1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ Lifted Luxury projectPosted in How To: Suspension Brakes on August 9, 2015
Some of you may remember this WJ project from the article "Lifting Luxury" way back in the 2002 issues of Jp, when it took its first steps to getting set up to be a more trail-ready-rig. Well, here we are again after 12 years and more than a few sets of tires.
Being off-road enthusiasts, I'm sure you can all agree that we hardly ever settle for just "good enough." That said, our 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ was set up pretty nice with a 5-inch long-arm suspension, 33-inch tires, rear locker, front bumper, Warn winch, and other small upgrades to ensure somewhat problem-free wheeling while on your above-average trail. However, after about eight years of having the same setup, we felt it was time for a change.
Our new vision for the Jeep wasn't anything crazy but just a tad taller and bit bigger. To go bigger, we went from 285/70R17 (33 inches) tires to BFGoodrich 285/75R17 (34 inches) rolling stock, as well as a new Hanson Off-Road front bumper. To accommodate the larger rubber, we swapped out the tired coils and replace them with Rusty's Off-Road 6 1/2 inch springs on all four corners. We went with Rusty's very stout front and rear upper adjustable control arms to ensure minimal pinion angles. It also helps that we've heard nothing but great things about them.
Next on the list was to open up the wheelwells while keeping a clean look. For that, we opted for Bushwacker's Cut-out Flares as they have a lower profile than the older versions from the past and also provide a little more protection when maneuvering around trees and brush. Oh, and they will definitely help protect the rear quarter panel from the door dings that our wife claims have nothing to do with her.
The Bushwacker flares came with very detailed instructions that take most of the guesswork out of the project. Cutting sheetmetal is always a point of no return, so just make sure to measure twice and cut once. The initial cut was by far the most difficult part of the install—well, at least for us.
The end result was a completely transformed rig that looks amazing and will be much more capable off-road, while still handing like a Grand Cherokee should—luxurious!
01-02 Safely jack up the vehicle, secure with jack stands, and remove the wheels to allow easier access to the wheelwell. It's never a bad idea to put the wheels under the vehicle as an added safety precaution. As the instructions state, using the flare, hold it up and mark an outline of where to cut. As for cutting tools, we found a cutting wheel and heavy-duty sheetmetal sheers helped quite a bit.
03 The kit comes with a molded cover that fits nicely over the cutout by the rear door jam, which adds a clean look.
04-05 The Hanson bumper seems as if it was made for these flares and ties in perfectly.
06 With the rear flares installed, there is just the right amount of coverage without overwhelming the 34-inch BFGoodrich tires.
07 The 6 1/2-inch coils and front upper adjustable control arms from Rusty's should provide us with the needed extra overall height to clear the larger tires.
08-09 The new coils should offer better ride and handling both on- and off-road. Here, you can see the new coils compared to the previous coils and spacers.