really starting to love the classic old skool lines of the XJ cherokees

    again, much thanx for the suggestions!
    love the sig btw!!

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    If the rockers are the only bad spot, and the rot doesn't go overly high or deep, go for it. It gives you an excuse to do the 2x6 rockers that you already want lol. A quick search on naxja will give you an idea of how much rot you can afford to deal with.

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    thanx pal, i'll go search it now..

    i've checked out a couple of youtubes vids for floor and rocker repair and it all looks doable.....but i'll see what those that have done it with purpose have to say

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    That's OK I didn't notice. James is my "Given Name" Jamie is what my family and friends call me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8snwmx View Post
    Lift to whatever you prefer 3-8" long arm / short arm...at 3" I'd suggest 31's and 4.5 and cutting or 6" for 33's.
    after 4.5" I'd seriously suggest long arms and knuckle to knuckle steering.

    theres lots of stuff I've missed from my current 'small budget build' (like simple OKT steering with flipped solid tie-rods from a ZJ) but I'm sure more people will chime in with their experiences too.
    Kinda High there. I prefer the LOCG. Low Centre of Gravity set ups. I have 33's but I bump stop so I don't have to cut my fenders radically. Still looks stockish but very aggressive and still gets me over pretty much whatever I'm going over. But that's me. Some like Vanilla some like chocolate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timberlake View Post
    do the 2x6 rockers that you already want lol. A quick search on naxja will give you an idea of how much rot you can afford to deal with.
    Huge 2x6 steel rocker fan here! gives a perfect high-lift point anywhere!!!! (make sure you keep safety in mind and also use jack stands and put a tire under a dif or something)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie57 View Post
    Kinda High there. I prefer the LOCG. Low Centre of Gravity set ups. I have 33's but I bump stop so I don't have to cut my fenders radically.
    Very true, but you can go 8+ on those simple driveline mods (not with short arms) if that's your fancy...

    same as you, I prefer the LCOG. I'm only about 4.5-5.5" of lift at the moment w/33's but needed to cut out as much as I could so my axles can articulate right out as far as my steering will allow and keep more tire pressure on the ground. Or don't cut and stuff 31's, (I did that, even ran greens on 31's) but 33's air down so much nicer and create a far better footprint, and I wanted to keep a huge articulation, so cut it is, instead of higher lift... LCOG in mind.

    can't wait to see Timberlakes beast unfold! and maybe Beakie, or JMK will chime in with their crazy 'next level' XJ stuff! then we can start on the radius arm vs. 3 and 4 link front end debate! and rear triangulated 4 link issues. Whiplash, you've got some GREAT reading ahead of you! stick with the XJ! all jeeps will be rusty! but these carry more shit... or just go straight to the unimog build.
    Last edited by sk8snwmx; 10-29-2013 at 09:17 PM.

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