Front and Rear Suspension System - The $400 All-Purpose XJ: Part 2Posted in How To on October 1, 2010
We don't really cover Jeeps too often at OFF-ROAD Magazine. Instead we leave those to our other dirthead magazines, and we hit hard on fullsize trucks and prerunners in our pages. That being said, we cannot deny the absolute beauty of an all-purpose off-road vehicle-no matter what type it is. But if we're building a Jeep, it's going to have to be either a fullsize Jeep (FSJ) or a unibody. Classic Cherokees (XJs) with unibodies (or unit bodies) can be found going fast in the dirt, climbing over rocks, and charging through the gnarliest off-road terrains. That's why it was an easy choice to start on my all-purpose XJ build that I picked up for $400. Last month we concentrated on the Hesco head and other engine modifications and updates that Jeeps R Us made to my non-running Cherokee. Not only did Jeeps R Us get it running again, the crew there also added more power and fuel efficiency to boot.
With my XJ purring wonderfully (save for that crack in the exhaust manifold), I headed over to T and J Performance Center in Orange, California, to get started on some chassis stiffeners and a Rock Krawler front-and-rear long-arm suspension system.
Cherokees are notorious for bending if given some over-exuberant love in the dirt, so chassis stiffeners were a must to keep mine healthy as long as possible. Cherokees are also notorious for wrapping the rear passenger side leaf spring up and warping it, so I was excited to be linking the rear of this one with a Rock Krawler kit.
I'd also ordered a set of 33-inch Cepek F-C II tires and some DC-1 wheels to shoe this XJ. The 33s are not going to stuff completely without some fender trimming, but for now I want to concentrate on getting the suspension installed and mounting my new rolling stock.