I own a 1994 Jeep Cherokee Sport.
In Jeep talk, that’s an XJ.
AMC & Chrysler made XJs from 1983 to 2001. The pickup version is an MJ.
Wranglers from my childhood with square headlights are YJs. From 1997 to 2006 they’re TJs (the long-body ones being LJs). From 2007-17, they’re JKs. And now, 2018 and on … JLs. Most new Wranglers you see on the road today are the 4-door JK model called the Wrangler Unlimited, or JKU. People love lifting their JKUs and throwing huge tires on them, but how to tell if someone crawls more than the mall parking lot is if they got a JKUR, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. The Rubicon features beefed up axles, a transfer case with a lower reduction (4:1), and other upgrades. Jeep calls it the Rubicon because stock and brand new off the lot, it’s capable, supposedly, of running the Rubicon Trail on the west side of Lake Tahoe.
But I digress.
My Jeep is an XJ.
She’s 24 years old.
And her name is Rigby.
Here’s a breakdown of what she’s made of, what I use to maintain her and what I’ve customized.
Make & Model: AMC Straight-6 4.0L HO
Injectors: 12-Port Upgraded Injectors with adapters (via KSuspension)
Very worth it. Much smoother and more power in idle and throughout the low end. Remember I drive a manual so I can really feel it. Much less likely to sputter or get bog down. I notice better throttle response in the low end, but I’m pretty sure it’s there in mid and top end too.
Throttle Body: bored out to 62mm (DW Designz via KSuspension)
Exhaust: new manifold with flexjoints, waiting for install (got mine on eBay but for real any of these will do)
Oil: Rotella T6 5W-40 (when I can find it for <$20/gal) or Delo 400 SDE 15w-40 (Costco sells a 3-pack box of 1-gal containers and a few times a year has it for $10 off, or look for 5-gal buckets on Amazon for less than $80)
Why T6? Because this.
Clutch fan: ZJ HD upgrade (I have KSuspension’s triple fan Cyclone Electric Fan System with accessory harness, waiting for install)
Cooling: KSuspension 1″ Hood Spacers, waiting for install
Brackets & Mounts: Brown Dog Supers, Ultra-Flex Rubber (combo kit: SU2572-0HX)
This job isn’t for the faint of heart. If you have no oil leaks and your block is totally clean, maybe it is. But if your engine bay is and has been dirty … let’s just say you’ll have a lot of gunk to deal with.
Battery: nothing special
Alternator: nothing special, replaced around 205k (planning to do the 136amp upgrade with this and Joseph’s instructions; if you have the ’99+ alternator style with the single plug instead of all the tiny posts, this one should work)
Wiring: Ultimate Power +/- Cable Upgrade, which is the “big 3” and then some (via KSuspension)
Make & Model: AX-15
When I bought her Jan 2016, she was real hard to get into 1st and 2nd when starting cold on cold mornings. Never any grinding, just hard to get her in gear. By Dec 2016, I couldn’t shift into 2nd without a lot of grinding so I went 1st to 3rd for a few weeks, worried I was due for a rebuild. I dropped the fluid and put in some fresh oil and bam everything has been kosher since. I think the synchro for 2nd was seized up from crusty oil and deposits, so the new oil with the detergents took care of that.
Make & Model: NP231
Fluid: Multi-Vehicle ATF Dex/Merc/Mercon LV
After a few wheeling trips and drives in 4×4, sometimes she’d get stuck in 4HI even when I shifted out into 2HI. I dropped the fluid and replaced it with this stuff which helped a lot, no problems since.
U-Joints: Spicer 1310
Make & Model: High-pinion Dana 30 (HP d30) … better than the low-pinions installed ’00-01
Differential: stock, open
Gearing: stock 3.07
Cover: RT Offroad HD — thick, ribbed, and beefy — available in red or black (d30), waiting for install
Shafts: stock 27-spline
Brakes: stock disc
Links: stock UCAs + stock LCAs (have Core4x4’s Tier 1 Front Control Arm Set, waiting for install)
Hubs: stock, replaced at 215k with these Timkens (if you have an 00-01, you need this pair; either way, you’ll need a 36mm socket to get the axle nut off, and even with a lot of PB Blaster my best luck is using an impact to get the nut loose)
Trackbar: Core4x4 Tier 3 Double Sheer Adjustable, custom ordered with 9/16″ hole on axle side
Trackbar axle bracket: Rusty’s HD, drilled out to 9/16″
Requires cutting out the original and welding in this piece. I owe many thanks to Andrew “The Axle Whisperer” Duggar of DangerZone Fabrication and Kendall Gines of Lone Peak Collision for their help with this install. Highly recommend both for their services — Andrew for axles/gears especially and Kendall for any body/frame/structural work.
Trackbar frame bracket: Core4x4
Make & Model: Chrysler 8.25 with c-clips (c8.25)
Differential: stock, open
Gearing: stock 3.07
Brakes: stock drum + currently not working e-brake … planning on grabbing the disc brakes off a KJ
Links: leaf springs
Hubs: stock (for replacing lugs/studs this tool is handy)
Make & Model: Mickey Thompson Classic Baja Lock (an older version of this)
Offset: tbd … a lot
Bolt Pattern: 5×4.5
Lug nuts: oversized 1/2″-20, 7/8″ hex, 1.87″ long (Dorman 611-155)
Air: always nitrogen
Road Pressure: 40psi
Trail Pressure: 18psi
Spring Isolators: 3/4″ x2 (part 10473 via IRO)
Shocks: Bilstein 5100s (B8 5100 — hit me up, I have “a guy” who beats everyone’s rates)
Bump stops: extended (KJ09114BK via IRO)
Leaf springs: stock + 2″ add-a-leaf
Shocks: Bilstein 5100s (B8 5100)
Bump stops: extended (52002393 via 4WP)
Drag link: stock
Tie rod: HD ZJ upgrade
The stock XJ tie rod is rolled metal, meaning it’s hollow and mad weak. Right away upgrade that weak piece. If you aren’t ready to jump all the way to a 1-ton setup, grab the TR, TRE and adjusting sleeve off a ZJ in your local JY.
All three bolt right in with no mods or fabrication.
When I upgrade to a full 1-ton setup, I’m going with Ironman4x4Fab’s Ton+ OTK setup
Exterior & Body Work
Hood, front quarter, rear quarter, hatch: all removed
Front: cut & trimmed, Bushwacker Cut-Out style flares
Rear: cut & trimmed, Bushwacker Cut-Out style flares
HVAC: mostly stock, but I fixed the climate blower motor and switch when it broke